44 Tips for Dealing with Overwhelm

Posted by on May 21 2018

Dealing with overwhelm is like juggling balls.The Ultimate Guide for Entrepreneurs Who Do Too Much.

As a small business owner, there are often too many ideas, too many tasks and projects, and not enough time or resources. Entrepreneurs are a creative bunch of people and we’re always thinking of new ideas!

I don’t know anyone who isn’t time-constrained. We all have busy lives, and if you run your own business, you are doubly busy.

Below are 44 tips for dealing with overwhelm and increasing productivity. Feel free to share this with your friends, colleagues and mastermind group partners.

The Rules

Just pick ONE of these tips and do it. Do not overload yourself more, by trying to do all these tips. This article will be online forever and you can come back to it to pick up your next tip.

Understand Why You’re Feeling Overwhelmed

Many of my clients and students tell me they are feeling overwhelmed by running their own small business. It doesn’t matter whether your business is brand new or 20 years old, there are many things to juggle as a business owner. You are not alone in feeling this way, and there are some very common reasons why we feel overwhelmed:

  • Trying to be everything to everyone
  • Trying to focus on too many things at once
  • Being too optimistic about how much time it takes to do a task
  • Adding too many appointments and projects to your weekly calendar
  • Not saying “no” to people and projects

Notice how all these things are a CHOICE you made? Every time you make a choice to do too much, you make a choice to feel overwhelmed.

You are in control.Β You are in control of your calendar. You are in control of which projects are top priority. You are in control of your thoughts about your business. You’re even in control about whether you answer a ringing phone or not.

The power is in your hands.

Admitting That You Can’t Do It All

I have a To Do list that is six typewritten pages long. Every time I have a brilliant idea for a new project, I add it to the To Do list.

As surely as the sun rises each morning, the more I add to the list, the more overwhelmed I feel.

Then I had a startling insight: I will never be finished with my To Do list. I will always have wonderful new projects that I want to add. I will always have maintenance tasks that need to be performed. There will always be emails to answer and phone calls to make.

Once I understood that I would never get it all done, then it was only a baby step to the knowledge that I can’t do it all myself. Either I have to delegate projects and tasks, or I have to delete them from my list. If you are serious about not feeling burned out and overwhelmed, then the first place to start making cuts is in your To Do list.

Take Your Time

New habits take some getting used to, don’t they?

The outcome will be a feeling of mastery over your workload, your time and your energy. You will be in control of your calendar and To Do list instead of feeling as if they are in control of you.

Start With These Simple Tips

1. Calm down. You cannot do any of these tips if you are feeling stressed. Do 5 minutes of something relaxing before trying any of these tips.

2. Set priorities and goals. Where do you want your business to be in 12 months? What is most important, right now, to get you to your 12-month goals? Pick just three goals for 12 months. If you complete them, you can always add another one later.

3. Centralize your To Do list. Because I’m at my desk most of workday, I have a To Do file right on my computer that I can easily access and update. Whether you keep your To Do list on your smart phone or in a notebook, make sure you can get your hands on it quickly. When a new idea comes up, you have a place to put it immediately, instead of trying to keep track of it in your head. This is so liberating!

4. Focus. Choose one task and focus solely on that until it is complete. Stop multitasking; it will only lead you to feeling more overwhelmed.

5. Set a timer. Work on one task for 20 minutes, and then take a break. Every week, work for 5 minutes extra (25 minutes instead of 20, and so on) to help rebuild your focus, sustained attention span and ability to concentrate. Pay attention to when you start to become distracted and work with your natural biorhythm to take mini-breaks when you need them. Most adults can pay sustained attention for 20 minutes before becoming distracted. (Most adults can renew their attention to a task after being distracted, too.) I use a timer from TimeTimer to keep track of my 20-minute work segments.

6. Know how long it takes. I am notorious for assuming that tasks take much less time than they actually take. I block out 15 minutes for a task then discover it actually takes 30 minutes. I have learned this simple rule: whatever you think a task will take, double it. That way you won’t add too many tasks to your daily calendar and you will feel less stress because you know you’ve given adequate time to every task. Plus there’s a nice added cushion of time for a tea break!

