Dealing with Overwhelm & Procrastination I've been working part-time in my own business for a couple of months now and overall I have to say.... I'm loving it! That doesn't mean it's for everyone or it's easy Last week Lou went to Cambridge to meet one of her friends from Sweden. This meant I was on my own (with my thoughts!) from Wednesday to Sunday. I have a lot of things going on in my life at the moment and this isolation results in me feeling quite overwhelmed with it all. In this video I share what was on my mind, why, and how I dealt with it. For those of you wanting a 5 minute 'cheeky peak' of text behind the bosses back, I've written out the main points from it below. I hope by me sharing this information with you all it can help at least one other person out there. Enjoy! What am I feeling overwhelmed with? I'm entering a new chapter in my life (queue dramatic music)..... My last day at work is Friday 2nd October. As of Monday 5th October, I will be a free man fending for himself. This isn't breaking news for regular readers, as I announced it a few months back. During this time, I've had the unique opportunity to phase in my new lifestyle. The initial excitement and ecstasy wore off and I was left with the reality of what I was facing. The closer I've got to the leave date, the more REAL it's felt! My workload is huge. If I were to just focus on Kindle Publishing alone, it would easily be a full time job. My job's list involves the following:
Finding & researching new topics to write about
Researching keywords for titles and search options
Outsourcing cover designs taking into account above
Edit/proof read their work
Upload work to Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)
Launch and promote book
Hire and manage Virtual Assistants (VA's) to help with the above
Analyse sales numbers - make appropriate amendments
Re-promote books every 3 months to stay relevant
Expand work into paperback, and audio in the same material
I'm currently working on expanding my income by selling affiliate products and services to people that buy my books. For example, earlier this year I gave away free copies of my Marathon Book. In that book, I'd like to put in an additional free gift - like a free guide on equipment for runners, or marathon nutrition - to obtain the gift people have to sign up to a mailing list and provide me with their email. Once I have their email list I can promote running products and services to them and get paid for every sale I make.
This process (known as Internet Marketing) takes income outside of Amazon, diversifies my revenue streams, and of course away, increases my overall income. I've only worked on one of my pen-names so far and I have loads to do to build the platform for this task. The good news is that the work is front loaded - ie. Once I've put the work in, it automates the emails and I just sit back and wait for the money to come in as and when people buy from my recommendation.
I don't want to recommend crap, not do I want to bombard people with sales pitches as they'll unsubscribe and I personally hate that. Therefore, I have to provide them my beloved customers with huge amounts of value. This is in the form of FREE recommendations of articles, useful information, my authors free books (or discounted) and such like. Then every once in a while I pitch a product recommendation. This is a big undertaking for me, but one I'm both prepared to do and eager to benefit from. Other jobs/commitments This is just the run of the mill standard Kindle jobs I have going on. It doesn't include the other things like - Blogging/Youtube, organising the FIRE Escape (UK Gatherings), setting up a new Blog away from Blogger (more on that in future), designing an online Kindle Publishing course to show others how to do what I do, Kindle Publishing 1-to-1 Coaching, writing my own books, running my company, reselling on Ebay etc etc, blah blah, shut up moaning already! You get the point. I'm nothing special. I have a lot going all - BUT all of which is my own undertaking, and I wouldn't have it any other way! Take this workload, and couple in a 5 day isolation period and you get..... Paranoia! The feelings were starting to take a hold of me and I didn't like it. My mind was racing through everything:
Can I afford to make it on my own? Am I cut out for this lifestyle? I have so much to do and I don't know where to start?What if I fail? Why didn't I wait a little longer to leave my job? I'm hungry When I worked a 9-5 job as a manager, I was bombarded with questions every 30 mins (AT LEAST!). I used to think "God, I wish I could have 2-4 hours with myself to do some work", and now I have almost all the time in the world. I didn't realise it but that constant 'fire fighting' kept my brain busy and stimulated. I didn't have time to contemplate and worry, I had work to do. To combat these unhelpful thoughts, I took myself outside for a workout and run, I talked to some people later that day and thought about my circumstances once again. It's not THAT bad. This feelings are normal and kind of expected. I'll work it out! A very helpful article from a great writer that I admire also did the world of good. Big shout out to David Cain from Raptitude. If I'm able to become a 1/3 of the writer and thinker he is I'd be very happy with my development. Thank you David!! Raptitude - Dealing with Overwhelm & Procrastination I read a couple of articles on Raptitude, and they helped me gather my thoughts. I picked up some very useful tips and I want to share them with you as you might be able to use them too! David is a self confessed serial procrastinator. He has the habit of putting things off until they reach a point which he calls the 'Hell Zone'. At this point, you're almost embarrassed that you've left it this long without taking action on it. If you were to do anything about it now, it would feel like you've admitted or raised awareness to your lack of action, which would normally result in you putting it off further still. I could relate to this thought pattern when it came to dealings with my company - getting an accountant, setting up a business bank account, speaking to HMRC. I was putting off these tasks 'until tomorrow'. Why? Because it's all alien to me, I don't know what I'm doing and I feel like an idiot. Notice that in all of those points, none of them relate to 'doing anything' or taking action. It's all in my head, ego related and unhelpful.
