How To Get Rid of Overwhelm Forever

 

YEAR IN REVIEW!

It’s December! Why are you feeling overwhelmed???

I’ll tell you why…

December has the shortest days and the longest nights.

We’re not prepared for it when it hits. December 1st comes along and suddenly, in addition to all the other sh** we have to do, we also have to prepare for…having fun. Frack!

This is the month when all pretext of organization, productivity and results goes totally out the window.

F*** that noise.

Not this year baby.

Let’s reframe.

As our days get shorter we can use that as a way to get laser-focused on our priorities, our demands and our goals.

So let’s take a little listicle look down memory lane. Let’s review what productivity is and the strategies we can employ to ease into one of the busiest months of the year.

So What is Overwhelm, really?

Overwhelm is not…having too much to do. Overwhelm is not knowing what to do next. Let that sink in. When you are feeling overwhelmed it’s because you don’t know what to do.

The example I like to use is Google. When you go to Google’s homepage you’re literally staring into the void of millions of websites and billions of pieces of information. But do you feel overwhelmed? Do you get paralyzed? No. Why?

Because you know what you are looking for. You’ve gone to Google with INTENTION. When you know what to do you are not in overwhelm. You get overwhelmed because you don’t know what to do next.

Knowing what to do next is all about strategy. And these strategies we’re about to review (from our August month-long, productivity series) give you the best practices for handling overwhelm as an entrepreneur.

What is Productivity?

I define productivity in five words…

Maximum Results in Minimum Time.

That’s a great strategy for December, having the shortest days of the year to work within. Amiright?

Productivity is not a process. Productivity is a point in time. Productivity is the end-result of effective strategies for getting your shit done. Productivity is the results of your efforts.

Being ‘busy’ is the process of doing things. Those things may or may not get you results. And being ‘busy’ is not a strategy. It’s not even a thing.

So when you’re busy look at what you’re doing and ask yourself, “is this productive?” If it’s not, stop doing it.

Related Post : The Secret to Productivity in 8 Easy Steps
Related Post : 7 Ways to Beat the Boredom of Company Meetings
Related Post : Do You Suffer from Email Overwhelm?

Optimize Your Environment

Environment is everything. Take a few minutes to create an environment that supports your productivity rather than impedes it. Here are 3 strategies to optimize your environment.

1) Stop interruptions –

  • Put a sign on your door
  • Turn off your phone
  • Turn off notifications on your devices

Taking these measures will decrease your interruptions while you work. So you can focus on the task at hand and get it done.

2) Time your focus –

Our brains work best in sprints not marathons, when it comes to focus. So use that to your advantage and keep your focus-time short. Do these…

  • Prime Time Hours
  • Sprints Not Marathons
  • Mono-tasking

Prime Time Hours are specific hours you set aside during your workday with a specific focus: writing a marketing funnel, working on your book, working with a client.

But those hours need to be a finite, specific beginning and end. Example: “I’m going to work on the third chapter of my book from 9am-noon.

Working in sprints goes hand-in-hand with Prime Time hours. So even though you’re working on your book from 9am-12pm you’re going to take a 10 minute break every hour on the hour.

That means your 3 hours of Prime Time includes 3 10-minute breaks: 10am, 11am and noon before your next slot of Prime Time. Give yourself little breaks to go to the bathroom, eat something, stretch. Those little mental breaks are important and invigorating.

Finally, mono-tasking. Prime Time Hours don’t include doing a million things at once, which is a myth anyway. Humans aren’t capable of multi-tasking and it’s dangerous to believe we are. See: cellphones and driving.

When you focus, focus on one thing. Do that one thing and get it done and then move on. A healthy environment supports your ability to focus on one task at a time.

3) Plan Ahead –

“Spectacular achievement is always preceded by unspectacular preparation.”

—Robert H. Schuller

Planning is essential to productivity. So here’s some tips for planning your perfect day, even the ones where you do nothing.

  • Plan your day the night before
  • Choose 3 Priorities
  • Make a Don’t Do List
  • Plan Your Leisure Time

Plan your day the night before rather than when you arrive at your office. Your office (home or work) is full of distractions even if it’s optimized for your productivity: email, people, phone messages, etc.

One of the killers of productivity is getting side-swiped by distractions. Before you know it, 3 hours have gone by checking your email and chasing after other people’s urgent problems.

Planning the night before reduces the chance of getting sideswiped if you’re already in the mindset before you arrive at your desk.

Choose 3 priorities. Limiting yourself to 3 areas of focus will minimize the chance of your focus getting pulled in a million directions.

CHALLENGE: If that scares you, try doing it for just a week. Give yourself the challenge of only choosing 3 priorities a day for one week. Watch what happens.

Making a Don’t Do List will support your ability to focus on your three chosen priorities for that day. There is always lots to do. But there’s always lots that you can delegate, put off or discard. So get clear on what’s essential, what can get delegated and what can get shown the door.