7. Simplify. Is your business too complicated? Should some of your manual tasks be automated? Take a deep look at every task you do and ask yourself if there is a better, easier way to do it, or if a piece of software could do that task for you.

8. Know your Productivity Peak. When is your best, most productive time? Most creative time? For me, it’s 8AM to 2PM. That is the time when my intellect and my creativity is flying high. So I use that time to work with clients, teach classes, write books, and create training programs. Knowing and using your personal productivity peak times will help you be more productive and produce better quality work. Use your non-peak time for maintenance items that don’t require much brainpower (or willpower).

9. Give yourself the gift of distraction. Sometimes we push ourselves too hard. Owning a business is a marathon, not a sprint. Every few hours, take a break from your work. Step out your front door and get a breath of fresh air. Play some music. Go for a walk. Read a fun book. Have coffee with a friend. Do anything that takes your heart and mind away from business. You will be rewarded with a clear mind and a fresh perspective when you get back to work.

10. Get rid of clutter. For many people, when there are too many things in your visual field of focus, it is hard for your brain to concentrate on the task at hand. If out of sight really does mean out of mind, keep a file drawer for paperwork and put a note to yourself in your To Do list about where to find the necessary paperwork or email when you’re ready to work on that task.

11. Know your RQ (resistance quotient). Discover what you’re resisting when you use distraction and procrastination instead of doing your work. Stop self-sabotaging your success.

Specific Things You Can Do to Deal with Overwhelm

12. Just say no without guilt. Too often we try to please everyone and end up with too much on our plates. When you are feeling overwhelmed, look at the people and projects you’ve say Yes to that perhaps you should have said No to. Here’s a practical article I wrote on how to say no to people when they ask for your time.Β  Look at your To Do list and ask yourself if you can simply say No to any of the tasks. Remember, you are in control of your task list and your calendar. Only you can overbook yourself, so only you can say No to requests for your time.

13. Clear your desk. There is no better feeling than starting fresh and getting a complete handle on everything that needs to be done. By going through every paper, every pile, every note, you consolidate and prioritize. Remember to use your centralized To Do list and throw away all those individual To Do notes!

14. What’s most important? Each morning, enter your office and ask, “What are the MOST important tasks to get done today?” Make a careful balance about short-term emergencies and long-term tasks so that you can meet your goals without getting swept-up in daily disasters.

15. Do it. Sometimes, a bare-knuckle commitment to getting things done is necessary. That pesky colonoscopy you’ve been putting off? Do it. That phone call to a disgruntled employee? Do it. That 3,000 word article? Do it.

16. Ditch it. Some projects were never meant to be. Some catalogs and magazines can be thrown away.

17. Delegate it. Ask for help. Look at all the tasks you do, and for each one ask, “Am I the only person who can do this task in the entire world?” Some tasks are your sole providence; others can be delegated to a website designer, graphic artist, administrative assistant, etc.

18. Work for results. Which things you currently do are giving you the results you want? Stop wasting time on things that don’t give you the outcomes you want, even if other people tell you that you “have to” do them. Stop listening to gurus and start listening to your own intelligence and experience. The only thing that matters is whether you are creating the outcomes you want.

19. Get into task habits. For instance, the first thing I do each morning is handle emails from clients and students. Then I do social media because it allows me to use a different part of my brain. Next, I look at financials. Then I prep for that day’s client calls and classes. These four tasks take me about 60 minutes, warm up my brain, and allow me to serve my clients and students first, before getting into the main part of my day. Each afternoon before I leave, I plan my projects/tasks for the next day, answer any last-minute emails, and straighten up my desk. Having task habits each day allows you to get the important daily tasks done in an orderly fashion.

20. Chunk your schedule. Do you have scheduled time each week for marketing? For administrative work? For speaking with clients? If you block out scheduled time each week for your work, you will know that you have a plan for how to tackle the work. For instance, I use all day Friday to write articles, books and new classes. I use Monday morning for administrative work. I teach on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 1PM. What does your ideal workweek look like?

