Sometimes it all can just feel like too much, can’t it?
Too much to do, not enough time. Too many hours working, not enough time with the family. Too much pressure, not enough relaxation. Too much busyness, not enough rest. Too much taking care of business, not enough taking care of self.
When we start our small business it’s with confidence that we can make a difference for our customers, never with the intention of experiencing too much and not enough. One word for too much and not enough is overwhelm.
Overwhelm leads to fatigue and burnout. It takes a heavy toll on you, the business owner, your team, and your family and friends who care about your well-being. Overwhelm can lead to moods that are counterproductive to business building. And overwhelm can lead to a desire to get away from the business, where you may start thinking about jumping ship without having an excellent plan for getting the ship into the right port (planning is another subject we’ll address in a different post.)
But to exit without taking the steps that will get you excellent value for all the time and grind you’ve invested so far would be shortsighted and costly. So here are four ways to overcome overwhelm, stop doing too much, and stop settling for not enough:
- Get clear on your capacity. Just for a week, track everything you need to do and are doing over a week’s time. The whole week. What are you giving your time away to? What do you think you need to give time to that you’re not getting to?
- Recognize your humanity. Admit to yourself that you live in a body which thrives when you devote some time to eat, sleep, and move, and that research shows that the happiest and healthiest people also have rewarding close personal relationships (which take time). Another business meeting won’t keep you alive, happy or healthy. Given that in this go round you only get one body and you want to make it last as long as possible, taking care of your own life needs to take priority. So block out time on your calendar for you.
- Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize. You can’t do everything, (nor should you, but I’m getting ahead of myself) so take time to identify your top goals and the actions that must be taken to attain those goals. Focus on those actions first each day. Shut off the notifications, social media, and your own favorite distractions. On a weekly and daily basis, check in on how you’re doing on what’s most important to advance what you want to achieve and to move your best future forward.
- Delegate everything that someone else could do adequately. They don’t need to be able to do those things perfectly, or even as well as you can. They just need to be competent to do them well enough to help you to deliver on your commitments. Stop doing things other people can do for you and start doing only what other people can’t do for you, like envisioning your company’s future, or taking care of yourself. (When you find someone who can do my exercise routine for me so I can fit all my clothes right without working out, let me know.)
Overwhelm doesn’t go away on its own. It takes decisions, commitments to self and others, and actions to fulfill those commitments. What will you commit to and take action on today to cut down on too much and stop settling for not enough?