Managing the Overwhelm

It almost seems like overwhelm goes hand in hand with being a Mompreneur, doesn’t it? I know on my Mompreneur journey, from the very beginning, I’ve felt plenty of overwhelm.

Here are some things I’ve felt overwhelmed about:

  • The never-ending to-do list
  • Managing the house along with the business
  • Managing your clients, services, products, or orders
  • Advertising or marketing
  • Figuring out everything that needs to be done with the business to be a healthy business
  • Dealing with the business & house obligations while having sick kids or being sick yourself
  • Getting school done each day (if you homeschool) or homework done (if your kids go to school)
  • Getting to all those appointments, business or family related

And the list goes on & on!

Here’s the thing. We all have 24 hours in a day. We all love our family. We all love our businesses. We all want to do the best for our family & our businesses that we can. We all need to be healthy & take care of ourselves. And yet, so often it feels like we’re swimming upstream with everything that’s rattling around in our brain & vying for our attention! And personally, putting my health last is so easy, but then I end up paying for it when my body demands I rest!

In our family I’m notorious for overestimating how much I can get done in a certain time frame, how long it takes to get ready or get somewhere, and how much I can mentally deal with before I get burned out. I’ve had to learn how/when to say no, when to delegate, when to let go of my ideal & be happy with what is, when to pull back for my mental & physical health, and when to push myself & hopefully reap the benefits.

Here’s an example for you.

I began my bookkeeping business at the beginning of 2020…right when everything was shutting down. So I started my business on Zoom basically. Which was great because I didn’t have to schedule drive times, I could stack my calendar with meetings & talk to a whole bunch of people.

BUT!

I had one week during my first summer in business where on my busiest day I had 6 meetings and the other 3 days (I take Friday’s off to be with the kids) I had at least 4 meetings each day & on Thursday (on top of those other 4 meetings) I had an in-person vendor event where I talked with over 100 people throughout a couple of hours. I can tell you that I was totally & completely wiped out by the end of that event! I honestly sat in the car in the driveway for a few minutes to prepare to go into the house! I came home totally drained, didn’t want to talk to anyone, didn’t want anyone touching me, even for hugs, & all the kids were wanting my attention because they hadn’t seen me for basically the whole week.

Not the best planning on my part!

After that week I knew some changes needed to be made if this business would survive & be a good thing for our family. I put limits on how many appointments my calendar software will allow to be scheduled in a day. I set hours during which those appointments could be scheduled so I still have time for my husband, kids, & house, & I make sure to plan down-time when I have large events where my introverted self will be pushed to her limits! I just know I will be a better wife/mommy when I’m not feeling pushed past my limit.

So here are 5 things I would recommend practicing to help with curbing the overwhelm.

  • I’m a huge fan of lists. When I’m feeling overwhelmed, I write lists. You can read my post on how I mange my to-do list by clicking here! But to summarize, when I’m overwhelmed, I will write out everything I need to do & then prioritize & work off that list.
  • Utilize time block scheduling until the things that are overwhelming you are finished! Time blocking has become a huge positive for my personal & business life. Knowing that I have a set amount of time to work on something, that I’ll have a certain amount of time to work on something else, this allows me to fully focus on the task at hand & be more productive before switching to the next time block. I have a block for work before the kids wake up, a block for school in the morning, and then different blocks for different parts of my businesses in the afternoons.
  • Delegate! When I’m overwhelmed, if it can be pushed on to someone else, I push it! There should be no negative connotation with delegating! You are human! Is the point that something gets done by you or that it gets done? Like I said in one of my other posts, my children have learned how to do so many more things around the house since I started the business because I just can’t physically do it all!
  • Say no. It’s so simple but so not! I know this is hard to swallow, but sometimes this is my strongest weapon against overwhelm. Here’s an example: Two falls ago, I had scheduled my children into activities in such a way that some or all of us would have been out of the house every night except for Saturday night, but there was an activity scheduled for Saturday morning. My kids wanted to do so many things & I wanted them to have all the experiences. Ultimately, I didn’t want to disappoint anyone. After the first week of activities, we knew that that schedule wouldn’t have been sustainable for any of us, so we ended up pulling them out of all but 2 evenings of activities, made our apologies, & didn’t look back! it was honestly the best thing we could have done & there was more growth because they had the room to enjoy those 2 activities, rather than constantly going from activity to activity. Did we have some people who were upset with us? Yep. Did it really bother me? Nope! I knew we needed to do what was best for our family, not what someone outside of our family wanted. Just because there’s an option to say yes to, doesn’t mean it’s the best option for you!
  • Know where your limits are for what you can manage mentally & physically & stick to those boundaries! This goes along with my example above about over-scheduling in the early days of the business. I can tell you that I still have my overwhelmed moments even with the boundaries I’ve set, but it’s not as frequent as it was, & I can typically prepare for those super busy days or weeks & create some calm downtime before & after.

Yes, there are certain things that are non-negotiable in Mompreneur life, those are just facts of life.

It might mean folding laundry at 9pm so the kids have clean clothes for the following day (I recently had a child not want to go to bed & he kept asking me what he could do to help me, so I put him to work & it was such a blessing & unexpected joy! Not only did I get some quality time with him, but our downstairs was cleaned & laundry folded when I was fully expecting neither to get done that night!).

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, here are 5 steps to take when you’re feeling overwhelmed:

  1. Take a breath. Are you feeling overwhelmed because of your task list? Or is it because you’re tired, hungry, or procrastinating something? Or a combo of the two? Try to pinpoint where your overwhelm is coming from so you can attack it efficiently.
  2. See if you can triage what’s overwhelming you. Sometimes not everything has to be done right now, sometimes it’s all urgent. Decide which category your overwhelm falls under.
  3. Talk to someone & see if you’re putting too much pressure on yourself. My husband is great at this point. He typically believes I’m putting too much pressure on myself. (I’m not a perfectionist in all areas of my life, but boy is it annoying in the areas where I am!) He understands why I’m putting the pressure on myself, but also is great at telling me to relax & then he works with me to figure out how to lessen the pressure.
  4. Can you outsource anything, or does it all have to be done by you? The night I called my mom, my husband & I talked for a bit first about what exactly was causing my overwhelm & what he could take care of, what we could have help with (either from a family member or someone we could hire), & what fully falls on my shoulders.
  5. Make a plan & then attack the overwhelm! That plan for us in this instance was to make the call to my mom. I also spent the weekend, looking at exactly what I can have her help with, how to set up schedules or the house to make the next 6 weeks easiest on everyone, & then we’ve been counting down the days until she gets here! Just knowing that there’s going to be some more breathing room has made the last few days less overwhelming!

 

So these next 6 weeks I’m going to fully embrace the help that we’re being given!

And when my children ask for help, whether they are young or older, you better believe I’ll do everything I can to say, “my darling, you are doing amazing things & of course I’ll do everything I can to help & support you”!

Here’s a funny conversation that happened when I told my oldest daughter (14 years old) about this post I was writing. Her response was “isn’t this blog about how organized & great you are doing with work/life/business?” 😊 My response was “Nope! This blog is to help other Mompreneurs know they aren’t alone in this journey! I’ve never said I’m perfect at it & I want those who read this to know that the struggle is real!”

So how are you doing with asking for help?

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