If you want to get out of overwhelm, you first need to understand where, exactly overwhelm comes from.
Simply put, overwhelm comes from having too many things on your plate—so eliminating anything unnecessary or non-essential will free up space for the things that are actually important.
But how do you determine what’s unnecessary and non-essential?
The usual (and unnecessary) suspects
While there’s no universal rule on which activities are productive (and which are just adding to overwhelm), there are a few “usual suspects.” These time sucks that are notorious for making you feel like you’re being productive when in reality they’re just wasting your time and making you feel completely overwhelmed.
These notorious time sucks include:
- Unnecessary meetings;
- Administrative work (invoicing, tracking down contact information, etc.);
- Managing your inbox;
- Projects that fall outside of your “genius zone” or projects you’re not excited about;
- Social media
Take a time inventory
While there are certain time traps everyone falls into, there are also time traps that may be unique to you and your business—so it’s important to get a clear understanding of how you’re spending your time, where it’s going, and what you can eliminate from your schedule to take your time back, get out of overwhelm, and get more done.
And the best way to do that? Taking a time inventory.
Download a time tracking app (like Toggl or TimeDoctor) and track how you’re spending your time for one week. Track every task, whether it’s business-related (like responding to emails) or personal (like household chores).
At the end of the week, take a good, hard look at how you’re spending your time and figure out what tasks you can eliminate so you have more time to work on the things that are important to you. Are you spending hours every day posting to different social media platforms? Get a tool like Hootsuite to automate the process. Are you spending a huge chunk of your time dealing with administrative tasks like invoicing and research? Hire a virtual assistant. Is laundry monopolizing the time you have to spend with your family? Find a local laundry service where you can drop off your clothes once a week.
The point is, there’s probably a number of things you’re doing throughout the week that are completely unnecessary—and by identifying and eliminating and/or delegating them, you can dramatically reduce your feelings of overwhelm (not to mention get a heck of a lot more done in the process).
Want to learn more? Check out these posts:
The Enemy of Productivity (And How To Overcome It To Get More Done)
Get the right tools in your corner
A huge part of getting out of overwhelm is taking back control of how you spend your time during the day. And if you want to take back control? You need the right tools.
Thanks to #technology, there are tons of ways you can save time in your work day—and the more time you save, the more you’ll get done. And the more you get done in a shorter period of time, the less overwhelmed you’ll feel. It’s genius!
The right combination of tools for you is going to depend on your goals and your business, but there are a few tools that are incredibly effective across the board.
Here are some tools you’ll definitely want to check out to take your time back, get out of overwhelm, and get more done:
You can spend a ton of time bouncing from one app or device to another (and another…and another). IFTTT (which stands for “if this, then that”) connects all your apps and devices so you can automate processes and cut back on the time you spend switching from one app to another.
Widely lauded as the world’s best digital to-do list, Todoist allows you to organize all your tasks, projects, and deliverables in one place; set deadlines; and make sure nothing falls through the cracks.
Slack is a great way to organize your team communications, send files, and stay in touch—all from one easy-to-use platform. Create different channels for different teams, search your history for important information, and keep track of projects and conversations through the app.
It can be easy to spend hours each day posting on social media—but with Hootsuite, you don’t have to. Hootsuite allows you to schedule social media posts, manage and respond to comments, and track post performance and analytics—all from one easy-to-use platform.
If you’re the kind of person who easily gets distracted on the internet (and with so many distractions, trust us—we don’t blame you), you’re definitely going to want to check out Freedom. Freedom blocks sites you deem to be distracting while you work—and users report saving an average of 2 hours per day thanks to the app.
If you find yourself sending the same messages over and over again, TextExpander can save you some serious time. This tool gathers “snippets” of information from emails, texts, and other messages that you can use in future communications—no retyping needed.
Remember how we talked about the importance of morning routines? A favorite of Harvard Business School, this AM journal will help you establish the morning habits you need to ramp up productivity and conquer the day—in as little as 3 minutes.
Evercontact automatically adds new contacts and updates existing information in your address book and/or CRM to make sure you never lose important contact information again.
If you spend a single minute of the day trying to remember or track down passwords, that’s a minute too many. 1password manages all your passwords that not only eliminates the need to remember countless usernames and PWs, but also keeps your login information safe and secure.
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