By Lisa Tanner, freelance writer and contributor to this blog
Are you feeling overwhelmed trying to grow a home business while raising a family? When you’ve got that many balls in the air, they can start to press down on you.
The good news?
You can stop feeling overwhelmed and start living a life you love – home, business, family, and all. And when you’re less stressed, you will start getting more done.
Keep reading to discover:
- How to Identify Symptoms of Overwhelm
- How a Brain Dump Can Help
- Five Things to Do to Stop Feeling Overwhelmed
- How to Prevent Overwhelm in the Future
By the time you reach the bottom, you will have several action based tips to help you stop feeling overwhelmed. You can do this!
How to Identify Symptoms of Overwhelm
Disclosure time: Big shocker, but…I’m not a doctor. And I’m certainly not diagnosing anyone.
However, emotional overwhelm can manifest in physical symptoms. Here are some of the symptoms attributed to this condition by GoodTherapy:
- Withdrawal from friends or family
- Uncharacteristically big reactions to small incidents
- Trouble thinking clearly or rationally
- Not being able to perform daily tasks
If you have some of those symptoms and believe you are overwhelmed, here are some strategies I have used to successfully defeat overwhelm.
I am simply sharing what worked for me, not proclaiming that these will instantly cure all that ails you. But if you want, you can give them a try to see if they help you too.
Often when you are feeling overwhelmed, there are so many thoughts running all over your mind. You may be tempted to jump from one project to the next, desperately trying to keep your head above water.
Unfortunately, running around in circles is not the best way to handle overwhelm. You risk making your situation worse.
Instead, stop for a moment and think. Then get a piece of paper and start writing things down. Write down EVERYTHING that you feel like you need to get done.
- Finding a new client
- Making dinner
- Updating your website
- Cleaning the bathroom
- Brainstorming blog post ideas
- Invoicing your clients
- Having some fun with your kids
Whatever is causing you to feel anxiety about its completion, write it down. Nothing is too small or too large for this list. Your goal is literally to dump everything out of your brain and onto paper.
Why a Brain Dump Helps Defeat Overwhelm
Once you take time to put all these thoughts in writing, you can start to organize them. You can identify tasks that you can delegate. Or put off for another day. You can find things to cut.
And after you do that, you will be able to discern what needs your attention the most. You can set priorities and start moving forward with your focused to-do list.
Five Things to Do to Stop Feeling Overwhelmed
A brain dump can help, but it is not the only strategy to stop feeling overwhelmed. Here are five additional things you can do when you feel like you’re in over your head.
1. Take a Break
It seems counter-intuitive, I know. But taking a break can be the best way to clear your mind.
If possible, get outside. Fresh air is so good for your thought process. And please, don’t take your cell phone with you. Just get unplugged and spend a few minutes in the great outdoors.
Just a few minutes (5-10) can help rejuvenate you.
2. Pick One Task to Focus On
Once you get back inside, look at your brain dump. Think about everything you need to get done. And pick one.
Go work on it for 30 minutes or so. Set a timer if they inspire you to work faster.
Get as much progress made as you can. Don’t stop to think about what else you could be doing – just stick with the task you selected.
Then when you get done, or your time runs out, take another break. It will be good for you! When the break is over, select one task again. It might be the same one. It might be something else. What you work on is up to you, but do work on something.
Do this over and over again. Focus on one task and then take a break. You will see your productivity increase.
3. Drink a Glass of Water
Did you know that dehydration causes many of the same symptoms of overwhelm? Combined, they can make everything feel so much worse than it truly is.
Just in case you may be experiencing this phenomenon, always make it a point to drink a tall glass of water when you’re struggling with being overwhelmed. It will be good for you.
4. Write Down Your Goals
Why are you building a business? What do you hope to accomplish?
When you identify your goals, you give purpose to the tasks at hand. And sometimes, knowing why you are doing something is enough to make it feel less stressful.
Also, taking time to write down your goals can help you see what isn’t working. Are you doing things in your business that aren’t moving you closer to your goals? Or are you letting fear hold you back from what you really need to do?
As you evaluate each task from your brain dump, ask yourself: is this helping me achieve my goals? Your answers can help you pinpoint areas of your business that you need to pivot.
5. Pick One Task to Streamline
Do you have any tasks that are taking longer than they should? Do you have any bottlenecks in your routine that are slowing you down?
Spend some time thinking about the tasks you do over and over again. How can you make them go faster?
- Create a template
- Write down step-by-step directions to follow each time
- Identify redundant steps that can be cut
- Get rid of excess and simplify
- Create an organizational system
- Batch tasks
But, don’t try to do all of this at once. You will just wind up more overwhelmed. Instead, pick one area to streamline. Where will you see the biggest difference? Start with that.
Then when you have that new streamlined system on autopilot, it’s time to select another area. Keep making changes a little at a time, and you will eventually look back and see how far these baby steps took you.
How to Prevent Overwhelm in the Future
Unfortunately, you can’t overwhelm-proof your life. But you can definitely help to prevent future bouts of overwhelm. Here are three practical strategies to help you do that.
- Create a Plan for Your Time
- Know Your Limits
- Stop Listening to the Experts
Here’s a bit more about each of these.
1. Create a Plan for Your Time
You only get so much time in a day. You need to tell it what to do, or you’ll suddenly look up and realize it is dinner time and you have no idea where the time went.
Proactively plan your days. Create a simple morning routine. Have off-hours for your business. Know when it’s time to play with the kids and when it’s time to buckle down and hustle.
I make a plan of the day with my kids each morning. You may prefer a weekly planning system. Experiment and see what works for you.
Take the time to plan. It will save you time in the end.
2. Know Your Limits
If you only have three hours to work each day, don’t try to cram five hours worth of work in. You will just be setting yourself up for failure.
You don’t want to burn yourself out by trying to grow too quickly. Instead, practice this two-letter word:
Practice it. Then use it. You don’t have to do all the things.
3. Stop Listening to the Experts
You have to post to Facebook to grow your business…
Facebook is dead, you shouldn’t waste your time there…
Instagram is the key to growing authentic relationships…
If you don’t have professional quality pictures all the time, you should never post on Instagram…
And on and on the conflicting advice goes.
If you try to keep up with all the experts or influencers in your niche, you are going to go insane. There is simply too much information out there.
So much knowledge is getting shoved in your face by people who want you to believe them and buy from them.
It can be pretty overwhelming.
So, to stop feeling overwhelmed, it’s time to realize that you can’t copy famous people and expect immediate success. You have to grow your business your way.
Which means, you need to start tuning some people out. If they bring you stress and make you feel like a failure because you aren’t doing things “just so” it’s time for them to go. Unsubscribe to their newsletters. Unfollow them on social channels.
Just stop trying to do what everyone else says so you can focus in on what works for you.
Stop Feeling Overwhelmed
These strategies can help you tame the overwhelming feelings before they run away with you. You don’t need to live a stressed-out life as an entrepreneur. You can simplify and streamline your home business. And as a result, you will have clarity and get more done.
And, if you’re ready for someone to guide you gently along the path to YOUR success, check out Sally’s WAH Resource Library. She loves helping others start a business they are passionate about without having it take over all their time. Click on the banner below to learn more!