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Feeling Overwhelmed?  STOP!

You set up your small business to do more of what you love.  You wanted more say in when and how long you worked, to spend more time with the family or doing the things you enjoy.  Instead you’re up early, finishing late, feeling the strain and it’s pressure, pressure, pressure.  On the positive side this is good, your business is growing – and you should congratulate yourself, it’s down to your own hard work.  On the negative side, carrying on like this is a recipe for stress, lack of enjoyment in  life and ill health.

Why am I feeling overwhelmed?

It’s a fact there are only 24 hours in the day and only one you, so you can’t carry on trying to be everything to everyone, trying to focus on everything at once, adding too many appointments to your calendar, underestimating the length of time it takes to do things and not saying no.

What to do apart from pack it all in and run screaming for the jobs ads?

First of all STOP.  Take a day out and have a rest.  “But I can’t!”  I hear you cry.  Yes, you can.  As my husband always says, will it matter in a hundred years?  Clear off the most urgent tasks now and renegotiate deadlines with clients where possible.  Then take one day out.   One day out is not going to kill anyone.

Now rest.  Have a lie in, go for a walk, watch Jeremy Kyle…. okay, maybe not, but just have a rest!  You have earned it.

Now remember, YOU are in control.

Key Tips for Dealing with Overwhelm:

  1. You can’t do it all so take a long hard look at your to do list.  Either delegate tasks, set aside time in the diary to get things done once and for all or delete them from your list.  If things keep sliding to the bottom of your to do list, do you REALLY need/want to do them?
  2. Then prioritise.  What do you really, actually want?  Are you doing what you want to, or what think you SHOULD be doing?  Where do you want your business to be in 12 months?  If you carry on doing what you are doing now, you will get more of the same, so it’s time to whittle things down.  Make a realistic plan for the next 12 months with realistic achievable goals, and not too many or you’re back to square one!
  3. Focus on one task at a time and do it well.  The phrase ‘you can do anything but not everything,’ is all over the internet at the moment and it’s true.
  4. Know when you work best – are you better in the morning or a slow burner who gets fired up after lunch?  Plan your time so that you can get things done when you are at your peak.
  5. Have breaks.  I’m terrible for this and have started setting a timer to remind me to get up and walk around, have a stretch, get a cup of tea.  It’s reckoned that regular breaks make you more productive than slogging through, not surprising when you consider we can only concentrate fully for about 20 minutes, so a break will actually help you to be more productive.  Also hunching over the desk like Quasimodo is not good for your back and shoulders.  So get up and move a bit.
  6. Be realistic on how long things take to do.  Remember the saying under promise and over deliver.  You are only putting more stress on yourself if you promise turnaround times that are too quick and then when you deliver late you risk looking unprofessional and incapable.  Give yourself some breathing space.  Also take into account that things can and will go wrong.  Allow time for that too.
  7. Simplify your systems.  It’s amazing how complicated business owners can make things.  Are there any ways you can streamline tasks, or get them automated?  Do some actually need doing?
  8. Get rid of clutter.  For me, mess and clutter not only makes my desk untidy, but it’s mental clutter too.  Rather than having everything on your desk, have some trays , in, out, pending, file and put stuff in there.  Make sure you deal with paperwork regularly and file/scan.  Or get someone to do it for you.  File things electronically when you can.
  9. Take control of your inbox.  Use the flagging and rules or set up a decent simple filing system you can put things into yourself manually, such as action, read, client stuff and so on.  I prefer to do this and make the decision on things straightaway and then I can…
  10.  …use the Two Minute Rule.  If it takes less than two minutes do it now!  Eg binning that e-newsletter you just know you aren’t going to read.  Replying to your sister to say lunch at noon on Saturday is fine.  You get the picture. Anything else put in a place where you can give it proper attention later.
  11. Remember you can say no to projects, invites, people.  You don’t HAVE to do everything.  Be helpful though – if you can’t or don’t want to do something, can you suggest someone who might?
  12. On that note my coach said we should always say we won’t do things, rather than we can’t.  Can’t puts us in the mindset of not being in control, and we are!
  13. Think about what you can give to someone else – are you really the only single human being who can do this task?  What about paying a cleaner, bookkeeper, admin assistant, virtual assistant etc, etc?  It’s worth it as the value of your time is priceless so you can get on doing the things that will take your business further OR have some well earned time out.  Think about what your hourly rate would be if you could be doing more income earning work against what you pay out for help.   If you’re considering admin assistance, why not give us a call today and find out how we can save you time, money and hassle?
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