21. OMD: Off My Desk. Make a concerted effort to handle each item that comes across your desk ONCE. Do not stack it in a pile and think, “I’ll get back to it later.” Each morning, make a clean sweep of your desk while reciting the mantra: OMD, OMD, OMD!

22. Bit-sized chunks. Divide big projects into mini-tasks. Grab a piece of paper and write down all the tasks you can think go into the project. Divide any task that takes more than 60 minutes into smaller, doable chunks.

23. Find it in 60 seconds or less. Create a rule for yourself that you will be able to get your hands on anything in your office in 60 seconds or less. When you put something away, put it away in the most intuitive place you can think of, so that it will be at your fingertips when you need it. Find a home for every item in your office and return it to its home after each use. Fall in love with your filing cabinet.

24. Just three tasks a day. Stop overscheduling your time. Choose just three tasks a day to complete. If you are done early, you can always take on another task (or escape from the office for a little hard-earned play time).

25. Admit that you will never get caught up. Your To Do list will never be empty. Humans are the only animal who, once they complete a task, create new projects and tasks to occupy their minds, their time, their creativity, their energy. We’re hard wired this way.

26. Stop multitasking. While there are conflicting scientific research findings about whether multitasking causes productivity loss or not, my clients tell me that trying to do too many things at once causes them to do a poorer job, both in productivity and quality of work.

27. Out of sight, out of mind. When you need to focus deeply on a task, especially for a long amount of time, try clearing off your desk first. We get overstimulated, visually, by having many items within our view. By putting them out of sight, you can then focus more fully on the task in front of you. I use this technique when doing in-depth strategy work for myself or with clients. It forces my visual focus, and therefore my mental focus, on just one thing.

28. When you need to focus, get away from your desk. When I’m working on a big project, like writing a book, I find it best if I take my laptop and leave my office. If the weather is cooperative, I will go site by the lake and write; if not, I will find some quiet corner of a coffee house or hotel and write there. Even moving from your office to your living room will help.Β Because there is nothing else to grab your attention, you are able to focus for longer periods of time.

29. Check it off. Make a list (a To Do, a Task list for a big project). Put a big checkmark next to each task when you get it done. It’s very satisfying!

30. Make an appointment with yourself. Having a To Do list is great, but the real payoff comes when you move tasks from your To Do list and put them in your actual calendar as an appointment with yourself. In this way, you can estimate how much time something will take, and know that you have blocked out enough time to get it done.

31. Celebrate. When you get done with a big project, don’t automatically move to the next one. Find some wonderful way to celebrate your achievement!

32. Put on your CEO Hat. What are priority tasks for the ultimate success of my business? Sometimes what seems like the right thing to do in the moment is exactly the wrong thing to do for the future.

33. Get it out of your head and on to paper. Are you trying to carry your entire project plan in your head? Are you carrying your shopping list and your weekend appointments in your head, too? Stop it! Find a place to write down all these things, and use it consistently, so that you have a clear mind.

34. Unsubscribe. Do you belong to too many email newsletters that you never read? I have a litmus test: Every quarter, I go through all the email newsletters I have received from a specific person. If I don’t find at least one brilliant idea, one great tip, or one deep insight, I unsubscribe. By knowing why you subscribe to email newsletters, and using those values to judge whether a newsletter is delivering value to you (or not), you’ll easily be able to unsubscribe from those that don’t meet your needs. Life is too short to wade through emails that don’t sing to you.

35. Close down your email and social media sites during peak work periods. It’s too distracting, too tempting. (It’s like not keeping ice cream in the house when you are on a diet.)

36. Set up a good filing system. Keep big projects in their own 3-ring binder or an electronic folder on your hard drive, so that all your material is in one place. Archive old financial papers, client files, etc. into storage drawers or boxes.

37. Embrace the PDF. Get the paper off your desk by using electronic PDFs of anything that’s important. You can scan anything that comes in to your office on paper to a PDF. You can also print any online or electronic file to PDF using your operating system’s PDF creation software. If your computer’s operating system doesn’t include a PDF creation software package, try the free PrimoPDF.

