Every entrepreneur has experienced blog overwhelm in some form or another. As entrepreneurs, we wear way too many hats. Everything about our business is a full time job on its own.
Social media, Advertising, Web Design + Maintenance, Content Creation, Marketing, the list goes on. Each one of these can be, and often is, a department found within a larger company. Now we’re suddenly expected to do it all. It’s no wonder blog overwhelm is so real even though a lot of us don’t talk about it.
Just this week, I had 3 people mention being overwhelmed about their blogs to me. Some are starting out, others are further along but they’re all overwhelmed. I just started coaching one of them so I’m working with her through this overwhelm. One other asked for posts on how to deal with blog overwhelm and you know what? I couldn’t really refer her to any, because the few that I found, led to broken links. : (
So since I love my people and I want to help them succeed, here’s my take on blog overwhelm and how to deal with it. Because it’s going to be with you, you just have to learn to keep it on a leash!
Why does Blog Overwhelm even exist?
As I mentioned above, the main reason we get so overwhelmed with our blogs or websites is because there’s SO MUCH TO DO! Amaright? The to-do list is never-ending!
We also do a hefty amount of comparing. You see lots of bloggers or entrepreneurs out there who are killing it and you look at your tiny site or blog and think: Why am I not killing it too? We’ve all been there and it’s an easy way to not only get overwhelmed but to just feel downright terrible.
The truth is, we’re all on different journeys. You can’t compare yourself to someone who’s been blogging for two years if you’ve only just started.
Truthfully, you can’t compare yourself to someone who’s been blogging for two years even if you’ve also been blogging for two years. Your journeys are different.
Maybe this got-it-together girl has taken a lot more courses than you have. Perhaps she doesn’t have kids and you do so she’s got some extra time to put into the business that you don’t. She’s probably been doing this longer. Maybe she’s got systems in place. And that just might be the key.
Systems make a big difference.
You can’t really change any of those other things except for making systems for yourself and getting organized. If you’re just starting out, you can’t change that either, but you know what?
You STARTED and that’s BIG!
How can you conquer Blog Overwhelm?
I don’t have all the answers here, but I will tell you what I do when I start to feel overwhelmed.
1. Focus on what MATTERS!
There’s a reason I made this into a print. (Which you can download for FREE if you’re in the Resource Library!)
There are so many distractions! I find myself fighting them all day long. There are just too many things to get done at once. But you know what’s helped me? A little piece of information that I believe I heard from Jenny Shih. In one of her emails she said:
Do what makes money.
Now that may sound a little weird or not as romantic as most would like. The truth is, we’re doing all this crazy stuff to make money right? To pay bills and make a living on our own terms. So we can be with our kids or travel when we want or just to be our own boss. Whatever your reason, you’re in it to make money in the end. If that makes you feel icky, I suggest you head over to Kate Northrup’s site and begin a love affair with your money. It’ll help with the overwhelm too!
So that small thought, “Do what makes money” can help you when you start to get overwhelmed. It’s helped me a number of times, for example:
“Ugh, I have to answer those emails, I have to finish that PDF for tomorrow, I have to send out that invoice, I need to work on new designs.”
What will make money right away?
Sending out that invoice.
What will make money next?
Finishing that PDF because I can bill for it after I finish.
Answering those emails because there’s an inquiry about my services that may lead to a new client. Lastly, work on new designs, because those should make money when they’re done.
With just that thought, I was able to prioritize all that work that was overwhelming me.
2. Make Lists
Now that you’ve learned a quick way to prioritize, organize those priorities. For that, we’ll use my absolute favorite tool: LISTS!
Lists are amazing! They can give you a sense of organization, direction and accomplishment all at once. That’s a lot to pack in such a small item.
The biggest problem with blog overwhelm is that we have so much to do and most of it is running around somewhere in our brain. It also gets mixed up with all the other things we have in our brain like: I have to put that load in the dryer, what should I make for dinner?, I’ve gotta get Jackie from school, I forgot to walk the dog. On and on it goes. There’s so much going on, its no wonder we’re overwhelmed twenty-four seven.
We have to learn to harness all this information, all these to-dos and thoughts, prioritize them and write them down.
Once all of this information is out on paper we can start to organize it. I like to start out with a TO-DO list. I have several.
- A more general to do list of longer term goals I’d like to accomplish in my business.
- A shorter, weekly to-do list so I can see what’s ahead.
- A daily task list. This list can and often does incorporate household chores, because let’s face it, ain’t no getting away from those.
