Tell me it’s not just me. It’s not just me who experiences crushing levels of overwhelm on a daily basis. When the mind is racing with strategies to implement, tactics to deploy, and problems to solve, it leaves little time (and mental space) for relaxation, creativity, and innovation.
Yet, most entrepreneurs choose — unknowingly and unconsciously — the state of overwhelm day in and day out despite our silent cries for help and desire to escape the crushing, debilitating force of overwhelm.
When Overwhelm Moves In…Sanity Moves Out
It’s a rather insidious process. Much like dust seeping through closed windows. You don’t realize it happening until one day — BAM! You can write your to-do list in the lingering grit.
These known contributors to our current state of overwhelm, many of which we know only too well, include:
Emotional overwhelm, created by such things as worries over cash flow, too much to do and not enough time in which to do them, business demands, and sleep deprivation dull our creativity.
Physical overwhelm comes with too much “stuff” cluttering our desks. In the name of making our lives easier, we accumulate things that now cloud our ability to focus.
Digital overwhelm is fueled by an overflowing email inbox and the overstimulation of social media. Monthly software subscriptions for anything from editing pdfs to downloading photos to cloud storage designed to make our business more efficient add a level of complication (and expense) we haven’t bargained for.
Commitment overwhelm, driven by a “seen and be seen” philosophy, fills our calendars with after-hour business and social events (when we really should be chillaxing with our feet up on the ottoman).
Even exercise takes on a fever pitch!
And, with all of these contributing factors, our sanity and a few brain cells leave our presence daily —along with our ability to focus, create, and innovate — critical factors in remaining relevant in today’s business environment.
The Alternative Choice to Overwhelm: Underwhelm
Can you imagine — if only for a moment — what it would feel like if your day was “unbusy?” And, if you were “underwhelmed?”
It’s likely that the thought of it sends a shiver down your spine simply because we’ve become addicted to busy and overwhelm. So much so, that anything less leaves us feeling woefully inadequate and underperforming.
The truth is, because of our persistent and consistent overwhelm, we woefully perform far below our capabilities.
The Gleeful Path to Underwhelm
So as not to overwhelm you with activities designed to move us to underwhelm, here are a few things for you to consider. Collectively, they will reduce the amount of complexity and overwhelm in your day and open up some white space for you to think more creatively and clearly.
- Restrict time spent on social media.
Most of us have a love/hate relationship with social media. We’re compelled to have a presence for business purposes yet time spent on social media platforms can suck the life out of the most ardent soul. Minus a social media strategy, it is merely a major disruptor and distraction. Replace it with quality strategic thinking time … or a social media strategy.
- Unsubscribe from blogs, newsletters, or email that does not pass the 3-tier wisdom filter: Is it true? Is it positive? Does it help in any way?
We’ve become a community of accumulators — gathering information, insight, and news from around the globe — to the point of digital hoarding. With hopes that someday we’ll plow through the megabytes of material, it sits stagnant on our hard drive gathering dust and clouding our vision. Get rid of it!
- Consider tools currently in place before piling on additional tools.
It’s easy to get excited about new apps, programs, and software designed to make our work flow effortlessly. However, adding additional programs to your current systems creates layers of redundancy and complexity. Evaluate the apps and programs currently in use to determine capabilities before supplementing your software. You’ll be glad you did.
- Rigorously scrutinize tactics to ensure strategic alignment before launch.
As a true entrepreneur, we seldom meet an idea we aren’t over-the-top excited to launch. In the absence of a strategy and a well-thought out plan, however, many ideas are like throwing spaghetti against the wall. They’re time-consuming, money-exhausting, awfully messy, and add to the worthless plate-spinning of the overwhelmed entrepreneur.
- Let up on over-planning your day.
The gap that exists between expectation and reality is where stress (and overwhelm) resides. Learn to coordinate your expectations (and that of others) with the realism of your day. Learn immediately to cut your daily doings by half. You’ll be pleasantly surprised what you’ll accomplish — with much less overwhelm.
The Bottom Line
Overwhelm is unconscious and unnecessarily insidious. By taking conscious action, you can underwhelm yourself to greater innovation and focus.