Ever have one of those days when you feel like it’s all about to come crashing down on top of you? You’re moving as fast as you can – maybe you even feel like you’re productive and in control, but you know there’s a wave that’s hanging over you.
You’re feeling overwhelmed.
I’ve had this come up with several business owners recently – in some cases they were feeling overwhelmed because they didn’t know what to do and they were stuck in a vicious cycle of indecision. In other cases they thought they knew what to do but they were having a hard time getting any traction. Their feet are moving really fast, but they are staying in one place! Finally – there are some cases of overwhelm out there where they know exactly what to do…and how to do it, they just don’t know how or when they’re going to be able to get it done!
Do you fit into any of these scenarios?
As a business owner, it’s pretty common to feel overwhelmed at times. You have to wear a lot of hats and you generally have people depending on you (employees, customers, etc.).
The risk with feeling overwhelmed is if it continues for a while or it gets worse you will end up giving up and doing nothing or making some rash decisions that could really cause a lot of problems in the long run.
What can you do when you feel overwhelmed?
The best answer depends on why you’re overwhelmed, but here are a few general ideas that will help in most situations:
1. De-stress yourself
The first step is to get some immediate relief and destress yourself. Take some deep breaths, go for a quick walk, get in some exercises – there are a lot of things you can do to give yourself some breathing room. Here’s a useful article on 5 ways to calm down.
2. Know what you want
A big driver for feeling overwhelmed is a lack of clarity on what you’re trying to achieve. It’s pretty common to have a rough idea, but when you actually put something in clear writing (that others would understand) you will likely end up with a different focus.
If you boil it down to what you really want (or need) you can often simplify what needs to be done.
3. Have a plan
Now that you know what you want / need, the next step is to have at least a high level plan on how you can achieve that outline. Not to harp, but it doesn’t count unless it’s written down. Take it a step further and figure out exactly what your next step should be – if you continue this process, you’ll have a clear plan through completion.
4. Be consistent
One of the reasons I see people getting overwhelmed is that they are jumping around, trying out different things. As an example, how many business owners do you know that do their marketing as the flavor of the month? I haven’t done any marketing for awhile, I think I’ll try direct mail, networking, advertising…whatever it might be.
One of the keys to long term success (in marketing and just in general) is to find something that works and build it into a long term routine or process. It’s fine to try new things, but do it in a systematic way.
5. Have someone to talk to
Way too often I see business owners that are trying to do it all by themselves. In some cases they may be too proud to open up to other people, or they may not know of anyone they can open up to. Find a friend that will listen and be a positive influence, hire a coach, create a mastermind group, join a Peer Group Advisory Board – but find someone that you can open up to.
6. Take action
Finally – the best way to power yourself out of an overwhelm situation is to take positive action…even if it’s not the perfect solution you will feel better just because you’re doing something about it.
I know a lot of people that love to admire a problem: “Wow – that’s a really big issue. I don’t know how we can solve that…” Trust me – issues will not go away unless you take some kind of action.
What do you do?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on what you do (or what you’ve seen other people do) when they’re overwhelmed. Leave a comment below and let me know what works for you.
Shawn Kinkade Kansas City Business Coach