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Overwhelm: What Is It And How To Move Through It

posted 15 Sept 2010, 08:54 by Mpelembe   [ updated 15 Sept 2010, 08:56 ]

Picture this: It's a Monday morning and the phone is ringing
off the hook. It's not even 9a yet. Your inbox looks like
something blew up (things are scattered everywhere), and
your to-do list doesn't fit on one piece of paper anymore!
What's a savvy entrepreneur like yourself feeling at this
particular moment? Do you want to run? Do you want to cry?
Do you want to take the day off and deal with it later? All
of the above? Or, do you want to clean it up once and for
all? I vote for cleaning it up once and for all!

Overwhelm is not a productive place to be. In fact, is it
very unproductive because it blocks the necessary actions we
need to take to do the things we need to do. Yet, many of us
fall into overwhelm very easily. Let's look at what
overwhelm really is. To feel overwhelmed is to feel unable
to do. The root of overwhelm is an acute sense of loss of
control. Often, the difference between being productively
busy and being overwhelmed is simply a feeling of control.
For example, when *I* am in charge of my activities I feel
busy and productive. When I feel like someone else (client,
spouse, friend, family) is in charge of my activities I
begin to feel overwhelmed. This suggests a cure to being
overwhelmed, right? Be in control, or have some control over
what you are doing.

Let's take a look at how we can be in control so that we are
not constantly in an overwhelmed state, ok?

Following are some examples of how easy it is to become
overwhelmed and how we can move out of overwhelm:

#1: Are you in control of the decisions that affect you?
What I mean by this is: If someone asks you to do something
do you automatically say yes because you think, or feel, you
should? OR do you participate in the decision and then say
yes (or no)? Huge difference. The former takes away your
control due to your passive behavior. The latter implies
control because your behavior is active in the process.

#2: Do you have standards and boundaries concerning your
time? If yes, do you enforce those standards and boundaries,
or do you let others bend them? If you do not have standards
and boundaries, it is easy to understand where overwhelm
comes from. You are letting others dictate your time, and
thus your energy. If you have standards and boundaries and
are not enforcing them, now would be a good time to start!
If you don't have standards and boundaries, now would also
be a good time to create some! Remember, *you* are in
control of *your* business.

#3: Do you have a difficult time separating essential and
non-essential tasks, activities, emails, requests, etc? Do
you find you lose your focus rather easily on these items?
If so, the remedy is to have a system in place that allows
you to make a decision on the relative importance of each
item. This system does not need to be complicated! On the
contrary, the system should be simple and straightforward so
that you are able to use it without feeling like it's one
more task. In its simplest form the one question you should
ask is: "What is the one thing I want to accomplish this
(year/month/week/day)?" Based on your answer, all decisions
you make should support this statement. If what you are
being asked to do does not support this statement you need
to reschedule, reframe, or refer!

The best thing you can do to support yourself and your
business is to be in control. I know, easier said than done
sometimes, right? If that is how you feel, then I would
encourage you to think about hiring a coach to help you move
through this process so that you can be the effective,
efficient entrepreneur I know you to be!

About the Author:

Cindy Hillsey, Certified Professional Coach, is a
Mentor/Coach to Solopreneurs, and specializes in coaching
Virtual Assistants. As an innovative and inspiring business
maverick, Cindy's number one goal is to remove the unease
around being a first time business owner. For more
information and FREE resources and articles, please visit: