It's behind closed doors, though, that the reality of overwhelm and the state of exhaustion can settle in and render all that hard work nil through depression, illness, worry and doubt. The answer to reducing overwhelm?
I believe the answer lies in creativity. In my definition, creativity is that which provides freedom, inspiration, satisfaction and the opportunity to forget about time itself. But how does a bootstrapping business owner wearing nine hats cultivate creativity? Here are a few ways that have helped me reduce overwhelm, and create creativity.
1) WORK 50, TAKE 10
I have been an advocate of the 80/20 rule for about 20 years now. Pareto's Law is something students learn in business school, but since then I have seen this rule show up in many different areas, including health, and even Facebook 'likes' compared to the total number of fans a page has (try it). Here is what we mean.
When you sit down at your desk, or open your shop, or otherwise begin your day at work, do that work for 50 minutes, then, take a 10 minute break. That doesn't mean you have to leave your place of business, all it means is that you do something enjoyable, inspiring and peaceful for 10 minutes. If you don't have a full 10 minutes, that's ok, the point is to give your body a physiological response of doing something else. In addition, you're also giving your mind a psychological shift, which leads to greater inspiration.
Try this for just a day and see if it makes a difference for you. Our bet is that you will return to work for your next 50 minutes with greater aplomb for the task at hand.
2) BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND
I am part of the camp that finds myself chasing after tasks, rather than putting them all in a row. Proper Planning Prevents Piss-poor Management, really is true. But how far out do you plan things? Here's what I am doing now.
When I was working as a marketing manager for a global company, part of my task was to write press releases for magazines worldwide. One thing that kept me on my toes back then was having to write news two months out. If it was January, I was writing news and refining marketing materials for publication in March. It was a challenge to write spring news in the middle of winter, but it forced me to plan and create the mentality of beginning with the end in mind.
At the time of this writing, you should be thinking about what your business is doing around Valentine's Day!
3) START 10 MINUTES EARLY
If you're like me, getting up an hour early isn't going to happen. But ten minutes can make a significant impact on the day. In a five-day work week, you've just given yourself 50 extra minutes to plan, exercise, meditate, write in a journal, and come up with a good ice breaker for your next meeting or holiday party.
Little changes can make big things happen. By the way, you can take these three ideas and apply them at home. Good luck, and if these are new to you, share them with a friend and do them together. Let me know how they helped you. You can find me in all the usual places.