How to Keep Cool When You’re Overwhelmed: A 7-Step Guide

Overwhelmed, Stephanie Holland, The Freedom Philosophy

I used to be incredibly organised.

I thought that was my natural state.

But your ‘natural state’ becomes apparent when you’re under the pump.

When I started working for myself it was like juggling a thousands balls in the air.

I was never good at juggling.

The more I read and studied about how to grow an online business the bigger my to-do list got.

Until there was no way in hell I would have been able to get through it. Ever. It just kept growing!

I felt anxious and overwhelmed. Surprise, surprise.

Thankfully I’ve learned how to focus on what’s important, and even when there’s lots to do, I know how to bring myself back to balance when I’m feeling overwhelmed with it all anyway.

I’ve become a productive powerhouse.

And today I’m going to share this with YOU!

Here’s my 7-step guide to keeping cool when you’re overwhelmed. You’ll be a powerhouse of productivity in no time, too

Set aside 60 mins this afternoon to complete the worksheet. You’ll be so glad you did!


Sign up for the Escape the 9-5 Starter Kit to get the FREE worksheet that goes with this post.


Watch the video below [or listen to the audio player], download the FREE worksheet and you'll banish feeling overwhelmed forever. (Or at least for now.)

Introduction: 06:14 // Context: 13:00 // 7-Step Sequence: 15:50

The 7-step sequence for when you're feeling overwhelmed

#1: Do a GIANT brain dump.

Set the timer for 15 mins and brain dump everything in your head: life, personal, business, work, career. Everything.

You need to get everything out of your head to create a clean slate. A lot of our ideas get stuck in a groove and looped on repeat, making us 'loopy', AKA overwhelmed.

Get it all out of your head and onto paper where it can be ordered, categorised, actions or — most importantly — deleted.

What needs to be actioned? Schedule it.

What are you never going to get around to doing? DELETE it.

You won't believe some of the SH*T that's in your mental orbit.

You'll be so glad you dumped it.

#2: Create your big picture VISION.

3-5 year visions are lofty.

What is your 6 or 12 month vision for your life and work?

Write it in a short succinct paragraph. It can be a sentence to 500 words, but inspirational and large.

Make sure it doesn't go too much into the 'how' — i.e. not too prescriptive so it can be realised in manny different ways.

e.g. "I live in 3-4 countries a year, make $$$ profit and liberate 10 corporate misfits from the status quo every month"

This will bring everything back into focus for you, get you back on track & help you DELETE the unnecessary things on your to-do list that don't align with the results you're looking for.

#3: Ask WHY.

Step back from your vision and ask 'why'?

Set your time for 15 mins and brainstorm.

I love how Nisha Moodley phrases this question.

  1. Why for me?
  2. Why for the world?

Both of these are important aspects because more of us are looking for purpose and meaning in our life and work.

We want to be able to answer: "Why is the world different because I was here?" 

#4: Get Practical.

What are the 5-10 goals you want to achieve within this time frame within my life and business.

Think about the core goals that will help you achieve your big picture vision in #2.

They can be in any area of life, art or business.

Write a book?

Start a new project?

Get fit?

Lose 10lbs?

What are the core projects you want to have completed or started within this time frame that build towards your 6-12 month vision?

#5: Create an action plan for each goal.

Schedule a one-hour planning session for each goal to determine what and how you'll achieve it within your time frame.

During this one-hour session for each goal, ask: "What am I going to do to achieve this goal?", and create an action plan.

Make sure it's practical, and action-oriented. E.g.:

  • Goal: Write a book
  • What: Write 12,000 words for my book
  • How: Schedule 2 hours every Saturday morning at 8am.

Chances are you won't necessarily achieve all the goals within the timeframe, but the point is, the intention and the ACTION sets in motion a chain of events that pulls you forward towards your vision.

We also overestimate what we can do in a year, and underestimate what we can do in 3. This process simply helps us achieve the smaller steps required to achieve the BIGGER goals over the longer term.

 

#6: Take daily action.

At the end of each day ask:

"What's THE ONE task I can do tomorrow that will move me towards where I want to be in my life, and THE ONE task in business that will move me towards my big picture VISION?"

In the biz we call this eating the big ugly frog. It's about achieving the biggest life changing or business building task first thing so you free up your heart, mind and energy to work on other tasks.

But I also want you to include a life goal, so you can balance 'getting fit' with 'writing a book' — for example — every day.

 

#7: Remove your distractions.

It's your responsibility yo identity and remove your distractions you can focus on the most important things.

When and how do you get distracted?

Begin to notice when you get drawn down the online rabbit hole, or when people or your environment distract you from what you'd like to focus on.

Identify and remove!


As Marie Forleo, one of my favourite online entrepreneurs, says, insight without action is worthless.

Sign up for the Starter Kit below to get the FREE worksheet so you can get started! 

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Image by Aral Tasher