Overwhelm is a massive problem. If you’re a driven person, this can happen too often, and sadly, the more successful you become, and the bigger you get, the more likely it is to happen. Let’s discuss the very real reality of overwhelm, and a handful of strategies to push through it…
OVERCOMING ABSOLUTE OVERWHELM
Hello folks, how you doing? Billy Farrell here. In this video, I want to talk to you about a very real problem, and that problem is overwhelm. Chances are, if you are a working professional or a business person, an entrepreneur, an investor, a developer, whatever, chances are, you face overwhelm. And it can be very dark, very miserable and a horrible place to be, and rather than sit here and tell you that you can overcome that at some point in your life, it’s not going to happen to you any more, because you fell for all the social media bullshit where people pretend they’re living the perfect life. Let’s address the fact that it actually does happen and it sucks and talk about how you overcome it because it’s going to happen.
So for me, I had a day today where I was completely overwhelmed. I mean run into the ground, barking at my family, shouting at my wife, I mean, that’s not on man, that’s not good. But I was just so pissed off and worked up because I had so many things to do. Now where does overwhelm come from? Generally, the context I’m talking about here, it comes from having too much on your plate, too much to do, too much to handle, too much to think about, that everything just piles up on top of you, and you don’t know what to do to get out of it. It’s just like, “I’m just going to shut down and give up because fuck this, this is too hard”, but then you remember you’ve actually got things to do that matter. You’ve got open things to deal with and you can’t just shut down if you’re a business owner or a professional. You can’t just shut down. That doesn’t work.
I mean, today I’m looking at my tasks. I’ve got 4 kids. 6,5,3 and 1. I’ve got the dog, my beautiful dog, my beautiful wife, my loving, wonderful, beautiful wife. I’ve got the house to look after, I’m looking around the house, I’m looking at the back garden. Guys, there’s no glamour here. I had dog shit to pick up in the back garden. I’ve got Christmas lights to fit around the front of the whole building. Daily life stuff. School drop offs, school pick-ups, handling shit, and we’ve got multiple companies, building company, development company. We’ve got projects that we’re working on right now. We’ve got different sites that we’re developing. We’ve got the media company. We’ve got Property Protege clients to serve, the Platinum group to serve. We have got so many things on the go, it’s ridiculous. We’ve got restaurants, pubs, clubs, all sorts of shit, and I’m sitting there today with this massive task list, staff to run, people to look after, or people’s problems to deal with, and I just thought I cannot do this. This is just too much. I cannot process this. I cannot think. I cannot do this. I wanted to shut down, and I thought I’m just going to bugger off for an hour, and go and sit in the sauna and just disappear. Whilst that wouldn’t be a bad idea, when I come back from the sauna, I’d still have the same shit to deal with. Sure, I may be a bit more calm and subdued, but the problems are still there, and I’ve just given myself 2 hours less in the working day to handle them. That’s not a good place to be.
So let me share with you what I do to combat overwhelm, and if it works for you, then fantastic. This is something I do a lot. I’ll give you a strategy as well as the practical tips that I’m about to give you. So, the strategy for dealing with overwhelm that I turn to when I get there, I basically think of the old quote: “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time”. Years ago, apparently there was a French guy who ate a small aircraft. Hey, I suppose it would be good goal at the end of your life to say, “Hey, I ate a plane”, maybe not a 747 but, you know, a Cesna. Nice one. Guiness Book of World Records, “First person to eat a Cesna”. Anyway, this guy eats a plane. How do you do it? By breaking it down into tiny little parts, and addressing the parts that matter most.
WHAT MATTERS MOST?
So, for me, when I feel overwhelmed, I think about that and I think about Gandhi. Mahatma Gandhi was facing a particularly stressful day, and someone said to him, “You don’t have time to meditate. You’ve got this, that, that, that and that.”, and Gandhi said, “I guess I’ll have to meditate twice as long.” Beautiful. Well said Gandhi. My man. Why? Because if you’re not a healthy you, then you’re no good to anyone. You’re no good to the world around about you. And when I’m overwhelmed, what I do when I think of those quotes that I was just sharing, I basically stop. I turn off all distractions, and I look at everything that I’ve got to do. I make a list. Here are all the things that I have to handle. This is my list, because, when you’re overwhelmed, you tend not to think of the lots of tiny little things that you need to do and prioritise them and put them in order. No no no. We’ve got this club of fucking noise and chaos just exploding.
