By Monique Y. Wells –
Have you noticed that everyone is talking about “overwhelm” these days? Whether it’s due to not knowing how to use social media or some new technology, not knowing how to find your niche market, or doing all the mundane, routine tasks for your business yourself, everyone knows what it feels like to be overwhelmed. But there is a smarter way to run your business to help overcome overwhelm.
What compounds our feelings of overwhelm is the fact that we tend not to step away from the situation long enough to get a handle on it. We either continue to blunder around for the sake of keeping in motion, or we become paralyzed and do nothing.
I advise my solopreneur / work-at-home clients that there are three steps required to make time to deal with whatever form or degree of overwhelm that is plaguing you in your business and prepare yourself to run your business in a smarter way. These steps are simple, but not necessarily easy to accomplish – you must first make the commitment to yourself and your business to “get over overwhelm” for them to work.
Step 1) Step back and take time to breathe and reflect.
This can feel really uncomfortable when we’re accustomed to being “on” all the time. But it is essential to take some “do nothing” time to rest physically, mentally, and emotionally. We can then come back to our businesses fresh, with more energy, a better attitude, and better ideas.
If you are an especially driven, passionate, overachiever type like I am, then you’ll likely want to start small here and plan to take just a couple of minutes of down time at natural break points during your day. I highly recommend the website http://www.donothingfor2minutes.com for those who are loathe to leave their desks – visit this site and be transplanted to the ocean for a couple of minutes 4-5 times a day. Surely you can spare 10 minutes of down time in any given work day!
As you become accustomed to this, extend your time. Go to the window and look outside or go into the yard or onto your balcony for a change of scenery for 10-15 minutes a couple of times a day. Schedule a morning or an afternoon off once a week. Take a short nap in the afternoon – how radical is that?!?
Bottom line: We must break the routine of being at / thinking about work “all the time.”
Step 2) Decide that you are your most important priority.
This means YOU – not your life partner, not your kids, and certainly not your business!
This may sound selfish (and we all know that women are supposed to be selfLESS and to serve others), but in actuality, it is the best possible attitude that you can adopt for everyone concerned. You must be at the “top of your game” to give your best to all three!
Of course this doesn’t mean that you leave everyone to his/her own defenses while you indulge in fantasies or engage in reckless behavior. It does mean that you take care of your health – again, physical, mental, and emotional – and that you reconnect with your core values so that your actions spring from and are aligned with this solid base. Don’t allow what you believe in your heart to be pushed aside by the latest dogma, or even by the opinion of a well-meaning family member, friend, or colleague.
Step 3) Set or re-evaluate your goals.
Now that you are rejuvenated and centered, you can refocus on business. Not the day in-day out of your business, but rather, the fundamentals – the soul – of it. If you haven’t already done so, this is the time to write down your business goals. If you have already written out your business goals, then pull out your list and revisit them. In this case, I advise that you rewrite them, particularly if you’ve already accomplished one or more of them or if you find that some goals are no longer valid.
Once you’ve done this, evaluate all of your goals and decide which one is the most important for you. Then think through what you need to do in 2012 to accomplish this single goal. Write down your thoughts, including a date by which you want to achieve your goal and the first thing that you will do today to begin working on it.
Note that it is not enough to think about your goals – you must WRITE them down. Writing things gives them power that thinking about them does not. I can personally attest to this – in January 2011, I wrote down a list of twenty business goals. Though I only referred to this list twice during the year, I found that I had accomplished eighteen of these goals when I looked at the list in early December!
When you have finished this exercise, you’ll be on the road to a successful business year. Why? Because you will have taken the time to think through what you really want, and what is most important among the things you want. This is called “prioritization” and lack of it was the most frequently cited reason for overwhelm in a survey that I conducted among women solopreneurs.
If you keep Steps 1 and 2 foremost in your mind every day and you look at the goals that you committed to paper in Step 3 once a week, you’ll be a healthier, happier, and more productive businesswoman. From here, the sky’s the limit!
Kick off the New Year right!
Contact Monique for a free, 20-minute consultation on getting over your particular brand of overwhelm at work by midnight EST on Friday, January 6th and receive the bonus gift of Monique’s e-book entitled The Best Way to Overcome the Number 1 Cause of Overwhelm among Women Solopreneurs ($37 value)! Send e-mail to Monique at [email protected]
You can find more information about Monique at her website: http://gettingoveroverwhelm.com/home.