Strategy Bites – Strategies to soothe overwhelm

Challenge: Feeling overwhelmed and unfocused

Cause: There are several potential causes for this including:

  • Not being able to see how you will get through your current situation
  • You are trying to do more than you are able to on your own
  • Lack of focus on what’s most important
  • Inability to complete existing tasks before new ones need your attention
  • Lack of visibility on how your business is actually performing

Strategy:

  1. Stop and breathe – do what you need to do to calm down and clear your head. Take a break, take a walk, sit in the sun, watch something funny on social media. Stopping to regroup will not make you fall behind further – you need to do it in order to address your challenge.
  2. Sometimes it isn’t important to focus on the ‘how’. Just do the ‘what’. What needs doing right now. If you keep focusing on little steps, the way forward will happen as part of the process.
  3. Break the big stuff down. Think about the thing you are avoiding doing. Start listing the little things you need to do. Find a phone number; make a phone call; reply to an email; find a document; set up a meeting; gather some information online. Little steps make up the big stuff.
  4. Write a list of everything you need to do and prioritise
    1. Which items will have the most positive impact if you do them first?
    1. Which items have the most impact on your business?
    1. Which items need to be done but you can address them quickly if you focus?
  5. Alternatively, write several lists in different categories, for example, ‘Personal’, ‘Work’, ‘Family’, ‘Project’. Once you have these different categories make a list underneath each with the things you need to do. Then just start with the quick and easy stuff. I’ve found this is a really effective way to get out of overwhelm and sleepless nights and to start making productive progress.
  6. Which items can you delegate? Maybe there are items you really need to delegate because they don’t fall within your core competency and you don’t really know how to deal with them. Be honest and make a decision to let someone better experienced and better equipped to do these tasks.
  7. If you have no-one to delegate to then consider the value of bringing someone on board to help. It may only be for a few hours a week but it can make a huge difference and is always a good investment if you get the right person and actually delegate and let them get on with it.
  8. Many business owners with companies turning over multiple 6 and 7 figures, fail to have reports/KPIs that enable them to track the performance of their business in key areas. Without this, it really is difficult to feel in control of your business and lack of measurement on the right KPIs can easily make you feel stressed and overwhelmed. Look at each key area of your business and decide on what you need to track – sales, margin, client value, project completion timeframes, direct expense ratios, cashflow position, compliance requirements. Every business is different but these examples give you a starting point for creating a dashboard. If you don’t want to add this task to your list, get someone to do it for you. Try Airtasker or Upwork as a starting point.

And finally, in difficult times, it is essential to stay connected to positive people who understand and appreciate what you are going through and what you are struggling with.

We need to be kind to ourselves. It was only when I felt the most overwhelmed that I really understood what that meant. Nothing else seemed to be kind so I had to look after myself so I could get through. Whether someone else is kind to you or you take it into your own hands, it does have a positive impact.

And remember, as I keep saying, Spring is coming, both literally and metaphorically. Surround yourself with flowers, music, fresh air and whatever makes you feel good. And make these your priorities.