So here we are in April, the perfect time to spring clean and clear space for new energy and opportunities. I think it’s a great time to not only clean and clear your physical space, but also your mental and spiritual spaces too.
As entrepreneurs it can be easy to succumb to overwhelm whether in terms of the information we are consuming, the work tasks we feel we should be doing or whilst trying to maintain the impression of doing and having it all.
In this post I’m going to look at a number of different ways you can reduce overwhelm in your life to leave with you more space and calm in your head and life to pursue the things that matter.
Reduce inbox overwhelm
We are soooo over-run with emails these days and I think just logging in and seeing the sheer number of new messages is overwhelming in itself.
If you’re new to business or trying to learn about a new aspect of business (like digital marketing) it’s tempting to sign up to lots of free guides and webinars online. Often these guides promise to share the exact information you are looking for and because of that “fear of missing out” you sign up to anything and everything related.
If that’s the case, then no doubt everything you read or watch has a slightly different take on things and some might even directly contradict each other, ultimately leading to more overwhelm, instead of the clarity you were seeking.
My advice is to take a bit of time to read some of the mailers you signed up to. See who resonates the most and stay subscribed to these few people. For the rest of them, hit unsubscribe. You can always go back and resubscribe again later or go looking for the next bit of information when you’ve consumed and implement what you’ve already got.
Reducing the amount of new information coming in is going to help greatly. What I would also suggest is rounding up all the unread mailers sitting in your inbox and just delete them too. Your FOMO (fear of missing out) game will likely be strong and deleting may feel too much, but just do it. You have enough information to get stated and if you really, truly haven’t then you probably need to stick to one way and follow that through anyway. Reading one email with advice to do things one way, then opening the next that says do things another way is still just going to keep you spinning.
There are some pieces of software to help with this. I’ve used Sane Later which sifts and sorts your emails as they come in and makes it easy for you to unsubscribe from lists.
Unrol.me is another option to look at.
Stop overwhelming yourself with comparison
In line with what I said before about creating overwhelm by trying to do every bit of free training going, I also find that entrepreneurs (particularly women) get massively caught up with what other people are doing. Both result in stalling and if you’re guilty of either you’re using up the energy and headspace that could have been spent on moving your own business forward.
Yes, have a look to see what others in your industry are doing but then put that information to one side and decide what it is you’re doing.
Put on your blinkers and just get on with your thing. In my experience there’s often a real lack of congruence with what’s being said on social media or in emails etc and what’s actually going on behind the scenes. So don’t get caught up in it, what you’re trying to emulate might not even be real! Even if it is, you can bet your bottom dollar the beginning of that journey looked mighty different to now and probably a lot more like where you are.
So, shake it off and do your thing, distraction-free.
Declutter Your Obligations
Is your overwhelm coming from trying to do too much?
While it’s true that you have the same number of hours in a day as Beyoncé, you do only have 24 hours in a day. You can’t do everything.
Think about everything you’re trying to fit into your day or week. What tasks can be shared with others? Ask for help from the family or start delegating to a cleaner, food making service or VA depending on what is taking up too much of your precious time.
Stand your ground on saying no to new commitments if that’s what you want to say. Don’t say yes if you mean no and don’t let yourself be cajoled or bullied into something you haven’t got the time or head space to do.
A time for everything and everything in its time!
Ok now that you’ve reduced the incoming overwhelm it’s time to get back to basics and plan in time to get through all the things that do matter.
I’d highly suggest trying an online diary like Google Calendar. It allows you to make recurring appointments easily and block out time daily with space to keep all the information relating to each task in one place.
It makes it easy to see at a glance where there’s space to do everything. Make sure everything has a place and is booked out, meaning you don’t get to the end of the week with things left undone.
If you were previously doing this or something similar, ask yourself why you come away from this, where did things fall down?
Look at what you need to change to stay on track (maybe a stronger ability to say no to new commitments as mentioned above!).
Having “stuff” everywhere does not clear thinking make. If there is some excess physical clutter dragging you down, then do take time to sort it out and move it on.
Similarly do a brain dump of unclosed loops (all those little energy drains – unpaid bills, conversations that need to be had, batteries or light bulbs that need changing etc., etc.). schedule in time to do them or book a handyman to come and get everything done.
Obviously the intention of this post was not to overwhelm you further by adding more things to do or think about. However, if any of these points resonate take them one at a time to work on. That extra push of focused effort could give you the freedom you need to gain traction.
Let me know in the comments which resonated with you most.