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How to Beat Entrepreneurial Overwhelm and Stay on Track in Your Business

Beat Entrepreneurial Overwhelm
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Nearly every business owner is susceptible to entrepreneurial overwhelm at one time or other. 

In fact, a survey by management consultancy firm, The Alternative Board, showed that 72% of small business owners feel overwhelmed by their workload.

 

It’s the nature of running a small business and trying to handle everything on your own.  But becoming overwhelmed can have harmful effects on your health, well-being and your ability to get things done in your business.

 

It’s critical that you learn to recognise the signs before you reach burnout.  And that you implement strategies to help you beat entrepreneurial overwhelm when it rears its ugly head.  

So here’s how to spot the signs and a simple strategy to help you beat entrepreneurial overwhelm:

What is overwhelm?

Overwhelm is your body’s way of reacting to continuously being in crisis mode.  If you’re regularly experiencing workload pressure in your business your body can only stand so much.  Eventually you’ll freeze and feel powerless to move forwards.

Talkspace.com describes overwhelm as:

 

“being completely submerged by your thoughts and emotions about all of life’s current problems, to the point where you lack efficacy and feel frozen or paralysed.”

Beat entrepreneurial overwhelm

Overwhelm is your body’s way of reacting to continuously being in crisis mode. 

Being stressed and overwhelmed by your workload could lead to:

  • Regular bouts of illness
  • Sleep issues
  • Digestive problems
  • Depression and anxiety

Why could overwhelm be hurting your business?

How many times have you woken up after a fitful night’s sleep, feeling exhausted before the day’s even started?  Or you’ve logged into your PC and spent the first 3 hours of your day browsing stationery on Amazon.  Even though you have tons to get done?

Becoming overwhelmed can lead you to lose focus and procrastinate

Becoming overwhelmed can lead you to lose focus and procrastinate, instead of confronting your To Do list.   It’s vital that you’re completely honest about what you need to get done.  

 

Your time is your most precious and finite resource, so you shouldn’t waste it on distracting activities.  Doing so could lead to missed opportunities and lapsed customer deadlines, which could damage your reputation and your bottom line.  

 

Instead, you should be investing your time in productive activities that will move your business forwards.

A simple 6-step strategy to beat overwhelm

Once you’ve identified that you’re feeling of overwhelmed, it’s important to tackle it and move through it so that you can get your business back on track.  Here’s how:

1) Do a brain dump

Beat entrepreneurial overwhelm

Grab a piece of paper and do a brain dump of all the outstanding tasks on your To Do list for the coming week or month (depending on how far out you like to plan).

Even if this is the only step you take, this, in itself, will help to relieve your feelings of anxiety. 

 

Sometimes the idea of all the things you need to get done is much worse than the reality and, putting pen to paper, will show you that things aren’t as bad as they seem.

2) Prioritise your tasks

Next to each task on your list, write a score from 0-10 according to how critical the task is to the smooth-running or growth of your business.

 

0 = your business will continue to run or grow without it

10 = your business will crumble around your ears or stagnate without it

3) Note down any deadlines

Do any of your tasks have a hard deadline (e.g. sending a proposal or report to a client by an agreed date), or a softer deadline (e.g. publishing blog content according to your content schedule)? Note these deadlines down next to each task on your to do list.

 

Some of these deadlines will be more rigid, and others will allow for some wriggle room.  But it’s important to have an idea of when you’d like to get your tasks done, even if you miss them by a day or two.

4) Eliminate some of your tasks

If your to do list still looks like too much for you to handle, it’s time to start cutting things out so that you’re working at a level that’s manageable and realistic.

 

You can postpone any tasks with a longer term deadline. And you can eliminate anything with a priority score of less than 4.

Beat Entrepreneurial Overwhelm

5) Create a visual

I like to print out a hard copy month per page calendar for this, but you might prefer to use a week per page. Next to each date on your calendar, note down the deadlines for your tasks and make sure you display it where you can easily refer to it over the coming weeks.

Having your tasks marked in a clear, visual format will help to unjumble the mass of work in your mind and ease your feeling of overwhelm.

Having your tasks marked in a clear, visual format will help to unjumble the mass of work in your mind and ease your feeling of overwhelm.

6) Add some colour

Grab a highlighter or a coloured pen, and start to colour code your tasks according to the priority score you gave them in step 2.  

 

I find that the more I categorise my tasks in a way that’s easy on the eye, the easier it is to see what I should be working on NOW and what can wait.

Entrepreneurial overwhelm is completely normal and something that most business owners will experience at one time or other.  But staying in a constant state of overwhelm could be harming you and your business.  

 

By implementing this simple strategy it’s possible to get the stressful jumble out of your head, beat entrepreneurial overwhelm, and move you and your business forwards.

 

Do you often feel overwhelmed by the amount of work you have to get done in your business? 

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