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How to Reduce Overwhelm in Your Business: Tips From a Veteran Remote Millennial

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I’ve been a millennial working the remote freelancer/business owner life for 8+ years now. I wanted to share what I have learned over those 8 years. Getting overwhelmed in life has gotten quicker and easier with the advancement of technology and the information we receive daily.

One day you can be managing everything smoothly and the next, feeling like you’re barely keeping your head above water.

After years of practicing my front stroke in remote life, I’ve found a few things that help me keep my head above water without burning out. It’s a tricky balance to find, but I think these lessons will help any busy person, whether you own a business or not.

Set Business/Work Hours

Set working hours and stick to them: This is probably the most important one on the list. Just because you can work 24/hours a day doesn’t mean you should be. The challenge with work-life balance is that it’s not just about work. It’s about our entire life. And when it comes to our personal life, we have a lot more control over that than our career. Sure, our careers can affect our personal life, but for the most part, we choose how to spend our time outside of work.

So, if you want to have a life outside of work, you need to set some boundaries. And the best way to do that is to set working hours and stick to them.

Now, I’m not saying you can’t or shouldn’t ever work outside of your set working hours. But, if you find yourself working all the time, it’s time to re-evaluate your work hours.

There will always be exceptions to the rule but define those rules. Do you have personal hobbies or projects that you count as working hours? Do you allow yourself to take work calls outside of work hours?

Create Reasonable To-Do lists

Try to remember we are only human. We can only do so much in one day.

It isn’t easy to put a time frame on something as expansive as Google, but estimates suggest that the search engine took around four years to create. Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the two Stanford graduate students who founded Google, started working on it in 1996. The first version of Google was launched in 1998.

Now, let’s take a step back and think about that for a second. The internet wasn’t even widely available until the early 1990s. And yet, in just four years, Page and Brin created one of the most significant websites in the world.

Of course, they had help. They had a team of people working with them. But still, it’s impressive what they were able to accomplish in such a short amount of time.

And yet, we often expect ourselves to accomplish so much more in a day than they did in years. We create to-do lists with dozens of items on them, and then we beat ourselves up when we don’t get everything done.

It’s important to remember that we are only human. We can only do so much in one day. And that’s okay.

Make Time To Create Your Lists

I tend to make my lists at the beginning of the week so I know what I need to get done and by when. This way, I’m not trying to cram everything into one day and getting overwhelmed. Make it a safe space to create your list, and really think about your priorities.

A great way to start creating your To-Do list is by using the Eisenhower Matrix, which helps you prioritize your tasks by urgency and importance.

Eisenhower Matrix

Stagger and Chunk Out Your To-Do’s

Staggering and chunking your to-do list can help you better manage your time.

Staggering Tasks: spreading out your tasks evenly over the course of the week based on priorities.

Chunking Tasks: Breaking down big tasks into smaller, more manageable tasks (which can also be staggered).

This way, you’re not trying to cram everything into one day and get overwhelmed. And you’re also not putting off tasks until the last minute, which can lead to even more stress.

Treat Yourself

Working non-stop is not only unrealistic, it’s unhealthy. Our brains need time to rest and rejuvenate, especially when working from home! That’s why it’s important to reward yourself often when you make it a habit to accomplish these To-Do lists It works even more, better if you use the Pomodoro Technique

It could be something as simple as taking a break to walk around the block or making time for a hobby you enjoy. Whatever it is, make sure it’s something that makes you happy and is truly rewarding after a hard day of work.

Use the 4-7-8 Breathing Method

I had to take a lot of breaths when I felt myself get overwhelmed or panicked throughout the day.

The 4-7-8 breathing method is a quick and easy way to calm down when you feel overwhelmed, even after organizing your priorities and setting habits. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Place your thumb and middle finger on your forehead, just above your eyebrows.
  2. Close your eyes and inhale through your nose for four seconds. As you inhale, feel your stomach rise.
  3. Then hold your breath for seven seconds.
  4. Exhale slowly through your mouth for eight seconds.

Document & Journal as Much As Possible

When it comes to reducing overwhelm, journaling and documenting can be extremely helpful. Not only do they help you keep track of what you need to do, but they also help you keep track of what you’ve done. This can be extremely helpful when you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed, as reviewing what you have done over the course of the day or week can help you feel more accomplished and in control.

Realize You Are Overwhelmed

When it comes to our professional lives, it’s important to be able to understand when we’re feeling overwhelmed. Overwhelm can lead to burnout, and burnout can lead to us to a debilitating stop on accomplishing our goals. Even when you are having a blast with what you do daily, you can still experience burnout.

Not all overwhelm is bad either. In some cases, a sense of mild overwhelm can actually help us focus and get things done. We can also be excited about what we have to do and be overwhelmed by that excitement. Finding balance is essential.

Reach out For Help

The most important lesson I learned was to reach out for help when I hit my breaking point. If you find yourself in a constant state of stress trying to accomplish goals in life, don’t try and fix it alone. This could be in the form of a colleague, friend, or family member. Or, if you feel like you need professional help, don’t hesitate to seek out therapy or counseling. Business Coaching can sometimes be a form of therapy when you find the right person.

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