Have you ever had a lot of things in your mind that you want to do, and gets frustrated with what to start first? Then you end up clearing up everything instead and not doing anything? If you answered yes, then you’re overwhelmed with your workload. Multitasking is not something that a lot of people can do. There are some who are more productive when they focus on one task before the other. Tasks get done easier if they are accomplished one by one as well. Now, how do you deal with the feeling of overwhelm? How do you get it out of your system?
Hello and welcome to the Traveling Introvert. Today I'm going to talk about what I do when I feel overwhelmed. I think it's a topic that sort of gets talked about but doesn't really get talked about very well, especially by entrepreneurs. Burnout is real and generally speaking, people don't talk about it because of the hustle and how you should be always working and be available for your clients 24/7 and everything else that goes with that. And overwhelmed doesn't necessarily mean burnout. It could be a warning signal that you are on the way to burning out, but it's not always in relational conjunction.
So for me, when I... times when I feel overwhelmed can be when I've taken on too many projects or I have too many ideas that I want to execute, or I just have too many different things pulling me in many different directions. And so how I deal with overwhelm is a couple of things. The first thing I want to do is do a brain dump. I get a piece of paper, a whiteboard, a chalkboard, an online app, whatever it is I have available to me at the time and I just dump out everything that I'm thinking about. It doesn't have to be everything that I want to do. It has to be everything that is on my mind currently. And the reason why I do this is because it helps make space. Just getting it written down gives you that extra space or RAM in your head to think things through.
And then once I've gotten everything down, I take a look at it and see if I can categorize them in any way. Some things might be personal, some things might be client related, some things might be my business related, some things might be travel related. It sort of depends. And so I see if I can categorize them. And so then it's like, "Oh okay, I have all of these things." And then I take a look at them again and I'm like, "Okay, so which of these are urgent?" Which of these have to be done, I don't know, in the next hour, the next four hours, today, week, month, so on and so forth. And so those that have to be done today, I take them and I schedule them in my calendar so I have time blocked out, A, so clients can't book my time and B, because I run most of my things by my calendar. My calendar is is the boss of me in a good and possibly a bad way, but that's the space I go to to see what I need to do and when I need to do it by.
Then I take a look at all the other things that need to be done and I sort of also look and see, are these things that have to be done by me? Are these things I need to get other people to do? Are these things that depend on other people to give me information before I can get them done? Because sometimes that is the case. I might have a client that has to give me their book for me to be able to get it formatted, to publish it, and they might've said it was going to be here on Monday and it's Friday and I still don't have it yet. So there are things that are dependent on other people and if that is the case, I put them below in my things of, of things to do until I get the thing. And then when I get the thing, then I go ahead and schedule it in my calendar.
And then I look and see what things are giving me a good return on investment. Things that aren't client related, but do they give me a return on investment on my business? Are they good for my business? Are they helping me move forward? Are they getting me more clients? Are they getting me more exposure? Are they getting me whatever thing it is that I might want? Are they getting me free tickets somewhere? Are they getting me an upgrade on a flight, whatever it might be. So take a look at those and then do those next.
But all of these things, just getting them written down and getting them slotted into place somewhere, helps make me feel like I'm in control and I've got a plan, and also just relieves the sort of pressure that I feel and gives me space in my head to think about other things. Obviously, one of the other things I do is nap because I've probably said before, I'm a big fan of napping, and that's really how I work through overwhelm.
Sometimes I talk it out, I will message... I have accountability buddies or people that I speak to and say, "Hey, if I do this, this, and this, does it make sense?" That's also a great way to help me stop feeling overwhelmed because a lot of the times someone looking at something from an outside point of view will be like, "Well, why don't you just do this thing?" And you're like, "Oh, yeah, yeah. That would have been easier."
So I hope that was helpful. Thank you for listening. This is Janice from the Career Introvert, helping all introverts amplify their voices through podcasting, publishing, and public speaking.