Have you ever felt overwhelmed before?
You know, it's the kind usually accompanied by some lovely anxiety, procrastination, and that feeling like your brain just won't shut down... ever?
I was in the throws of a doozy of an overwhelm-fest last week that was keeping me up at night and at the same time making it impossible for me to focus on anything productive.
It showed up because I started really examining my goals for next year, and man are they ever BIG. My trajectory for 2015 is powerful, lofty, fun, exhilarating, not unrealistic but still a stretch, and just so happens to scare the shit out of me a little bit all at the same time.
These are the best kind of goals to have! They're challenging enough to keep you excited and moving forward, but not so big that you find them to be unrealistic and not worth the effort.
So where did the chronic overwhelm come from, you ask?
Well, like Veruca Salt, I want it all NOW.
So I couldn't stop thinking about how to bring all of it to life, right NOW.
A six-month program to help a small group of entrepreneurs build their killer platforms became something I could "throw out there for six weeks in beta in December".
A new weekend online productivity intensive turned into "this is SO simple, why CAN'T I just do it this month?"
An online course to build the foundational elements of your business strategically was suddenly "just a handful of videos I could pull together in one weekend!"
Can you see the problem here?
I got so excited about all the possibilities for next year that I wanted to jump into the fray immediately. No patience for me, let's just GET IT ON became my new motto.
And so I started trying to build each of these programs (and more) with an (enthusiastically unrealistic) intention to launch all of them before the end of this year.
OK, ok... I can hear you laughing from here...
Anyway, as I set out to create these offerings in a six week or less timespan, I kept running into roadblocks along the way. (Go figure.)
Let me know if any of this sounds familiar...
Amy dives in head first into the planning - "I LOVE these new offerings. Thank goodness I'm a project manager and strategist; this'll be super easy!"
- Amy picks a random place to begin the development process, we'll call it Step 1, thinking it's the easy and logical thing to do - "I'm SO smart! This is gonna be awesome!!"
- Amy realizes that in order to accomplish Step 1 she actually has to back up and do something else first, we'll call it Step 0 - "Humph. THAT'S annoying..."
- Amy shift gears to focus on Step 0 and realizes she'll have to back up further to complete Step 0 (which means she's getting farther away from Step 1 in the process) - "REALLY??? WTF? This was supposed to easy?!!?"
- Rinse and repeat - over and over and over and over and over again...
So as the excitement and upbeat energy waned, the anxiety and overwhelm started to soar.
How was I supposed to build all these amazing things RIGHT NOW if I kept having to back up further and further and further away from the end result?
It was time for an intervention.
I realized that I had all those ideas in my head. All that excitement around making them happen NOW. So many to-do's, and the list kept growing and growing and growing each time I'd back up another step further away from each project's end goal.
All that AND the normal day-to-day stuff swirling around, jockeying for attention in my limited headspace.
It had to go live somewhere else. But where?
Here's exactly how I eliminated that overwhelm in three simple steps. Try em' on for size yourself next time you're feeling a little "REALLY??? WTF!?" coming on.
3 Simple Steps to Eliminate Overwhelm FAST
1. Get Real
When we're excited about something, it's easy to throw on the rose-colored glasses and forget about what needs to come first in the project execution process. By Getting Real, we're not diminishing the dream or goal, we're just allowing in some effective logistical planning. Once I Got Real and saw that I was missing all the foundational stuff necessary to bring those offerings to life, I realized that waiting until next year was the ONLY way to put this stuff out there effectively.
2. Brain Dump, Baby
This was THE BEST. I sat down and scribbled every thought, idea, to-do that had been plaguing me for the last few weeks. Everything that was occupying space in my head went down on that piece of paper. It took me about thirty minutes to do this exercise, but it was SO worth it when it was done. Evict that shit from your head and give it a new home on paper so you can come back to visit it when the timing is right. Speaking of timing...
3. Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize
You can do this step any way you'd like, but here's where I geeked out on Excel, BIG TIME. I transferred my handwritten list to Excel and then categorized everything. I determined what was a "mission-critical" top priority to accomplish and what was stuff that was just taking up space and could be handled later. I color coded (<--Excel geek, yes, I know) so I could easily see in my list which things needed to happen right away. When your list is 120 items long and growing, this color coding is super helpful for the bonus step.
Bonus Step: Get Busy!
This one speaks for itself. Pick from those top priorities, give yourself some due dates, and take action, dammit!
If Excel is not your friend like it is mine, don't fret. You can mark priorities and color-code your handwritten list too.
Or if you want a little help making sense of that brain dump, check out my new To-Do Detox. It's 50% off through Monday...
Ninja Accountability time:
Drop a comment on my Facebook page and let me know how many items were on YOUR brain dump, and what your new mission critical top priority is going to be. You'll get some Ninja Accountability from me when you do!
PS... I've got a couple other new Quick Hit Strategies available for 50% off till Monday, so if your copy needs a lil' help or you want a second set of eyes on your website, check em' out here.