September 20, 2007

Get Out of Your Overwhelm!

I know the feeling too well. I wish I could say that I don't, but I am prone to feeling overwhelmed. As designers and business owners, with so many external and internal factors to deal with - the economy, the housing market, our families, our own homes, the demands of our clients, backordered and discontinued fabrics...(oh my gosh, I am feeling anxious just typing this list!), we are bound to feel overwhelmed and stressed sometimes.

So what should we do?

Here is what I hear from the 'experts': Take a bubble bath. Get a massage. Read a book. Take a walk. I usually get an urge to punch those experts.

When I am in a state of overwhelm, the thought of taking time off to relax makes me more stressed. I have too much to do! I don't have time to take a silly bubble bath.

But this is what I have learned: When I am too stressed and too busy to take even a little time for myself, that is when it is absolutely critical to do so! Getting away from the situation is the only thing that will help prevent future overwhelm.

Just get through Friday

I used to think, "Let me just get through Friday, and then I can relax." Then Friday would come, I'd relax for about a minute, and it would start all over again. I was always "just getting through."

Without taking what I call an Intention Break, you will never get your business out of overwhelm. You may get some small relief once in a while, but you never seem to get ahead.

Taking an Intention Break

If you are feeling
- overworked
- stressed
- overwhelmed
and it seems like you are always working hard but not getting ahead (personally and financially), then you need to take an Intention Break. Here's how it works:

  • Step Away from the situation that is overwhelming. If it is work and clients, get out of the office. Go outside. Drive to a coffee shop. Plan a trip! (I know - you're too busy to do this! But you can NOT stop the ongoing overwhelm if you do not physically step out of the situation. Take one day to save yourself years of stress.)
  • Reflect on your goals, remember your priorities, think about your dreams. What is your intention for running a design business? What did you want to get from this when you started? Is it financial f*r*e*edom? An easygoing lifestyle? To make the world more beautiful? To be known for making a difference? Write your intentions down, and keep this paper with you always. Post it near your desk, place it near your bed, keep it in your wallet.
  • Go back to your regularly scheduled life.

Yes, it's actually as simple as that! If you are continuously reminded of your business intention (reading it when you wake up, glancing at it from time to time as you work, saying it to yourself over lunch), you will make choices on a daily basis that bring you closer and closer to your goal - and further and further away from overwhelm.

Do you need an Intention Break today?

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