How often do you find yourself overwhelmed by the details?
Do you ever get lost in the weeds, unable to see the big picture?
Does the situation ever seem so complicated that you can’t move forward?
If so, then you’ve come to the right place.
Because today I am sharing a powerful approach to help you simplify the situation, reduce your overwhelm, and start taking action.
It’s time to make things easier, my friend.
Give this strategy a try, and you’ll be moving forward on your goals in no time!
Check out episode 44 of the I’m Busy Being Awesome podcast and learn exactly how to put this strategy into practice. You can listen to the episode below, or stream it on your favorite podcasting app here:
Prefer to read? No problem! Keep scrolling for the entire podcast transcript.
LISTEN TO THE PODCAST HERE!
IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL DISCOVER…
- Why we overcomplicate new projects or challenging situations
- How to step back and see the big picture
- How to stop feeling overwhelmed
- One powerful question to change how you approach challenging tasks.
LINKS FROM THE PODCAST
- Sign up for your free strategy session with me here!
- Check out 6 Weeks to Success here!
- Take the Mastering Your Motivation training here!
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How To Make Things Easy And Stop Feeling Overwhelmed (Transcript)
Hey everybody! How’s it going? Welcome to the podcast. Thanks for joining me.
Today we are exploring a powerful approach to simplifying big projects or big goals that have you feeling overwhelmed and stuck. Or maybe you’re looking at a long list of tasks and you’re so overwhelmed by everything that you procrastinate getting started.
And I’m excited to teach you a simple approach to help you quickly step back, move out of the analysis paralysis and the spinning out, so you can get clarity and start moving forward again.
So maybe you’re working on a new project or working toward a long-term goal, and your brain is totally overwhelmed by all of the details. It’s lost in the weeds and you have a hard time recognizing where you should put your focus first because everything seems so incredibly complicated.
Or maybe you’re learning a new skill or concept, and your brain feels like it’s exploding because there are so many steps that you need to learn. And you’re telling yourself you need to know all of the information and incorporate each of the steps in the process before you even think about get started.
And if you’ve ever been in a similar situation before, you probably know that this type of thought process often leads to unnecessary overwhelm, and ultimately, inaction.
Now, way back in episode 14 – 30 episodes ago by the way, which is crazy – we talked a bit about overwhelm generally and some of my favorite approaches to reduce overwhelm in your day-to-day. And I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback from people about how you are applying those different strategies in all different areas of your life, from managing schedules, to making decisions, to working toward big goals. But one area that seems to be a sticking point for a lot of us is our tendency to overcomplicate the situation.
Why We Get Overwhelmed
A lot of us are taking what could be a simple scenario, and we add so much complexity- our brains are so overwhelmed – that we feel completely stuck. I’ve noticed this with some of my clients. I’ve noticed it in posts on social media. And I’ve noticed it just talking with friends and colleagues generally.
Now, I should also say that I’m not surprised to be seeing this. And in fact, it’s pretty normal. Because when we are facing a big project, or we are learning something new, our brain is just trying to grab onto anything and make sense of it. And as it’s working to do this, it sometimes slips into these different thoughts that create indecision, confusion, uncertainty, or overwhelm, etc. And bringing awareness to this helps us think more intentionally about what’s going on and whether we want to keep thinking that way.
So if you’ve noticed this is happening to you, good news – you’re a human with a human brain.
Your Brain is Trying to Conserve Energy
Because when your brain goes into these familiar thought patterns, all it’s trying to do is conserve energy and protect you. And I know this sounds strange, but it’s true.
When you think about that big goal that you’re working toward but you don’t know the exact steps to get you there yet. Or you are learning something new and you see all of the new skills and knowledge you need to gain before mastering that particular thing. Your brain starts thinking things like, “this is going to be super hard.” And “I don’t know where to start.” Or the dreaded, “I need to make sure I do this the “right” way or not at all.”
And when our brain focuses on these thoughts, it’s easy to start feeling overwhelmed, and for many of us, overwhelm is one of those indulgent emotions that leads to inaction.
Overwhelm Leads to Inaction
Just think about the last time you were overwhelmed. Chances are, you weren’t taking massive action and getting things done quickly and efficiently, right?
I know I wasn’t.
Instead, when we are overwhelmed, we are spinning out in indecision. We are going back and forth on ideas. We are distracting ourselves with our inbox or our social media feed.
And what we are not doing is moving forward. We are not taking the next immediate step in the process.
And again, your brain does this because it thinks it’s helping you stay safe. It’s helping you conserve energy. Because it takes much less mental energy and physical energy to sit and spin out in indecision than it does to start acting on your big goals.
