I know that feeling well! Not only are you an entrepreneur, so you're dealing with the stresses, demand and pressure that comes with that, but you're a digital entrepreneur, which means you're expected to "show-up" on social media and manage what comes with that physically and emotionally.
Being a digital entrepreneur certainly isn't the easy option. Yes, it often affords the CEO more flexibility in when and where they can work from (for example, I work from home 90% of the time and I can pick-up and go and work from anywhere in the world if I wanted to) - but, it can feel relentless. Relentless in the sense of your work never really ends, there is always something to-do and because of the digital nature (ie. everything being accessed and run from your phone or laptop), it can be hard to switch off.
It is perfectly common and natural to feel overwhelmed as a digital entrepreneur, believe me, you're not alone. I often feel that way, but I've learnt some ways that help to overcome it.
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I am a firm believer in breathing and meditative practice when you're a digital entrepreneur - as it's an important part of your toolkit as a CEO. When you feel those moments of overwhelm, anxiety or stress, you can pull this tool out and in a matter of moments, can feel significantly better.
A quick getting started to breathing practice to beat the overwhelm:
This was a major "a-ha" moment for me, yet it seems quite obvious as a digital entrepreneur. You probably know your goals loosely and the reason why you started your own business... but can you, on demand, tell me your goals for the next 12 months, 6 months, 3 months, 1 month? Possibly not.
I know I struggled for a while - I could see the bigger picture, where I wanted to get to eventually and what that would look like. But I struggled with visualising and knowing the actual steps and "mini-goals" that I'd need to take to get there.
Now, I map-out my goals on a white-board in my office. I focus on the 3 months ahead of me and note down my key goals (could be personal, financial, business growth) - then, next to those, I map out the key actions that I need to take to get to those goals in that time.
I then do the same for 1 month ahead of me - again, noting down the necessary actions.
I then map out my goals for the week with associated actions.
This work gives me a clear picture and focus, along with more structure when it comes to my to-do list (we'll get onto that next!). It also clarifies my goals and means I'm more adept at communicating them to others.
This leads on perfectly from point two. As a digital entrepreneur, regardless of what stage of the journey you're at, that feeling of overwhelm often comes from the fact that your to-do list is endless, right? There's always something to-do, meetings to be had, new tech or social platforms to master, emails to answer. I know I could literally work 24 hours a day and still have things I could be doing.
But, are all these things truly necessary? Truly, if you think about it, are the things on your to-do list getting you closer to your goals? (You know, the things you now have a clear picture of for the coming 3 months).
This step is about recognising and prioritising what actually needs to be done. It means getting good at clearing your desk of the things that are just "nice to haves". By looking at your to-do list and pulling out the things that actually take you one step closer to your goal for that week, month or 3 months, you'll become better at prioritising. This leads onto my next point nicely...
Easier said that done right? Wrong! Actually, there are some simple ways that you can manage your to-do list far more effectively that you are now.
So, you're clear on your goals and the actions that you need to take to move yourself and your business closer to those goals. You've prioritised the tasks that actually move your forward to those goals?
Now, it's time to pick the 3 things per day that you actually need to get done. Yes, that's right... 3 things only!
Have what I call, a "Master to-do list" - this is your brain dump, where absolutely anything and everything that you think you need to-do goes. Note it down in your planner or notebook. From this list, you can pull just 3 things that need to be done each day. It's far more manageable to focus on less things and get them done! Ticking-off those 3 things and successfully doing them each day gives you a big psychological boost - it helps keep you motivated and gives you a big dose of mojo.
Rather than feeling like you're drowning in an endless to-do list (you know, the one where you tick one thing off and add two things to the bottom?), you're successfully completing your actions every day and moving yourself closer to your goals.
Trust me, it works!
Note: if you absolutely smash those 3 things and have 5 hours of your day left, by all means, take one thing from your master list and tackle that too... one at a time. But again, assess whether it's a) a priority and b) actually getting you closer to your goal for the week/month/3 months.
Again, we all know this right? We all know that too much screen time is detrimental for our physical and mental health? We all know that we perform better when we sleep well? We all know that regular exercise solves a wealth of problems?
But, do we actually implement that knowledge? My guess is, that as a busy digital entrepreneur, trying to beat overwhelm... probably not!
So here I am, giving you permission to take regular breaks. Blame me! Tell everyone else that you're working with me and I told you that you had to take a regular break during your work day, no negotiations!
My tips for regular breaks that don't feel like a waste of time:
It's certainly not rocket-science and probably, you were already aware of these 5 steps? But my question to you is: are you actually doing it? I mean really implementing these steps, regularly and consistently? Probably not...
If you do take the time to recognise that feeling of overwhelm and address is sooner rather than later, it'll make your life as a digital entrepreneur much more manageable and enjoyable!
Holly Wood, has over 10 years experience of building a digital brand and business online. From blogging, to being an influencer, to founding a membership community, to speaking and 1-2-1 mentorship - Holly has a wealth of knowledge in the practical and cognitive steps to building a flourishing brand and successful business online. Follow Holly on instagram here, connect on Linkedin or follow on Twitter.