38. Create an at-a-glance project planner. I juggle many projects each month. So once a month I grab a piece of art paper and create multiple squares, one square for each project. In each square, I write down the five most important tasks that need to be done for that project in that month. When I glance at it, I can see how all the puzzle pieces fit together and where the demands on my time will be felt the most.

39. Big rocks first. Do you know how to plan your priorities? This wonderful video with Stephen Covey will help you see the big picture.

40. Perfectionism kills. I know, because I tried to do every task perfectly and it nearly killed my business. Some tasks are critical for your success and need to be as good as they possibly can be. Other tasks are not so important and just need to be done without a lot of glory or perfection.

41. Backlink tasks to a project deadline. If you have a project with a deadline (like a class that starts on a certain date), put that deadline in your calendar. Then, working backwards, fill in the tasks on your calendar that lead up to the project conclusion. Then you will know when you have to start the project in order to complete the tasks in time.

42. Use GanttProject software. I’m a geek. I love software. I love Gantt charts. A Gantt chart is a visual way of seeing and linking tasks within a project, assigning time to each task, and connecting the tasks to figure out how long the entire project will take. I use a free software program called GanttProject for mapping out project/task work for big projects. You can download it for free here: http://www.ganttproject.biz/download (Don’t use the big green “download” button on this page. That doesn’t download GanttProject. Instead, look for the link in the upper left corner that says “GanttProject 2.5.” That’s the correct link.

43. Allow for Murphy’s Law. No week is complete without something going wrong. So plan for it. Allow time in your week for tasks to take longer, phone calls to take longer, emergencies to crop up. You’ll be happier planning for breathing space.

44. Action alleviates anxiety. Pick one high-priority task on your To Do list and do it. Nothing relieves stress better than getting off your butt and taking action. Don’t fall in the trap of picking a low-priority task just because it is easy. Do the things that matter.

Whew! That’s quite some list! As I said earlier, don’t try to do all 44 tips at once. Pick one that feels like it will work well for you and take a month to make it a habit. Then pick another and another until you can feel your overwhelm and anxiety lessen.

I’m wishing you a peaceful and productive business life!

Which one of these tips have you tried?

copyright (c) 2012, Karyn Greenstreet. All rights reserved.


64 comments for now

64 Responses to “44 Tips for Dealing with Overwhelm”

  1. Monica Welman

    Wow!! What a great list. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    #34 speaks to me. I get too many email newsletters and I feel aweful that I can’t read all of them. I mean, I feel like I should read them each month, you know? Then I can’t pick which one to read so I don’t ready any of them.

    I’ll go through them and delete those that don’t match what I need right now.

    I free freer already! πŸ™‚ Thanks, Karyn!

    02 Apr 2012 at 11:01 am

  2. Karyn Greenstreet

    I was the exact same way, Monica. I must have had forty or fifty ezine subscriptions. I’d feel guilty if I didn’t read them all, which was stupid. When I pared it down to 10 that I love, I felt like the weight of the world was off my shoulders. πŸ™‚

    02 Apr 2012 at 11:30 am

  3. Caro McVitie

    I learned number 40 the hard way. First in college, then out in the workforce, then in my own business. Perfectionism still creeps in from time to time, but I just hit it on the head with a hammer and it goes away.


    Thanks for the list, Karyn. Much appreciated. I’ll be printing it out and studying it.

    02 Apr 2012 at 11:14 am

  4. Karyn Greenstreet

    LOL, Caroline, I like the way you think!

    02 Apr 2012 at 11:30 am

  5. This is fabulous! I am sharing on FB right now. SUPERB, Karyn!

    02 Apr 2012 at 11:20 am

  6. Karyn Greenstreet

    Thanks, Meggin, I figured it was time someone put together this list, with the hopes that at least ONE tip would make someone’s life better. As a “women who does too much,” I basically wrote this list for myself a few years ago, then started implementing the tips that felt right for me. Now my Calendar Is King and I know what I need to do each week.

