How To Manage Entrepreneurial Overwhelm
The secret to success as an entrepreneur is to balance your tremendous drive
Part of being an entrepreneur is juggling many things at once - projects, deadlines, people and opportunities. You have a never ending (and always growing) to-do list. Do you ever feel like you want to hit the pause button and yell from the rooftops, "Whoa, stop, I want to get off!" I sure do.
As an entrepreneur, you consume lots of information, learn new things, start new projects and don't want to feel like you're ever missing out. I have found this to be a recipe for disaster if not managed and balanced with a little decompression. It's a huge fallacy that if you are not working you're not being productive. Some of my best ideas have come when I am relaxed. And the truth is, we're much more focused and energized when we give ourselves time to rest and rejuvenate.
Here's the deal: If you're always "on" - always producing, thinking, analyzing and doing, you're going to burn out. You're going to feel tired, frustrated, scattered and maybe even depressed. The secret to success as an entrepreneur is to balance your tremendous drive, creativity and "doing-ness" with some unplugged time. Hey, I didn't say it was going to be easy, but it's absolutely necessary if you want to maximize your potential and really thrive.
Here are five things that help me manage overwhelm and balance my work life:
1. Do a Brain Dump
This is one of my favorite tools from David Allen, who wrote the book "Getting Things Done." Either at the end of your work day or before you go to bed at night, make a list of everything you have to do - urgent, non-urgent, long-term projects etc. The important thing is to get it out of your head. It releases your brain from over-thinking everything and staying frozen in panic mode. It also sets you up to work productively the next day. Select the three most important things on the list (not the most urgent, but the three things that will make you money and propel you forward) and focus on them first.
2. Go on a Low Information Diet
Turn off the television. Let go of subscriptions to magazines that you never read and unsubscribe to any email lists that aren't absolutely necessary. It's really important to be vigilant and get rid of anything that doesn't give you energy and make you feel great.
3. Use A Timer
If you have a bunch of things on your to-do list, set a timer for 60 minutes and challenge yourself to do as many things as possible in just one hour. Turn off the phone and don't allow any distractions for the full amount of time. You'll be amazed at how much you can get done in such a short period of time.
4. Get Out Of Your Head
This one is an absolute must. Daily. It doesn't matter what you do - take a yoga class or a long walk, watch a silly movie, laugh, dance, sing, meditate - as long as it gets you out of your head and into your body. Get out of thinking mode and into something that you love to do and that makes you happy.
5. Ask for Help & Delegate
Another characteristic of the entrepreneur is that we try to do everything ourselves. I like to say that you can have it all, but you just can't do it all yourself. It's important to make a list of everything you're doing and delegate as much as possible that's not your "genius" work. In other words, you should only be doing those things associated with making money, such as working with clients and marketing. If you're making $200/hr., it's worth it to pay someone $20/hr to do some administrative work so that you can work with more clients.
Get out of your head on a daily basis, get rid of the non-essentials and delegate all of your administrative work or anything you don't love to do. You'll find yourself calmer, more productive and most importantly, more successful.
©Liz Dennery Sanders 2010
About the Author
Liz Dennery Sanders is the CEO of Dennery Marks Inc., a nationally acclaimed brand strategy and celebrity outreach firm, and SheBrand, a company dedicated to empowering other female entrepreneurs and small business owners to build their buzz and create powerful personal brands that attract more clients. For a FREE report, "101 Ways To Build A Powerful Personal Brand and Attract More Clients" visit http://www.shebrand.com.