No matter how successful or how productive you are, there will be days when you feel totally overwhelmed. When this happens, it can be hard to stay motivated.
No one says that being an entrepreneur is easy.
Building a business requires you to do things that you don’t normally do – hiring people, building a website, selling your products and services, and so on.
How to Stay Motivated When Feeling Overwhelmed
Although it’s good to step outside your comfort zone once in a while and try something new, sometimes it’s unbearable to handle so many different tasks for long. When you are swamped by work and don’t feel like working in your business, what should you do?
Here are 7 ways to stay motivated when you’re feeling overwhelmed in your business.
1. Give Yourself a Break
The simplest and the hardest thing to do when you feel overwhelmed is to walk away from work.
When you are feeling overwhelmed, your body or mind is telling you that you can’t handle it anymore and you need to take a break. If you love yourself enough, you would listen.
Even if it’s just a short 5-15 minutes break for you to breathe deeply, go for a walk or take a power nap. You need to break away from that vicious cycle of feeling overwhelmed.
Working harder will not produce better results or keep you motivated. Your brain can’t stay focused all the time. Do something else that doesn’t need much attention instead. You will feel rejuvenated and more focused after your break.
2. Focus on doing one task at a time
You feel overwhelmed because you are focusing on too many tasks at a time. All three books that I read recently, Busy by Tony Crabbe, Essentialism by Greg McKeown, and The One Thing by Gary Keller & Jay Papasan, support the notion that humans can’t multi-focus.
Yes, you can do two tasks at a time such as listening to your music while walking.
But if you were to watch TV and to read a book at the same time, you realize you can’t focus on both. You need to give one of those two activities less attention for you to focus on the other.
Multi-tasking doesn’t allow you to be more productive. Instead, it produces stress. Your mind simply can’t handle so many tasks at the same time. To stay motivated, try focusing on one task at a time.
3. Complete one project before starting another
Doing one thing at a time isn’t good enough. Ideally, you should focus on completing one project before moving to the next.
In business, if you have two important projects you want to do, starting them both at the same time dilutes your energy, your resources and your time.
Imagine having two to ten open projects that are incomplete and going nowhere. How un-motivating that would be!
Plus, you waste unnecessary time switching from task to task. Every time, you stop your current task and start a new one. You need to warm up and gain momentum for the new task again.
Not all tasks give you the same outcome. So choose one task or project that produce the most result and work on it first.
4. Don’t just do your best, do what you do best
Previously, I say that focusing on completing one project before moving to the next is ideal. It’s ideal because for a business to grow, you probably need to execute different aspects of the business simultaneously.
However, that doesn’t mean you should spread yourself too thin and not complete your projects. The key is to pick the task that you are the best at doing and delegate the rest.
Understanding your strength is important. Not only does it help you in your business, your self-worth also increases when you allow yourself to do something you are good at.
5. Understand why you are doing what you are doing
Managing distractions isn’t the hardest part when it comes to focusing. Deciding what is most important to you is. If you are uncertain about what is important to you, it’s easy to fall into the pattern of doing things that don’t produce the results you desire.
You also get distracted easily by incoming opportunities.
Instead of being overwhelmed with your long to-do-list, ask yourself why each task is important to you and how does it contribute to your overarching goal.
Having a clear purpose gives you the direction and motivation to move forward. It helps you eliminate unnecessary tasks that don’t serve you.
6. Write ideas down and let them incubate
Sometimes, when you try to focus on your task on hand, your mind keeps coming out with new ideas and things for you to do. In that case, what should you do?
Execution always take more time than generating new ideas. When you have ideas while working, remember to jot them down first. Not only will you capture the ideas, it helps you get your ideas out of your system fast so that you can redirect your focus back to your current task quicker.
Never give immediate attention to your new ideas. Don’t allow them to distract you. Instead, train yourself to focus by delaying the execution of your ideas. Keep them in your journal until it’s time to revisit them later. It’s more productive this way.
Plus, incubating your ideas let you see if your idea is still worth pursuing even after some time.
7. Organize your environment
One of my favorite thing to do when I get overwhelmed is to organize my environment. It’s difficult to organize your mind when it gets messy. Writing your thoughts down and organize on something tangible like a piece of paper helps.
But I like to organize my table and closet too when my mind gets messy. Your physical environment is a reflection of your internal state.
Getting yourself in the act of organizing things outside your work helps you organize thing in your work. You practice organizing and making decisions on things that are less risky.
Once you get the hang of organizing something outside your work, go back to your work and you will discover a fresh perspective on your business.
The word “over” in “overwhelmed”, suggests that it’s too much. When you are getting overwhelmed, it’s time to make things smaller, simpler and easier.
To sum up the 7 bullet points, here’s how to stay motivated in short:
- Give yourself a break
- Focus on doing one task at a time
- Complete one project before starting another
- Don’t just do your best, do what you do best
- Understand why you are doing what you’re doing
- Write ideas down and let them incubate
- Organize your environment
Are you feeling overwhelmed?