    Sometimes I still slide into that overwhelmed feeling (bad habits die hard). Then I ask the question my mastermind group always asks me…Who Is In Charge of Your Calendar??? (Oh, yeah, right…that would be “me”. LOL)

    02 Apr 2012 at 11:32 am

  7. This is a great list! Two that I use a lot: #29 (I have used teuxdeux.com for over a year and it keeps me on track) and #28 (I head across the street to the library when I want to spend a few hours on long-term planning. It’s so good to get away from my desk and away from computers and phones for a bit).

    Now I’m going to print your list off and see what other great ideas I can incorporate into my work. Thanks again!

    02 Apr 2012 at 12:13 pm

  8. Karyn Greenstreet

    I forgot about teuxdeux.com, Sheri, thanks for reminding me! Evernote.com helps, too, in keeping all my notes and ideas in one place.

    02 Apr 2012 at 12:21 pm

  9. 43 is huge for me! Murphy’s Law almost always tacks at least 10 minutes to tasks sometimes more. I need to adopt the timer tip especially for Murphy’s Law times.

    02 Apr 2012 at 4:11 pm

  10. Karyn Greenstreet

    It gets me, too, Barbara. I have this rose-colored-glasses idea that every task will run smoothly, every project will flow effortlessly, and there will never, ever be a power outage in my office. I sometimes wonder which planet I’m living on. πŸ™‚

    02 Apr 2012 at 4:13 pm

  11. Karyn Greenstreet

    Folks, if you’re not seeing your photo next to your comment, just upload your photo to Gravatar. Many blogs use Gravatar, so once you upload your photo once, it will be used wherever you leave blog post comments. Cool, huh? πŸ™‚


    02 Apr 2012 at 4:14 pm

  12. Ann

    OMG, 44 tips for dealing with my worst problem! But when will I have time to read all of them πŸ™‚

    03 Apr 2012 at 6:04 am

  13. Karyn Greenstreet

    I’ll make you a deal, Ann. Just read one and let me know how you put it into practice. I’ll make sure the other 43 are available to you for the next 43 years, so you only have to choose one a year. πŸ™‚

    03 Apr 2012 at 6:32 am

  14. This is terrific, Karen! I awoke feeling overwhelmed and opened my mailbox and here are your tips! Perfect! Thank you.

    03 Apr 2012 at 7:07 am

  15. Karyn Greenstreet

    I’m glad you found them helpful, Sheryl. Nearly every single client I have ever spoken with in the past 17 years has had this problem at one time or another. The only way I’ve ever found to overcome it and be more productive is to create some sort of structure around my day.

    03 Apr 2012 at 7:11 am

  16. I echo what Sheryl said, I awoke feeling overwhelmed knowing I have put off a huge project. I noticed I have the tendency to create a huge project, then look at it as “the big picture”. In turn, what happens is I ultimately don’t approach at all because it is too overwhelming and I have no desire to even start it. By breaking it down into smaller steps, I can approach it with a better mind set.

    Letting go of the need for perfectionism is the ultimate challenge for me. Funny thing, I got distracted very easily while reading your tips and then clicking the links, and then reading more… I had to laugh. Awareness is key. Once we are aware of the self-destructing habits, we can take action. Thank you for sharing Karen, it’s just what this business owner needed to read today. Now off to unsubscribe from unread and unnecessary newsletters. πŸ™‚

    03 Apr 2012 at 8:29 am

  17. Karyn Greenstreet

    I’m just like you, Michelle. I see the “huge project” and start to freak out. I have to consciously stop myself, take a breath, and say, “Okay. Relax. Now…what STEPS are there in this project???” That calms me down and gives a sense of control.

    03 Apr 2012 at 8:55 am

  18. I have been focusing on numbers 5 and 31 lately. My work involves long periods of sustained concentration, so I am exploring ways to work more efficiently by using a timer. This seems counterintuitive right now, but I am giving it some time and hope to discover a new rhythm for work.

    And to infuse a bit of fun into everyday, I try to remember to celebrate, even after smaller projects. For me, this means going for a walk, gardening, etc. before moving on to the next project.

    Thank you for this list Karyn, it is a reminder of things done well and of things that can be improved upon.

