When you have big dreams, you tend to have a big to-do list. One that can feel like it’s never-ending. However, it's not a finite list of tasks as some might believe. Life happens, and unexpected problems creep up that we never planned for. This can obviously lead to more stress in your life and overwhelming times.
Leading up to April, I was feeling stressed, anxious, and overwhelmed almost every day. I couldn't stop thinking about all the money I need to repay in student loans, and it would often make me lose focus on the things I needed to do in order to generate more income. It became a vicious cycle, but I knew that if I was going to climb my way out of debt and create more income I needed to be able to pull myself together and focus.
One reason I was feeling overwhelmed with everything was that I never had a plan. I didn't take time to plan a financial budget, and I never had a plan on how I was going to create more income. Each day was different from the last in that I would do everything on a whim, which never allowed me to focus. I felt all over the place with tasks I needed to complete, and I treated my time as if it had little value.
Whatever it might be that makes you feel anxious or overwhelmed, take a minute to take inventory of what exactly is stressing you out. Do you feel like you don't have time to complete everything? Are you biting off more than you can chew? By understanding exactly what's bringing you down you can start taking steps to change. Awareness is the first step.
As entrepreneurs, we tend to be workhorses. Personally, I feel a sense of guilt when I decide to do something fun or personal, rather than work on my business. I understand this mentality isn't healthy. We need to give ourselves a break from time to time, and recognize when we are working too hard, and too much. In the past when I would try to do work at unthinkable hours at night, I would find myself more drained, less energetic, and actually getting LESS done.
I have recently started to "batch" my work and tasks. What this means, is that instead of working constantly, I sit down, turn off any distractions, and focus on finishing one task. Once that task is complete I will take a short 10-15 minute break to move around, take the dogs for a short walk, and refresh. By implementing this I have found I'm able to focus better, my stress has decreased, and I'm more productive overall.
Our time is precious, and we lead ourselves to believe that we can make the most out of it by multitasking. However, I don't believe there is such thing as multitasking in terms of getting work done. You can certainly multitask in regards to getting work done, and learn through podcasts and audiobooks. But even then I would argue that you won't be able to give your complete focus to both at the same time.
I can't stress enough (no pun intended), how much of an impact meditation has had on my productivity and mood. As I mentioned in a previous post, meditation has given me the ability to become pro-active rather than reactive. This ability has sharpened my decision-making capacity, and I no longer waste time worrying about shit that doesn't matter.
In addition to mediation, adjusting my sleep schedule and making sure I get a constant amount of sleep each night has had a huge impact.
There is always so much going through my head at one time. I never used to write at the frequency I do now, so I never had an outlet for my thoughts. They would build up inside me. One idea after another. One worry on top of another. My brain was filled to capacity, and it overwhelmed me.
I now try and write twice a day. Once in the morning, and another at some point during the day while I write out a blog post. In the morning I write out everything that's on my mind. How I'm feeling, what I'm grateful for, etc. For all my ideas, I have started carrying around an ideas notebook where I can easily open up and jot down any ideas that come to mind. This outlet has allowed me to express my thoughts, and get them out in the open, rather than letting them build up over time.
After you become aware of what's overwhelming you, it's easier to take note of things that add value to your life, and things that don't. Saying no has been liberating, and has allowed me to better align my time with my values and objective. By making decisions with intent, you can focus on what's best for you life or your business. It's okay to say no.