Feeling overwhelmed in your own business? Here’s a method I use to get back from the brink.
Working a portfolio career with multiple strands it can feel that I’m juggling with too many balls, all the time. Together with family illness, moving house, relationships, then this can seem too much all too often. Clients not paying their bills, extra expenses. OMG I can feel my own stress levels rising.
So here’s what I do to rescue myself from overwhelm. It’s based on MindMapping, and you can start with just a pen and some scrap A4 paper. I take about two hours, but you can feel the benefits after thirty minutes. It comes in 5 simple steps.1 Map It Out
I take a sheet of paper and write On My Plate or STUFF or ARRRGH, in the middle and ring it. I then write the things (topics/tasks/activities) that are on your mind. The diagram is hierarchical, so when topics prompt other subtopics, then link them to the major topic. Start with the big things that are causing you stress, and write associated tasks. Do this without reference to your project plans, lists, emails, do this from what is worrying you. Include your personal things too, I’ve not, to share my blushes.
My first attempts are always really messy, so when I’ve finished, say 20 minutes, re-write this and cluster them under topics or projects that make sense to you.
Use this diagram for the next steps. I sometimes draw on paper, I sometimes use MindNode by Ideas on canvas.
How did that feel getting those things on paper?
Are they as serious as you thought?
Guess what’s on my mind. Yes, giving away my time for free. So with my more organised version, I’ve identified what I am happy giving free/Pro Bono, identified more paid consultancy clients, but I’m still fairly annoyed. 2 What have you forgotten?
Now I look at my existing project plans, to-do lists, emails, client lists. I see what I have left off. Adding the things that I have forgotten, the projects, tasks and topics that have slipped my mind (normally because they are going ok).
This is the busiest bit, because now everything is reflected on my MindMap. I like to colour code things together.
Is there a reason that these elements are not top of your mind?Do they need a higher/lower priority?3 What needs more planning or action?4 What needs less activity, what needs less priority?
I add to my to-do list, and scrub those things off which are no longer important. This often involves follow-up contacts for me, and also grouping tasks together (like my social media) which actually puts things in more perspective.
Are there parts of your MindMap that have been woefully neglected?
Are there elements that warrant more attention that you can spare at the moment?5 Forgive yourself
There is a lot in this MindMap, that is why I am so close to overwhelm. It is not possible for someone to do all of it, so I will be wise, forgiving and patient with myself.
I can start to tackle those tasks that I can control, and those which are most out of control. Those giving me the most stress. So I’ve sat myself down, and reminded myself what I say to people who ask me to work for free. No, thank you.
When I have tackled a difficult task, I like to keep going, alternating with tasks that give me joy.
What techniques do you use to de-clutter your brain, or get your actions in order? Let me know in the comments below ⬇️Or talk to me direct, choose your slot here