How to reduce overwhelm as a business owner


The greatest challenge that a lot of the people are talking about right now is the sheer feeling of overwhelm. Now, add being an entrepreneur to the mix, and the sense of fighting for a breath of fresh air right now amplifies tenfold. It never stops – it's relentless. Being a business owner is fantastic and horrendous all at the same time. Yes, you have the flexibility and can manage your work around your life (theoretically), but the reality is, a lot of small business owners are shattered right now, and the endless list of "things to do" and think about right now is huge! Couple this with a pandemic and it's like all hell broke loose and there's no end in sight! I have support processes and methodologies that I could talk about until I was blue in the face but basically there are 3 simple things you need to do straight away. Don't think about it – just do it…

1. CHANGE YOUR THINKING AND PERSPECTIVE. REFRAME YOUR THINKING. Realize that it's a good thing that you feel overwhelmed. It means that you are actually trying to do something beyond your comfort zone. You're taking risks as an entrepreneur (that's what entrepreneurship is all about, am I right?)

2. BRAIN DUMP. Get a huge piece of paper and write down everything you have going on in your head. Don't overthink it - this is a classic brainstorm rule – nothing is wrong or a bad idea. They are your thoughts, and it's your stuff. What are all the tasks and projects that you have on the go and need to do on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis? Get it all out of your head and onto paper (post-its can be helpful here too if you need to move stuff around).

3. GET A BIRDS EYE VIEW. What projects do you have going on? What are the steps that you need to take to complete? What is the level of priority for each project? Get everything prioritized clearly and unemotionally. It is what it is.

I love this simple 2 x 2 effort vs. impact quadrant to help prioritize projects and initiatives based on their predicted effort and impact.

Assess a list of projects and initiatives according to how much effort you think they will require, and how much impact they will have overall on your of your business.

Projects or tasks that are deemed to require low effort, but have high impact, are identified as “Quick Wins” that should be pursued.

Other projects that will have high impact, but are deemed also to require high effort, are labelled “Major Projects”. These need significant focus and resources, so it is recommended to only focus on one or two of these at the time.

Projects that require low effort, and results in low impact, are labelledFill-ins”, and should be done mainly if they have a long er planned impact over time.

Finally, projects that require high effort but have low impact are labelled “Thankless Tasks” and are often not worth the effort it takes to do them.

Finally, to help you with the overwhelm, think about it this way – effectiveness is built on 4 simple steps.

① Think quarterly, be clear on your goals and high impact activities

② Plan weekly: make these a must-do!

③ Act daily: take action – no matter what!

④ Review and change if necessary.

Simple right? Don't overthink it.

Katie Ross is a Business Strategist & Coach. Over the past 12+ years, she has guided hundreds of creative entrepreneurs and business owners through the incredible transformation that owning a business can trigger - been a part of amazing product and service launches that take a business to the next level and witnessed the rock-steady confidence that comes when her clients truly understand the how-tos and how-comes of building success in business."

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