5 Tips For Dealing with Overwhelm as a Creative Business Owner

In my mentoring sessions and on my Instagram feed the question is often asked, how do we as single business folk running solo creative endeavors manage all we need to do without stress and overwhelm?

I hear you !
I am not immune to it, and just this week had to “practice what I preach” and go through my 5 step plan.
I have learnt particularly in the last few years a few helpful, and quiet frankly life changing principles. These are a brief outline of my  5 top tips for managing overwhelm, I hope they will both encourage and motivate you to put the necessary steps in place so that you can better manage your business, your time, and most importantly your happiness.

These are my 5 top tips for dealing with overwhelm as a creative or solo-entrepenuer.

  1. Do a Brain Dump.
    This is my favorite thing to do. I grab a note book and write down absolutely everything I need to get done, or have to finish. I write done personal and work stuff, everything that comes up from buy dog food , to get Vitamin B shot, to clients I need to contact, or shoots I have planned. Once everything is written done, I divide the tasks into categories, home, personal, and work. Then I break up the work tasks into actionable steps. Ie. Finish website stuff, becomes, select 10 images for portfolio, write about page info, draft new blog post. etc. I then assign myself a reasonable amount of time to action task and this is important so as not to get stuck in the perfecting stage. see No2.
  2. Drop the Perfectionism.
    That thing is a hot potato, it’s either going to burn you or burn you out.
    Drop it ( like it’s hot, coz it is) and get on with doing rather than perfecting. When I find myself perfecting, going over and over something, until its almost but not yet perfect, I walk away for a while. When I come back I ask myself what grade I would give myself for the work I’ve done?  If its a B , then it’s good to go,  I don’t mean that work should be sloppy, but done is better than not so if I’m not going to stress over an A, when a B is fine.
  3. Delegate & be Result Driven.
    If someone else can do the job 80% as well as you, you should be delegating to them. I find I want to control every process, and therefore insist on doing everything myself. This is crazy. when I give good instructions, with a clear outline of the expectation I have for the end result ( note, NOT the process, just the end result) I have so much less anxiety and overwhelm. This is something I put into practice just this weekend, and it’s so worth remembering.
  4. Outsource where possible.
    This ties into the above. As a creative my time is better spent working ON my business as opposed to IN my business. This could mean small things like out sourcing admin, accounting, invoicing or any other aspect of your business ( or life ) that does not add value to your creativity.
  5. Do a Time Audit & Take Stock.
    Do a time audit on where you spend time in your day, are you busy or productive?
    Busyness does not produce results, only productivity produces results. Personally I have found I spend way to much  time “researching” on Pinterest and ” looking for inspiration”  on Instagram instead of actually doing the job and getting it completed. Only time spent actually producing a result is productive, if you don’t have anything to show for your time, maybe its time for a ruthless assessment of how you actually spend your day.Avoiding overwhelm is something I have to constantly manage. I bit like a diabetic with their sugar intake. I struggle to accurately predict the length of time it might take me to do a required task, or often how many tasks I can accomplish in a given time period, so I’m still working on this aspect of my time management.
    I have found that putting boundaries in place to guard my time, and being vigalent in protecting it has helped tremendously. It isn’t always easy, sometime compromises have to be made, sometimes I get off track, and need a review like I did this week. Sometimes it’s simply that I need a change of scenery to give me a new perspective.
    So you you friend, I would say in closing, if you are feeling stressed, and crazy with overwhelm, take a break, I like to call it having a blue sky day.  A walk, a cup of tea with a friend, a cuddle with your nearest and dearest, and remember you are in charge of your own happiness! 

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5 Tips For Dealing With Overwhelm