We all digest information in different ways, so I’m sharing all about overwhelm and how your thoughts create your world in writing (see below) and via this short video as well. Enjoy!
Beliefs can have a big impact on our self-esteem. It can be such a fragile thing and when it’s knocked it can have lasting effects.
The messages we tell ourselves as a continual running commentary throughout the day bring with them huge feelings of overwhelm.
Overwhelm comes from thinking you have to solve all the problems, do all the jobs, have the perfect house/kids/husband/wife, be the perfect business owner/wife/husband/parent…oh, and find time for laundry, family activities and maybe an aging parent or two.
The Jar Experiment
When clients come to me with feelings of overwhelm and don’t know how to deal with them, I get them to do a simple little exercise to show them a way through the flood of thoughts. And I’d like to share it with you too.
Get a mason jar and a bag of small pebbles and set them in front of you. Every time you think of something you do during your day, pop a pebble in the jar: from dropping the kids off at school to the time you pick them back up, you will have thought of:
- shopping for and preparing food
- checking emails
- writing blogs and posting on social media
- running through bank balances and paying bills
- creating invoices for clients
- stressing over unpaid invoices
- advertising your business
- being on someone’s podcast
- at a conference
- being interviewed
And that’s before lunch! How is your jar looking so far? Pretty full already. Well, after your hastily eaten lunch there’s the pet to take to the vets, and while you’re in the waiting room you can
- check social media and reply to any comments
- answer a few emails
- start working on that spreadsheet
When you get home again you’ll need to catch up on some calls while you put the washing machine on and empty the dishwasher. Kids, dinner, clear up, news, Netflix, scroll Facebook, bed.
Phew! What a day!
Chances are your jar filled up pretty quickly and is spilling out all over your desk. Your brain is like that poor jar. It will get overloaded pretty quickly too, full of information that is causing feelings of overwhelm and not being able to cope. A full brain with no outlet always leads to overwhelm. And the list above didn’t even mention all the other thoughts you have in between the to do list. Like, “I feel alone”, “I have too much to do”, “I am so overwhelmed”, “They’re making more money”, “They have more clients”, “I can’t do this”, “This is so hard”.
But you know, so much of what we think will happen, what we think of ourselves and what we think of other people’s success doesn’t happen and is not true. It has no place in your work day, let alone your life. I like to think of it as garbage, so it needs to be dumped.
The Brain Dump
When your stress is high, your productivity is always going to be low – not much output and little quality. This is scarcity in its simplest form. Regularly doing a brain dump can help you begin to see clearly, give you time to think and give you space to create abundance.
So, start by emptying the jar. Yes, there’s going to be lots of noise as all the pebbles rush out! There may also be lots of feelings that come up for you too. But stick with it.
Write down every thought, everything on your to do list and every feeling that appears.
Feeling better? Maybe a little empty? Curious about what you are going to do with all these thoughts?
From here you can start to work through your priorities for the day, how you can use your time productively and how to take time out for yourself. Don’t forget though: be realistic. Don’t take all of your brain dump and transfer it to a to-do list for the day!
Sift all the unnecessary garbage out and the rest you can use to set targets for what you want to achieve. Moving to a more balanced way of thinking and working will give you a much-needed boost of confidence too. I always say, “what is in your heart, flows out your mouth” – what you feel will be picked up by your clients, your family and your friends and they will respond accordingly.
Feeling stressed? Clients will pick up on it and feel less confident in your abilities. Feeling clear and confident? They’ll see that and have confidence in you.
So, how do we hold on to the magic of this calm new you? How do we move confidently into the future with clarity and abundance? I advise my clients to practice writing down everything regularly to ensure overwhelm stays well and truly away from your door. If it’s on paper, it’s out of your head! All you need is a journal, a pen and some highlighters.
- Do a brain dump into a journal every morning and sift through the garbage to get to the important stuff you need to think and do.
- With your highlighters, pick out three things that only you can do to advance your business right now.
- Next, highlight in another colour what you can delegate to others.
- Then highlight other non-work tasks you have to do that day – leave them for after work, including the trip to the vets.
- Schedule in breaks as a priority too. You can’t run on empty!
- Take time for yourself to exercise. This will help you focus better.
- Remember less is more. You are less likely to be overwhelmed if you highlight just three things. If you have time left over, consider whether you want to add more, take a well-earned rest or delegate tasks to a VA, colleague or your team.
- DO NOT compare yourself to others but do plan time with a business buddy or coach for support.
- Look for other kinds of support – can you do a work exchange with someone? They fix your IT and you edit their article?
- Celebrate when you finish for the day.
And always remember we all only get 24 hours in the day. Don’t underestimate what you can achieve, but also be realistic about the time you have to achieve it!
If you want to continue to create calm and clarity in your business and your life, my Money Quiz is a fantastic place to start. After you’ve taken the quiz, book yourself in for a free discovery call and we can discuss how to create calm for you together. To complete the quiz, click here.