How to Remain Focused as an Overwhelmed Business Owner - Stress Tips to Apply to Business

How to Remain Focused as an Overwhelmed Business Owner

Fatigue can get in the way of even the best of plans. It can leave you feeling overwhelmed and out of your depths, especially when you’ve got a business to run. Life can be a lot just as-is, but add in the stresses of being a business owner & it can truly derail you.

So, how can fatigued business owners like yourself remain focused even when you’re simply overwhelmed? You’ll need to develop a few coping strategies, along with finding ways to tend to your mental health while also looking after the well-being of your company.

With all that in mind, here’s some general advice on how to press-on even when you are spread thin.


Identify the Cause of Your Fatigue

How to Remain Focused as an Overwhelmed Business Owner - Identify the Cause of Your Fatigue
What exactly is causing your fatigue? It’s hard to conquer a problem without first identifying its root cause. Take a moment and really think about the biggest issues that you’re currently facing.

If you’re not even sure where the source of your fatigue comes from, start by evaluating your tasks. Look closely at your daily, weekly, and monthly tasks. Are there specific tasks that tend to drain your energy a lot more than others?

After identifying those tasks that give you the biggest headache, you have to find ways to deal with them more effectively. This may include:

  • Prioritizing your tasks
  • Limiting too much multitasking
  • Taking real, regular breaks
  • Bringing on more help as needed
  • Delegating and outsourcing
  • Streamlining your operations
  • Taking advantage of current technology

    Everything is obviously personal, so it’s key to find out which things would be of most help to you. Here’s a closer look at all these specific steps..


    Prioritize Your Tasks

    How to Remain Focused as an Overwhelmed Business Owner - Prioritize Your Tasks
    Categorize your tasks each day based on the urgency and importance of each. Focus on what really needs immediate attention and what can generate the most value for your business.

    The Eisenhower box method is a common and useful solution for prioritizing tasks. Made famous from former President Dwight Eisenhower, this productivity strategy is a simple decision making tool. He was known to have amazing organizational skills so you know this is gold.

    Start by listing all the tasks that you hope to complete during the day. Next, categorize the tasks into four groups:

    1. Urgent and important
    2. Important but not urgent
    3. Urgent but not important
    4. Not urgent or important

    Start with tasks from the first category. Urgent and important tasks are more likely to relate to your long-term business plans. You can also consider delegating, minimizing, or eliminating some of the tasks from the third and fourth categories. These tasks are often distractions that are less likely to contribute to your business goals.

    You’ll free up time so that when you finish the most essential tasks, you’ll be better prepared to deal with the remaining tasks you have.


    Limit Too Much Multitasking

    If you’re feeling fatigued, try to avoid a lot of multitasking. Trying to juggle tasks makes it difficult to stay focused, you’ll end up just increasing your stress. Which is what we are hoping to avoid here.

    Each time that you switch back to a task, your mind needs to recalibrate, reducing your efficiency. This eats up valuable time, increasing the risk of feeling rushed later. You’ll set yourself up for disaster.

    Instead of multitasking, focus on one task at a time. Focusing on a single task also helps you avoid mistakes. If you’re not giving your undivided attention to a task, you’re likely to make mistakes. Each small mistake certainly adds up, resulting in wasted time.

    Focusing on one task helps boost productivity, reduces distractions, and may even reduce your stress. You’ll likely complete tasks that much faster as well. The satisfaction that this brings can increase your motivation, giving you more energy to complete future tasks.


    Take Real, Regular Breaks

    Taking short, regular breaks throughout the day may seriously help improve your concentration and reduce fatigue. I think we all forget to take a “moment” sometimes & it’s really important to try to do so.

    Studies show that continuous work without adequate rest leads to decreased productivity, creativity, and decision-making abilities. Your brain needs that downtime to process information and consolidate memories.

    Regular breaks are not a luxury, but a necessity for keeping you on your toes. Taking a break increases your focus when you return to running your business.

    Stepping away from your work may also help reduce your overall stress levels. During your breaks, make an effort to engage in activities completely unrelated to your work, such as exercising, meditating, or a hobby you enjoy. These things seem trivial but can really help clear your mind and boost your mood.

