How to Avoid Overwhelm By Doing One Small Thing

2707796714_c8a48b409b_zPhoto by Bala Sivakumar

When you’re a business owner it’s very easy to get overwhelmed with all the things you have to do. There are so many plates that need to be kept spinning and if you’re in sole charge of keeping them all up in the air, it can often feel like it’s just too much.

These spinning plates can be things like:

  • Fulfilling orders
  • Meeting with clients
  • Hitting deadlines
  • Responding to emails
  • Keeping track of finances
  • Maintaining marketing campaigns
  • Communicating via social media
  • Updating your website
  • Tracking progress
  • Setting goals
  • Doing big picture planning
  • Reaching targets

When you look at a list like this, it’s no wonder that running a business single-handedly can often feel like it’s just too much to handle! Trying to do all these things at once is nigh on impossible.

Luckily, there is a way around this. It’s a simple technique that doesn’t involve hiring staff, delegating to others or ignoring tasks all together.

Want to know what it is?

Just do one small thing at a time.

Often the reason we feel overwhelmed is because we’re trying to do too many things at once. Technology is a wonderful resource for business owners, but it also makes it incredibly tempting to always be trying to do three or four things simultaneously. It’s not surprising we often feel as if we’re in overdrive.

If you can get out of the multi-tasking habit and resolve to just focus on one small thing at a time, you’ll likely find that your productivity improves massively and that your stress levels drop.

So how can you do this? Here are two things to try.

One: make it a habit to focus solely on one thing at a time

When you are checking your emails, sit down at your computer and check your emails. Once you’ve finished, close your inbox and move onto the next thing. Try to only have the tabs or programmes open on your computer that are absolutely necessary for the task. If it takes a few moments for the internet page to load, use that time to think about the task at hand… not to check something else on your smartphone!

It may only be when you start really trying to focus on one thing at a time that you realise how much you’ve been doing the opposite. Building a new habit can take time, so do be patient with yourself.

Two: break your to do list up into smaller chunks

When you add a new task to your to do list, how do you do it? Do you add tasks by whole project or by individual steps? If it’s the former, that may be part of the reason why you feel overwhelmed. When you add a whole project to your list, it an be difficult for your subconscious mind to work out how it’s going to address it. Depending on your profession, it’s unlikely that you’re going to be able to complete that whole project in one sitting. A web designer doesn’t design a website in one afternoon, just as a shop owner doesn’t manage a new product launch all in one go.

Your to do list is likely to feel a great deal more manageable if you add tasks in manageable chunks. Remember: you’re just doing one small thing at a time.

The great thing about working this way is that those small things will add up very quickly to equal big things and big progress.

Have you got any other simple tips for avoiding overwhelm in business? I’d love to hear them. Why not share them with me on Twitter? I’m @GreenShootCoach.

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