Robb Braun

When Overwhelm Sets In – Three Steps for Getting Out

10599149_sIf you are running a company or leading an organization, you are faced with the daily demands of business and…you are probably working to perfect your craft, may have the demands of raising or taking care of a family and/or are simply striving to become a better person each day.  You are in overwhelm.

If you are an entrepreneur, parent, company leader or anyone else striving to live your life more fully than others, then you are part of a courageous and tenacious bunch who know how to make things happen and get things done.  You’re wired not to stagnate and maintain efforts to keep moving forward.  You’ve typically got passion for what you do and you do what you do better than anyone around you.  And this is often where the trouble starts.

When you are the one you count on the most, whether it is as a business owner, a leader in your organization or the parent who handles the day-to-day family ‘operations’, you are setting yourself up for overwhelm and stress.  And overwhelm and stress lead to paralysis and lost productivity.

You might believe that no one can do what you do with the same efficiency, and maybe even the perfection that you attain.  But when you are your number one go-to person, you’re limiting your options and actually working against your forward movement toward success.  I often speak on the importance of leveraging ourselves in order to lighten our load and include others in our daily lives.  Below are three key steps that will reduce and eliminate the ‘overwhelm’.

1. The first is to step back to gain some perspective.  When you are in the midst of it all and tensions are rising because of the demands, you lose perspective.  And when I suggest you take a step back, I mean stop what you are doing and do something completely different to shift your mind and your thinking.  Get some exercise, go for a walk with a friend or family member, listen to some uplifting music or go to the beach.  Including others has the added benefit of having someone to dialogue with to get some ideas about how to shift your activity or momentum when you get back to what you were doing.

2. When you do enter back into your work, project or life after your break, look at what you can eliminate or give to someone else.  If you go back to the exact same pattern as before, the overwhelm will return. You are not the only capable person around and if you are the kind of person who really gives your all to everything you do, there will be those around you who would be honored to help you out.  By the way, sometimes we do need to fully eliminate stuff because what we are putting energy into does not serve our overall purpose.  If it distracts from purpose, chances are you need to let it go.

3. Finally, have a plan before you dive back in.  Plan on doing what has the most urgency and importance so that it loses its urgency, (thank you Steven Covey).  Make a list, and do only one thing at a time, bringing it to completion before you begin the next thing on your list.  Multitasking distracts us and breaks the concentration we need to get us through a particular task.  Multitasking also creates unnecessary stress and creates less than stellar results.  If you’re working on a super big project, it is crucial that you chunk it down into smaller, doable steps.

Life and business will always be busy for those who live their lives to the fullest.  There’s no benefit, though, in losing a part of yourself to the stress of overwhelm.  Take a breath, talk to others, involve others and have a plan, because from time to time, overwhelm will set in.

Article written by :
Robb Braun
Robb Braun is an accomplished Leadership Coach and Public Speaker. He has spent the past 25 years on a mission to empower business leaders to create work environments that foster employee greatness - motivation, loyalty, productivity, initiative and drive. Robb works with progressive, energetic companies who want to stay relevant, and helps them to transform from surviving to thriving.
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8 Responses to When Overwhelm Sets In – Three Steps for Getting Out

  1. Dr. Sabrina says:

    We teach people how to treat us. So, if we don’t let go and delegate, we are teaching those around us to depend on us to get it all done. Step back, breathe and delegate.

  2. Fred Pieplow says:

    Great article Robb. What do you say that manager who believes they are just too busy to break out of the urgent to work on the important?

    • Robb Braun Robb Braun says:

      Super-relavent question, Fred…I run into these guys and gals all the time. After we have them check their blood pressure, I invite them to step back and play the “What if I continue this path?” game. I help them to see the current and persistent consequences if they continue to use the excuse (yes, excuse) of “I’m too busy”. I help them to see how operating out of the URGENCY mode robs them of their productivity…AND they are bleeding energy and probably exhausted at the end of each day of ‘putting out fires’.

  3. Rodrigo Laddaga says:

    Great ideas Rob! It is really one of the permanent “enemies” that small business owners it is really a challenge not to feel overwhelm.I also Will recomend meditation of any kind.

    • Robb Braun Robb Braun says:

      Agreed, Rodrigo, though I think most avoid or discount meditation because of their lack of understanding its power to help us revitalize and gain perspective.

  4. Perspective! It always boils down to the story we tell ourselves. I remember the 10-10-10 rule taught by Suzie Welch. When feeling overwhelmed, ask yourself how important this will be in the next 10 minutes, 10 months and 10 years. It changes the perspective.

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