Without a doubt, one of the biggest issues I come across in my dealings with clients is their shared desire to reduce overwhelm and become more effective in their businesses. From procrastination to poor time management and unclear objectives, there are a number of key stressors that can negatively impact your business’s effectiveness and efficiency –and when left untreated, these stressors can only mean only thing: your business controlling you. No one ever sets out with the intention of being a slave to the daily grind, but this can easily (and sadly) become a reality for many business owners who don’t have the necessary systems and processes in place to cope with overwhelm.

The good news? This doesn’t have to be your reality! Let me show you some easy & practical ways to manage the four key facets of your business (time, energy, attention and resources) so that you can:

•Free up more time to work on the most important & impactful things

•Increase your capacity to work on the things you don’t currently have time for

•Discover untapped potential and increased opportunities

•Eliminate unnecessary stress

•Set yourself up for optimum business growth, greater income and more personal freedom

Before we touch on the four key areas of your business that need to be managed, it is important to define “overwhelm” and to pinpoint how & why it is happening. Put simply, overwhelm occurs when your business controls you, rather than you being in complete control of your business.

Common symptoms of overwhelm may include:

• Spending too much time working in your business, rather than on your business

• Getting bogged down in the day-to-day operations of the business

• Feeling like there’s never enough hours in the day and/or getting to the end of day and feeling like it wasn’t productive

• Not having the systems and processes in place for your business to run effectively and efficiently

Sound familiar? If you can relate to any or all of these common indicators of overwhelm, then you are certainly not alone!

Read on for my tried & tested tips for increasing personal effectiveness, and notice the difference as everything immediately becomes easier.

1. Time

• We’ve all heard of the saying “work smarter, not harder”. What if I were to tell you that to become more effective, you actually need to do less? In this series of blog posts, my goal is to help you to figure out how to do more of the critical few things that have the biggest impact on your business, and less of everything else.

• So answer me this – are you setting up an effective work routine that enables you to do your most important & impactful work when you are at your most productive? If not, you might want to take a look at the Pomodoro Technique – a tried & tested time management system which shows you how to work with time rather than against it.

• Who controls your calendar, and are you letting anything & everything onto it? Don’t become a victim of calendar misuse, especially when there are so many great templates and apps at your fingertips to help you become master of your own time management.

2. Energy

• We only have a finite amount of energy to expend on any given day, so it is important to form good habits that will not only increase your personal effectiveness, but ultimately help you feel more balanced.

• Are you getting plenty of quality sleep?

• Are you doing enough exercise to feel refreshed & revitalised?

• Are your nutritional needs being met, or are you grabbing the easiest & most convenient foods on the run, which ultimately lead to a dip in energy levels?

• Are you taking time out of every day to do something else that you enjoy, such as a hobby or other personal interest?`

3. Attention

• How do you manage your focus & attention? Are you setting aside dedicated time to focus on the critical few things that will have the greatest impact on your business (and life)?

• How effectively do you manage distractions throughout the day? A key component of conquering overwhelm is to limit and contain distractions so that they don’t prevent you from achieving what you want to. Again, you might wish to revisit the Pomodoro Technique here.

• Diverting your attention from distractions to the things that are really important to you (family, self improvement and fun) is another way that we can conquer overwhelm.

4. Resources

• Do you have sufficient resources available to run your business, and how effectively are you managing them?

• Do you have a team of employees, or are you currently outsourcing any overflow of work? Are you delegating effectively?

• Do you have the financial assets available to make the necessary improvements to your business to ensure growth?

• Are you investing in the latest digital advances, such as automation? The right investment here could save you considerable time and money, if you are prepared to do away with outdated & labour-intensive manual systems.

By now you’ve probably identified a few key areas of your business that you could manage better in your quest to increase personal effectiveness and ultimately regain control over your business. To help you put these tips into practice, in my next blog post I will be exploring the five stages of reducing overwhelm – awareness, planning, prioritisation, execution and reevaluation. This is a simple and practical model I have developed for my clients, with overwhelmingly positive results.

For a sneak preview, check out this case study on Kate from Paperboat Digital, who regained control of her business and noticed a significant increase in profitability when she was able to effectively manage her internal operations.