Whether you’re trying to get everything done so you can take time to enjoy the summer period or you’ve been ‘coping’ under overwhelm for a while now – prolonged stress and feeling like a hot mess will not only lead to your business failing but it’ll lead to significant health risks too. Running and managing multiple businesses with a family, I know first-hand how easy it is to get caught up.
In this episode, I’m sharing my top tips on banishing overwhelm and managing your mindset and time for more freedom AND strategic thinking vs busy, busy, busy.
Listen using the player above or read the blog post below.
Banish Business Overwhelm for More Time and Mind Freedom
Many people feel overwhelmed at the moment. Often we cause our own issues. While we have a need for time off, lots of us are planning to take extended leave over the summer so it feels like there is a lot to do. Or you’ve felt overwhelmed during last summer and want to plan better this time around.
Running a business, especially when you have a family, can be tough. You want to be present with your family, give everyone your attention, and make the most of the summer period. Yet, you don’t need children to feel like you are spreading yourself too thin. You may want to create more freedom and feel like it isn’t happening.
I am going to share some coping mechanisms and some fixes. We need to understand that prolonged stress and overwhelm can create problems. Also, it is a warning sign that things are not working. In Elevate, we regularly talk about what you need to be focusing on and what you do not need to be doing to avoid overwhelm.
Effects of overwhelm
I know the effects of overwhelm on a personal level. In the early years of my coaching business, I found entering the online space extremely overwhelming. I had run bricks and mortar businesses before but this was new. I had to be online all of the time, be constantly posting, and be in all the groups. And continually be visible. For six months, I was consistent and visible.
By the time Christmas came around, I only wanted to speak to my family. I spent that Christmas with the family. And I remember playing a game on the kitchen floor where my laughter turned to tears. It was a release that I’d been needing for so long. I felt not very present in my life and was glad to not think about work. That was a wake-up call for me.
It is no good to feel overwhelmed on a regular basis. It is mentally and physically unhealthy. Yes, there are sacrifices to running a business. But this is never to the detriment of your health and family.
Freedom in business
If you are in a similar situation, don’t worry, I have some advice to help you today. Freedom in business does not mean you can do what you want at any time of the day. We have a team of employees. I need to role model to them how to behave at work. So I can’t do what I like on a whim.
When people talk about a freedom lifestyle, I am behind this. There is also a place for setting an example, showing up for your team and clients, and showing the responsibility that you cannot cancel at a moment’s notice. I do not buy into running a business as total freedom. It is more freedom than being an employee.
When it comes to feeling significantly overwhelmed, many of the issues are created in your head. You create overwhelm for yourself. It may not seem helpful but the only person responsible for your overwhelm is you. We need to take the responsibility for this.
It is interesting to see that someone else’s busy is another person’s calm even within my team. This is to do with mindset and how they perceive the day. I worked with someone who was very capable but needed to be micro-managed. I had to take everything off their plate and then dish them small tasks because they woke each morning and felt sick.
It can quite easily get this bad if you don’t take action. This can be triggered by your to-do list. Feeling like there is so much to do and you can’t cope. Your mindset and how you perceive your to-do list impact this. There are only so many hours in the day, so if your to-do list is too long, you need to recognise this. Understand if all the things on your list need to be done today.
Recognise when you cause yourself stress in this way. It is likely that 20 per cent of those tasks are important and the other 80 per cent is not and can wait. Or can be delegated.
We cause ourselves more stress when we do not delegate tasks. For example, doing your bookkeeping does not need to be done by you. You are not best placed to run your business by doing this. You should be servicing clients – or even thinking about how you may not service clients in the future and scaling it. Instead be the frontrunner who is looking at the sales and marketing, leading the way in your business.
As a leader, that is your role. It can be confusing when you come out of a job, we create ourselves a low-paid busy job role instead. We think of this as freedom and running a business but it’s not. Your role is not to do everything, it is to drive the business forward, make a profit and impact people.
Look at your list and highlight the needle-moving activities. Which ones are serving your business? How is that task impacting more people or driving more sales? If the task is not doing those things, is there someone else you can delegate this to? It takes these tasks off your list immediately.
The likes of tax returns can be seriously overwhelming, take over your time and take your eye off the ball. When actually, you can trust another person to do that job while you push forward and make more money. You need to look at your list in an honest way. Is this something you need to do or delegate?
And you do need to speculate to accumulate. It is your call but sometimes we need to create space to move forward. If every moment of your day is taken up by things that are not moving your business forward, then you are not going to progress. Your time is so precious and we need to give it far more respect.
Your to-do list
One of the decisions we made is that Andy would no longer work from his Trello board. It became a dumping ground. Trello is a brilliant tool but I don’t recommend using it as your to-do list. It grows and grows then becomes a bucket.
Let me clarify this – you can use Trello as a brain dump and plan but do not use it to work from. We look at that list, and we decide on what you need to work on to make the most difference to reach the goal. And taking into account the yearly, three-yearly and five-yearly goals. Prioritise the tasks.
These tasks then come off your to-do list and they go into your calendar. Google calendar is a lifesaver. You can do this on a paper calendar. If you have an online business, use an online platform. You can also colour-code and time block on a Google calendar.
You can then say that to reach your goal you need to do this task and when it is going to happen. Then it goes in the diary. Once it’s in the diary, even if you need to move it, you work towards this. Work from your calendar because it is realistic. You make a time block and protect that time to complete the task.
Task avoidance and overwhelm
If you find yourself looking at those tasks and repeatedly rescheduling, you need to be honest about why this happens. If we know that’s a needle-moving task and you’re making excuses not to do it – what else is going on there? What are the blocks? This can also contribute to feelings of overwhelm.
For example, a fear of visibility when you want to launch a masterclass can leave you putting off promoting. Look at the issues that stop you from promoting it. It may be the title is no good, or you won’t get people on board because you don’t feel the messaging is quite right – what do you need to do to fix this? You may need help with messaging and hiring a business coach. Or get some market research.
We need to be curious about why we put certain tasks off that contribute to the feeling of overwhelm. When you move the task, you can feel guilty. So looking at why you’re not moving forward can help unblock this. You want to go from being in the early days of your business and thinking you need to spend more time on it to being in control and knowing exactly what you’re doing. You do this by putting it in the diary.
Create regular activities
It may be that you have regular activities, such as a weekly podcast. Block out the time each week to make sure you get those tasks done. Put it into the diary. You can be flexible but if it’s in the diary it doesn’t get missed. It is also realistic about what you can get done.
Some people are very ambitious with their time. You need to be realistic about how long things will take. Estimate how long you think something will take to do, and then time how much realistically. For new tasks, it will take longer. But for regular tasks, you should know. Then you can be more realistic about setting about the time to do these things.
Hopefully, these tips will help you move forward with greater strategy and freedom. Even though it may feel like more time in the beginning with time blocking, it will save you time in the long run. And give you so much of your brain space back. You need to get ideas out of your head, into your brain dump and onto your calendar.
It is this last step that so many people don’t do. They stop at the brain dump. Put it in the calendar and make that time.
If you want to get your messaging right and create strategic actions in your business, I am opening the doors to my Elevate programme. Where you can get clear on your niche and who it is that you are speaking to in your business. You can make more sales, push your business forward, and scale to seven figures and beyond. With client generation strategy, with all of my support and experience of running multiple businesses and a family. If you want that and elevate your status to the number one choice in the market, book your call here.
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