    If you can’t remember to take a break regularly, try the Pomodoro Technique. Developed in the late 1980s, it’s a time management method that involves using a kitchen timer, or a timer on your phone, to set a break time. The typical routine is 25 minutes of work followed by a five-minute break.


    Bring On More Help as Needed

    How to Remain Focused as an Overwhelmed Business Owner - Bring On More Help as Needed
    Increasing the size of your staff may help with your fatigue, especially if other members of your team are feeling overworked. You can lighten everyone’s workload and create a less hectic work environment by bringing on more employees when you can.

    Bringing on more staff allows you to focus on core activities that truly contribute to the actual growth of your business. With more help, you’ll find it easier to allocate your time among the most essential tasks. You can use your energy more efficiently, which may keep you from getting burnt out as quickly.

    Additional staff also brings new skills and perspectives. You get new ideas that may help improve your business’s ability to solve problems and innovate. You also don’t want your top performing employees to be bogged down by remedial tasks, you want them to be able to focus on big-picture projects. So hiring more people makes sure that’s possible.

    To decide what positions are needed, evaluate your current challenges. Look for gaps in expertise. For example, you may benefit from additional human resources staff or a bookkeeper. Determine the necessary roles for increasing the efficiency of your operations or lightening your workload.


    Delegate and Outsource

    How to Remain Focused as an Overwhelmed Business Owner - Delegate and Outsource
    Delegate tasks to help free up your time. We know this can be a difficult thing to do, especially if you are a very hands-on person who likes to handle everything yourself. But identifying tasks that you can entrust to others & delegating them can be so insanely helpful.

    It gives you more time for high-priority projects while reducing your workload. And hey, if you find it difficult to pass tasks off to other people (like us), start by delegating small, low-risk tasks at first. This helps build trust and confidence between you and your team.

    Provide clear expectations. Make sure that everyone understands the desired outcomes & give them all the necessary information while remaining open to questions.

    After you get more comfortable delegating tasks, start giving your team more authority. Allow them to make more decisions on their own within the scope of the delegated task. This empowers them and helps reduce bottlenecks along the way.

    Instead of waiting for you to verify every little detail, they can keep working toward the completion of the task.


    Assess and Streamline Your Operations

    Perhaps ambition is mainly the source of your fatigue. Expanding your business too quickly can certainly stretch you and your resources much too thin, increasing the risk of getting burnt out.

    To streamline your operations, look for bottlenecks. These are areas where work tends to pile up, resulting in less productivity. Identifying and addressing these inefficiencies can significantly reduce your stress overall.

    Another strategy involves removing processes that don’t add value to the customer. Remove all non-essential activities. This lean approach helps eliminate waste, allowing you to focus more on customer satisfaction and your bottom-line growth.

    Make sure that you get your team involved in this process. Ask them for insights and suggestions they might have, as your team is likely to have fresh ideas and perspectives. There may be areas of the business that you don’t have as much day-to-day knowledge on anymore, so it’s key to use employee feedback to identify pain points and areas for optimization.


    Take Advantage of Current Technology

    Leverage technology and apps to boost productivity and help you to stay organized. Just make sure that you avoid tempting distractions such as social media and mobile games. No one ever got more organized by playing candy crush on their phone instead of answering pressing emails.

    As a business owner, you’ve got a wide range of technologies at your disposal. For example, you can use automation tools to help streamline and automate certain tasks, such as email marketing and customer service inquiries.

    You can also use cloud-based project management and collaboration tools to help teams stay on track. An efficient project management solution can keep teams aligned on projects without constant meetings or check-ins.

    Data analytics tools are also available and can be really helpful. Use these tools for insights into the performance of your business, customer behavior, and market trends. These details can help you make more informed choices.

    You should also ensure that you have the hardware needed to run your business, including using an efficient phone system. For example, switching to a virtual phone system can help keep your team connected using existing devices, such as phones and desktops. But, we are sure you already know that if you’re reading this.


    Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle & Establish Boundaries

    How to Remain Focused as an Overwhelmed Business Owner - Healthy Lifestyle Establish Boundaries
    Establishing boundaries is just one step that you can take to improve your overall well-being. A healthy lifestyle and good work-life balance may help with your exhaustion. This all starts with establishing boundaries, though.

    Setting clear boundaries between work and personal time isn’t easy, but it’s so necessary. You need time away from your business. Period.

