This post originally appeared in Paula Gardner's Do Your Own PR newsletter.
Tricks and Tips to Deal With the Overwhelm
Even though this is my job, I have to admit that sometimes all the keeping up with social media, the carving out a niche as an expert, the relentlessness of staying on top of it all, can just be exhausting. I’m not embarassed to admit that I have fantasies of running away to a villa in Italy and spend my days writing novels on some terrace where I can sip Prosecco as the sun goes down and live off a handy inheritance until I hit best-seller status. But of course, there is no inheritance and I need to do what I do. I need to, as my mother says, just get on with it.
But still, there have been times when I can feel that I’m burning out. Signs include:
- Putting important things off because I am so busy just “doing”
- Feeling welded to my phone
- Having a to do list for today that runs into tomorrow
Perhaps you have something similar, or your signs of exhaustion are different from mine? I have to tell you that these periods of exhaustion are now feel and far between. I’ve learned to look at my business and organise my time in a different way, a way that really works with who I am, not who the latest marketing guru is telling me I should be.
Things I have learned include:
- I now concentrate on the things I love doing. These include Instagram which feels like keeping a visual diary of my life, writing this newsletter, and blogging. All of these plays to my skills and interests. I find them fun. They don’t feel forced, or that I’m pretending to be someone I’m not. They also fit into my routine. I can do Instagram, anywhere, including on the bus, and Monday mornings are something I look forward to as it’s the time that I sit down, with some good music on my Spotify, a loaded teapot next to me (I love the Fortnum and Mason Smokey Grey blend), and the kittens at my feet, and write this newsletter
- I recycle when I can. I will write this newsletter, and then use it as a blog post. Sometimes, I can forge a press release out of what I’ve created, and I can certainly get a few social media posts out of it. What’s more, it feels an incredibly productive thing to do first thing on a Monday (just like going for a run, which is what I’m going to do next!)
- I work an an environment I enjoy. My office is one of my favourite spaces. I make sure I have good music, I have a funky leopard print chaise longe for lounging about when I’m thinking through ideas (or coaching clients!) and a whole wall of books I can flick through for inspiration (I’m a big book fan). Fresh flowers, candles…all these can help create the right mood for the type of work I want to do.A coffee machine might even appear sometime soon!
- I think about what I need. On a Monday morning my office is my sanctuary and it’s here that I ease myself into my week gradually, but later in the week, if I find enthusiasm slipping, I’ll head off to a coffee shop or nice hotel and work somewhere with a different energy. I’m lucky to live in London so could in theory go somewhere new every day for, well, possibly the rest of my life. If I did live out in the country, however, I would try to find someone who also worked at home, and have a regular one day a week working with them, at their home, and vice versa. We wouldn’t have to even work together, but perhaps breaking for a brainstorm every now and again would be helpful
- I automate when I can. I post blog posts ahead and schedule them to be published later in the week. There are automated tools like Buffer and Tweet Deck that can be incredibly helpful for social media. I don’t even upload my tweets to these, but get my 19 year old son to do it for a little extra cash. I have, however, been known to kick him out bed to get it done!
- Just concentrate on the next thing. Some projects can be so overwhelming they make you feel tired before you even start. I’ve learned to just concentrate on the next step and leave all the rest. Asking myself “what to do I need to do next?” is the most valuable question in both my work and personal life
- Take a day off. I’m lucky that my travel blog Soothed in the City provides me with some great experiences that really keep me feeling fresh. I have also been known to take the odd day off and spend it on the sofa with some good movies. It’s rare that I do this, but, hey, isn’t that point of being self employed, that you can do this when you want to? What’s more, I always emerge feeling refreshed and ready to go.
Dealing with exhaustion and that feeling that there’s just too much to do is something we work on in my Visibility Booster Day, where we work on a plan that’s tailored to fit you. When you work on visibility raising activities that suit your skills, your interests and the time and resources you realistically have available, it’s more likely to happen. Find out more about this here.