stressed-business-owner-300x300It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with tasks, overloaded with activities, and over-booked with responsibilities.   Many business owners and managers report feeling that they never get caught up, that there never seems to be enough time in which to accomplish all that needs to be done.

Let’s first look at the causes of overwhelm, and then move on to some solutions.

Overwhelm is a psychological and emotional state created when one experiences a lack of time or resources to accomplish necessary tasks. Sometimes the limitations are external (not enough time, money or team support), while other times they are internal (attitudes such as fear or perfectionism).

Whatever the reason, overwhelm can be avoided by managing your time and your mindset.  Here are some useful suggestions to employ when the pressure is on or the obstacles are many:

Establish and stick to your values. Know what is important to you, what takes priority in your business, and act from a place of commitment to those values.

Set personal boundaries and be ready to defend them.  This means, when a colleague or co-worker presents you with an additional task or request or deadline, you may need to say a firm “No” or “Not now.”

Make it a practice to under-promise and over-deliver.  When you agree to undertake a task or project, make sure you factor in realistic time frames that allow you room to breathe.  In the end, you’ll be happier and more relaxed and the quality of your work will reflect a more balanced perspective.

Prioritize tasks. Make it a habit of first completing any tasks that eliminate the need for secondary tasks.  This requires that you are clear about which tasks are most essential and which can be delegated or postponed.

Delegate tasks. As much as one might feel indispensible, in most cases we are not.  Identify others in your team or organization that possess the skills and attitudes to take on the tasks you are unable or unwilling to accomplish.  Once you have identified these people, trust them.  Delegate tasks to these trusted team members, and get out of the way.

Manage your calendar. In most cases, a well-managed calendar provides the solution to chronic overwhelm. Schedule adequate time to accomplish priority tasks and projects, and stick to it.

Give yourself (and others) a break.  Taking regular vacations away from your office or workspace has been shown to positively impact workplace stress. Taking breaks benefits you, as well as the people with whom you work and interact. The same goes for every member of your team or work group.

Being fully engaged and committed to work-related activities is healthy, when balanced against your full commitment to self-care and renewal.

Your partner in the process,

Sherry B Jordan