Overwhelm is a common feeling for many solopreneurs. As the chief, cook and bottle cleaner you have more responsibilities, and more different types of responsibilities than the average worker. As the boss or sometimes the sole employee, customers, colleagues and everyone else come to you with every question and need. You on the other hand have no one to turn to. The buck stops with you. Your list of responsibilities may be as longer than the number of hours you have available, yet all of it must get done. Then comes the overwhelm leading sometimes to paralysis. What is a solopreneur to do. Here a few tips for conquering that overwhelming feeling, bit by bit, one step at a time.
Don’t let it be an excuse
First step to conquering the overwhelm that is stopping you from doing whatever you need to do, is to tell yourself that feeling overwhelmed is no excuse for not doing something. You can feel overwhelmed and still do what needs to be done despite it. While you’re at it, don’t pity yourself for feeling overwhelmed. This will only stand in your way. Now that you accept that you have to do whatever needs to be done, with or without the overwhelm, you can do your thing and also work on feeling less overwhelmed. Read on for how.
Clean up your to do list
Put everything you need to do on a long list. Get it all down on paper. Now the fun part. Edit. First, cross off anything that isn’t important. Really important. As a business owner, making money is usually the most important thing on your list. Only you can decide what can be scratched off; be realistic, ask yourself honestly if each task is truly important for making money. People tend to become fixated on unimportant matters giving them more time and attention than they truly deserve. Put these things on a list to be done later. Next, outline anything that someone else can do and delegate. Delegating also can become work in and of itself. So start small. Buying supplies, for instance. Or delegate personal items so that you have more time for work. Send the laundry out rather than doing it yourself—any little thing that doesn’t require your magic touch and can be handled by someone else. Now you have a list of important things that you yourself need to do.
Prioritize your important tasks
Now that you have a list of important things that you need to do, prioritize those tasks. Give each task a number, number 1 being the top priority. For the high priority stuff, establish a schedule. The point is to avoid wasting any of your precious time trying to decide what to do. Make a schedule of when you will do what, then do it.
Tips for handling your priority list
- The little stuff: Usually people have a long list of little things that don’t take long to do, but aren’t a high enough priority to get done first. For these, set aside a day or a day and a half and just blow through them, one at a time, keep going. Get them all done.
- The big stuff: Some things will take lots of time. Don’t let this stop you. Schedule blocks of time for dealing with the bigger projects. Let’s say every morning from 9 to 10 a.m. you work on your marketing, or bookkeeping. Create a routine, a set time for working on that project. Everyday move it forward. Acknowledge the progress you make.
- All the different stuff: Switching from task to task takes energy. To minimize the impact of switching gears, group your like projects together, so that you don’t have totally switch your mindset.
- The dreaded stuff: Maybe there’s something you are dreading doing. Not doing it can really add to your overwhelm. You will feel so much better when you do it. Get it out of the way and feel lighter as you go about tackling the rest of your list.
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