5 Common Overwhelm Triggers You Can Learn to Avoid


by Melanie Benson

As a small business owner, chances are you’ve felt overwhelmed as you try to grow your business. When overwhelm kicks in for you does your mind starts spinning and you find that can’t think straight? I think most entrepreneurs operate a lot like the Tasmanian Devil:  multi-tasking themselves into a spinning whirlwind of activity. One urgent or unplanned situation can send you right over the edge.

Overwhelm is a significant derailer in your ability to get the right things done. When you are in a state of overwhelm, you may feel confused, unable to make a clear decision or focus on what really needs to be done next.

A while back I surveyed my community of thought leaders, visionary entrepreneurs, and change-makers to find out what their biggest source of overwhelm was. Here’s what I discovered were the five most common triggers:


1. Financial Stress

Over 45% of my community said they regularly feel overwhelmed by financial stressors. Feeling confident that the bills will be covered to the stress of the up and down income rollercoaster, entrepreneurs often find the lack of consistent income one of the biggest sources of overwhelm.

A helpful strategy to keep cash rolling in is to create a revenue plan. A revenue plan allows you to plan for the revenue you desire – and get crystal clear on the action steps necessary. I use my Profit Explosion Toolkit to help my clients identify their best six figure revenue plan.


2. Clutter & Disorganization

39% of my community claimed disorganization as a trigger for overwhelm. The time lost looking for an email or paper due to clutter tends to add to an already stressed mind. Take the time to organize yourself so that it’s easy to locate important information when you need it most. I’m a huge fan of using a project management tool like TeamWork.com to track tasks, documentation and procedures but you can also use a free tool like Google Drive.


3. Time Constraints

Time constraints scored a 37% for creating more overwhelm. Feeling pressed for time isn’t a new issue for anyone. But when you constantly feel like there’s never enough time to get everything done, you’ll never feel peace of mind. If running behind is a pervasive pattern, chances are that you routinely overcommit your time. When you say yes to opportunities that aren’t aligned, you’ll quickly run out of bandwidth. Consider these factors:

  • What can you start saying no to in order to make more room for more aligned opportunities?
  • Could you delegate more routine activities to increase your availability for exciting projects?
  • Do you have offerings that aren’t performing as well that burn up valuable time?


4. Lack of Team Support

At least 32% of my community felt overwhelmed due to a lack of team support. When you have way more to do than you can possibly pull off, it can feel daunting. If you believe you can’t afford hiring a virtual assistant or employee, it can add even more stress as you fall further and further behind.

Often the fastest way to conquer overwhelm and start growing again is to hire someone who is good at the tasks you never have time for (or don’t do well.) Look for a virtual assistant or professional who can free you up to do the things that only you can do to grow.


5. Not Knowing What To Do Next

Not knowing what to do was a common overwhelm trigger for 28% of the people who took my survey. And that doesn’t surprise me one bit!  When you have big, bold goals, you won’t always know how to achieve something you’ve never done before. If running a business is a new role for you, there are a lot of things to figure out.

The good news is you don’t have to struggle with not knowing what to do. Get a coach, create a plan then dial down into your action steps. With that level of clarity, you’ll feel clear-headed and focused again.


Do you recognize one of these triggers as a source of overwhelm for you too?

If you do, then you are in good company. Every entrepreneur and business leader I know find themselves feeling overwhelmed at least once a week. The key is having strategies to recognize when that feeling is starting to could your judgment and move back into a flow state.

Feeling overwhelmed is a temporary mindset not a permanent condition. Remember that when overwhelm kicks in, you’ve probably experienced one of the above triggers. You’ll experience a shift back into flow by implementing my suggestions.




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