Overcoming Overwhelm

  • April 25, 2015

    Too Much Homework AssignmentsHave you ever felt like a human doing … As opposed to a human being? In this highly connected, multimedia, I need it (April 25, 2015) world, it’s so easy to become overwhelmed. Some people will say that you do it to yourself, and that’s partly true. But in reality, we carry around a supercomputer in our pocket that gives access to a world vying for our attention. A lot of times the contact is legitimate, because some of these people are clients and are trying to get in touch with us to pay us for our time. However, the vast majority of them are just trying to disrupt your day while separating you from your money.


    We all have commitments like family, work, and volunteering. It was postwar Japan that actually showed us how to maximize our day to get the most productivity out of our people and ourselves. But that was pre-internet, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Email … and whatever else vies for our attention each and every moment of our waking hours. Studies have shown that the average person receives 5,000 messages a day, which is about 200 messages per hour. I have seen estimates on this that range from 3000 to 25000 messages per day. Needless to say, that’s a bombardment of epic proportions.

    Setting Priorities

    Business man with checkboxesAs business people, owners or solopreneurs, we have to learn to set priorities and manage our time. If you’re like most people selling hours for dollars, then you have to prioritize moneymaking activities for business. However, you can’t forget or neglect “Life” making activities for your personal business. What follows are three basic things that I’ve learned to do that really help me to keep my life and my business in focus.

    1) Make A List

    businessman signing a contractEvery night at 9 PM I get an email reminder and a calendar reminder that tells me to set my to do list for the next day. That may be late for some of you, but it works for me. You could remind yourself first thing in the morning if that works better for you. The goal is to write it all down, prioritize and cross it off. My guest expert Karolyn Blume suggests that you can only do three things per day. I don’t disagree with that, especially if they are major tasks. Each of the three will have subtasks. So, I suggest that you write down the three major things you have to do, and then list every detailed task that you have to accomplish in order to achieve that goal. Be sure to leave some wiggle room for those unforeseen tasks that are going to pop-up. A client who needs something right away or the personal phone call that you just absolutely did not expect. Be strong, but be flexible.

    2) Become A Calendar Junkie

    Deadline date on calendarOne of the things that I’ve learned to do is put everything in my calendar. Every task must have a time. Tasks can include work, personal, learning, meetings and whatever it is you need to achieve each day. Make sure that you schedule travel time to and from the meetings. If it takes you 30 minutes to get to and from a meeting, then you need to put that in your calendar too.

    I don’t know how dogs can tell time, but every day at 3 o’clock my dog reminds me that it’s time for his walk. That is both my personal time and Buddy Guy’s as well. I set this time to break up my day, but also for personal development. I listen to audiobooks and podcasts to help myself grow and learn. Make sure you schedule time for fun and personal development as stringently as you do for business.

    3) Get Help

    Girl Using virtual PC Touch ScreenThe most successful business people, owners or solopreneurs, are the ones who realize that in order to achieve maximum results they need help. In an earlier post and a podcast on www.baconpodcast.com, I talked about using virtual assistants and how they help me save up to 20 hours per month. I just finished an online course on how to use virtual assistants. I use a term called SHOW, which stands for Strengths, Have to-do’s, Opportunities and Weaknesses, and how you can identify these to find the areas where you can delegate tasks to make your selling hours for dollars more efficient.

    If you really take a good look at your business, there are probably many places where you can use help. You can have somebody check and manage your email and create to do lists for you. You can have somebody help you schedule your time. You can have someone work in customer support to deal with little issues, and call you in on the big tasks that you really need to be involved in. If you sit down and do an analysis of your business, there will be multiple opportunities for you to be able to overcome overwhelm by saving time.

    Final Thoughts

    Sure we all get overwhelmed. Some days just do not go as planned. However, if every day is like that, then you need to take a real solid look at yourself and your business to see how you can make it better. The first thing you have to realize is that you choose what to do, how to do it, and whether to be overwhelmed or not. Whether you’re a pro at procrastination, or perfect at being a perfectionist, you control how these things play into the way you and your business function.

    Hopefully this post did not overwhelm you with too much to do. I would love to hear your thoughts, comments, questions, and stories of how you’ve overcome your overwhelm.

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