How to Stay Productive, Even When You’re Overwhelmed


The problem with being afflicted with burnout when you’re a business owner is that you can’t exactly stop and smell the flowers for a while, and then come back when you’re refreshed and re-centered. The business isn’t going to slow down for you, and neither is the workload. This is a dilemma that is widespread among owners. So, instead of telling you to, “Just relax,” this post offers a few practical solutions that you can utilize on the fly and hopefully keep your output steady.


Trust Yourself

When you become overwhelmed, delegate tasks and projects to your colleagues and employees as much as you can—but don’t lower your expectations of yourself. Understand that if you’re burned out, you clearly have more on your plate than you can handle. There’s no shame in that; and in fact, you’ve probably taken on more than anyone should have.

Entrepreneurs have an especially hard time admitting that they can’t handle the heavy load. If you don’t change the way you’re managing it, though, the problem will only get worse.


Bringing Order to the Chaos

One of the fastest ways that your work will overwhelm you is by becoming disorganized, which naturally turns into chaos. That chaos among your daily responsibilities quickly makes you become agitated and, if it continues for long enough, it gives you a feeling of being totally lost.

It is vital that you take a look at every task and project that you currently have ongoing and put it all in order so that you’re working on everything at the right time and actually completing those projects. For the sake of your mental well-being, it is far better to progressively mark things off your list than to desperately put out whatever fire is screaming for your attention.

Fully completing a task, scratching it off your list, and forgetting about it forever is an extremely effective stress-reliever.


Union Break

As a business owner, you have to take care of your brain like a student in school, where demands on mental output and stamina are high. When you come into work every day to run your business, you’re just like a student who is taking tests all day long; it’s going to be taxing on your brain.

So, to make sure your brain can perform the way you need it to, not only do you need “brain food”, but you also need to give it a break from time to time. As a student performs best when taking mental breaks periodically, you should take some time to decompress for about 30 minutes every day, or more if you can

That doesn’t mean inhaling a sandwich while you catch up on emails; it means really breaking away and doing something you enjoy for 30 minutes. You’d be surprised how much of a difference it can make.

The bottom line is that if you’re overwhelmed with work, something has to give. You can either hope for things to slow down so that you can finally catch your breath (not recommended), or you can take steps to manage the workload on the fly. Just keep in mind that the longer you endure that level of stress, the more harmful it is to you, even potentially affecting your physical health. Everyone deals with stress at work in his or her own way; the key is to deal with it, and not to just white-knuckle through it.




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 Stay Productive, Even When You’re Overwhelmed