The first step in dealing with Procrastination and Overwhelm - Take Action on it ASAP!
The moment you start acting on something is the beginning of the end of anxiety for that association
You're very welcome guys..... I'm here all week! "No shit Huw" I have to say, it's easier said than done. I ended up putting tasks off, but it only prolongs the feel of overwhelm. It doesn't go away. Once you DO SOMETHING it automatically feel better, even if you're just writing an email or calling someone. We tend to put things off because of the misapprehension of 'stuff' in our head. Anxiety is linked to the work but it's made up of emotional concerns like our reputation, legacy, anxiety for the future, self esteem, comparison to others, who we are...... rather than what we're doing. Thinking about how much of a tw@ I sound on the phone to my accountant because I don't know what I'm doing does nothing to help that task or for my overall well-being.
You think 'doing' is the hard part, but 'NOT DOING' is harder!
The simple action of picking up the phone, and asking him what he means when he confidently talks about 'the 64-8 form', helps me to progress with the outstanding job, and makes me feel 100% better than I did before. Actions usually include something concrete and finite like calling someone, sending an email, reading up on something, speaking to someone etc. None of these things warrant the mental torment above.
Ignore the self-deprecating thoughts and 'Stuff'. Do the tasks or 'things' that help!
You finish tasks by starting 'things', and doing them until the task is complete. The key point in that sentence is starting - hence the Blue! Finishing is only a matter of starting from where you are, as many times as you have to, until it's done. It's that simple!
The moment you start avoiding action again, is the start of the anxious cycle
What do you need to do?
One way of preventing the cycle is not switching tasks unnecessarily. Can you get the job to a stage of at least coasting or ideally completion before moving onto the next task? I found that blocking tasks by the hour has been quite frustrating for me. We're all different, but I don't like moving onto something when there's work to be done. That doesn't mean that I have to complete every task but I like to at least reach a point. For example, "I must write 1,000 words as that marker represents me getting started" I've found more success by writing out the main tasksI have set for the following day in the evening before. Once I've written out the jobs for the next day, which are usually 3-7 points, I number them in order of priority. I start at 1 and work through them systematically until each one is complete. Top Huw Tip - Try breaking down the specifics of a job. For example, in producing a book on Amazon, I don't write 'Complete Book' as a task. What does that even mean? Write out the individual tasks involved in that job like 'edit 2000 words', or 'write email to VA asking for promotion update, or email graphic designer brief and picture examples'. This not only makes the job more attainable, but it gives you concrete 'things' to complete and feel satisfied from. I've left my favourite take home point until last. I've written this quote in my journal as a reminder as I find it so beneficial.
There is nothing you can 'do tomorrow', it's impossible. If doing it today might hurt, then either open yourself up to the pain or decide it's not something you're prepared to do at all.
Stop making excuses to do things 'tomorrow'. You can't 'do anything tomorrow', it's impossible. You can only work on today. Therefore, do the 'thing' you need to do TODAY. Understand that the apprehension 'to doing' is based on your emotional thought process NOT the 'thing' that you need to do. OR Be prepared to decide that you may never be prepared to do it again. Take note of how that feels. For me, putting off my business banking, accounting and tax was not something I was prepared to NEVER DO. I had to do it. Therefore, I had to do it now. What was I waiting for? I hope you found this video / post useful. Please subscribe to my channel and give the video a thumbs up if you haven't already. It helps my video reach more people and the virtual 'high fives' are endless!
Let me know your thoughts on the topic. Your opinions or even coping mechanisms. Thanks all!