Beat That Overwhelm Like A #Boss
Ever feel stressed? Overwhelmed? Like the whole world wants something of you, your to-do list is never ending and you just can't see where the end is? I FEEL YA FRIEND.
February and March of this year have been nothing short of #allthefeels. Combining a trip to Europe with getting sick, whilst still trying to pull off events, 6-hour meetings with clients, bringing on a new team member and all the other life things was a sure fire way to get me feeling less than good. And I bet you've experienced this too.
You don't need a busy life to get you feeling the overwhelm though. Running a business will do that all by itself. And if we want to be the #bosses that we know we really are, we need to get practical and get on top of our game. We need to manage our days, our routines, and of course, our emotions.
You've been paying attention to your feelings, seeing all the crap that you tell yourself and you know you need to do something about it. This is exactly what I've been experience lately too, and here's how I've been moving past it so I can keep this biz of ours running (and continue helping more of you amazing folks in the process!)
1. MORNING ROUTINES
The number one thing that makes a difference to your life? Getting things sorted in the am. I've shared how I found the best routine for me previously, and even though it changes and adapts to the seasons in my life, this routine thing is gold. Why? Well, I work from home. And as I know you might also have a flexible schedule, flexible hours, and the option of working from home sometimes, I know that you know as well as I do that not having to be in an office at bang on 8.30am means that your mornings can sometimes be lost hours.
So I had to force myself into action. Into a routine. And that routine involves a few of the other things on this list, which taken on their own are also game-changers, but combined make it my #1, go-to tip. These days my routine is getting up at the same as I would if I had to be in an office. I walk, I get coffee, I do errands or tidy up my apartment, and often I workout too. These mornings make me feel productive, get me in the zone, and give me the time to be a human being before I jump into the work day.
2. LEAVING THE HOUSE
If you do work from home, LEAVE THE GODDAMN HOUSE.
Fresh air is king friend. Even just going for a walk around the block has proven to make you smarter and happier. Who doesn't want that!? Plus, if you've got stuff on your mind chances are you'll hash it out while you're walking.
A crucial part of my day is exercise. These days this is part of my morning routine because it accomplishes the whole "getting out of the goddamn house" thing for me, and helps me get up early. I don't have much choice when I've paid for a class, so I do it. The days I exercises in the evening, or take a rest day, are typically much slower mornings and the balance of the two is perfect. Find your time, your community or gym space, and get it done.
Pro tip: Try doing this without a podcast and let your thoughts wonder. Listening to music or having some silent time will help you get focused, concentrate on your breathing and centre your mind.
4. LESS COFFEE
Errrm so I love coffee. It's basically part of our brand imagery at this point. Daphne is also a coffee fiend. But, what I've noticed is that I get all amped up on work and get all kinds of shaky or hyper because of coffee. If I want to be calm, less stressed, and feeling chill, then coffee has got to go. Or at least be limited to 3 cups per week. Want a coffee alternative? I recently discovered this company and am so so intrigued.
5. MORE FUN, MORE SOCIAL, LESS BUSINESS
And I don't just mean plan more social events that drain you. What I mean is look at life and see where you are allowing yourself to be, to enjoy, to do something just for the sake of it. When was the last time you read a fiction book rather than a self-help or business orientated read? Are you always listening to podcasts from other business owners and marketing experts? Do you fill your days with things you love, enjoy and WANT to be doing?
I am genuinely starting to think that this is the key to not burning out. Overworking ourselves, not giving our bodies time to rest, and constantly being ON are the sure fire way to crash.
HOWEVER, if your week was full of fun times with your friends, family and some activities you love/ have never done before, you might be tired and need to be getting your 8 hours per night, but you would be busy in an enriching, invigorating way. This is what work-life balance probably looks like. Not constantly listening and absorbing business related info and then crashing in front of Netflix for an hour before bed. (Totally guilty of that btw).
7. PROJECT MANAGEMENT
If you get overwhelmed by everything there is to do, do a massive brain dump of all your thoughts. Make a list of everything that needs to get done in the next week or even month, and then break that list down even further. What needs to be done on specific days, multiple days, or is an on-going task. Sign up for Asana, Basecamp or something else that helps you stay organized, and then add in your to-do's. From here just focus on what needs to be done TODAY.
Add to this every time a new task or idea pops up and give it a date. Now go back to focusing on what needs to be done TODAY ONLY. And be realistic with yourself. What can you actually do today? What are the priority items that you have have have to achieve? Do those only.
I've found that systemizing myself this way really does help. I get into the habit of looking at my big to-do list far too often and feeling very stressed and overwhelmed by it all. That leads to me stressing through the entire week and getting to Friday only to realize that I rushed through it all and didn't need to. Or, it leaves me feeling pressured by the list, the clients waiting on things, and the people expecting me to do certain things (like posting on Instagram daily). And honestly, ain't nobody got time for that!
8. FOCUSING ON OUR WHY
Our coach Susan has recently taken to asking us in every call "What's your why?" and every time it stops me in my tracks. Not because it's so profound, but because in the time between our calls I totally forget. Like literally forget. And either Daphne has to say it, or we have to pull up our Google doc and go through what we wrote down in previous sessions.
If your why isn't at the forefront of your daily activities, then you're sure as hell going to focus on the trivial daily tasks and let them get the best of you. I know I sure do. I end up caring too much and getting too stressed, and not remembering that the bigger picture is fun, exciting, and that we've already accomplished so much!
So how am I bringing it back into focus? I've got it written down and stuck on the wall next to my desk. I look at it every day, along with a list of things that we've accomplished so far this year, and throughout my work day I glance it and remember what we're really here to do. Daphne has one of these too and we've both it to be really helpful.
9. DAILY MANTRAS
How do you want to feel today? Say it out loud, say it in your head, write it down and look at it multiple times in a day. Carry that piece of paper with you and glance at it when you need it. Make it into a screensaver (or find one on Pinterest) and remind yourself frequently of that emotion.
These days my mantra is "Find your calm". This reminds me to stop, breathe, and find a zone that feels calm. From this place I can focus better, reduce my stress, and focus on what's important in that moment.
No matter what it is that helps you get shit done, you need to remember to breathe. You will continuously be fighting that overwhelm if you aren't centring your mind and getting in control. I'll be joining In Bed With Betty, a daily meditation service to get better at this. Will I see you there?
Join us for an in-person event to talk about topics just like this with a group of connected friends. Every month we host an event or workshop here in Vancouver, BC and we'd love to see you there! Find out more here.