Chaos can keep you and your freelance business in a constant state of turmoil, burnout and complete overwhelm.
At least that’s been my experience with it.
You see, I’m one of those people who likes to take on EVERYTHING.
Every project, every client, every meeting…
So I’ve always got a lot on my plate.
It is both my curse and gift, because I can actually get a TON of stuff done when I’m in my home office… alone… cranking out work.
You might be thinking, “Uhhh, that sounds great! What’s the catch?”
That’s ALL I do.
No friends, no networking, just me myself and I — complete isolation.
Then when all that isolation starts to get to my head, I swing in the total opposite direction. I get out and start connecting with friends, hanging out at happy hours, being social.
But it’s not long before my work starts to pile up higher and higher — and overwhelm starts to creep in.
And let me tell you… I do not handle this overwhelm well at all!
In fact, I may be one of the worst on the planet.
Thanks to amazing friends and family I can see it coming — most of the time — and have begun to change my ‘taking on everything’ ways.
(This isn’t the first time you’ve heard it and it won’t be the last as a freelancers but… Embrace saying no!)
But honestly, I think there’s more to it than that.
I wonder if we hide behind the badge of being “busy” or the feeling of being “overwhelmed” because when we are in that hustling, survival mode, we don’t have time to face our demons — we’re too busy surviving!
For me, I keep the overwhelm around so I can say that I’m building something amazing that compliments everything else I’ve done…
Only, I haven’t finished building that “everything else” thing yet. And guess why that is… because I’ve been so busy and overwhelmed.
It’s a viscous cycle and if we don’t call it out, we’ll never beat it!
So I would really encourage you to take a deeper look at your chaos… Is it 100% necessary?
Do you have some control over it (or the amount of it), even just a little bit?
What (if anything) is your chaos covering up? And what would be so bad about facing it? More importantly — what could be born out of it if you did?
My Proven Antidote(s) for Overwhelm:
#1: Besides saying no a bit more often, I’ve started taking on the opportunities to automate.
Of course, in order to automate, I have to create solid business systems to see where and how it’s all going to work together. That in itself has been a huge asset to my business and peace of mind.
#2: Understand and recognize the emotions and triggers as early as possible.
It’s WAY easier to make corrections before your entire world begins to spin out of control. Create your own set of modifications to put into action at the first sign of a trigger.
For example, another one for me lately is entering in my credit card charges into my accounting system and reconciling my bank statements. As soon as I see them laying on my desk I evaluate the emotion, if it’s negative then I now make myself sit down immediately and take care of it (the entire process takes about 15-20 minutes). Otherwise, I push them under other paper, I literally spent an entire day last month entering 16 months worth of data. That sucked!!
Find a way and time to set aside to play the way that brings you joy and refuels your soul. Stop rolling your eyes, I’m serious here. I can be a tough one these days to take the time to play, but I can tell you that since I’ve let go of an old mindset and started practicing how to play … I’m a happier human. Isn’t that what it’s all really about?
#4: Be careful not to isolate.
This may actually be the toughest for me right now, I actually enjoy being alone. Over the long run though it has taken a toll in more ways than one. I’m not as connected to my community (not cool!) and I feel way more out-of-sync when I do go out to connect. New goal, commit to at least two outside events per week 🙂
These are the tips that work for me, but how do you combat the chaos and overwhelm that sometimes comes with freelance life?
Share in the comments down below!
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