At the weekend I suffered with a rollercoaster of emotions. To start with I got an e-mail reminder telling me that it’s only 2 months until the Great North Run. Eeek. Panic set in because I felt completely unprepared. I can barely run 6 miles let alone 13 miles! How am I going to do it? Why did I sign up for it in the first place? The negative self doubt had firmly planted its seed in my head.
Then 2 incredible things happened:-
1) I inadvertently watched the men’s semi final match at Wimbledon between Anderson and Isner. What a cracking match at a whopping 6 hours 35 minutes (which is now a record for the longest semi-final match in history)!! Both men were mentally and physically exhausted yet both were determined to win and neither wanted to give up!! So this got me thinking. How do they do it? What makes them not give up?
I found out that it’s all about the mind!! The mind is the body’s most powerful organ and it was sheer determination, motivation and positive thinking that drove the tennis players on. So on Saturday when I was struggling with my 5k parkrun, mainly because of the heat and I just wanted to give up, I kept remembering this match and kept repeating the words “6 and a half hours” to myself. If they can do it for that length of time in that heat then so can I. And I did 😊
2) I watched a very emotional post that a young 26 year old lady who died of cancer put on Facebook the day before she died which put life into perspective. Here is a link to it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vOhKJSXT8I As I am running the Great North Run for Tees Valley Cancer Research it really hit home and made me more motivated to help and hopefully one day find a cure for this dreaded disease.
So what has this got to do with running your own business?
1) Feeling Overwhelmed!
Most business owners feel overwhelmed with the tasks they need to do to run their own business. It can be a huge responsibility, be very time consuming and some people just don’t know where to start.
2) Increased Stress Levels
This feeling of overwhelm leads to increased stress levels which in turn adds to the feeling of overwhelm until it becomes a vicious cycle and you’ve no idea how to break it! Did you know that over 70% business owners find running their own business stressful?
3) Not Enough Time
Both these feelings are compounded with the fact that time is precious and most people find that they’ve not enough time in the day to get everything done.
My Top Tips!
The first thing to do is to write everything that’s in your head on a piece of paper. Don’t be concerned about the order or how long the list is as this stage. Just writing it down takes some pressure off.
2) One Step at a Time
The worst thing to do is try to do everything at once. Look at each item on the list and see if you can break it down into little steps. This then makes it easier to complete those tasks and reduces that feeling of overwhelm.
E.g. if your task is to get all your bookkeeping done for the new tax year from April then break it down so that you just do April’s one day, then May’s the next, etc. You can then break it down even further so that you just do 30 minutes of April’s bookkeeping.
Once you’ve conquered one step it will motivate you on to the next step and you will achieve results rather than procrastinate about a seemingly impossible task. For me, with running I usually break it down into kilometres and make a calculation in my head as to whether I’m on target. If I’m struggling, like on Saturday, I break it down into smaller steps like just to the next lamppost and then the next which makes it easier to achieve.
Use your list and task breakdown to plan your week. What do you really need to get done this week? What can wait until next week? You’ll soon find out what’s important. I felt completely overwhelmed with the news about the GNR but I have 2 months to train and will put in a plan of action in place to achieve it using little steps.
This is such a useful tool and probably one of the most important.
What tasks can you give to other people to do? Can you outsource your marketing, bookkeeping, accounts, HR? Yes, there may be a cost to it but what is this cost compared to the cost of your time. Calculate it. Multiply your hourly rate by the hours it takes you to do the task? This is time you could be going out getting new clients or time spent with family. Is it worth it?
5) Do Something You Enjoy
Feelings of stress and overwhelm are extremely common when running your own business and the more you think about them the worse they become. My advice is to take a break. Do something you enjoy whether it’s listening to music, reading a book, going for a walk, swimming or even sat out in the garden enjoying the sunshine. This will help you to re-focus and you can go back to the task at hand with renewed vigour.
6) Positive Thinking, Mantras and Inspiration
The mind is so powerful that if you think you won’t be able to do something you probably won’t do it. By changing your mindset to a more positive one and using the steps listed above you will find it much easier to get things done. With me it was saying “6 and half hours” as a mantra to keep me going and the emotional cancer video. You might create your own mantra or have a picture of something you want to achieve from running your own business to keep you going.
7) Treat Yourself
There’s nothing nicer than to treat yourself when you’ve achieved your goal. Set yourself targets and reward yourself with a treat when it’s complete!
I hope you found my personal story and top tips useful. If you do still feel overwhelmed and stressed then please get in contact with me on 01642 927265 or 07852 300952 or firstname.lastname@example.org and we can discuss ways in which we can help you. That way you can concentrate on getting more clients, growing your business and freeing up your time to do more of the things you enjoy rather than being stressed by the things you hate doing!