Last week my head was spinning.

I was telling myself I had so much to do and because I got myself so overwhelmed I froze.

Not great when you’re a business owner with things to do…

I was stuck in a state of analysis paralysis where I couldn’t make a decision because I was over-thinking and felt overwhelmed by everything.

Eventually I gave myself a wee talking to and shook myself back into action but that feeling of being so overwhelmed wasn’t great.

If this happens to me I figured it could happen to you too so let’s take a wee look at the cause and effects of overwhelm and what we can do to get ourselves back into action when overwhelm is really slowing us down.


When you sit there doing nothing

Perhaps you’ve noticed when you are sitting there thinking you have so much to do, you actually end up doing nothing and it gets worse.

Well, there could be a few other things you’re feeling too, like:

  • Worrying and fretting over things you haven’t done yet
  • Feeling anxious about how much there is to do on your to do list
  • Having no idea when you’re going to get it ALL done
  • Asking yourself how on earth are you going to get all this finished
  • Beating yourself up you didn’t get something done last week
  • Flitting from one thing to another and not finishing anything
  • Not taking any action at all. You feel you don’t know where to start and your head feels like its spinning and swirling – all the time
  • When you sit down and give it your best shot to do one thing but everything else is whirring around in your brain and you just can’t focus on the task in front of you
  • Perhaps you’re looking at what others are doing and comparing your business to theirs. Comparisonitis is a pesky contributor to overwhelm.

And that’s just a handful of some of the things I feel when I’m overwhelmed.

I bet you can add a few of your own too.

Overwhelm doesn’t ‘party’ alone

And have you noticed overwhelm likes company?

Oh hello procrastination! I don’t remember inviting you this party.

Those ‘I don’t know where to start so I’ll sit here and do nothing related to what needs to be done’ times.

And then, because we’re not taking action, here comes low self confidence.

What the heck?

Why does low self confidence join the party?

If you’re not taking action, you’re not getting results and then your mind-monkeys start to wonder if you’re doing anything right.

For me my inner voice starts piping up with ‘Told you so. You’re not good enough. Everyone else makes it look so easy. You’ve bitten off more than you can chew.’

Way to go to boost my confidence inner-voice. Thanks for nothing.

What causes overwhelm?

Good question.

I think it’s

Trying to too do much and trying to do everything at once.

Have you noticed there’s so much information out there telling us how to create our successful businesses it can be so easy to have information overload.

So many choices.

And too many things to do now if not sooner.

And things taking longer than you thought they would.

Take a breather.

Say to yourself:

“Okay, that is where I want to get to, this is where I am now and I’m going to pick the one thing that would make the biggest difference to my business or would get you the most desired results.’

Then focus on that until it is done.

But that’s okay if your brain has stopped spinning and overwhelm ain’t hanging around like a bad smell.

A wee exercise to help you deal with overwhelm

Here’s a wee exercise I do to empty my brain so I can start to create more clarity, direction and action.

I have put together a four step system that I have called BRAD.

B is for ‘Brain Dump’

This is where I get a pen and paper and I write and write and write until I get every task out of my brain and onto the paper. I write until I can write no more.

If doing your brain dump on your computer works for you, go for it.

What I love about this exercise is that getting it all out and onto paper it becomes visual and therefore easier for me to manage, breakdown and put into perspective.

I can then prioritise my tasks.

What’s next?

R is for ‘Remove’

I go through my mahoosive list removing the tasks that are not important or urgent. If they are not either of these – they don’t need to be on my list so I remove them.

What’s next?

A is for ‘Assistance’

Get help. When you work for yourself and by yourself and doing all the tasks that are required you are not making the best use of your skills or doing what you are best suited to. Remember why you started your business in the first place.

Look at what you can outsource. A Virtual Assistant has set up their business because they love doing what they do. A potential match made in heaven if they can help you with those tasks you don’t enjoy.

What’s next?

D is for ‘Do’

I go back to my tasks list and prioritise and set realistic deadlines and then I make a cuppa and start doing. 

Focussing on the jobs that are urgent first of all, then the ones that will have the biggest impact on my business if not done, and then I scale them in order of importance.

What can help me with the doing is setting a timer for 15-minutes and committing to doing the task for this length of time. I tend to find once I get going it’s not as bad as I thought.

Over to you?

There you have it. A few little tips and tricks for you to help you to get past overwhelm because I know, one of the major problems we have when we’re running our own business is getting everything done, trying to juggle everything around and spinning plates and not to mention life that runs alongside our business too.

Notice and recognises when you feel you’re going into overwhelm and catch yourself before you go too far.

If you can get into the habit of checking in with yourself, overwhelm will not strike as often or you‘ll become more aware of yourself getting into it. In time you’ll get better and better at unfurling yourself out of that overwhelmed state and back to take action.

Action is fab!

It kicks overwhelm in the you-know-what.


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