Feeling overwhelmed? Practical tips on how to beat it

notebook and pen lists

Are you feeling overwhelmed in your business?

Many people relate to feeling overwhelmed by the decisions they need to make, their choices, financial and emotional pressures, and the uncertainties that lie ahead. Being overwhelmed can mean you are feeling swamped, or overloaded and these are all possible to address, if you take one small step at a time.

Here are some practical tips and actions for dealing with that feeling, written as an acrostic.

Openness. Be open to new ideas. As Einstein said, “the definition of stupidity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. It is difficult to argue with Einstein’s thinking because no one is holding you back from change or new thoughts, apart from yourself. When marketing your company, if you have no results from emailing customers, why not try writing a newsletter or a blog to help them?

Photo of Einstein graffiti by Taton Moïse on Unsplash

Vision. Write a clear vision for your business. Try and summarise it in one statement, keeping it at the forefront of all your decisions. Whether those decisions are about time off, talking to customers, choosing suppliers, and promoting your goods or services, a clear vision will make it easier to make choices.

writing down business goals
Someone writing their vision. Photo by Darius Bashar on Unsplash

Ego, this is important to keep in check as it affects so much of our working life, and expecting perfection of ourselves is one of the most difficult aspects to deal with. Alicia Smith, in her blog,The Business Ego Trap: Having an Ego in Business’ suggests that being a real person with imperfections and who makes mistakes is far more attractive and appealing to our customers.

Remember there are no 100% right or wrong ideas, all ideas will have positives and negatives; when we are overwhelmed, we feel paralysed and struggle to decide. The solution is to ignore our ego, have self-belief, and make a decision. It may not be the perfect decision or idea, but it will allow you to learn from your mistakes, improve and pivot your plans. It will also relieve the feelings of procrastination and indecision.

Warmth is necessary for business; you need to treat everyone you meet and connect to with warmth. Customers do not know you are having a bad day, or are worried, all they will hear is the haste and abruptness in the tone of your emails, zoom calls, or phone conversations. Warmth can make them feel connected and valued. It is these relationships that will support your business; customers create customers.

Haste can be harmful to building a business because financial and planning decisions are often better made slowly. Therefore, use a weekly planner, where you can allocate two slots a week, for financial and strategic planning, including marketing, advertising, and selling. You may dislike or lack confidence in these tasks but by allocating a regular time slot to them, they will be addressed, and your confidence will grow.

Evidence is all around you, look and see the progress and difference you are making. On low days it may feel like nothing is going well; it is easy to get caught in a spiral of negative thinking. However, if you list the evidence of progress, results, and decisions you have made, this will boost your confidence. Keep adding to this list, portfolio, or spreadsheet for the days when it is hard to remember the successes.

Evidence your success
Evidence your success

Lists are useful, and when you tick off items or delete tasks, it triggers feelings of satisfaction and accomplishment. I review the list from the previous day, first thing in the morning, which allows me to prioritise 3 daily tasks only. I can hear you scoffing in disbelief; these are the most important tasks that must be actioned. If additional tasks are completed, that is a bonus. The less important tasks will stay at the bottom of the list and may disappear over time. Using Microsoft lists and sharing with other employees on teams can be helpful.

Make time to nurture your mental health by blocking off time for relaxation and turning phones and notifications off for an hour in the day. This means you could be prioritising your health when cooking a new recipe, listening to music, taking a walk, or gardening. Your body and mind will thank you for it.

Enjoy creativity; this could be one session a week where you allow yourself time to indulge in creativity. This time will help your business and reduce the feelings of being overwhelmed. When we create, we relax, ignore limiting thoughts, and allow ourselves to be fully absorbed. Whatever you enjoy doing, or used to enjoy doing creatively, prioritise an hour a week to do it. Examples can include painting, writing poetry, drawing, sewing, calligraphy, baking, jewellery-making, and scrapbooking.

Do not forget to reach out for help, particularly if you are overwhelmed by the promotion of your business or brand. Tree Duck Design can help with your print design, logo and website requirements. We’ll help you tick one or two of those to-do items off your list.

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