An entrepreneur is always required to be in the thick of action, taking on new challenges, striking new relationships and learning an endless number of things on the go. But this often brings with it the problem of overwhelm, which I’m sure, many of you are intimately familiar with.
Here are three simple and yet powerful ways in which you can combat this problem and stay focused and sharp through your crazy, demanding schedules.
1. Light a bonfire of ‘meh’ items
If you were to build the proverbial bonfire, what do you think you would throw into it?
Overwhelm is nothing but your inability to find your priorities and focus on them through the day.
To make things manageable, it’s important to burn your to-do lists from time to time. Especially those that are full of items you have never once seen rise up the ladder of priorities for you. These are the ‘meh’ items, items that only elicit a lukewarm reaction from you at best but can clutter up your lists fast.
So what is it that you keep telling yourself you would like to do but haven’t made any time for over the past few years?
Strike it off your mind, at least for now, and proceed to burn it all at the stake.
If something keeps coming back to you, you know you want it on your list. Everything else, the “shoulds” primarily, need to be done away with to create for yourself the space to let your mind focus on things that are actually important for you and which resonate deeply with you.
Nothing works like getting back to basics.
2. Set an intention before going to bed
At night, when your head is about to explode due to endless mulling, just stop thinking entirely. Don’t try to fight your way through this mess. Instead, go to bed setting an intention that, in turn, will set everything else right.
For example, if you have been driving yourself nuts over a new business idea, go to bed thinking:
I’m going to wake up tomorrow knowing if I should pursue this or not.
That’s it. Don’t argue with yourself, don’t rationalize and don’t wonder if you are making sense.
Give your subconscious the right instructions, and doze off without another thought. It’s important not to second guess yourself.
You’ll be surprised at how you feel in the morning, and how the right idea, or at least the kernel of it, will have risen from the chaos. It will ultimately come to the surface and give you the direction you are looking for, if not the very next morning then in the days following soon. You will also feel a lot more confident and peaceful about your decision.
I can vouch for this. It has bailed me out on a number of occasions. This is the essence of lateral thinking -- you stop fighting that which is not working, sidestep all your mental gymnastics and declare to your brain that the right idea is around the corner. You will find it much sooner than you suspect.
Related: Take a Breather
3. Redefine your circle of control
One of the many brilliant ideas that Stephen Covey propounded in his 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was defining our circle of influence vs. our circle of concern. We should focus our energies on things that are directly in our control and not get sucked into things that we have little influence over.
As entrepreneurs, most of us start off with a very good idea of what our circle of control entails. But, as time goes on and we meet new people, this circle keeps changing. It may expand, or it may shrink, but it does not remain static. So you need to keep evaluating it from time to time.
When you are feeling hammered, and are struggling to keep yourself sane in the middle of your fast-growing business, it’s a good idea to take a step back and ask yourself, how much of that which you are contending with do you actually control?
Redefine your circle of direct control and reorganize your priorities. Let go of everything else. Build another bonfire if you have to.
These exercises will strip down your priorities and make things manageable again. Give them a go and let me know how it turns out for you!