You indeed can learn the skills to mitigate being overwhelmed in business. This information packed episode unpacks reasons for getting overwhelmed and covers four key skills to handle the situation. Plus four things that you can do to increase your chances of success.

The episodes hopes to bring some deep perspective and ideas on how to deal with being overwhelmed in business and in life. In particular, unmasking how being overwhelm is different than stress or anxiety, how dealing with overwhelm is a learned skill, and a few things you can do about today.

Show Notes

Quick Summary

Four key skills when learning to deal with Overwhelm are:

  • Don’t accept that common thinking that being overwhelm is the new normal.
  • Recognize that overwhelming feelings does not start as anxiety or stress, it starts as information overload that turns into scarcity fears.
  • Fuel and rest your brain like an athlete.
  • Success lies is to doing less, not more

4 things  that you can do, to do less and still make progress to your goals:

  • Do less by aligning your goals and success to your actual activity.
  • Do less by spreading out the work over time.
  • Do less by delegating.
  • Do less by automating tasks.

Show Blog

Part 1: Overview of Overwhelm

When starting to deal with Overwhelm in the business world, I think it is important to know the difference between being overwhelmed, having anxiety, and being stressed out. One reason is that the mitigation and tools to reduce these are different. But again, these trouble makers are all cousins. Kissing cousins so to speak.

Stress, as defined on this show, is something not supposed to happen, but did. A client didn’t pay on time and now I’m scrambling to meet Friday’s payroll. That is..well, stressful.

Anxiety, as defined on this show, something should be happening but is not. I promised the client the product delivery on Friday, but my team is behind schedule, but has promised to catch up. Should I let the client know the situation? Will I be embarrassed with a late delivery? How should I handle the situation?

Overwhelm is, for this show, that the brain has received with too much stimuli. More information, facts, and problems than the brain can handle all at once and that triggers a body response.

Part2: The Brain’s Role

From a physical standpoint, the brain’s pre-frontal cortex is the place were high-level thinking, analysis, and problem solving takes place. And it is powered by oxygen and glucose. And like other parts of the body, needs proper nutrients and rest to perform at its optimal. Some have likened the pre-frontal cortex power levels like a re-chargeable battery. When it gets fully charged it is incredible what it can do, but when it gets tired, it takes more concentration to complete things, we become irritable, and there’s cravings for sugar foods. If the brain strain continues, then forgetting things is common and ability to take in new information is just not there. At a certain point beyond that, the pre-frontal cortex can just shut down, or in others words, our thinking ability freezes up and when can’t continue the tasks. Like not sleeping for several nights, the brain just shuts down to rest and protect its self.

This is unmasking overwhelm from the body’s stand point. And it gives us our initial protection against getting overwhelmed, that is eat right, good night’s sleep, and take brain rests during the day.

Part 3: Skills to Deal with Overwhelm

Here are some skills that everyone can learn to do:

  • Don’t accept being overwhelmed as the new normal. When I was reaching for this show, so many sources proclaimed it was just part of the world we live in and tough it out. Yes, we live in a complex world, but often it is a world of our own creation. Instead of dealing with the underlining issue, we hear people brag about how busy they are or say being overwhelmed is just a feeling and everyone can ignore a feeling. When I hear that, I hear self-denial of a performance issue.When a person refuses to accept being overwhelm as normal, it starts a journey of being healthier and improving performance in nearly all areas of life.
  • Recognize that overwhelming feelings does not start as anxiety or stress. If you can recognize early that. For example, when I felt overwhelm by what my coach, I still was excited about the project. I recognize that I was now facing scarcity issues, not enough time to do things.
  • Fuel and rest your brain like an athlete. Ask yourself, did I eat miss a meal? Or need a break? Often just re-fueling and resting your brain is enough to get you on track. I often eat bigger lunches to keep up my mental focus.
  • If you are frequency overwhelmed, the success key is to do less, not more. How do you do less?
  1. Do less by aligning your goals and success to your actual activity. In other words, be true to your priorities and don’t do tasks that distract you.
  2. Do less by spreading out work over time. A lot of times this means setting expectations and communicating with your team and family. Letting people know that I answer Friday afternoon email and requests on Monday. Or not getting freaked out when my wife is a hurry and sends me a reminder text about something the next day, but I take it must be done now. A little communication goes a long ways reducing the overwhelm from people.
  3. Do less by delegating tasks, that is, let others do it for you. A couple of comments for the business owner. Delegate tasks you know how to do…that helps you relax and hold people accountable. Delegate tasks that others can, so you can focus on things only you can do. And it’s okay to let go of your ego to delegate. Either in pride (i.e. I can do better) or saving money. I am pretty sure you’re not saving money if you are too overwhelmed to do things. Just make life easier on yourself.
  4. Do less by automating tasks, usually through technology and apps. It does take an initial investment in time and money to reach to reach the long term payoffs.



Prefrontal Cortex information

Infogram on Small Business Productivity

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