You Don’t Need To Know Or Do It All

Apr 16, 2024 | Business, Mindset

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you step into something new. It doesn’t matter if it’s buying your first home or expanding your business in a new direction. Maybe it’s writing a novel or caring for a new puppy. There are a lot of new skills to learn and often we get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of what there is to do and what we need to learn. That’s okay. It’s supposed to be uncomfortable. That’s why they are called growing pains. It’s how we grow as human beings.

When you are feeling overwhelmed, particularly at the onset of something new, I want you to ask yourself two questions. Do I know (roughly) where I’m going? And do I know the first thing I need to do to move in that direction? That’s it. That’s all you need to make progress. And progress is the best antidote to overwhelm.

Determine Your First Step

Your one and only goal right now is to figure out the first step you need to take. What’s something you can do today to get started? It doesn’t matter how small it is. For example, if you’re overwhelmed by the idea of getting into shape to run a 5k, your first step could be to dig out your running shoes and sit them next to the door. That’s progress. If you are new to using a particular piece of software or you signed up for a course online, open it up or log in. Poke around and see if you can figure out the navigation. That’s progress. And it will greatly reduce your anxiety and your overwhelm. Go take that first step.

What’s Next?

With that first step out of the way, it’s simply a matter of figuring out what you need to do next. What will move you in the right direction? Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. It’s how we learn. Keep working towards your goals and through your overwhelm.

Every now and then take a look at how far you’ve come. Make sure you’re still moving in the right direction. Getting that confirmation from yourself will help reduce overwhelm. And over time your confidence and your skills will grow. Take a moment to appreciate how far you’ve come already. It is all the motivation you need to get to work on that next step.

Whenever you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by everything you need to do, break it down into smaller chunks. Focus on one tiny task at a time. Progress is what counts and all those small steps will quickly add up. You’ll reach your goals and do things that seemed un-accomplishable at first in no time at all.

How A Brain Dump Can Help With Overwhelm

Have you heard of a brain dump? Have you ever done one? If you’re new to the concept, let me explain. A brain dump is a simple exercise that involves you, a notebook, and a pen. Yes, you could do it on your phone or your laptop, but there’s something about the tactile experience of writing things down by hand. Trust me on this one and get a pen and paper.

Your task is simple. Sit down and without editing or second guessing yourself write down everything you want to do, you need to do, or you think you should do. Take your time. Take breaks if you need to. Nothing is too small or too big to go on the list. It’s okay to have similar things and even duplicates on the list. Keep going until you can’t think of anything else to add to your list.

Take a deep breath and search your mind. Don’t you already feel better? Lighter? Good. Getting stuff out on paper helps clear your mind. And this is just the beginning. Next, it’s time to sort through your list and bring some order to the chaos.

Get out some colored pencils, highlighters, or a few different pieces of paper. You’ll start to sort through your brainstorm list. The first thing to do is to read over everything and delete any duplicates or anything you don’t actually need to do. After that it’s time to sort like items. For example, you could highlight everything to do with your home in yellow. Or use a blue pencil to underline work items. Or transpose everything to do with growing your business onto a separate list. Give each method a try and see what works best for you.

Once you have organized your main list, pick one category to work on today. Look through the list and identify items you can complete in an hour or less. Some things will only take minutes to complete. Work through tasks first and cross them off the list. Within a matter of days, you will have shrunk your list and your overwhelm significantly.

From here, you can use what remains of your list to make your daily and weekly to-do lists. You’ll be amazed at how much you will get done and how much the stress melts away. Going forward, simply go back to creating a new brain dump list each time you start to feel overwhelmed.

Action Is A Great Way To Put Overwhelm Into Its Place

Getting overwhelmed isn’t a good feeling. We’ve all been there. It can be paralyzing. You’re looking at a long list of things you need to get done. Or maybe it’s that one project or task that you don’t feel prepared for. It doesn’t matter what is causing your overwhelm. The feeling is there and it needs to be dealt with. Today I want to share my number one tip for reducing overwhelm with you. It’s taking action.

That’s right. Doing something, anything to make progress on whatever is causing your overwhelm is the best way to get past it. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be anything big. In fact, one small step in the right direction is best. That one step will lead to the next and the next and before you know it, you will have built some serious momentum.

Let me give you a couple of examples of how this works. This piece of writing is one of them. I was sitting in front of a blank screen with no idea how to get this written. I knew roughly what I wanted to share with you, but the words weren’t coming. I reminded myself that all I needed was to take the first step. In this case, it was coming up with the title. Then I challenged myself to write one sentence. Something to get things started. And guess what. That first sentence turned into the first two paragraphs. And from there the words kept flowing. From start to finish – once I started taking action – it didn’t even take ten minute to write this.

Another great example all of us can relate to is clutter or a messy spot in our home. I don’t care if it’s your fridge, your closet, or even your entire garage. Cleaning and organizing a mess is a daunting endeavor. I don’t know about you, but I’m very good at procrastinating on tasks like that. I get overwhelmed just thinking about everything that needs to be done to get it cleaned up. What do you do? You pick one small task that you can manage without feeling overwhelmed. Maybe it’s cleaning one drawer, or pouring out the expired milk. Then move on to the next little task, and the next, until you can see some real progress.

The secret to cutting through overwhelm is recognizing it for what it is, and then taking any type of action to move you in the right direction. What will you do right now to cut through the overwhelm?

Hi there, I'm Jennifer.


My guess is you are thinking about starting a business but have no idea how to get going, or you have a business but are stuck or frustrated in an area of your business or maybe you stumbled across my podcast?

Whatever path you took to find me, I’m so glad you’re here! This website is packed with tips on how to start, run and grow your business in style.

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