Seven Essential Strategies to Preventing Overwhelm

Now that we’re in the full swing of the holiday season, it’s no surprise that people are more stressed than usual. With so much going on,
 how does one ever manage to bake Christmas cookies, shop for gifts AND keep a viable business going?

Excellent question. That’s why I brought in Dr. Shannon Reece, a super-smart business coach, to offer
 some tips to help you stay on top of things throughout the holidays and into the New Year. Although she specializes in helping women entrepreneurs, I’m pretty sure her suggestions will resonate with men too.
As for tips to avoid gaining 5 pounds from eating all that cookie batter? Well, that’s a different story. Enjoy!

* * *

Being a good steward of your time requires an understanding of how to manage all the demands of your business and life, and when to pull back before reaching the deer in the headlights stage of immobility due to overload. As a woman in business, you juggle more demands than men, who don’t have the added roles of mom and/or homemaker.

Warning signs of overload

The number of tasks and commitments keep rising, but there are a finite number of hours in a day. Many women try to accomplish more than is humanly possible, and then berate themselves for failing in this useless endeavor.

The harder you try to squeeze more into your day, the less you will find you actually accomplish. There are serious consequences to trying to maintain a pace that is beyond your resources. No one has the capacity to burn the candle at both ends indefinitely, and eventually you will begin to experience some of these symptoms of overload:

  • Lack of sleep
  • Compromised immune system
  • Deterioration of personal relationships
  • Writer’s block
  • Procrastination and avoidance behaviors
  • Fear, self-doubt, negative self-talk

Establishing healthy work habits

Despite the complexities you face, your life does not need to feel like a runaway train heading for a precipice. You have the power to give up control of your life, so you are the only one who can take it back. Fortunately, there are strategies you can use to restore balance if you’ve already reached a breaking point:

  1. Maintain a positive perspective – Look at your tasks as adventures rather than obstacles or chores. That change in perspective will keep you moving forward and prevent your mind from turning mole hills into mountains.
  2. How do you eat an elephant? – It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you are looking at the big picture. Maintain a single-minded, present-centered focus, and you can work through even the toughest to-do list one task at a time.
  3. Monitor your fuel tank – Determine the points in a day you are most productive and schedule your challenging tasks during those times. Work on the non-critical to-dos when your energy reserves and focus are lower.
  4. You deserve a break every day – Me time doesn’t require a two week vacation, rather short bursts of rejuvenation. Sometimes it’s just a matter of completely unplugging for five minutes to go for a walk, get a cup of tea, or stand up and stretch.
  5. Take your foot off the gas – It’s not about working harder, you must endeavor to work smarter. When you get mentally ‘stuck’
     that’s a warning signal that you are pushing too hard. Slowing down can put you back in the right frame of mind to give 100%.
  6. Make a list and check it twice – The most successful women always work from a plan. They don’t spend their days flying by the seat of their pants, but manage their time wisely. Focus on your priorities, and build in buffers for distractions, so you can complete tasks within the allotted time.
  7. Call in reinforcements – You must determine what your time is worth by actually putting a price on it. Sometimes hiring a virtual assistant to delegate a task is worth the investment.

Life is not much fun when you feel as though you are at the mercy of it. Being aware of the warning signs can help you shift gears before your business, health, and personal life begin to suffer irreparable damage. So much of warding off overwhelm begins by seriously deciding the kind of life you wish to lead. The power lies in the choices you make, so choose wisely.

How do you keep from getting overwhelmed? If you find yourself stressed to the limit, how do you get back on track? Share your tips and let’s help each other out!

Dr. Shannon Reece - DrShannonReece - Women's Business Advisor Dr. Shannon Reece is a Women’s Business Advisor – Training women entrepreneurs how to leverage their unique strengths to create successful and competitive businesses.
 Learn more: on FACEBOOK and on TWITTER.

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Laura Click

Laura Click is brand strategist, speaker, podcaster and the founder of Blue Kite. Learn more about Laura and her work at Blue Kite.

5 replies on “Seven Essential Strategies to Preventing Overwhelm”

Laura, Thanks so much for the opportunity to share these essential tips with your audience. At a time of year, when schedules easily get overloaded, it’s important to understand the warning signs that lead to overwhelm. There is a way to establish the right habits to pull yourself out of a nosedive, or prevent venturing out onto the overwhelm road with these seven strategies. Wishing everyone a low stress, productive Holiday! Shannon

Thanks for the comment, Shannon! I’m so glad to have you as a guest on the blog today. These are excellent tips – especially given the hectic holiday season. I will definitely be using some of these strategies myself! I hope the rest of the community will benefit from it as well. Thanks again!

I actually schedule in down time so I can meditate, read, relax. I know my least productive time of day is 2-4 Pm so that’s when I usually take a break. I also say no more frequently. When I was researching my new book, Stress Express!
15 Instant Stress Relievers, I learned how important it is to complete actions and eliminate clutter, too. Thanks for the post.

That’s an excellent tip, Snowden! We often forget to take “me time”, so scheduling it in is a great way to make sure it happens and put yourself first.

As for saying ‘no’, that’s something I’m trying to be better about. In fact, I have a blog post coming about that topic. Stay tuned! Thanks for stopping by and weighing in!

Snowden, Thank you for your comments. I think it is so helpful when people weigh in with what works for them. You are correct that eliminating clutter is huge too! Clear work environment, clear and calm mind to create. Shannon

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