12 Ways to Tackle Business Overwhelm
Over the years, many of the conversations I’ve had with people are initiated by their feelings of being overwhelmed by their business or their work. I’m going to cover this at next week’s seminar but I want to share now some of the strategies and tactics for dealing with overwhelm.
Loss of Focus and Business Paralysis
On one level being overwhelmed equates to an on-going lack of progress and an inability to focus due to our current high and often varied workload. A feeling of paralysis can set in. On a more serious level it can feel like ‘drowning’ or ‘being buried’ and result in illness (and loss of business or a job).
1. Problem recognition is the first step. Most business owners and managers are tough and determined and admitting to a problem or perceived deficiency is not what we do. Denial is not a good strategy. Share the problem with someone. A boss, a colleague or someone outside of the business.
2. Talk the problem through. Talking is good. If you look at a brain scan of someone thinking about a problem you’ll see certain parts of the brain light up. If you look at a scan of someone talking about a problem the brain lights up like a Christmas tree! Sometimes talking the problem through is sufficient for us to come up with our own solution. We know what we need to do immediately. Talk to someone who’ll listen and ask a few pertinent questions rather than someone whose habit is to give advice, however well intentioned. We talk and they listen.
3. Write the problem down. Writing is good. Like talking, writing things down is very powerful. By this stage it may be possible to define what our problem is. Defining the problem is a good step. Problem = what we don’t want (our current situation). We should do the writing. Our listener should just listen – and ask a few questions.
4. Decide what the solution looks like. Solution = what we do want.
This is looking fairly basic. Yes it is. We want to keep things simple and basic. Simple and basic is good.
Planning for Increased Focus and Control
5. So, we’ve got a beginning and an end point. Our problem and current situation and a picture of what life will be like when we’re focused, in control, making purposeful progress and enjoying our work again.
6. The next step is to plan how we’re going to move from problem point A to solution point B.
7. Over the years what I’ve found works best in overwhelm situations is to only decide on the best single, next step. It’s good to generate (and write down) lots of ideas and possibilities for what we can do but its then best to decide on the one thing we feel we can do to improve the situation. I’ve found that it’s taking a small step that often helps most. A successful small step is more encouraging than a failed big step.
8. Best step = the one we feel most committed to. It’s the one you feel committed to, not the one I think is best. My job is to ask the pertinent and challenging questions, help flush out all the possibilities, make sure the potential impact and consequences are explored and it’s your job to choose, commit and to do.
9. Keep breaking the step down into smaller steps until you feel confident that the first step is do-able by you.
10. What usually has the biggest impact is deciding on the small step and repeating it every day. This usually has little to do with motivation and everything to do with discipline. Discipline is sometimes tough so having an accountability partner is helpful (“Text me when you’ve done it” might be sufficient.)
11. Progress is encouraging so periodically let’s check our progress. Go back and see what we wrote down as our starting point A. Feel pleased and encouraged about your progress.
12. When we’re at the brainstorming stage its also useful generate ideas of what we’re going to stop doing (or reduce doing or delegate). Many of the things we get trapped into doing are unimportant and have no impact on our key result areas.
Small Daily Steps to More Focus and Control
We all feel overwhelmed from time to time. Others have coped with it so we can cope with it too. We need to recognise it, get a little knowledge, possibly get a little support and tackle it one day at a time.
I’m going to pick up on some of these themes at next week’s event (Wednesday 16th July 8:00am for 8:30am and all wrapped up by 10:30am). You’re very welcome to join us at the Life Centre on Washway Road in Sale. Simply click on the Eventbrite link to register or drop me an email.
The event is about Developing Business and I’m going to cover:
1. Getting clarity and focus
2. Time management – working effectively and efficiently
3. Marketing – how to build a list of qualified prospects
4. Selling – turning interest prospects into buying customers
5. Customer Service – retaining and developing your best customers
6. Team – how to recruit and engage the right people
7. Funding – what’s available to support small businesses
Just bring an open mind and a notebook!