Ever find yourself feeling overwhelmed? (HA! Is that even a question? I don’t know a single mompreneur who doesn’t feel overwhelmed at least most of the time.) I’m going to let you in on a little secret. The difference between successful entrepreneurs and the rest of the world isn’t that they don’t get overwhelmed. It’s that they experience the overwhelm and push past it. Here are a few quick tricks to get un-overwhelmed and move on with your day:
- Empty your inbox – I used to think inbox clutter was just a sign that I was “making it.” No. Inbox clutter is a sign that I don’t know what the f to do with my emails. Taking “Get Stuff Done Like a Boss” on Skillshare totally changed my mind about using my inbox as a giant to do list and file cabinet. “But how will you remember all that important stuff in your inbox if you don’t leave it there, Emily?” Simple. Write it on your actual to do list or file it in an actual file cabinet. These can be physical or web-based (evernote is a great virtual file cabinet for all those articles that you’re going to read “someday”) but they must be something other than your inbox.So if you have 20-30 minutes, go through your inbox and clear the clutter. I start at the bottom (oldest email) and work my way up. In general my emails tend to be: *Questions/Inquiries – If it’s a question I can reply to in under 2 minutes, I write back. If it’s an inquiry that will take a little longer because I need to explain something, find links, gather photos, etc., I need to write the action in my planner. *Order Notifications – Time to write the order on my order clipboard and put the next action item (usually personalizing a proof) in my planner. *Articles and Newsletters – I’m a newsletter junkie. I sign up for tons of newsletters and I really enjoy reading them! But I also don’t have time to read them all the moment they come in. So when I’m clearing my inbox I open each one and glance at it. If it looks boring, delete. If it looks really really interesting, I save it to evernote to read later. *Real Action Items – for me, these are usually responses to a proof I’ve emailed to a client. So I need to make a revision or send an invoice or write back with a ship date or do something. It’s been a big revelation for me that an email sitting in my inbox is not a task. Seeing the email may remind me I need to do a task, but when I get too many emails, I start to not really see them anymore. I lose track of the important ones and it’s all a sea of tos and froms. So! Out of the inbox! Into another system! I’ve found that all I really need is to be able to access the email again for the information. I use gmail, so I can search for any email really easily. I write the actual action item along with the client’s name and then when it’s time to take action I search for the email to get the info I need.
- Clear your workspace – To really clear my workspace is like a 90 hour project. But when I’m feeling overwhelmed and stuck, it’s often when the piles are out of control and taking over. Even 10 minutes spent recycling stuff and clearing off a little space to work makes a huge difference. The key for me is to be okay with not doing it all. Just cleaning one desk or just dealing with trash or just putting the pens and scissors away can be enough!
- Drink a glass of water – Water is like a magic potion. Chances are if you’re busy, you’re probably also dehydrated. Most people just don’t get enough water in their day. Feeling tired? You’re probably thirsty. Got the munchies? You’re probably thirsty. Want to hide in a cave and ignore life instead of open one more email? You’re probably thirsty. Take 2 minutes to fix yourself a glass of cold water and enjoy a little reset to your day!
- Do the task you’re dreading – If there’s something hanging over your head like a guillotine, avoiding it won’t make it go away. Chances are if you just DO it, you’ll feel so much better for having it done. This isn’t rocket science. I know you know this. But if you’re sitting here reading my blog instead of doing what you need to do–you need me to tell you to eat the damn frog.
- Get out and play – Turn off your phone, turn off your computer, and just go outside and play for 20 minutes. Whatever that looks like to you–if you have kids, play with them! Build a tower, shoot some hoops, color. Think you’re too old for tag? You aren’t! Don’t have kids? Play anyway! Don’t spend forever trying to think of something that would be fun and not make you look like an idiot, just go out and do something! (Build a tower, shoot some hoops, color!) Playing is rejuvenating and will remind you that you’re alive! Best cure to overwhelm ever.
All of these are relatively quick in-the-moment momentum boosts. None are cures for prolonged overwhelm. If you’re feeling overwhelmed in your life day in and day out, you probably need to make a bigger change than just drinking a glass of water. I know. I’ve been there. And we will talk about that in weeks to come! What about you? What do you do to get going again when your mountainous to do list/inbox/desk pile seems too daunting to cope? Comment below!