The last couple of weeks have been really busy. No one thing has led to this, it’s a culmination of things but typically everything came together at the same time.
I’m normally ok at times like this, I’m quite good at seeing the wood for the trees and just generally crack on. But last weekend, I was feeling a tad overwhelmed. I felt a bit out of control (not a feeling I like, clearly) and I knew I needed to get a few things sorted in my head. I knew that if I didn’t, I’d start procrastinating over things – not just work things but personal/general life things too.
I can procrastinate at the best of times, even though I know it’s not helpful. I recognise this as one of my traits and I certainly knew I didn’t want to fall into the trap last week.
I thought I’d share the things I did in keeping myself from procrastinating. Because if you see your own habits in mine here, then my tips and the actions I took might be useful for you too.
Write everything down
I started by setting everything out so that I could see exactly what needed to be done. Getting things out of my head is always a huge help for me – it’s something I often advise my clients to do, especially if they’re not natural writers.
I’m most definitely the type of person who keeps lists in my head. I’ve tried so many times to change this and I may write the odd ‘to-do’ down but generally they stay in my head. One part of my thinks this is great because it exercises my memory, the other part knows that at busy times it’s here that I’ll drop the spinning plates – I’ll forget something! It’s crucial that I write things down.
So, I kept a list, the list was my friend and I practiced what I preach, I prioritised the list.
Block time in your diary
This wasn’t hard for me – this is something that I do daily anyway – but once my list was prioritised, I input every last part into my diary.
Here I could see what my week and each working day would look like. Importantly, I stuck to each time block. Some were overestimated, some were underestimated – I had to give myself a bit of leeway but that’s all that was needed.
It meant that I started each day knowing exactly what I was going to do and what I needed to achieve. Most importantly, I knew each day what I didn’t need to achieve – and this very action, time blocking my week, took away all the overwhelm for me.
Stop checking emails and social media
I knew social media could ruin my plans if I let it, emails too. I’m quite good at ignoring my phone, it’s always on silent (sorry, if you try to call me!) but I do like to flick into my emails every now and then.
So, I made a deal with myself – no flicking into emails, or picking up my phone (if the urge took me) until I had finished a particular task or time block. It worked. And do you know what? It just got easier as the week got on! (Of course it did!!)
Concentrate on the important tasks
I let myself concentrate on what I needed to get done during the week. There were a few things that I would have liked to achieve that I just had to let go – I couldn’t do it all.
One of the things I had to let go was my blog. I made deal with myself at the start of the year that I’d blog weekly. I haven’t quite managed this – missing one or two weeks earlier in the year. Even though I really didn’t want to miss another week, the only time I would have had to write my blog wouldn’t been an evening – not a great time for me, so I let it go.
I had also signed up for a couple of challenges during the week – one I particularly wanted to take part in which was learning all about designing better images for your business – something I desperately need. But I couldn’t do it all last week. I’ll have to look at that again another time.
Give yourself a cut-off point
Finally, I made sure I had a cut-off point. I only worked in the evening if I really had to. Now I know a lot of people do work in the evening but for me it’s not my optimum time – I’m more creative and have more energy in the mornings and during the day.
But having a cut-off point felt good. It made sure I made the most of the hours I had during the day and then I could go and do other stuff, be with my family and I even managed a mid-week night out with friends.
You see, by the time I’d organised my workload, the overwhelm and stress had gone. I was in a place of control.
But all of this made me think back to my office days. Smart phones weren’t even a thing when I worked ‘in the office’ (I worked at home for a few years before having my son). Nobody was attached to their phones as they are now – although I do remember my boss had a PDA and thought he was the bee’s knees! But were we all so much more productive before everything in our lives was controlled by our phones so we need to have it near us at all times? A question for another day maybe.
Do let me know your top tips for cutting through the overwhelm and getting things done in the comments below.
Hi, I’m Fay!
I’m a business coach and adviser and I’m here to help you grow your business with clarity and confidence.
I’ve worked with business owners just like you for over 20 years.
I know that you started your business for flexibility and satisfaction and to live your purpose. You have a fabulous business idea that your ideal clients should love.
But you’re frustrated becuase it now feels daunting and overwhelming - there’s so much to do and you’re just not sure if all these things you’re doing are the right things.
I do know how you feel, and I’d love to take you from this confusion to creating a clear direction to develop the business you’ve always had in mind.