Overwhelm is a feeling that is coming up for more people than ever before. We live in a society that values achievement and busy-ness. As a result, overwhelm can be a natural consequence of taking on too much. Chronic overwhelm has been shown to lead to anxiety so it’s important that we get a handle on how to manage this. 

The higher your achievements and the further you progress in your chosen field of endeavour, the more likely you are to come across overwhelm. We all want to grow – our client base, service delivery, team and responsibilities. If we’re successful with this, we will eventually find ourselves in a position where we’ve pushed past where we are comfortable. 

A major impediment to business growth is fear of overwhelm – this can drive a business owner to avoid challenges that extend their current abilities. In avoiding the challenge, they are also avoiding the opportunity to grow and expand. This usually slows down business growth and can put the breaks on much needed (and hard-won) momentum. 

When we find ourselves out of time, capacity and resources and not able to deliver, we are most at risk of reaching for ‘pain relief’. Your preferred pain relief may be chocolate, alcohol, cigarettes or unnecessary shopping. The feeling of dread that overwhelm brings up, pushes us towards relief. Usually, that relief does nothing to help us deal with the situation and often negatively affects the outcome.  

It’s important to remember that overwhelm, fear and dread are a reaction to circumstances and not a sign to dive for the chocolate. A better plan is to acknowledge you are having a strong emotion, feel it, welcome it in and let it dissipate. For more information on how to do this see out the article – https://focusongrowth.com.au/overcoming-business-obstacles/ 

How to deal with overwhelm and stop the chocolate cravings

Rather than seeking out pain relief, recognise that this is a sign that the situation has gone past your capacity. You will arrive at the solution with greater ease if you can look at this without judgement and instead as a problem that needs your attention. 

Here are some practical steps to help move through overwhelm 

– Adjust your emotional and mental environment. This is crucial or you’re not going to do what’s necessary to deal with the situation. 

– Urgently get a hold of your time and resources – organise them in such a way that this can work 

– Is delegation an option? If the overwhelm is a consequence of business growth, getting some help is the next step. If this idea invokes an emotional reaction (sometimes fear) then look at where this has come from. You may have uncovered something deeper that’s holding you back. 

– Communicate and negotiate deadlines with stakeholders – let people know if you can’t deliver. Most disagreements are due to differing expectations. Attempt to adjust stakeholder expectations to something that is manageable. 

– Learn to say no – If you are unable to come to an agreement decide if saying no is an option. Remember this is a time for ruthless management of your resources, in particular Time. 

– Control your environment to get work done. Make sure you eradicate distractions including emails, calls and social media. Block out time slots to produce concrete results. Remember to take refresher breaks to maintain energy levels. 

– Wear the consequences now not later – it’s time for strategizing not ignoring and relying on pain relief. If you choose the second option overwhelm is likely to return, usually at a higher level. 

Remember that this is the time to become ruthlessly efficient. In order to prevent overwhelm from happening you need to plan tomorrow today. Any of our clients will know we recommend planning out your entire year in advance including holidays and special events. This then allows you to calculate available work days and hours so you know what you have to work with. 

The most important thing is to step away from the drama – this will sap your energy and your time. If you can turn inwards and tap into your inner peace, your strategies and plans will be inspired. You will be in control and creating a peaceful, productive business environment you love to be part of.  

If you would like any help applying the strategies above, please contact the Focus on Growth office on +61 2 8880 7946.