- The last lists are VERY specific. Since I run a small letterpress shop as well as this delightful website, I separate my daily tasks for each. This allows me to then break down my tasks into action steps that I can easily follow.
So one of my lists can go something like this:
TO-DOs for Honizukle Press
- Order Plates
- Finish designing the Spring Line
- Ship Orders
This seems simple enough, but I’ll break this down further.
- Review new orders
- Set up file in Illustrator
- Email order in
Finish designing Spring Line
- Clean up new designs
- Finalize color scheme
- Mock up entire collection
- Order Plates for collection
- Clean press
- Count out paper + Envelopes
- Set up Aqua, then Neon Red, then Black
- Orders to print: Danielle, Inspirational Card, Business Cards
- Count out boxes
- Count out packing material
- Print out labels
- Write out notes
- Cut out labels and stickers
- Run to post office
I know this looks long, but once you write ALL of that down, the overwhelm sort of goes away. Each task has now been broken down into much more manageable bites. What you have now isn’t this nebulous mass of things that has no shape.
It’s now a PLAN.
You know exactly what you need to do in order to accomplish each step you outlined in your original 4 bullet list. Breaking it down that way takes the guess work out and turns you into a machine!
You can now turn some music on or an awesome Harry Potter audio book(!), and get to work. And you know what? It works!
You can do this with each of your lists. Break down your really big goals. What do you need to do to get there? Then break those down into monthly goals, weekly goals, daily goals. Finally, turn those into small, manageable tasks that will chip away at that big boulder of a goal.
3. Celebrate your wins
This next part, you might be tempted to skip, but I suggest you don’t. We are talking about overwhelm here right? So there’s a method to the madness.
When you’ve taken the extra time to break down your goals into lists that you can use as action plans you have to celebrate each win. By win, I don’t mean when you finally get to a goal, I mean that tiny actionable task that you set. Yes, that one that just says, “print out labels”. It seems mundane, but take the time to check off that item on your list and be proud of yourself for getting there.
Nothing beats the feeling you get when you check an item off a list.
You know that feeling and it’s great. And the reason you’re there is because you didn’t let overwhelm take over. You took charge and you’re chipping away at your goals. So be intentional when you check those off.
I even have a system for that. If I make a list for the week, I highlight what I’m planning on doing that day. That’s one good feeling because I know when I’m done today, a chunk of that list will be done. Woo hoo!
Then I check off each item for the day. I lie, I don’t check it off, I totally scratch that sucker off. It’s such a great feeling to scratch those off and have a page that looks like this! 🙂
4. Measure your growth
Next, measure your growth.
You can do this in several ways but don’t overdo it either because you can easily get overwhelmed again. But I think it’s important to measure how you’re growing to give you that encouragement you need to keep going.
It can be as simple as checking google analytics and noticing your page views went up a little bit. Going to Pinterest to find that your follower count went up by a few. Checking your latest blog posts and reading new comments.
Each one of these is a sign of growth. I think we’re saturated with so many articles about making $100K in a month and 300 million followers in a week (maybe exaggerating a little) that it makes it hard for us to celebrate the small things. Don’t overlook your small growth, because it adds up.
And you know what my friend, you’re doing well. I see you. You come home and put all your love and effort into your blog and it shows. You spend hours on free webinars and paid courses to learn as much as you can to get better. And it shows! You are getting better, you are growing. So get excited about that growth! You’ve earned it. Then get back to your list and keep that plan going!
5. Surround yourself with like-minded people
This last one is big! Surround yourself with people who understand what you’re going through. Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you have to go through the journey alone. There are MANY groups you can join with thousands of beautiful people that can offer up SO MUCH encouragement.
I’ve witnessed it in many groups. Someone writes in feeling down and so many people rush to lift them up. It’s beautiful to see and amazing to experience. Don’t rob yourself of that. Find Facebook Groups, Instagram Pods, Pinterest Tribes, whatever you’re into, there’s something out there for you. If you don’t know where to start, I invite you to join our group! Come tell us your story, we’re happy to listen and share our experiences with you.
So I hope that these 5 strategies help you to deal the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Remember, you’re not the only one going through this journey so you don’t have to do it alone. It’s all about getting organized and sticking to systems that will break things down into manageable tasks. When you’re dealing with a task you can handle, it’s easier to FOCUS on what MATTERS and keep chugging along.
Don’t forget to join the library and download the FOCUS print, so you can have that reminder every time you feel overwhelmed.
And always, always, always remember, YOU ARE DOING GREAT! Don’t let overwhelm take over. Keep it on a leash so you can build that business you love!