Being overwhelmed with work is both a blessing and a curse.
You’ve grafted for months, or maybe even years, and it’s finally paid off. You can pay the bills, and you no longer have that sick tummy feeling wondering if you’ll be able to earn enough the following month.
But you have work coming out of your ears and clients demanding all of your time.
It’s overwhelming. I get it.
When we’re living in times of uncertainty, it can be hard to say ‘no’. And even for those who aren’t business owners, if you have a great work ethic and enjoy what you do, it’s an easy trap to fall into.
But when you realise that your work-life balance is anything but balanced, and you can’t remember the last time you didn’t feel stressed, that’s when it’s time to make a change.
Here’s 5 things you can do:
1. Take a break. Multiple breaks.
Working non-stop is not the key to success. We lose motivation, productivity, and all-round drive to do what we need to do. And worst of all, it’s detrimental to our wellbeing.
So, take a break – and take them often. Stand up. Stretch your legs. Leave the room. Do something different for ten-minutes. And don’t be afraid to take longer breaks too. Go out for a walk. Get some fresh air. Be present with yourself and those around you.
2. Reduce your daily to-do list
If you’re anything like me, you have a never-ending to-do list — and even once you’ve crossed off everything on that list, within a couple of hours, it will be full again. Bring it down a notch and start to prioritise.
Everything doesn’t need to be completed today. Reduce that to-do list to the five most important tasks for each day – and if that’s still too much, focus on one thing. Just one. Multi-tasking is one of the core drivers of feeling overwhelmed with work, so quit jumping between projects and only move on once a task has been completed.
3. Set your own schedule
One of my biggest freelancing gripes has been feeling like my clients own my time. The reality is they don’t — I do. They don’t know if I’m not sitting at my desk all day every day, and they don’t need to. As long as I complete the tasks that I’m required to do, that’s all that matters.
If you work for yourself, take advantage of it. Carve our your ‘freedom hour’ somewhere in your working day where you do things for you. Workout, take a bath, spend time with loved ones, read a book — whatever it is that makes you tick and will re-energise you to go back to work.
4. Talk or write about it
One of the best things you can do when you’re feeling overwhelmed is to talk about it to someone. If there’s no-one in your household, pick up the phone and gain a different perspective from someone who is removed from the situation and can provide you with that much needed support and advice.
And if you don’t feel you can talk to someone, write it down instead. Grab a notebook, or better yet, a journal, and jot down whatever comes to mind. It can be a really therapeutic exercise and is a great way of brain dumping all of those thoughts whizzing around your head.
5. Be kind to yourself
Most of all, give yourself grace. We can have all the best intentions in the world but some days we wake up and we’re just not feeling it. We might feel uninspired and de-motivated, and struggle to get out of bed in the morning — and that’s okay.
So if you don’t complete your to-do list one day, or you experience another kind of setback, don’t sweat it. This will not define you. See it as an opportunity to rest and recover.
And remember, every day is a new day for something amazing to happen. Look after yourself on your ‘down days’ and the ‘up days’ will be better than you ever imagined.