With the holiday season quickly approaching, so are business deadlines. There are deals to secure, networking events to attend, clients to contact, and everything else in between to get ready for the upcoming year. These tasks can be incredibly daunting, so here are some tips from female founders and CEOs on how to tackle overwhelm at the end of the year.
One of the best ways to tackle overwhelm is to take preventative measures. If you can predict a stressful end of the year, then it is important to be aware of what strategies you can use to prevent overwhelm. Female founders say one way to do this is by creating lists and using organization techniques for tasks, and planning ahead during the middle of the year in order to outline the projects that need to be completed before the new year.
“I map out my work schedule to ensure that every task needed to be completed receives an adequate amount of time and effort. This strategy eases stress and helps me visualize what success looks like in a productive day.” – Natalia Morozova, Managing Partner at Cohen, Tucker & Ades P.C
“[T]he summer months tend to be a bit more slow, so I take advantage of that downtime by scheduling extra meetings with my teams, planning out our events for [quarter 4], and getting just about as much prep as we can get done. Then when we creep into those last months of the year, we can keep up with our heavier workload since the ‘extra’ tasks were handled in advance.” – Nellie Akalp, CEO and Co-founder of CorpNet.com
“I like to think with the end-in-mind and create time-blocks within my schedule. By doing this, I can back into the steps I need to take to meet my deadlines, and it allows me to pivot if necessary.” – Karen Burhoe, CEO and Founder of Making Cents Count
It’s important to look toward the future of your company and be excited about it! Trust that everything that’s happening and everything you have planned is only going to make your company that much better in the long run. And in the event that overwhelm sneaks up on you, time management, delegating, and organizing can help you manage.
SELF-CARE & SELF-ESTEEM
One of the biggest parts of being a self-starter is standing up for yourself, and always being in your own corner. Even when you don’t necessarily feel the best about yourself or your work, it’s important to stay positive and confident in your skills.
“Whether it’s working with a therapist, delving into spirituality, discovering skills to calm your thoughts, or doing something that brings you joy, I can tell you from experience that a combination of all of these is what helped me get through the difficult times” – Barbara Expositio, Founder and CEO of Stellar Energy and You Retreat
With end-of-year deadlines looming, there can rarely be an easy moment to breathe, so stop and take one for yourself. Getting a good circulation of fresh air to the brain can clear mental fog and strain. An overwhelmed mind can lead to terrible project results and hinder productivity, so it’s vital to set aside time to have clean surroundings and a clear mind.
“Bringing in self-care in small doses—drinking plenty of water, eating when we’re hungry, resting, going to the bathroom regularly, moving our bodies—has a big impact on everything we do.” – Elizabeth Cush, Host of the Awaken Your Wise Woman podcast
“I reset my work environment daily to make it as tidy, comforting, and cheerful as possible for the next day. In a chaotic time of year, this space becomes a refuge for sustainable work instead of another pressure point.” – Emily Marks, Owner of Ardent Market
It can be stressful to even find time to de-stress, but it’s important to realize that your business won’t collapse if you go for a walk, meditate, or take a nap. Everything you’re doing is for a reason, keep your head up and your stress levels low.
“Being able to recognize my stress triggers allows me to take immediate action when my body goes into stress mode. For one, I know for a fact that expecting a busy day causes me to experience anticipatory stress.” – Stacy Lewis, Owner of Eternity Modern
YOU’RE NOT ALONE
It’s a given that most female entrepreneurs, founders, and CEOs assume many roles, whether that’s customer service, human resources, accountant, advertising, planning, and more. It can be hard to not feel lonely and even harder to find people you can trust.
“One of the best things you can do is build a great team around you who will help share the load.” – Hannah Nash, Co-founder of Lucy Nash
However, it is critical that business owners learn to delegate so that they can focus on what’s important: managing, networking, long-term planning, etc.
“[I focus] my attention and actions on the absolute top priorities, which I am uniquely qualified to work on, and I empower my team to deliver on the rest. I’m surrounded by remarkable people who are collaborative and capable of truly outstanding work; it helps to remember that I don’t have to [do] it alone!” – Natalie Ruiz, CEO of AnswerConnect
In the event that there isn’t a need for a full staff, outsourcing and using freelance workers can be one of the best options.
“When work gets exhausting, I’ve developed a habit of sourcing quick part-time talent locally or leveraging my [when necessary] virtual assistant on Upwork. As the head of a fast-paced recruiting firm, it’s always a relief to have some instant help with the basics so the team and I can focus on high-priority assignments and complex, pending tasks.” – Anjela Mangrum, Founder of Mangrum Career Solutions
LEARN TO SAY NO
As hard as it can be to accept, you are not the sole worker for all the tasks—it’s important to know your limits and let others know them as well. A lot of overwhelm is self-induced by the refusal to say the word “no.”
“I learn to say ‘no’ or ‘not now.’ Being someone who takes on more and more, even when I am completely stretched, would leave me frustrated and stressed. Now, I have learned to let go and allow others to assist.” – Deni Suplee, Founder of SparkRental
“It’s ok to say ‘no.’ While you won’t always be able to back away from a work deadline, pick and choose which projects need to be prioritized; if you don’t have time for everything, say so.” – Debbie Winkelbauer, CEO of Surf Search
“Learn how to say, ‘No thank you,’ or ‘I’m not able to tackle that right now’ and, of course, most importantly…. always ask ‘when do you need this project or answer completed by?’ Understand the difference between ‘it’s got to be done now’ and ‘it’s not needed right now.’” – Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor
Truth is, no one gets to become a leader by agreeing to everything asked of them. Saying “no” enables you to be the best you can be by putting your talents and focus on tasks that best align with your skills and the company’s mission.
“Assess everything you’re confronted with and classify them into two categories: the controllable and the uncontrollable. You can only do so much. Recognize that fact and move on. Focus on what you can control.” – Robyn Newmark, founder of Newmark Beauty
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