    03 Apr 2012 at 8:35 am

  19. Karyn Greenstreet

    I had to read a really long, complicated business plan yesterday, and comment on it, Johanne. I set my timer for 20 minute segements, then took a mini-break between segments. Even getting a glass of water was enough to help me to refocus between 20 minute bursts.

    I like your idea of injecting a but of fun into every day! I’ll definitely have to do THAT!

    03 Apr 2012 at 8:57 am

  20. Thanks so much for these great tips Karyn!

    Number 33 is an absolute MUST.

    Despite all of the fancy new technology around these days, the 2 most important business tools are still a pen and paper πŸ™‚

    03 Apr 2012 at 9:08 am

  21. Karyn Greenstreet

    I agree, Jan. Getting it out of my head and on to paper is a *must*. Otherwise I’m awake at 2AM, thinking about stuff. Does that happen to you? πŸ™‚

    03 Apr 2012 at 10:56 am

  22. Karyn, I can’t thank you enough for posting these tips! And I love that you open with a recommendation that we take on one at a time -so we don’t add to our overwhelm with strategies to deal with overwhelm.

    I recently implemented a new filing system (GTD – Getting Things Done by David Allen) – that transformed my work week, eliminated a lot of noise in my day… I can highly recommend that for those who feel they don’t have a trustworthy system to manage their work (personal + professional).

    Today I plan to add in tip #5 – the timer and doing things in 20 minute segments. I plan to add that as a strategy this week, and see how it all goes.

    I bookmarked this list, so I can come back to it later. And I plan to share it with my own clients. Not many entrepreneurs, but most of them suffer from overwhelm at some point. They are all in some stage of career burnout, and overwhelm is common symptom of their burnout.

    So again I say – thank you. I so appreciate you for all you do.



    03 Apr 2012 at 11:28 am

  23. Karyn Greenstreet

    I love GTD, Lori! One of my favorite books/systems.

    I think most people in Western cultures suffer with feeling overwhelmed from time-to-time. But it’s in each person’s control whether they make that a habit or whether it’s an occassional situation.

    Let me know how the timer goes!


    03 Apr 2012 at 11:41 am

  24. These are really good, Karen–I’ll be passing along this list to my friends, and maybe to clients too. You’ve obviously given this a lot of thought and it shows! Personally, I’m heading for my biggest, highest priority task today and will feel much relief when I do. Thanks!

    03 Apr 2012 at 12:09 pm

  25. Karyn Greenstreet

    Let’s just say I learned these tips the hard way, Ronni. πŸ™‚

    You’re right: when you do your most important, high-priority tasks first, you feel GREAT!

    03 Apr 2012 at 2:51 pm

  26. Jennifer Ray

    Great article, Karyn. Before realizing the irony, I bookmarked it and added “read this article” to my to do list. Oh boy.

    03 Apr 2012 at 5:48 pm

  27. Karyn Greenstreet

    Oh, Jennifer! That’s priceless! πŸ™‚

    03 Apr 2012 at 6:06 pm

  28. Karyn, this is indeed a great post, and a great list! I followed your advice and didn’t chose but only one item to read in the 44, and it was right on target for me (I chose randomly), so I decided to come back to the list and look at another item, and it again spoke to me.

    I love lists. This one is great because it lists lots of the points I am building for myself so that I don’t get overwhelmed. I do step away from my desk a lot, and I set aside time to reflect on what I have done regularly.

    I also have a day in the week that is set aside – when I take care of spiritual well being and am completely disconnecting from the overload of the rest of the week! That’s been a real good thing to overcome the overwhelm!

    I will surely print your list as a reminder and guideline. Thank you so much for this post!

    03 Apr 2012 at 11:30 pm

  29. Karyn Greenstreet

    I love that you chose randomly, Otir, and that certain ones “spoke” to you. We all need to trust our intuition more. I believe we know the right things to do to assist us with the feelings of overwhelm, once we see a list like this. I’m so pleased it was helpful to you!

