Managing Overwhelm in Private Practice

Private practice has LOTS of moving parts. There are moments when you look at all of what is on your plate and might ask yourself…

“How am I really going to get all of this done?”

Well, you are not alone. There is not a business owner alive that has not felt the sting of overwhelm. Trust me…if you are feeling it, you are in good company.

Business seems to have only two speeds. Way too much going on and nothing at all. The truth is the only thing worse than overwhelm in a business owner’s life is the absolute boredom that comes when there is no “movement at all” in the business.

The goal is to slow the pace a bit, but not have it come to a screeching halt. ( Be steady and consistent )

So where does all this overwhelm come from anyway? Let’s take a look a five patterns that contribute to overwhelm:

1. Over-scheduling

Trying to do too many things at a time is a recipe for disaster. I mean it…if your to do list for today has 20 items on it, you are setting yourself up for overwhelm before you even get started.

Overscheduling happens on the calendar when we don’t account for time between appointments or travel time. Overscheduling happens when we forget to set aside any time in the day to even eat.

Overscheduling also happens when we plan too many events, too many trainings and meetings back to back without sufficient time to really process what you are learning or follow up on those opportunities/ideas. Yup…Overscheduling!

2. Distraction

You have set three important things you need to accomplish today. Important stuff that HAS to be done by the end of the day. But then…the phone rings, a cool blog hits your inbox, you remember the webinar that is on live this afternoon…you get it! Next thing you know those very important things that demand and deserve adequate time and attention to get them completed become relegated to the end of the day. Now instead of really giving it your best, you are squeezing it in and feeling OVERWHELMED.

See how that works?

Avoid that…don’t fall prey to the bright shining object syndrome that impacts so many business owners. Be relentless with your focus and accomplish what you have set out to do BEFORE you get into the rest of the stuff. Those distractions may sound like great ideas but until you focus you won’t actually yield the real results you are looking for.

3. Unreasonable and Unrealistic

When you are in business for yourself, there is no supervisor there charting a course for you. You will have to be the one to set goals for your business AND make them happen. It can feel so overwhelming when you start to learn all of what it required to build a business. The competition between business priorities can be fierce.

What happens so often is that we get swept up in the feeling of urgency to get things done. This pressure to do it all and do it all right now will have you creating a things to do today list that is 35 items long. I know how tempting it is to try to take it all on…but that really is a recipe for overwhelm too.

All business owners have to learn the art of prioritizing. Learning how to set reasonable goals that reflect what is most important for your business right now. Ask yourself what one thing can I accomplish today that will push my business forward? If you haven’t already…it might be time to set some inspiring goals for your practice that can help you focus on the most important things first.

Once you have a clear big picture in mind, start setting clear and measurable action steps with reasonable timelines. Set yourself up for success by choosing things you can implement daily to help you make real progress.

4. Denial

You have to pay attention to what your business needs and create strategies that will push your vision forward. This also involves an honest assessment about what is not working in your business. Be honest about those troublesome areas in your business.

Sometimes we try to avoid when things are going wrong…but that can create a state of chronic overwhelm. Not only do you have to suffer the continual consequences of the problem, you know deep inside, you have done nothing that will create a course correct. There is nothing worse than the overhwhelm that comes from not knowing how to solve a problem. Be brave enough to face challenging situations head on. When you don’t know what to do…find out. Research, ask questions, reach out to others that can help guide you along the way. Don’t just let it happen to you…use your supports when are not sure what do to. You don’t have to go it alone, but you do have to go at it.

5. Lack of self care

Overwhelm also comes from not taking good care of yourself. Do you notice how when you are well rested, nourished and emotionally supported you are better able to manage business and life without overwhelm? Everything in your business begins with you. Your business needs you to take good care of yourself so you can take good care of it. Sometimes it’s not the weight of the load, but how you carry it.

So which one of these five strategies will you use to start readjusting the way you manage your load. It could make all the difference in avoiding a one way ticket to overwhelm.

Seth Godin quote…”Important means: long-term, foundational, coherent, in the interest of many, strategic, efficient, positive…If you take care of important things, the urgent things don’t show up as often. The opposite is never true.”

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