As a small business owner, there are often too many ideas, too many tasks and projects, too many orders to place, employees to hire, displays to be built, leases to be negotiated, emails to be written, research to be done, and not enough time or resources. Entrepreneurs are a creative bunch of people and we’re always thinking of new ways to grow our businesses.
There are only 24 hours in a day and 365 days in a year, and if you’re in the midst of starting, running or growing your business, those hours and minutes fly by very fast. In this series, we’ve been talking about the overwhelm that we face on a daily basis, and some actionable steps we can take to overcome that feeling.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, “What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.”
The late, great Stephen Covey presented this idea in his excellent book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. (A MUST READ for every business owner, btw!)
“By definition, overwhelm means “give too much of a thing to someone, to inundate.” And the truth is, if you are overwhelmed it’s because chaos is around you, so you likely need to get somewhere, sit down and seek some clarity.”
There are many ways to do this of course, schedule a solo one day re-focusing retreat in a local hotel, spend an hour away from your desk working in a coffee shop, take a long contemplative walk, or for one of the guys in our mastermind group, sitting in the woods in a deer stand.
But what if you’re feeling overwhelmed right now? You can’t pack your bags and go to a hotel at this moment, you can’t leave the business to go to a coffee shop, or maybe it’s not deer season, and your wife will think you’ve lost your marbles if she finds you sitting in a deer stand this time of year! You need to take some action today!
Here are three things that you can do today to take action to alleviate that overwhelming feeling.
1. Focus. Choose one task and focus solely on that until it is complete. If it is a project that will take several days to complete, work on it for a set amount of time, and then change to another project. Stop multitasking; it will only lead you to feeling more overwhelmed.
2. Set a timer. Work on one task for 20 minutes, and then take a break. Next week, work for 5 minutes extra (25 minutes instead of 20, and so on) to help rebuild your focus, sustained attention span and ability to concentrate. But just so you know, most adults can only work at their peek for 20 minutes before becoming distracted. Which leads into our last tip for today…
3. Give yourself the gift of distraction. Sometimes we push ourselves too hard. Owning a business is a marathon, not a sprint. Every few hours, take a break from your work. Step out your front door and get a breath of fresh air. Play some music. Go for a walk. Read a fun book. Have coffee with a friend. Do anything that takes your heart and mind away from business. You will be rewarded with a clear mind and a fresh perspective when you get back to work.
As we close today, let me invite you to treat the feeling of overwhelming and anxiety as our friend, for it is an emotional indicator letting us know that we need to slow down, and to readjust our center of focus on something else that makes us feel better. We need to pay attention to the signals that our body is sending us.
It is also a reminder that we have choices, and that in most cases, we can design our day, and no matter how rough our day was today, or yesterday may have been, every morning is a new beginning, a new chance for us to start again.
Until next time…Remember, you always have choices in life… Choose to be MORE Remarkable (and LESS Overwhelmed!)
PS… If you’re Feeling Overwhelmed as a Small Business Owner, Click HERE or on the image above for our Free PDF…“22 Ways to Beat Overwhelm: The Power of Daily Small Actions”, to give you some ideas of ways to get clarity and a fresh start!