Distracted, Stressed and Overwhelmed


Today I’m talking about our little secret. The things we don’t want anyone to know…

Being self-employed is the best thing in the world. You are the captain of your ship. You are in charge of your own destiny. You don’t to answer to anyone. Being self-employed is your dream come true.

But on some days, it can be your worst nightmare.

No one in business really talks about “feelings”. Instead, we talk about business. Here’s what we say at networking events:

Question: How’s your business going?

The truth: And she’s demanding, rude and I hate dealing with her. She makes me hate my job. I really just want to go home and crawl under the covers.

Your answerOh, great. Just signed a new client.

We say pretend because we don’t want to show our vulnerability and perceived weaknesses. We don’t want to seem like we don’t have EVERYTHING under control. We don’t want them to know the truth.

But here’s the thing. We all have days when we are horribly distracted, completely stressed out, and feel like we are drowning. No one can escape life. And this is what real life is like.

This is the realities of self-employment.

Instead of hiding under the covers, I find it’s always easier when I have a plan. Maybe you’re not feeling this way today, but you might tomorrow. So now’s the time to plan for the self-employment trio of death: distraction, stress, and feeling overwhelmed.

Distraction: The Productivity Killer

Why you are distracted isn’t the issue. The real issue is you are avoiding work that you need to finish. Here’s a few ways to improve your focus and increase your productivity.

1. Turn off your phone. On average, people check their phones at least 10 times an hour. That’s crazy and a huge distraction. So turn off your phone!

2. Stop surfing the web. Same idea as with your phone. Try one of these apps if your self-control is lacking:

3. Schedule time for distractions. Reward yourself when you finish a task and take a break. Just limit the break time to five to ten minutes of distraction activities.

Stress: The Positive Attitude Killer

Yesterday I wanted to kill someone. Not literally, but I did want to punch someone. Ever have a day like that?

Stress is the body’s reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response. The body reacts to these changes with physical, mental, and emotional responses. Stress is a normal part of life, even a normal part of your business life. But too much stress will hinder your overall chance for success.

I’m not a big fan of relaxation techniques to reduce business stress. I love to meditate, but that doesn’t help me when I’m super stressed in the middle of a project. Creating a plan of action is what helps me reduce stress.

List the top reasons your business stresses you out. Then find a way to reduce or eliminate the source of that stress. For example, if it’s a client, consider letting that client go (this can do wonders for your stress level!). If it’s finding new clients, work on a marketing plan. Start thinking about the sources of your stress, and create an action plan that will help you reduce your overall business stress.

Here’s a copy of my Anti-Stress Action Plan: Clients & Customers to help you understand how to make your own plan.

Overwhelmed – The Success Killer

Some days I have so much to do, I simply don’t know where to start. So I jump around from task to task, and try to do a little of each. Or I don’t do anything at all.

This is a huge success killer. We all have busy lives, and we all need to figure this out. Doing nothing is not an option.

It’s much like overcoming stress – create a plan. My favorite tools for planning are Workflowy and Evernote. And if you really want to cut back on the amount of time you work, read The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss. It totally changed how I think about time, and it has some great ways to streamline your business.

Move Towards Success

One of my favorite all-time quotes is “Keep moving forward” by Walt Disney. I love that and it’s the perfect way to explain how to deal with these success killers. Put one foot in front of the other.

No one can eliminate all distraction, stress or feelings of being overwhelmed. That is impossible. You will have some horrible days. The best advice I can give you is to plan for these days. Find ways to cope with the crap that is thrown your way. Don’t live in denial, but try to find ways to move forward.

I’ve shared mine, but what’s your success killer? What’s your solution?

Liesha Petrovich is passionate about micro business education. Doesn’t sound sexy does it? But teaching micro business owners how to create success and freedom is. Learn more at Micro Business Essentials and follow her on Twitter

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