One of the most common emotional states for entrepreneurs is that of feeling completely overwhelmed by how much there is to do when running their own business. This overwhelm can lead to procrastination, the sticking of one’s heads in the sand, getting distracted by bright shiny objects and a growing feeling of anxiety that the to-do list never gets shorter.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed today. We get constant notifications from Facebook, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, Instagram, emails, calls - 24/7. People expect instant replies. Everyone has a different opinion about the best way to build our business. Then we have our life to run on top of that.

But overwhelm can stop us from doing what’s most important, whether that’s the key tasks in our business to enjoying the key moments of joy in our life.
Here are a few recommendations to let go of overwhelm and to enjoy doing less and achieving more.

Do a brain dump. Overwhelm happens when everything that we are worrying about, everything on our to-do list, all our thoughts and plans go around in our head and we can’t separate what’s important from what doesn’t need to be worried about – the small stuff.

By getting it out of your head and onto paper or onto post-it notes you can start to put a plan in place.

Once everything is out (and most people already feel better) you can then start sorting as follows.

1. Park – this is everything that you don’t need to think about right now –schedule it into the diary to think about and deal with at a future time. For example, if you have a presentation coming up, book a date in the diary to think about it and let it go until then.

2. Pass on – what could your family or colleagues help with? What could you outsource? Just because we can do anything, it doesn’t mean we have to do everything. Learn to say no more often.

3. Purge – what doesn’t deserve your attention? Maybe it’s old worries that you can’t do anything about? Maybe it’s activities which don’t bring you joy and waste your time? For many, this is excess time scrolling the Facebook or Twitter feed. Have you ever found yourself looking at your friends’ cousins’ brothers’ wedding photos?

4. Be disciplined with your social media. Switch your phone to flight mode if you can, go to your phone settings and turn off notifications.

5. Prioritise - what is left should be the important stuff. Break this down into small, easy to achieve chunks. Focus on one thing at a time and celebrate each tick off the list. Stop working on your ‘never-quite-done’ list and do the one thing that will make the biggest difference in your life.

Finally, remember to take a step away from what is overwhelming you. It may be the last thing you want to do but going for a walk or having a shower will allow you to get things into perspective. You will find that ideas pop into your head about how to do things more quickly and more easily and your stress levels will thank you for it.

Written by Joanna Ellis Jo Ellis