Have you ever felt completely overwhelmed by all the tasks that you need to do? Did it leave you feeling completely out of control? Did it seem like the more you did, the more you were chasing your tail? This is a common scenario faced by many small business owners who have to be “jack of all trades”. You are not alone and you can do something about it.
The best thing that you can do is take a deep breath and STOP. For most people the idea of slowing down when it is panic stations everywhere will probably seem counter-intuitive. However, slowing down will enable you to gather your wits and re-focus.
5 tips to help you get back into control
- Watch your language. – Stop any negative talk (including in your head!). This includes using words like “swamped”, “out-of-control” and phrases like “I don’t know what to do”, “I can’t do it” etc. Every time you use a negative phrase, you reinforce your situation. If you want to get out of “overwhelm”, then re-framing your language is your first step to getting back into balance. Use positive affirmations eg. “I am in control”, “I can manage this situation” etc.
- Ask how you got into this situation – Are you just having a bad day? Have you done anything to add to your current stress? The knowledge you gain at this step is valuable not just to prevent similar situations in the future. It is in intended to give you some perspective, objectivity and empower you for the next step.
- Get an action plan – Prioritise your tasks. Work out which ones can be delegated, which ones can realistically wait, which ones you need help with.
- Ask for help – Most of us are so busy being self-sufficient that we forget that we CAN ask for help. If asking for help usually makes you uncomfortable, going through steps 2 and 3 will help. If you know why you’ve got into “overwhelm” you can explain it if you are asked. If you have an action plan, you have your solution and asking for help just happens to be part of the solution.
- Reflect – When you have moved past the “urgent” phase and are breathing sighs of relief, take a proper time out to reflect. Go through step 2 thoroughly if you haven’t already done so. What would you do differently? What steps can you put into place to help manage such a situation again? Are there deeper issues that need to be addressed, either personal or business. If there are, don’t avoid them. Be proactive and tackle them before they rear their ugly heads again.