    03 Apr 2012 at 11:46 pm

  30. Knowing how long something takes would help me be more realistic. Things do always take longer than I think they will. And, I really dislike wasting time. Instead, if I think more realistically, I wouldn’t get overwhelmed by how long it takes!

    04 Apr 2012 at 3:12 pm

  31. Karyn Greenstreet

    When my colleague told me to basically DOUBLE the amount of time I thought something would take, I thought he was kidding me. Now I consistently predict that things will take me double the amount of time my gut tells me. While it’s not 100% true that it takes double the amount of time for every single task, I FEEL better knowing that I haven’t overloaded my schedule. πŸ™‚

    04 Apr 2012 at 3:19 pm

  32. Love this article! I will share it on our blog!


    04 Apr 2012 at 4:11 pm

  33. Very educated and informative Karyn!

    Glad to see that i’m already following a number of the rules but loads to add that will increase my results!

    04 Apr 2012 at 4:45 pm

  34. This is a great list! I’m working on #18 now. Everyone has an opinion on what’s best. I’m trying to figure out what’s best for ME!

    04 Apr 2012 at 6:36 pm

  35. I look forward to reading more of your articles and posts in the future, so I’ve bookmarked your blog. When I see good quality content, I like to share it with others. So I’ve created a backlink to your site. Thank you!…

    05 Apr 2012 at 6:15 am

  36. Karyn Greenstreet

    Thanks for sharing it, Jamie and Valarie. Please feel free to share the link to this blog post with others who are feeling overwhelmed. If we all work on it together, imagine how much better small biz owners around the world will feel!


    05 Apr 2012 at 8:20 am

  37. Karyn Greenstreet

    Gbonju and Julie, I’m so pleased you found the list and ideas helpful. πŸ™‚

    05 Apr 2012 at 8:22 am

  38. Carol

    Thank you so much for your great list! I bookmarked this page and am going to share with some of my friends. Number 29 is one of my favorites. It feels so good to “check it off” your list.
    I, too am guilty of multitasking. It is hard to do a good job at anything when you try to do too many at once.
    I love the one about clearing off your desk. Mine is badly in need of that! Thanks for the “push” to get it done.
    God Bless!

    07 Apr 2012 at 1:41 pm

  39. Karyn Greenstreet

    I just cleaned my desk last week, Carol. It felt great! (I wonder why I kept half the stuff I found on my desk?)

    07 Apr 2012 at 10:32 pm

  40. I found this great timer online – for free! I’ve been using it and getting so much more done! I’m more focused and my breaks are “cleaner” – real breaks. The tool is called “focus booster” and you can download it for free. It’s set up for 25 mins focus, 5 min break. But you can customize it. It’s working well for me.


    14 Apr 2012 at 3:36 pm

  41. I think I love you. Thanks so much for these tips!!

    20 Apr 2012 at 6:11 pm

  42. Thanks for this list, Karyn! I have been unsubscribing to things lately just to clean out the inbox. It’s amazing how much better I feel with fewer emails coming in. I can handle the most important things so much quicker.
    Great tips! Thanks again –

    29 Apr 2012 at 3:39 pm

  43. Karyn Greenstreet

    Same here, Julie! Having a lot of unread newsletters in my Inbox just causes more stress, so unless I’m really getting value from being subscribed to that newsletter, I exit quickly. And I feel so much better after I unsubscribe! πŸ™‚

    30 Apr 2012 at 9:31 am

  44. Excellent advice. And very timely since I am feeling slightly overwhelmed today!

    17 May 2012 at 9:15 am

  45. Karyn Greenstreet

    Breathe deep, Kathy. Do ONE action. Action alleviates anxiety and overwhelm. πŸ™‚

    17 May 2012 at 2:04 pm

  46. just went thru all answers to you and a awful lot fill my very reason of wanting to come aboard now Thanking you very much

    08 Jul 2012 at 10:13 am

  47. I can’t believe the timing of this article as just yesterday it finally hit me all the mistakes I’ve been making and your list is an absolute goldmine.

    #40 is also a hard one for me. I’m obsessive compulsive about typos, grammar, etc., as I used to do medical transcription and we got graded on the tiniest mistake we made, so this has been a hard habit to let go of.

