As a business owner, do you ever feel uncertain, overwhelmed, confused?
When I first started my first business, I was “winging it” for several years, regularly working until midnight, spending a long time answering emails (instead of doing the actual work), and I felt less than fulfilled with what I was doing.
You can’t browse the online business space without coming across calls to hustle for your dreams. I used to think that this talk was motivational, but a couple of years ago I started to realise that it was actually detrimental to my productivity and my mental health. I’ve suffered business burnout many times over, and now I’ve given myself permission to simplify and give up the hustle.
One of the problems, for me, was that I didn’t really see my business as a business at all. It was a way to make money, so I worked and worked as much as I could each day. But it turns out that running a business is a different beast to working for someone else.
Although my life was a lot simpler when I started this process in 2011 – I didn’t have a baby or a mortgage! – it was hard for me to make the time because I didn’t actually make that much money. But it was a game-changer for me to embrace a different pace in my work. I simplified and focused on less. And I achieved more as a result. I honestly believe that the more time you have available to work on something, the longer it’ll take you.
My slower and more relaxed approach to business has also extended to my life. In fact, being more flexible about when I work – and being more intentional when I DO work – allows me time for self-care.
The truth is, if you create more space and calm to keep things going, to stay financially secure, and to find the opportunities, you may well be able to have a big impact on your sense of overwhelm. It can help to get clear on what you need to prioritise right now, in a way that keeps your needs at the centre. I’m giving you an invitation to trust yourself and create a place of calm and certainty inside, when it feels anything but calm and certain. This isn’t me giving you a blueprint to follow. It’s me guiding you to gently create your own.
Here are 5 questions to ask yourself when your business feels “too much”…
(1) Do I need to rest?
The urge is to push harder, but overwhelm is a sign that you need to lean back. Take time out. Refresh. Let yourself rest without expectation. See how you feel tomorrow.
(2) What does my business really need from me right now?
If you're radically honest, are you safe with money? Do you have enough work? Can your business survive if you skip a newsletter? Get clear on your numbers and what your business really needs before pushing yourself to do more.
(3) What feels good and easy? What feels hard or icky?
Write a list of all the tasks in your head right now that relate to the project or goal you're working on. On one side, write out those that feel good/ easy, and on the other side, the hard/ icky stuff. Can you drop all of the second-column tasks completely?
(4) What can I drop the ball on?
Be radically honest with yourself. Which self-imposed deadlines can you let go of, or push back? What can you delegate? What can you stop doing?
(5) Where am I in my cycle?
Menstruators: check where you are in your cycle. The luteal phase (the time just before your bleed) is prime time for doubts and thoughts of “I can't do this”. How can you show yourself grace and love during this time?
Overwhelm isn’t good for you and isn’t good for business. Practise stopping asking yourself these questions whenever the tides feel like they are rising.
Self care IS productive. Rest is part of the work.
Interested in using these processes but not sure how to integrate them into your life and business? My course, Journaling for Business Owners, can help! It explores the journaling process and is full of additional insights about using it to boost your business and make you money. Find out more and sign up here!