Combatting overwhelm: How to succeed in business with so many responsibilities

young woman suffering from overwhelm while working from home

Did you know that two-thirds of CEOs report being stressed at least once a month? For most business leaders, that figure is a lot higher – once a month would be a miracle!

Managing a company and keeping profits on the rise is no easy task, and with a myriad of responsibilities on your plate, you might find yourself feeling overwhelmed more than you’d like. Fortunately, this isn’t something you just have to live with. There are plenty of ways you can make succeeding in business feel like less of a challenge and reach the top with ease.

Learn how to delegate

At some point in their career, every successful business person must learn to delegate tasks. If you can’t move work down the ladder, you’ll never be able to climb it.

Learning to delegate isn’t always easy, though, especially if you’re the CEO of a company. You want to do everything yourself to make sure it’s done properly, but that isn’t going to help your stress levels. Offloading some simple tasks onto others can free up huge amounts of time, allowing you to focus on the parts of your job that you love.

Hiring an assistant is a popular method of delegation, giving them the admin tasks that are eating into your time. You should also have trusted staff members beneath you who are trained to pick up the slack when your plate is full, drastically reducing feelings of overwhelm.

Outsource your tasks

Outsourcing is a lot like delegation, but rather than finding someone in-house to lighten your load, you look for a third-party company. Many business leaders increase outsourcing as their business grows, finding it to be an incredibly useful practice for scaling up without the stress.

If you’re interested in outsourcing, take a look at the tasks that are overwhelming you the most whilst bringing you the least enjoyment. For example, if you dislike finding new leads for your sales team, you could bring in a prospecting company to help improve efficiencies in lead generation. One prospecting solution provider, Sopro explains that “Email prospecting interrupts potential clients less than a phone call, and positive responses come pre-qualified. So if you’re looking to increase your lead generation, email prospecting really is the most cost-effective, risk averse channel you can find.”

This type of investment helps cut out a significant amount of work for your team and can increase your marketing ROI, making it a win-win in terms of stress!

Map out your day

At the start of every day, map out what you’ll do. Take a look at your tasks, work out how long they’ll each take, and give them an allotted time slot. This is a great way to feel more confident that you can complete everything on your to-do list and keeps you on task throughout the day.

It’ll also help you easily prioritise tasks and delegate. If you have a meeting that’s important but it means you won’t get time to finish a task that’s due soon, you know you’ll have to pass that task on to someone else. Rather than getting to the end of the day and figuring this out, you’ve sorted it before the work has even begun.

Improve your mental resiliency

Becoming overwhelmed isn’t always a sign that you have too much on your plate but that your mind needs to become more resilient. If you’re stressed out by a to-do list that other colleagues handle with ease, it could be time to do some introspective work.

Seeing a therapist can help you understand why you get overwhelmed, identifying triggers and uncovering coping mechanisms to reduce your stress. Many people find that meditation can also make the mind tougher, with one study showing that just 30 days of this peaceful practice can increase your brain’s resiliency by 11%.

Learn to say no

Saying no isn’t always easy, but it’s important. Know the difference between doing your job well and going out of your way to please someone else.

Create boundaries for yourself, too. For example, you may create a rule that you only work late once a week or you won’t take on more than two projects at the same time. Let your colleagues know that this is the case to avoid them asking in the first place, and get used to saying no when they do.

Don’t forget a work-life balance

When work is becoming overwhelming, it could be a sign that your work-life balance is out of whack. This isn’t just a minor issue but something you should be seriously concerned about. Working too much and relaxing too little can not only make you feel overwhelmed but may have serious health implications later in life.

Make sure that your job isn’t your whole life. There are plenty of ways you can improve your work-life balance, including:

  • Maintaining strict working hours to avoid too much overtime
  • Turning off work emails when you leave the office
  • Always taking your weekends off
  • Making out of work hobbies a priority

Self-care is also an important stress-buster. Make time for things that make you feel mentally sound, such as exercise, cooking healthy meals, and reading.

Always seek support

Asking for help isn’t something you need to avoid. It’s a sign of strength that’s too often self-perceived as weakness. Do you really think Steve Jobs or Elon Musk got to the top without asking their trusted colleagues for support? Absolutely not.

When your to-do list is too long, or you are feeling emotionally and physically exhausted at work, ask someone else to help you with small tasks. If you’re finding a day particularly stressful, speak to a friend and ask for advice.

Feeling overwhelmed is always a sign that you need some extra support from those around you. Don’t be afraid to ask for it.

Final words

Finding success in the business world is incredibly rewarding, but there’s no doubt that it can be stressful! If you’re feeling overwhelmed, remember these tips and try to implement a few into your daily life. With a little self-care and the right support, you can achieve greatness without sacrificing your well-being.

Gemma WilliamsAbout the author

Gemma Williams is an independent HR professional working remotely from as many coffee shops as she can find. Gemma has gained experience in several HR roles but now turns her focus towards growing her personal brand and connecting with leading experts in career development and employee engagement. Connect with her on Twitter: @GemmaWilliamsHR

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