We Are All Overwhelmed. Here’s How To Feel More In Control.

Being a business owner is never an easy job, but if you add on the last few years of stress, the vast majority of us are overwhelmed. There are so many things on our plate, and it just keeps piling up. As a business coach, I work with leaders every day to help them feel more in control of their day and get more done, without feeling lost or overwhelmed and I wanted to share some of my favorite tips to overcome feelings of overwhelm.

Pick 1 Thing

Your to-do list may be massive, and your anxiety might spike just thinking about all the things you have to do in the day. But the truth is that only 1% of it actually matters. If you were to do one big thing each and every day, your business would grow. So, when you sit down in the morning with your cup of coffee, choose the one thing that you think is the most important on your to-do list and do it before anything else. Don’t open your email. Don’t check your social media accounts. Don’t answer your phone. Commit the first sixty minutes of your day to doing the one big thing on your list that would make the most difference. Not only will you start to move the needle over time, but the momentum of your accomplishments will help fuel you throughout the rest of the day and will help you feel more in control.

Pick 1 Day

In the same realm as the pick 1 thing rule, comes the pick 1 day idea. If you are feeling overwhelmed, you can gain more control over your week by choosing a focus day. That’s one day where you set aside your biggest projects and tasks and block everything else out. No meetings, no emails, no phone calls, no distractions. If you are unable to block out an entire day, choose a three to four hour block once a week to focus. Not only will this help you feel more in control, but having dedicated time to work on your business will make a huge impact on the growth of your company and your bottom line. 

Give Yourself a Little Slack

We oftentimes feel overwhelmed when we work non-stop, at full throttle. One way to combat the feeling of being overwhelmed is to give yourself breaks throughout the week. If you are doing the 1 big thing a day, and scheduling a focus day you can afford to slack a little. Come into work late. Take the afternoon off. Go for a walk or take a long lunch and catch up with a friend. The time away will allow you to mentally reset and you will come back fresh and ready to tackle a new challenge. 

Take Something Off Your To-Do List

If you are feeling overwhelmed by your to-do list, try not doing everything on the list. Chances are some of the items on that list could be delegated to someone else on your team, and some of the items might not be worth doing at all. So, take time every day to cultivate your to-do list by only keeping the high priority items. If you struggle with removing items entirely, consider creating a “tickler” file of items that you may revisit later. Just having them on a separate list makes your current to-do list appear more manageable and less overwhelming. 

Taking control of your day happens in a series of small and measurable changes. Taking one big item to do each day, spending one day out of the week focusing on your high level tasks, pruning your to-do list and giving yourself time to slack will all help you feel more in control and ready for growth.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

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