10 tips to avoid feeling overwhelmed

It’s not an easy option running your own business, particularly in the start-up phase; the concept of working 9-5 may seem an unattainable prospect as you finish off work in the small hours of the morning.

Once you’ve repeated this pattern day in day out, for weeks and months, you can be forgiven for feeling overwhelmed at times. The good news is there are simple steps to avoid feeling overwhelmed.

Taking inspiration from Steffi Lewis’ blog, here are 10 Top Tips for halting the feeling of it all ‘getting a bit much’, so that you don’t become ill before you recognise the signs!

Are you trying to avoid feeling overwhelmed?

In essence, it’s all about knowing that working too hard will just take its toll on your mind and body. Enjoy the fruits of your labour, take time for yourself and find other professionals who can help alleviate the pressure when necessary.

1. Get enough sleep

As we highlighted in one of our Talking Leadership videos, not getting enough sleep can play havoc with your effectiveness, both in work and outside.

If you only have a couple of hours sleep a night, then you’re not getting anywhere near enough. You know how much your body needs to recuperate and rejuvenate for the next day…

2. Get up at the same time each morning

A routine helps. When you’re an employee working for someone else, you’ll be used to getting up at the same time each day.

Start your own business and this routine will fall by the wayside, either when burning the candle at both ends or sleeping-in when you haven’t got much on. But your body will appreciate establishing a routine again, even if your office is next door to your bedroom!

3. Structure your diary and give yourself plenty of breaks

A structured diary means you know what to expect throughout the day. You’ll find your productivity will improve if you allocate specific tasks to different parts of the day.

Take plenty of breaks, and if you’re work is home-based, then getting out of the house for a coffee catch-up with friends or a networking meeting will give you a boost.

4. Don’t stress about time

If you’ve set yourself a deadline, then one of the most distracting things you can do when you’re trying to achieve it is to constantly clock-watch.

If you remove yourself from your clocks’ line of vision, you’ll get a lot further in your mission when not keeping half an eye on the time.

5. Make sure you relax in the evenings

Setting aside time in the evenings to concentrate on you is vital to give your mind and body a refresh after a hard day at work.

You may be able to switch off in front of the TV, but it’s more likely you’ll be multi-tasking on the laptop at the same time. Why not run a relaxing bath or immerse yourself in a book instead?

6. A tidy workspace = a tidy mind

We’re not saying that if you have a chaotic desk, you’re business is in chaos, but it can sometimes help to clear your desk of all unnecessary bits of ‘stuff’. This will give you a renewed impetus to finish off any tasks that have been niggling away at the back of your mind.

7. Don’t work too hard!

If the ‘normal’ pattern of your work involves a 7 day a week, 16 hour day, then you’ve got too much work on! Start learning to say ‘no’ or increase your prices so the number of leads you get reduces whilst upping the value of your work.

8. If you can’t do something, get someone else to do it

One thing that’s difficult to recognise when you’re a small start-up company is the value of hiring other professionals to cover the areas of your business you’re not good at or don’t have the time for.

But making that leap can save you hours of wasted time as well as money in the long run. Whether your weakness is accounts, telemarketing or writing blogs, give yourself an hour more leisure time a day and get someone else in to do it.

9. Don’t medicate yourself to keep going

It might be tempting to shovel coffee down yourself at the rate of knots or start mainlining Red Bull to up the energy levels, but although this may give you a temporary reprieve, in the end it just means a succession of bad nights’ sleep and an expensive caffeine habit.

So the double espresso is now and again is understandable but try and keep out of a spiralling pattern of behaviour.

10. Surround yourself with a network of positive people

Negative comments from negative people is draining on your energy levels. Wouldn’t it be better to surround yourself with business friends who support and encourage you? It may give you the energy boost you need to think a little more clearly and find a way out of your feeling of being overwhelmed.

It’s good to go back to the reasons why you started your business in the first place. You wanted to have the freedom to do what you always wanted to do! Recognising when you’re feeling overwhelmed, and taking small but important measures to halt them, will grab you back the freedoms you’re aiming for!

Looking for some guidance?

The Leaders Lab Laser Coaching Programme is designed to help you resolve specific issues