Does your workload feel like it’s a little too much? Are you feeling weighed down by a long to-do list and feel like you just can’t keep up? Or maybe you’re feeling paralyzed because you’re starting your own business and don’t know where to start.
We’ve all been there: workload paralysis.
Sometimes when you have so much ahead, it can feel like it’ll never end, which might cause you to feel paralyzed by anxiety at work and unmotivated to even start.
But the longer you let the anxiety cripple you, the harder it will be to tackle your tasks.
So, where to go from here?
Quit! Just give up.
Oh, come on, you think we’re going to tell you the answer in our first point? That’s no fun! Keep reading for a few simple tips on how to overcome workload paralysis.
Take a deep breath.
When you’re tense, your breath gets shallower, which can cause anxiety. You need to slow your breathing, and that starts with one deep breath.
Don’t rush the breath; do it with intention. Sure, it sounds hippieish, but it works. Push all of the air out of your lungs and start to slowly inhale, filling up your belly first, and then your lungs.
Relax your shoulders.
You know when you get so worked up that all of a sudden your shoulders start creeping toward your ears? And then you’re wondering why your shoulders are sore, even though you’ve skipped out on the gym this week?
You’re agitated, and you need to loosen up. Try doing some light stretches to chill out a bit. And if you’re up for it, combine your stretches with some deep breathing. Seriously, it works wonders.
Take a second to assess the situation.
Not what the situation feels like. The reality of the situation. Because while you might feel worthless, uninspired, and unable to get your business up and running, the reality may be that you just need a break.
Sometimes taking a quick walk can help refresh your mind and get your creative juices flowing again. Zoning out and laughing at the latest memes of the day is also a way to relieve some stress.
Don’t give yourself permission to crumble.
We all have those times when we are so stuck that we just want to curl up in a ball with footie pajamas and a milkshake. Many of us will just binge on our favorite TV shows to distract us from facing the reality of our situation.
But that gets you nowhere. You would hardly enjoy your time curled up in a ball, anyway, because you’d be secretly stressing about what needs to happen before your company can launch.
Finish everything that is pressing first. Then, set a realistic timeframe for when each task should be completed and hold yourself accountable. Giving yourself strict deadlines can help with procrastination.
Make it a point to at least get something done.
Anything. Just one thing. Even the dumbest thing.
You can’t do everything right now, so you’ll have to start somewhere. Even if it’s making a to-do list for later (or tomorrow).
Then, if you really do need a break, you can feel good about yourself for accomplishing something. You’ll feel a little rush of adrenaline just for making a list.
And when you get back at it, at least you’ll know where to start.
Stop the cycle.
When you let yourself give in to work paralysis, it becomes harder and harder to stop the cycle because you’ll only feel more and more unmotivated.
If you avoid the mountain of work ahead of you (by watching Netflix for half the day), you’ll feel disappointed with yourself. That makes you more likely to give up and say, “I’ll start tomorrow.”
Meanwhile, your workload keeps piling up. Your business isn’t going to start itself!
Start with something small.
An email to a client. Sending an invoice. Writing off an expense.
Sometimes a small feeling of completion can have a snowball effect: you start with something small and then build a little bit of confidence to tackle something bigger.
It’s all about getting into a flow. Build up some momentum and don’t stop until it’s done.
If you’re starting your own company, taking small steps can really help give you a sense of accomplishment. Break down a bigger project into tasks you can complete in a day or week.
Use the little tasks to build up to bigger milestones. (Ahem, launch party.)
Pat yourself on the back.
When you’re feeling bad, it’s almost a compulsion to make yourself feel even worse with stress eating or negative self-talk.
But telling yourself that you suck or that you’re a talentless piece of garbage is seriously not helping you. Or your business from getting off of the ground.
Don’t waste your time (or energy) beating yourself up; you should be doing just the opposite!
Get rid of distractions.
Stop yourself from creating distractions. This is the number one thing that will keep you from being productive– and it’s completely in your control.
Stop answering emails for an hour. Lock yourself in a dark room. Set up your office in a small closet for the day.
Whatever you need to do to focus, do it.
Remember, everyone feels this way.
Productivity ebbs and flows. Sometimes you’re on a roll, and sometimes you feel like you’ve hit a roadblock. The best thing you can do is just get used to it and understand what to do when it happens.
Take action as soon as you find yourself in a rut. Things will turn around, but you’ve gotta make the first move.
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