Many of us lately are feeling overwhelmed. Why is that, when we have more amenities than ever, more choice, more technology to support us and more opportunity to achieve what we want to achieve?
More is not better
It’s that word, ‘more’. More is not necessarily better than less. Just think about the many ways you can be contacted: Letter, email, telephone, text, many variations of social media including Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, Twitter, Whatsapp, Face Time, through to a CRM – Trello, Monday, etc. The list is getting longer every day and it’s not necessarily making us more efficient.
There’s pressure on us as business owners to respond fast. How many times has someone said to you ‘I haven’t heard back from you, I sent you an email this morning.’? ‘Did you get my text?’ or ‘I phoned you yesterday and didn’t hear back from you.’
There is an expectation that we should be able to do everything quickly, do more and more and know how to do everything. Most small business owners I work with however are struggling to get everything done – especially with their back of office functions. When you are busy with your customers it’s really hard to keep up with your admin.
It’s hard to say ‘Hey I’m struggling.’ We don’t want our competitors to hear that and we want our customers to feel that we are under control and able to respond to their needs without delay.
So, we go out in the world and ‘put on a brave face’. The last thing we want is for the world to see our vulnerability – and yes others do make a judgement about that. So, it is understandable that we find ways to hold ourselves in a persona of ‘everything is fine’. This takes its toll on us and we can only sustain that for a period of time until the cracks start to show. Those cracks may be anxiety, stress or physical illness.
How to prevent feeling overwhelmed:
1. Know your limitations and manage the expectations you have of yourself. Give yourself permission to accept that you can’t get everything done today.
2. Say ‘No’ – if you struggle and find yourself saying ‘Yes’ too often, read this article
3. Plan – looking at what is important/urgent or not important/not urgent will help you set priorities and gain perspective on what is actually needed right now.
4. Pick a some workflow tech and stick with it. It’s OK to say ‘I don’t do Twitter.’ or Facebook or Instagram etc.
5. Alternate your work between factual admin-based functions and creativity. This helps your brain to rest and restore.
6. Take time out. Walk around the block, take a 10-minute walk in nature, whatever you can do to step away for 10 minutes will restore you.
The danger is that we feel under pressure and have to be full-on all the time, but actually this is counterproductive and you are more efficient if you take regular short breaks.
Need some help with feeling overwhelmed?
contribution by Elaine Flook – Learn more at elaineflook.com
Elaine is a performance therapist helping business owners and Directors focus their energy to reach their achievements faster.