If you are not yet familiar inspirational writers like Dr. Stephen Covey (7 Habits of Highly Effective People), Jim Collins (Good to Great), or Brendon Burchard (High Performance Habits), it might be time you give them a read. I found their books to be inspiring; they lit a fire within me that allowed me to step out and become a small business owner myself! But one thing we face as entrepreneurs is OVERWHELM. There is so much to do! We’re keeping our own books, doing all our own advertising (or not, in which case — call us at 342MAD! We can help!), having face time with our clientele, in addition to doing all the work for our companies. Even if you have a small group of individuals working with you to support your business, chances are, you’ve felt overwhelmed at some point.
I regularly listen to Brendon Burchard’s podcast, High Performance Habits, for inspiration and tips, as well as follow him on social media. He recently shared a video about being overwhelmed that resonated with me, as it may with many of you.
If any of you are like me, sitting still for an 18-min video when you’re already overwhelmed with work (not so tongue-in-cheek there!) is difficult, so below the video is a summary of salient points.
5 Tips for Dealing with Overwhelm
Deal with Real Deadlines
Most people are guiding their days based on arbitrary, or preferential, deadlines. We need clarity on what the REAL deadline is. What is the day that the world will end if this is not done? That’s your real deadline. People we encounter in the workplace, or we ourselves, perpetuate artificial deadlines based on preference all the time. You will be scrambling with too much stress all the time unless you know the real date, the real goal, and the real timeline.
Have a mentor with whom you can share you stress. One thing that Brendon uses for perspective is reading biographies: when you are faced with the triumphs of others — who lost a limb, who overcame adversity, etc. — you are able to ask yourself “How did they plan, delegate, keep positivity? How did they deal with their issue?” This provides us with strength and much-needed perspective. If Nelson Mandela could dismantle apartheid, you can get through your project.
Be it prayer, meditation, or affirmations, declare positivity to yourself every day: things you are grateful for, what you are excited about. It gets the mind programmed to be thankful and be in charge. By controlling how you speak to yourself on a daily basis in positive ways, you are more able to speak to yourself calmly when it really matters.
Tell Everyone What Your Dreams Are & What Major Activities You are Working on That May Stress You Out
One of the reasons people get overwhelmed is because the people around them keep stacking more on their plate, and the reason they feel comfortable doing so is because you’ve never told them “This is what I’m working on. These are the times that are crazy for me. Please don’t give me more at this time because I’m at max capacity.” As you share ambitious dreams, ambitious leaders may come out to help you, so let your dreams be known to those around you.
Spend 20 minutes in the morning with your planner, going through your schedule and obligations for the day. Visualize completing the day with excellence. How can you do that meeting well? How can you prepare for that presentation? Think through the day to come before it happens and prepare for success. Surprises = uncertainty = overwhelm. Remove the surprises to control the overwhelm.