One thing I know for sure? That we’re all busy. Overwhelmed. Madly trying to maintain a business, often raise children, juggle a social life, fit in self care, work on our personal development, post on social, build our digital empire.. and, phew. It feels exhausting just talking about.
I’m no different. And yet, in the past month? I have onboarded two full time staff members in my business, onboarded 10 new clients, created 13 podcast episodes, created at least two social posts a week, run a business.. oh, and parented a needy toddler, given birth to a new baby girl, pumped breast milk every three hours around the clock, tended to a newborn throughout the night.. OH, and also moved out of our home, facilitated a new house build and signed a contract with our builder, oversaw the demolition of the house, found a new rental in an impossible market AND moved into a new home.
And, the clincher? I. Don’t. Feel. Overwhelmed.
I. Still. Got. Sh^#. Done.
And despite everyone who has watched the past couple of months unfold for me asking “ARE YOU GOING TO BE OKAY?”, I have been able to hand on heart respond.. I will! And, I am!
“BUT HOOOOOW?”, as my two year old would say.
Well, let me break down for you how I manage to get a LOT of sh$% done without it truly overwhelming me.. and maybe, how you can, too.
1. Do Things You Love — I can truly, hand on heart say, that I am HEAD OVER HEELS PASSIONATE about all of the big things in my life. I couldn’t imagine myself NOT doing any of them (and I have cut anything that doesn’t truly light me up). My business, my babies, my build — they are all level 10 important to me, and so I have intentionally made time for each of them.
Has it meant culling things that didn’t quite make the ‘level 10 important’ mark for me? Hell yes. For me right now, it’s NOT a big season for socialising, or for really anything OTHER than these three things but, IN this season? That’s okay with me. And it won’t be forever. Give me two to three months, and picking up more relationship building with fellow business owners, travel and a lot of other things are on my wish list. But I can park them for now, and make peace with it.
You can’t possibly have ALL burners turned up at once, so my advice? Pick three, and dedicate to them for a season — whatever that container looks like for you.
2. Prepare — One of the best quotes I’ve ever seen is “routine sets you free”. I agree with that 1000%. And to that list, I would also add “preparation” and “organisation”. Truly. There was a time in my life and business when I was a hot mess express, and used to call myself “carefree”. Honestly? There was nothing carefree about it. In a life sense, I felt directionless, could never find anything, never seemed to achieve anything and spent too much time on things that didn’t matter.
In a business sense, I had overflowing inboxes, Google Drive folders, no systems, a brain with a million tabs open and a lot more. It felt heavy, and hard. These days, I often have clients that come into our Launchpad program marvel at the systems and processes we have — and that we hand them as part of the program. And far from it being something restrictive, it has actually set ME — and consequently sets THEM — free. We have a high renewal rate in Launchpad, and the systems, structure and organisation we provide in the program (and that is reflected in my business and personal life) is really the reason.
3. Clear Focus Time in Your Diary — A game changer for my productivity has been allocating 4 hours of focus time into my day, every day. Focus time is time to work on IMPORTANT (not urgent, IMPORTANT), needle moving tasks. Work projects. Content (like this, I’m in focus time right now!). Anything that ISN’T replying to DMs on social media, replying to client or emails or sitting in my inbox, responding to every Slack ping, opening my phone and scrolling Instagram, doing the ‘week to week’ tasks – for example, in our business we critique our clients work, that is a RECURRING task, NOT a needle moving focus project. All of the other STUFF makes us FEEL busy, but actually takes us away from the deep work that ultimately progresses BOTH our lives and our businesses towards our goals. It’s so easy to reply to a heap of emails (which, by the way puts you in REACTIVE mode) and do tasks that feel busy, and then call it a day and yet feel like you are never actually progressing in your business.
The secret? Block out four hours in your diary – it could be two hours in the morning and two in the afternoon, it could be 8 – 12 every day you are working, or like me at the moment who needs to pump milk every second, it could be an hour four times in the day.
During that time, pause your Slack notifications, put your phone in the draw, close out off ALL tabs other than the one you are working in (and recognise when you are – usually without thinking – opening up social media or similar and shut it down), and get the IMPORTANT THINGS done.
4. Prioritise — That brings me to prioritisation. If you don’t PLAN your priorities, it is very easy to let the day get away from you. The day before, or at the latest the morning of, you need to write a list of 1 – 3 IMPORTANT things to get done. No more. Write them down, and commit to them. Everything else fits in around them — they are the rocks, and the emails, day to day tasks etc are the pebbles. In our business, we have a daily huddle Slack channel where everyone writes their focus tasks each day. At the end of the day, we report on them. It keeps each of us accountable to the IMPORTANT things, ensures that the pebbles don’t take over our day, and ensures that we do what we say we will.
5. Be Where You Are — My final tips is to be where you are. If you are with your family, be all there. If you are working, be ALL there too. Don’t try and answer Slack messages while you’re bathing, not feeling ‘guilty’ for being on the couch with your baby in dedicated family time — and don’t get derailed if your best plans DON’T go to plan. Adjust course, and carry on.
6. Mind Your Mind — Your thoughts become your action, and your actions become your reality. When I find myself dropping into overwhelm, I recognise it in myself, and I don’t use it as an excuse to stop. Allowing ‘overwhelm’ to paralyse you lands you squarely in victim mode, and it takes away your power. Saying “I’m overwhelmed AND THEREFORE I’m doing nothing” is a choice. Instead recognising overwhelm and breaking it down into a list of three small “best next steps” is my go to, and I carry on. Am I perfect? No. But for the most part, I am fairly self aware and can pull myself together! It’s a learned skill, that’s for sure.
And there you have it! How to get ISH done even when you’re already feeling overwhelmed.
Are you ready to create, launch and scale your flagship digital course in 2022? Head to steviesayssocial.com/launchpad to apply for our 12 month, high touch group coaching program.
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