Entrepreneur Support – Overcoming overwhelm

By Helen Williams, Helping Entrepreneurs Win 

Our columnist on taking control when stress threatens to take over 

Overwhelm is a feeling none of us like to admit to having but will have most certainly felt at some point.

It happens when there is a lot going on and we feel like we have lost control.

Stress takes over us and creates the feeling of overwhelm which is essentially the emotional response. Sometimes there isn’t a set trigger that you need to figure out – it can purely be brought about by the sheer volume of things to do and the sense that it never rains it pours, and everything happening at once.

Our body and mind go into fight, flight or freeze mode with flight and freeze often being the default settings.

It’s not a weakness when this happens, it’s a protective setting that kicks in. Unfortunately, though, while this nurturing protective comfort blanket comes out to play, this is the very thing we must not succumb to hiding under. We need to fight it off so that we can overcome the emotion, relinquish control, and get back to our performance levels.

I know, I know – that’s often easier said than done when everyone wants a piece of you, deadlines are looming, and you feel like you’re freewheeling down the fast lane with your hands tied behind your back.

So, here are our top five tips for overcoming overwhelm:

  1. Put the foot on the brake and pull over. The worst thing to do is to continue fudging your way through tasks and carrying on regardless. The emotion will continue to manifest and erupt causing a huge pile up in your tracks.
  2. Do a brain dump. Write everything down that is currently outstanding, your ‘to do’ lists of a thousand categories, and the open tabs in your mind that are causing you to change lanes of thought and application. Get it all out of your head and onto paper.
  3. Prioritise like a pro. Be completely honest and ruthless. What is important, what is a critical essential, what is a nice to have/do/be? Identify timeframes and what really needs your undivided attention right now.
  4. Apply rational and logical thinking – what is in your control, what additional help do you need, what are the steps to take? Gaining perspective is key here.
  5. Set boundaries. Create a framework of expectation for yourself and for those around you. Be precious on your time. This will include you removing distractions. And don’t be afraid of saying ‘No’. There is a lot of power in those two little letters!

As with all tips and advice, it’s alright reading them and even nodding your head along to them, but the real difference is in the application. Remember you aren’t a machine, but you do have more control than you think – especially when you take hold of the wheel again after following the above steps in your time of need.

For more info about HEW please check us out www.helpingentrepreneurswin.com