First year of business – overwhelm from too much information

Overwhelm. Lets talk about it.

In my first year in business I was swamped with emails and ideas flooding me, coming at me from every which way. I would be at my desk trying to do something off my to do list when a quick pop onto Facebook would distract me with some shiny happy thing. A webinar! A free download! A discovery call.

Of course I needed them all (or so I thought). ‘Who doesn’t need to learn?’ I thought. ‘Yes I want to know 10 great ways to make webinars that count. Of course I am keen to hear about your three big list building techniques. What? How to host international retreats that pack a punch? Hell yes! Demystify that something or other once and for all – yes please!!’ You get the picture.

And at the time of downloading their freebie I felt absolutely sure that their framework, video or ongoing emails would benefit me.

Fast forward a few weeks or a month, when while scanning through emails piled in my inbox I could no longer remember who was who. Carmel who? Peter and Ernie – what were they about again? I had my blogging tips mixed up with my business systems info, threaded together with course development content.

By then reading my emails became like watching a game of tennis as I was bounced back and forward from concept to concept, feeling vaguely guilty that I hadn’t found time to read all these pearls of wisdom, finding myself with 10 or more tabs open of half watched videos, quickly skimmed guides.

Now you may not be as easily distracted as me and you may be more disciplined in not subscribing to lists every time you want to learn something (lucky you!). But whether it’s sign-up overload or juggling competing advice-from-multiple-advisers in the flesh, I’m sure at some time in your first year of business you will experience this sense of overwhelm from too much information.

For me, there were a few ways out of the overwhelm from too much information hole.

On days where nothing much was happening (fluey, a bit blah, or tired from a lot of client days in a row) I would clear out my in box and unsubscribe from anyone I no longer was reading.

I also had to work on my mindset.

What thinking was behind my furious downloading frenzy?

·      “I don’t know enough so I have to learn more”

·      “I’m not an expert yet and I will feel so much better when I am”

·      “Oh my gosh I need to do all the things. All the business things – RIGHT NOW”

Meanwhile I ‘forgot’ to get in touch with existing leads or contacts, ‘forgot’ to follow up on good suggestions or leads provided by friends, ‘didn’t have time’ to sort out some of my basic systems.

A recipe for constantly feeling unstable and insecure in your business.

New more helpful thinking:

I will find out what I need to know when I need to know it – I trust my research skills and don’t need to stockpile information

I choose to create empty space in my inbox, mind and schedule to focus on what is really important for me 

I will work on one theme a month and make significant headway on it, rather than just reading about dozens of things

I have enough time

I have enough knowledge

All the good offers will still be there later when I need them

I have the skills to do many things right now in my business – I need to get on with doing those things

I have many important strategies for communication, record keeping and relationship fostering that I can be doing now to strengthen and grow my business

I know what I need to be getting on with

I find these serve me much better! That and having a basic structure that I build on systematically rather than thinking I have to do everything all at once. But it took a while to get here.

How about you? Is fear of missing out resulting in feelings of overwhelm?