    If you think about your business 24/7, you’re likely to become mentally exhausted much faster. Giving yourself time away from work ensures that you have the downtime you need to recharge. We get that’s easier said than done especially if your business is extremely important to you. But you can’t help your company flourish if you yourself are down for the count mentally.

    Start by setting specific work hours. Let your team know that you’re not available outside of these hours while giving them the same courtesy. You can also use “away” or “do not disturb” modes on your devices to let others know that you’re unavailable. As a business owner, you need to still be available for emergencies but for anything non-urgent communicate those parameters to your team.


    Build a Stronger Support Network

    How to Remain Focused as an Overwhelmed Business Owner - Build a Stronger Support Network
    Everyone needs someone to lean on sometimes. Try to build a network of people who you can depend on for advice, support and who you can truly trust.

    Check out local business groups and online forums. You’ll meet other business owners and entrepreneurs who’ve gone through many of the same challenges as you. You can rely on them for advice when you run into trouble or headaches with your business.

    Building a stronger support network may also open the doors to new opportunities. Getting to know other business owners in your community can lead to new partnerships and collaborations.

    Besides external support, don’t forget how important your internal support within your own body is. You’ll feel less fatigued and better equipped to deal with challenges when you get plenty of sleep, exercise, and maintain a healthy diet overall.


    Set Clear, Achievable Goals

    Be realistic when setting your personal and business goals. Make sure that your goals are within reach and not too unrealistic. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed when you set the bar too high right off the bat.

    To set clear, achievable goals, consider the long-term vision for your business. Decide on those key milestones that you want to achieve. Obviously, set your biggest goals first. Break your long-term goals into smaller, manageable tasks. This makes them seem more attainable and less staggering.

    Each of these smaller goals should be specific and measurable. Instead of setting a goal to increase online sales, set a specific target, such as increasing online sales by 10% within six months.

    Assign deadlines for your goals. Having a timeline helps with prioritizing tasks. Take care of the tasks that require your immediate attention first. Review & adjust your progress often. This can help motivate you and allow you to adjust your strategies as needed based on what is or isn’t working.

    When you reach your milestones, don’t forget to celebrate them. This can provide a morale boost and help alleviate some of your feelings of fatigue. Taking the time to clearly define your goals can help you maintain that focus and motivation. Repeat these steps each time you need to set a new objective.


    Revisit Your Motivation

    When you find yourself struggling and feeling overloaded, remind yourself why you actually started your business. Revisiting your core motivations may give you a renewed sense of purpose and focus.

    Along with revisiting the reasons why you started your business, you should set new challenges. Your motivation may wane when things become too routine. Setting a new, exciting challenge can reignite the spark and enthusiasm you once had for your business.

    It’s also important to celebrate past successes. Look back on what you’ve achieved so far, no matter how small. It can remind you of your capabilities & boost your confidence. Running a business is no walk in the park, don’t forget to go easy on yourself. Remember your impressive accomplishments, don’t diminish what you’ve done.

    Sometimes you may need to seek inspiration though. Look for inspiration in books, podcasts, or articles about entrepreneurship, leadership, and motivation. Continue to read articles and blogs with tips and strategies for achieving greater business success.


    Most Importantly, Slow Down

    How to Remain Focused as an Overwhelmed Business Owner - Most Importantly Slow Down
    So, if you’re feeling fatigued, slow down. Assess your current routine to find ways to reduce your workload and stress. You need to take care of yourself or you can’t take care of your business.

    Start by trying to find the cause of your fatigue, such as feeling overworked. You should also prioritize tasks, avoid multitasking, and take regular breaks. Establishing boundaries and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can also go a long way toward improving your energy levels and motivation.

    If you continue to streamline your processes and rely on the help of others, you’ll gradually find it easier to manage stress, improve your focus, and enhance your overall productivity. Keep these tips in mind if you want a more balanced life as a business owner. It can be rough out there..make sure you’re as prepared as you can be!




    Stephanie is the Marketing Director at Talkroute and has been featured in Forbes, Inc, and Entrepreneur as a leading authority on business and telecommunications.

    Stephanie is also the chief editor and contributing author for the Talkroute blog helping more than 100k entrepreneurs to start, run, and grow their businesses.

    StephanieHow to Remain Focused as an Overwhelmed Business Owner