    I also have a hard time saying no, esp. given the fact I’m still learning how to market and have yet to make a nickel on here due to numerous, serious surgeries I had to have.

    It was like I’d take 3 steps forward and 2 steps backwards every time I had to have surgery as you’d be surprised what you forget when you’re still in the learning process. This became very frustrating to me so I would hurry …….. NOT.

    As someone else stated, I’m definitely going to bookmark this page as just yesterday I started a “to do” list, realized I needed to delete a lot of offers I had committed myself to as I was spreading myself too thin; thus I wasn’t getting anything done in any of the companies I thought I just had to join.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you as I know this is going to give me the backbone to say no and is going to be the start of a much more productive day, EVERY day.


    08 Jul 2012 at 8:20 pm

  48. Karyn Greenstreet

    Good for you, Corinne, it sounds like you have a plan and you’re working every day to get yourelf out of overwhelm. πŸ™‚

    09 Jul 2012 at 4:17 pm

  49. Joe Faia

    Karyn, you da woman! Thanks bunches!

    16 Jul 2012 at 12:31 pm

  50. Karyn Greenstreet

    You’re welcome, Joe! πŸ™‚

    16 Jul 2012 at 2:11 pm

  51. I so needed this. Constant overwhelm is a rampant problem in our community. Thanks for the tips.

    23 Jul 2012 at 1:31 pm

  52. Excellent post. I was told recently that I should only try to complete in one day as much as I can fit on a sticky note, which kind of goes along with your “3 tasks a day”. I definitely have to start unsubscribing from some lists!

    23 Jul 2012 at 11:10 pm

  53. […] Want more tips? Read my blog post 44 Tips for Dealing with Overwhelm! […]

    06 Aug 2012 at 10:20 pm

  54. This is brilliant Karen – thank you so much. It would be tempting to be overwhelmed by so many great ideas but you’ve nailed it by suggesting we just pick one and do it for a month to make it a habit.

    10 Sep 2012 at 6:48 pm

  55. Karyn Greenstreet

    I’m STILL choosing one a month, Caroline. πŸ™‚

    13 Sep 2012 at 5:15 pm

  56. Thanks Karyn. I love the timer idea and slowly adding time. Have you tried Pomodoro before? http://www.pomodorotechnique.com/

    I also really like choosing not to feel overwhelmed. I had my most productive day recently when I wrote “I choose to not be overwhelmed today” on the top of my todo list!

    25 Sep 2012 at 3:00 pm

  57. Karyn Greenstreet

    Ally, thanks for sharing the information about Pomodoro. I’m definitely going to have to check out that website!

    25 Sep 2012 at 4:38 pm

  58. […] http://www.passionforbusiness.com/blog/44-tips-for-dealing-with-overwhelm/ […]

    10 Oct 2012 at 3:15 am

  59. Thank you for your words of wisdom. As a new business owner, with a quickly growing business, it is very easy to become overwhelmed and have business merge into personal life. These helpful tips have opened my eyes and have me really looking forward to the things to come!

    02 Feb 2013 at 6:56 pm

  60. Karyn Greenstreet

    You’re welcome, Dan. As you can see from the number of small business owners who have shared this article, you’re not alone. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you run your own business. The trick is to take control of your mindset, your calendar and your task list!

    02 Feb 2013 at 9:55 pm

  61. I’m particularly fond of #6 and#39 … and am a recovering #40. =)

    09 Apr 2013 at 2:02 pm

  62. Karyn Greenstreet

    Yeah, I’m recovering from #40, too, Deb! LOL πŸ™‚

    09 Apr 2013 at 2:52 pm

  63. “Trying to be everything for everyone.”

    This is exactly the problem that I have and constantly juggling with it. Karyn, thank you for the great tips in this article!

    13 Apr 2013 at 7:42 pm

  64. These are some great tips! I’m always trying to focus on to many tasks at one time, Thanks for sharing these great tips!

    24 May 2013 at 10:36 pm

Category: Managing Projects, Tasks & Time, Running a Strong & Efficient Business
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