8 Positive Changes to Help with Overwhelm when Starting a New Business

Starting a new business is hard work and it’s very easy to get overwhelmed and I have been there many times. There’s so much to do and sometimes it just feels impossible. It’s not a nice feeling but with a bit of focus and attention it is possible to move forward daily, one step at a time so that feeling of overwhelm doesn’t take over. When feeling overwhelmed it’s important to try and get some clarity and clear your head. Here are some things that I’ve tried and have found to help.

8 Things I’ve found that help

• Meditation. It doesn’t have to be long but even just 5 minutes can help your mind to reset and get rid of the ‘noise’ that’s causing the overwhelm. Being truly focused and concentrating on the present and not thinking about the past or future really allows me to be present and calm me down.

• Going for a walk. I’ve found that since I’ve become a freelancer and working for myself, I’m spending much more time just me at home alone. I used to be in an office with colleagues and would have a work social life. This has now stopped and as a result I can sometimes be at home all day and not have spoken to anyone or even stepped outside all day. It’s not good for me. Therefore, breaking up the day with a walk gets me out of the house and seeing other people and allows my mind to have some thinking time away from my office and laptop. I might still be thinking about work sometimes but somehow the movement seems to help get everything into a logical order for me to tackle my to do list. A bit of space is what’s required.

• Making a plan. With no roadmap it’s easy to get overwhelmed. A plan is essential with goals and targets. I’ve got much better at this recently. I’ve always had a bit of a vague plan where I would make to do lists and work off those. However, the items on the to do lists were always a bit too big. A bit too focused on the outcome. Now I know that I need to break them down into smaller bite sized chunks. I now create yearly, quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily goals. I need these smaller steps broken down and then written down into smaller tasks which build to get to the overall business goal or outcome. Focusing on the end goal only can make it seem impossible and then overwhelm will kick in. It’s important to work backwards from the goal and put in place what needs to be done to get there. A roadmap needs to be created. You’re going on a journey so you need to know the way. However, this doesn’t mean the ‘route’ won’t change along the way.

• Have a buddy. I’ve got a few buddies that I check in with either weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. These are really useful sessions that help both parties talk about what they’ve been up to and enables sharing of problems. These are also a good way to make yourself accountable and keep on top of your targets. They also stimulate creativity. Talking through always helps.

• Focus on one thing at a time. Flitting between tasks is the biggest waste of time and can quite easily cause overwhelm because nothing gets finished. Don’t make the to do list too long as this is overwhelming as well. Set three things to do each day and anything achieved over that is a bonus.

• Take a break and do something else. It’s perfectly ok to take a break and not to feel guilty. It allows your mind and body to recharge and to do other things you enjoy like spending time with family, going for a meal with friends or going to the cinema. You need to have boundaries set in your work day as well which can include having set hours, making sure you have a lunch break and maybe having a chat with a friend during the day. It’s also important to take a break from your screen.

• Get up a little bit earlier. Recently I’ve started to get up at 5am to work for 90 mins before the day starts as recommended by Rachael Naylor at The Voiceover Network. This allows me to plan in more depth what I’m doing and how I’m going to get there.

• Don’t try to do everything at once as that definitely contributes to the feeling of overwhelm. I’ve found that doing a little bit every day to move your business forward helps. Just to take a little bite each day. This helps to create a feeling of achievement and is great to enable ticking items off your to do list.

Even if you still feel overwhelmed after putting in different strategies to help, don’t be too hard on yourself. I’ve found this never helps and just makes it worse. Just give yourself a break.

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