Plan your leisure time. And I’m not being cheeky here. Everybody needs time off. Even if you can’t yet afford a trip to Biarritz you can afford a trip to your nearest museum, hiking trail or state park.

So do that. Plan the time you can take a whole or half day (or longer) and take it. Those times are important, rejuvenating and something your body really looks forward to when you plan it. Leisure time is just as important as work time.

Related Post : The Secret to Productivity in 8 Easy Steps
Related Post : 7 Ways to Beat the Boredom of Company Meetings
Related Post : Do You Suffer from Email Overwhelm?

Decision-Fatigue, It’s a Thing

Productivity is about managing your finite resources. Even Marky Mark of the famed 2:30am wakeup call has limited resources. Which is why he goes to bed at 7:30pm.

So get real about that and stop overloading yourself with decisions. One of the greatest tools for eradicating decision-fatigue is the Eisenhower Decision Matrix. It’s a fantastic little tool that helps you decide where to put your focus.

You simply choose a category to put a task or action into:

Important and Urgent – tasks that need your immediate attention

Important but Not Urgent – tasks that are important but can wait

Urgent but Not Important – tasks that aren’t important to your business and can be delegated to someone else.

Not Urgent and Not Important – tasks that have no bearing on the success of your business and don’t need to be done. Get rid of them.

This little tool makes decisions for you. And when you get into the habit of using it will free your mind for the big, needle-moving activities that truly need your focus.

Just Say “No”

The other tool to eradicate decision-fatigue is the word, ‘No.’

Such a small word, such a big impact.

This tool goes hand-in-hand with the Eisenhower Decision Matrix. When it’s time to delegate tasks you shouldn’t or don’t need to do, it’s time to just say no.

this might be a hard habit to get into at first but keep in mind that success is built on limited focus, not people-pleasing. Trying to be all things to all people creates chaos, exhaustion and inattention, not success.

CHALLENGE: Give yourself another week-long challenge. Challenge yourself to say ‘no’ to stuff you know will not move the needle in your business, for one week. Watch what happens. Magic.

Have Greater Impact and Grow Your Business Without Draining Your Precious Energy.

Be More Effective, Have More Impact, Grow Your Business with these 3 simple strategies >>

 

MythBusters!

Let’s bust some myths about productivity!

  • Balance.

Balance is a myth. Do you really spend as much time sleeping or playing with your kids as you do working? No.

Being an entrepreneur means your life is going to be lopsided for probably a long time. So don’t strive for balance. Strive for something attainable: homeostasis.

Homeostasis = a relatively stable equilibrium between interdependent elements.

Using strategic productivity strategies will help you stay in homeostasis. And they will help you stop trying to attain an unattainable goal.

  • Technology makes you efficient.

FALSE! Technology is a tool just like any of these other strategies. But it’s a tool that can and does get abused all the time. You can chase after the next big, shiny gadget telling yourself that it will be the thing that makes you more productive.

But the only thing that will make you more productive is…YOU. And how you use technology is the defining factor of your success. Because remember…

How you do anything is how you do everything.

T. Harve Eker

So if you abuse technology or hide behind it or are easily distracted by it that’s all on you. Technology doesn’t make more efficient or less efficient. Technology is another tool in your tool belt. Use it wisely.

  • All tasks are created equal.

Nope.Not true. An entrepreneur’s two most valuable tools are courage and discernment. You need courage to take the important risks and you need discernment to figure out which risks are the important ones.

But discernment is also valuable in deciding how to spend your day. You don’t need to and can’t spend equal amounts of time on each aspect of your business. You have to decide how much time to spend, what to delegate, what to postpone and what to throw away.

This is one of the most important jobs of an entrepreneur, deciding how to spend your time. So if you’re going to make productivity work you need to have the courage and discernment to decide where to put your focus at all times.

The Wrap Up

This month of December is about reflection and taking stock. And what better focus is there for the beginning of a busy month than a refresher on productivity strategies?

Productivity = Maximum Results in Minimum Time. Being busy is chasing the results you want. Productivity is getting the results you want.

So start using these strategies and start getting the results you want from your business and your life.

And if you find yourself in overwhelm this month, remember, overwhelm is not having too much to do. Overwhelm is simply not knowing what to do next.

So use the strategies we just reviewed to figure out how to manage your time and organize your tasks. That way you always know what the next step is, including chilling by the tree, watching A Christmas Story.

If this sounds a little anal it’s not. These are strategies for you to focus your mind and energy as an entrepreneur while taking on the biggest challenges of your life.

Like these strategies? Want more? Click here to learn three more strategies that will skyrocket your workday productivity.

Are you using these strategies already?

Which ones are you liking?

Let me know, Join the Conversation!>>

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