7 Ways to Overcome your Overwhelm Today

It happens to every single one of us….

That pit-in-your-stomach feeling when you know you have so much to get done and have no idea where to start.

The feeling of complete and total overwhelm that makes you want to run away screaming when you glance at your to-do list.

For me, I’m in the middle of a pivot, and the overwhelm is very real!  I’m transitioning from a hand-to-hand business building model to one-to-many approach.  So, every single day, my list will contain tasks for content creation, technologies to evaluate, systems to establish and perfect, coaching to attend, courses to complete, clients to serve, calls to return, and the never-ending story of email.  Oh and let’s not forget that little task that never goes away – marketing.

You know the feeling…

Everything on your to-do list has to get done, but where do you start? And more importantly, how do you keep from being back in this same situation tomorrow, next week, or next month?

You Have to Have a Plan

I find that what gets me in trouble is when I jump around from task to task with no real plan for where I’m going.

For example, it could start by checking social media updates, then jumping over to write an email, then jumping back into my browser to do some research, before jotting down a great content idea, finally having a revelation about one of my clients and I have to write THAT down.

Before I know it, I have 7 or 8 projects going.  Not only have none of them been finished, but I’ve barely made progress.  Queue that feeling of overwhelm.

How do I avoid the too many irons in the fire problem?

Truthfully, this is a constant battle with me.  Between work, my businesses, my wife, and 3 children; it’s really easy to spend several hours bouncing between tasks, sitting at my computer, chasing the current shiny object, and not getting anything “real” accomplished.

So, I need to break it down and…

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Make it REALLY simple

I first identify 1 priority.  No, really.  Just one that I want to accomplish today.  Then I go into my calendar and block that time off to make sure that it gets accomplished.

A quick tip – Focus your first task on something that is setup to help bring in revenue.

This task could be client delivery, courses, new products, making calls, building an email or ad campaign (customer acquisition), or something else.  By placing priority on revenue generation, you are putting your energy in the most important place of your business.

Now, if you finish that ONE task by noon.  We’ll reassess, and pick ONE more!  Keep your focus singular and you’ll be surprised how many “one tasks” you’ll get done in a day.

Be Proactive, not Reactive

As business owners, leaders, and entrepreneurs  it’s easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of the newest thing that comes our way. We are all guilty of this. But if you find yourself reacting to opportunities rather than planning for them, you set yourself up for some problems:

  • You start behind and scrambling
  • You lose control of the results
  • You haven’t evaluated the opportunity potential or its cost

Queue the overwhelm!

When you plan your activities, you know what your goals and objectives are and how you are going to achieve them.

7 Easy Ways to Overcome your Overwhelm

  1.  Do your most difficult task first.  Another REALLY simple approach.  Set your timer (the BeFocused app is what I use, and it’s free) for 25 minutes and begin.  That’s all it takes to get going.  Work until the timer goes off.  You’ll feel less distraction and fear.  You’ll have progress to celebrate.  And with momentum behind you, you’ll be ready to take the next step forward. Before you just reset the timer, take 10 minutes to let your mind break and you’re ready to go again.  (Daniel Goleman has a great book called Focus on the approach).
  2. Stop trying to be perfect.   You’re not a multi-billion dollar company and the funny thing is, your customers enjoy and relate to the imperfections that make you a real person.  It’s about taking imperfect action, rather than making it perfect.  Do your best, and go!  Your impact and that of your business is related to you action, not your ideas!
  3. Everything isn’t important.  If everything is a priority, nothing gets accomplished. By picking 1 task at a time, you will naturally stop making everything critical.  It becomes obvious that learning to say no is more critical to your success than saying  yes to everything and everyone.
  4. Speak Positive to Yourself.  Not to get too “woo” with you, but positive self-talk is a critical success factor.  Remind yourself that you are good enough.  Virtually every super successful person, regardless of field, talks about how positive self-talk keeps self-doubt (which everyone has) from leading to self-sabotage.   Keep your thoughts positive.  Keep a success notebook.  Write down what went well.  What you got right.  The feelings of success you associate in this notebook becomes your positive association and fall back when doubt creeps in.
  5. Data Dump.  Keep a notebook close by, and write down the thoughts filling your head.  This isn’t a to-do list, although it will help with that.  Rather, this is a SIMPLE method to help clear your mind.  Write down what you need to do, want to do, and should do.  Write down good ideas and distracting thoughts.  Later, come back (at the end of the day) and get rid fo the things that are not important, helpful, and/or necessary.  This is another one of those activities will pay significant benefits to you over time, and will become a valuable resource for your creative processes.
  6. Focus on your Health.  To borrow the Nike slogan, Just do it.  Exercise energizes you, and will bring amazing clarity to your mind. (Start with walking if you haven’t exercised in a while).  Skipping meals weakens the machine, even when you are under pressure.  Choose real food. (ditch the soda and chips).  More sleep increases productivity by enabling your to focus and be clear.  Small changes will have a significant impact on you, your business, and your family.
  7. Have a real conversation.  It’s easy to get buried behind the keyboard.  Life is more than marketing, bookkeeping, calls, emails, and social media.  It’s also more than just performing the skill that you’re an expert in (Hello Lawyers, Doctor, Dentists, Chiropractors, and other Professionals)!  Sometimes the message is lost in your routine.  Take breaks from your computer and your routine, and spend some time talking TO your client, customer, or patient.  These people matter, the impact they can have on you is just as large as the impact you can have on them.

No Really…it is this SIMPLE

For those of us to look at that list and say, “Great just what I need, another list”!

We all get overwhelmed.  And, if you’re not now, wait a few weeks.  It’s part of being a higher performer, an entrepreneur, and a business owner.  It’s also the high that keeps us all coming back!


When you’re really overwhelmed, and in that state that makes it easy to put your head down and want to hide under the desk.  There are really only two steps you need to start with:

  1. Focus on 1 thing.  Identify what’s most important…right now!
  2. Obsessively eliminate everything else (as much as possible).

Once you get the #1 priority clear in your own mind, this approach will work for you if you apply it.

Imagine that tomorrow you wake up feeling refreshed, and ready to go.  You know exactly the 1 thing you’re going to focus on first.  You have energy, clarity, and KNOW that you’ve got this!

It’s time to ditch the “I’m overwhelmed” excuse, and increase your impact!

Are you talking to potential customers you don’t even want?

Take a few minutes and get crystal clear on your Ideal Customer Profile

[FREE WORKSHEET] Click here to download >>

I would love to hear from you!  Please leave me a comment below, and let me know what your best tip is for overcoming the overwhelm!

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