One of the biggest challenges for modern professionals, experts and entrepreneurs when growing their business seems to be a feeling of overwhelm. There is so much they could be doing and only 24 hours in a day. They tend to get caught in worry and anxiety about the future instead of focusing on the present.
So where can they start living “high performance” instead of just talking about it? How can we shift from more “time management good ideas” to peace while building a business we can be proud of as modern professionals, experts and entrepreneurs?
1. Where is our mind?
A lot of people talk about “living in the moment”. What business owners feeling overwhelmed experience tends to be a little bit different. Their mind jumps from the past to the future all the time, rather than “enjoying the present”.
How can we know if that is where our mind is right now? The best indicator is the feeling we are experiencing. The indicator is our feeling. We feel our thinking.So the only thing to do is to recognize what is. “Ah, I must be spinning in my head because I’m feeling overwhelmed/anxious, etc.”
That’s it. Just notice.
Our feelings inform us of the thoughts that are going on. We don’t need to start overthinking and over-analyzing, which will create even more spinning thoughts. It is simply enough to understand what’s going on.
This is the exact point when a lot of overwhelmed business owners jump to try to run away from their feelings. There is nothing to run away from or try to suppress. If our feelings come from our thinking and we recognize that we are overthinking, one of the typical reactions is to go to the Thought Police. We tend to try to control our thinking.
I don’t advocate “time management” or “thinking positive/thought controlling”. So now you know what not to expect here.
I just know that those thoughts will pass because it’s their nature. Thoughts come and go. So these ones will go away, too if I don’t sit down with them for a cup of tea and engage in an endless conversation with them. I don’t invite them for coffee and I don’t try to make them leave, either. I just make sure that the back door is open so they feel free to leave whenever they are ready.
2. Overwhelmed or overloaded?
Once we’ve recognized where our mind is and we’ve allowed it to settle down so that we can see clearly, it’s time to look at our “to-do” list.
My first question to my clients is: is it overwhelm or overload? If you look at your “to-do” list and it is not physically possible to do everything you have planned for your day, it is then impossible. What does your list look like?
3. Where does our to-do list come from?
When it comes to growing a small business, it’s useful if our to-do list comes from a solid strategy rather than tactics or a collection of disjointed “good ideas”.
That keeps us productive and not just busy. (More on the next step to a solid strategy in the Resource Section).
4. The “being everywhere” and “being constantly connected” myths
The fact that social media allows us to be everywhere doesn’t mean that we need to in order to grow our business. The fact that cellular phones and the web exist doesn’t mean that we need to be connected and available to everybody all the time.
5. When is more the solution to “too much”?
If you already have a strategy, work on that instead of getting scattered and adding more “good ideas” and “tactics” that do not match the strategy you already have.
6. Focusing on our priorities
We should take responsibility for our business priorities and not allow other people’s priorities to interrupt us. If a friend wants to chat or an email offering
something pops up in our inbox, we could recognize that those are not our business priority right now. (And we can still set a time to chat with our friend during
non-working time!). Very few times we get messages like the house is on fire, which would be a real emergency. We don’t have to treat everything as if it were an
"Action expresses priorities". - Mahatma Gandhi
7. Being proud instead of being perfect
One of the meanings of perfect is “complete”. We are always growing and evolving so having everything “complete” belongs to the impossible list.
Have you heard the advice to settle for good enough? I’ve found it challenging in things that are really important to me. I don’t feel inspired to do work that is “good enough”. What I feel inspired to do is work I can feel proud of even if it is not perfect.
8. If it has no solution, it’s not a problem….
My father used to say that it’s useless to worry about and do a lot of thinking about things that have no solution. His exact words were “if it has no solution, it’s not a problem” and I appreciate the wisdom every day more.
It is natural to get caught in worry, fear and anxiety. It is our human nature. Assuming “the worst” has kept us alive till today. It is part of our survival mechanisms.
Think about it. It’s cave time. Our ancestors are sleeping and they wake up to a noise outside the cave. To assume that there is danger and it is something to prepare for is more useful than going back to sleep without checking it out. If it is real danger, they have more chances to survive if they are ready. If it is just the wind playing tricks with the trees, they can go back to sleep. (Those who opted for just “thinking positive” and going back to sleep without checking the noise out are no
longer with us).
The mechanism that survived till today is for us to default to the negative. The thing is that we don’t live in caves anymore! And we sometimes use this mechanism for purposes it was not intended for. This mechanism is designed for us to recognize that we have to check out for present danger and as soon as we know it’s the wind outside, we can go back to sleep. We sometimes abuse the design and go on worrying. We paint more possible future dangers in our mind. We create more agitated thinking.
9. There is only one thing to do right now
And it is whatever we are doing. If we are writing a book, there is only one sentence to write right now. There is only one page to write right now. There is only one chapter to write right now. The mind can start to wander away to another chapter. Ideas for other sentences can pop up. Write them down for later and go on with your present chapter.
Some resources that you might find useful, especially when it comes to a solid business strategy.
There seems to be so much you could be doing to grow your business. You can use these articles as a checklist of the essentials for a modern professional/expert business.
The Glue To Grow Your Business
How To Really Grow Your Client-Based Business Online
Till next time… remember your awesomeness is portable. You can take it with you anywhere.