What I do is I make a list of everything that has to happen. I look at that list, I put it in order of priority, urgency, importance. Because hey, you can be a busy fool, working on nonsense and just be busy being busy. What’s the point in that? I look at the things that I’ve got to do and I go to the big tasks first. What is the big needle moving tasks that I need to handle? Not the ones that I can do in a week. I can sit them on ice for now, because I’m in a bad place where everything’s happening and I need to catch up. I take these big things that need to happen but aren’t urgent yet, and I’ll shove them down there, even though I know I should be living in the “Get the important things done ahead of time” phase.
Then what I should really do now to get out of the overwhelm, is say, right, I can put this off here. These little tasks here, I can push them off. These ones here, they don’t really matter so I’m going to score them out altogether and forget about them. These ones here, I’m going to delegate them and get other people working on these things that I shouldn’t even be working on. This one here, well, do you know what? I shouldn’t be working on that either. I am going to hire someone to handle this because it’s a full time job, this particular thing, and I’m doing it. So, I’ll look at that, and then I’ll look at what’s left and I’ll put it in order of priority, importance, profitability, deadlines, et cetera, and I’ll basically plan out the next few days.
This is what I did today. I planned out the next couple of days worth of activities, I looked at the things that were most important to me. I scored things off the list. I looked at the big tasks, and I thought cool, when am I going to get these done? Realistically, how long will it take me to achieve this thing? What can I give to other people? What can I score off the list? What can I put back in time? What doesn’t actually matter? And when I got it all out of my head and onto a notepad on my Mac, and by the way, this list included personal things like pick up dog shit. This is real life guys. When I looked at that list, I thought cool, how am I going to do all of this? When am I going to do all of this? And by going through this process, I gained clarity. That clarity helped me to mentally relax, to take a breath, and to say cool, now that I know what I have to work on, what am I going work on first? Great, until this one thing is done, everything else is a distraction.
You know, half the time when you’re overwhelmed, this is quite funny, I find this amusing. When you look at some folk who say, “Oh my God, I’m so busy, I’m so busy, it’s 4.30, I’ve got half an hour left before everything shuts down. I’ve got so much to do.” Well, you weren’t that busy when you were fucking about on Youtube at lunchtime. When the first part of your day was more relaxed, you weren’t that busy back then when you were messing about and chatting to people, taking it easy. It’s because you didn’t prioritise in the first place, or you allowed other people, things, projects, whatever, to get on top of you. You allowed that to happen, so it’s no wonder you’re standing here at closing bell, saying “Oh my God, I’ve got all this stuff to do and I can’t believe I’ve only got half and hour to do it.” That’s on you. That’s your fucking fault.
So we can plan better, and when we get out of that overwhelm, we need to start thinking about how do I avoid ever falling into this trap again? And some of the things I can say on that, before I wrap up here, are what are the things that you shouldn’t be doing? What are the things that you can get other people brought in to do? What are the things that you’ve been working on that really you should just put a stop to? So that you can focus on becoming world class at the things that you need to become world class at right now. What can you outsource? These are the kind of questions we want to ask.
We don’t want to live where most people live, which is the urgent and important category of the time quadrant. We want to live in the category of important but not yet urgent. It’s not yet urgent but it’s important. I’m going to get it done ahead of time so that it’s done. I’m going to stay on the ball with this and I’m going to look after me. When you start to think like that, sure, things are going to come up and try and get you, but if you’re clever about it, and you cut the distractions, and you’re real about the fact that you’re your biggest problem, then you can stay on top of things. But even like me, there’s days that come that just screw you and hit you hard and you’re like whoa, and that’s fine.
Take my advice here, if it works for you, use it. If it doesn’t, cool. Thanks for listening. I’ll catch you guys later, go to followbilly.com, connect with me, check out the podcast and wherever you’re watching or listening to this, drop me some feedback. I would love to chat to you. Catch you later.
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