Overcome the Overwhelm

Any entrepreneur will tell you how easy it is to become overwhelmed. As “artist-preneurs” we’re particularly vulnerable to overwhelm. Not only are we developing our businesses, but the business is a hugely personal one. We naturally want to get it all done and of course get it all done right.  On the PR front alone there are so many things to focus on: Website, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, e-mail mailing, blogs….not to mention press releases, radio campaigns, booking gigs…AHHHHHHHH.  Then when you consider the creative aspect to it all, the writing, the recording, the rehearsing, photo shoots, video shoots – it can all get pretty overwhelming.

I’m sure you can imagine the scenario (maybe you’ve experienced it first hand) – It goes a little like this:

  1. You make your daily To Do list
  2. You decide that today you’re going to get it ALL done!
  3. You look at the daily To Do list
  4. You go into the kitchen and make some coffee
  5. You look at the daily To Do list again
  6. You answer some e-mails
  7. You look at the daily To Do list again
  8. You scan Facebook, surf the web, etc.
  9. You look at the daily To Do list again
  10. Hey look at that, it’s lunchtime………

Are you laughing yet? I hope so :)

How many times I did this, then wondered how it was that at the end of the day I had actually gotten so little accomplished. It’s not like I was watching TV or something, I was busy, right?

I wanted to get it all done, but why didn’t I?  Overwhelm.

Looking at that list, with the intention of getting it all done is really overwhelming. Where should I start? But if I work on that I won’t get the other stuff done….okay, maybe I’ll try to get a little of everything done…but which parts? You see where this leads?

The truth is, if your To Do list looks anything like mine, you WON’T get it all done that day and if you try, you’ll only wind up getting dispersed and discouraged.

So here’s what I do now, and it WORKS!

  1. Keep a running list of all the things I want/need to get done or ideas I may have
  2. Keep it somewhere where I can see it – a large white board works well
  3. Everyday I make the decision to get ONE task accomplished. That’s it, just one.
  4. When I’ve finished it, I check it off (or wipe it off) and then choose another.
  5. When I think of new things I add them to the list. By writing things down, I know that I won’t forget them, however it doesn’t mean that I need to try to accomplish them right away.

The key here is to focus on ONE thing at a time, get it done and then move on. Chances are by working in this way you’ll find that by the end of the day you’ve actually accomplished many of the tasks on your list. Go figure!

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