Because usually, when we are starting something new, or learning a new skill, it requires us to step outside of our comfort zone. It requires us to stretch and expand and learn and grow and do new things. And while we know intellectually where we want to go, part of us still holds back.
In other words, our prefrontal cortex – the evolved part of our brain – understands the benefits of putting ourselves out there and working hard and trying new things in order to move forward. But our lower brain, that part of our brain that kept us safe when we were still living in caves merely trying to survive, is still trying to simply survive.
It’s telling us, don’t try that. Don’t explore new ideas that might be dangerous. Don’t risk failure. And don’t risk rejection.
Stay safe. Stay with what you know. Stick to what’s familiar.
And in a roundabout way, by thinking these thoughts that create overwhelm and spinning out in indecision, that’s exactly what our brain is trying to do. It’s trying to keep us safe, stick to what we know, and use as little energy as possible.
How to Stop Over Complicating Things and Simplify
But today, we’re going to challenge that. And we’re going to take a different approach to help us draw attention to areas that we are overcomplicating, so we can get some clarity and create the determination we need to start taking action, even when things feel new or unfamiliar, or “too much.”
And as I mentioned, we’re going to do this through simplification. In fact, we’re going to do it by asking one simple, yet incredibly powerful question.
And the question is: what if it were easy?
That’s it. Now, I know this might sound too simple. You might be thinking, “are you kidding? that’s it? That’s what we’re talking about today?”
But I’m not kidding, and that is it. And because it is such a simple concept is what makes it so incredibly powerful. So stick with me, and I’ll show you why.
Learning Something New
Let’s start in the area of learning something new, or implementing a new strategy, or starting a new process. Because again, this is an area where I see a lot of people getting stuck in the weeds and overwhelmed by the details.
So maybe you are thinking about starting an email list. You’ve never had one before, because it seemed intimidating and way too complicated, but you’ve heard enough times that building up your list is one of the most important things you can do for your business, so you’re ready to finally give it a try. Buuuut you don’t know where to start.
So you start doing research. You start reading about all of the different terminology or concepts around list building. And you read stuff about email service providers, landing pages, welcome sequences, sales funnels, segmenting and tagging subscribers, opt-in freebies, sign-up forms, and a million other pieces of information flying at you.
You see all of these different things in front of you, suddenly you have a thought like, “oh my gosh, I have to get all of these things ready to go in order to build my email list.” or “there are so many different steps involved, I have no idea how I’m going to figure this all out.” or “This is way too overwhelming. Maybe I’ll just keep posting on social media instead.”
Or alternatively, if you don’t give up entirely, it takes at least 10 times as long to start building your email list, because you spent so much time making sure that you cover every single component, and created several different funnels, wrote all of your email sequences, created stunning landing pages and opt-in freebies, and everything else.
The Need to Get it “Perfect”
Can you hear yourself in this situation? Can you hear yourself either throwing in the towel before getting started or getting lost in the details and not starting as soon as you like? If so, this is where we start practicing that powerful question.
What would it look like if it were easy? What would it look like if starting an email list were easy?
Now sometimes, when you are beginning something new or unfamiliar, your brain may immediately go to: “I don’t know. I don’t know what to do. And I don’t know where to start. I don’t know what would be easy.”
What is Your Main Objective?
So if that’s the case, then take one more step backward. And ask yourself: why are you doing this in the first place? What is the main goal here? What do you want to happen? So if we stick with our email list example, our main objective is to get people on your email list. That’s why we are doing this. So with that in mind, what would “easy” look like? What would you do if this were easy? What is the simplest way to start getting people on your list?
And when you come from this angle, you relieve some of the pressure that you put on yourself to make sure you do all of the things. You can ask yourself: do I really need multiple landing pages and different welcome sequences? Do I need to worry about segmenting and tagging all of my different subscribers as I’m just getting started? Do I need multiple options & sign up forms?
All you really need is an email service provider – there are several free options out there. A freebie opt-in, 1 worksheet or template or a video. And a landing page with a sign-up form attached. That’s it.
That way, the person can enter their email on to your landing page, and they get the freebie, and you get their email. Super simple.
We don’t need to worry about all of the unnecessary drama. We’re not to worry about making it super fancy and getting lost in all the bells and whistles. Make it simple. Make it easy. Put it out there. You can always add more as you learn more.
So what about the smaller things? What about the daily challenges of our everyday tasks?
I was working with a client several weeks ago on finding some small, easy ways that she can start freeing up more time in her schedule and using that time efficiently as she builds her business at night.
She has a four-year-old daughter, she works a normal day job, and she has a thriving sign business that it’s not quite on the side anymore. It’s grown a lot, and it’s taking much more time than a few hours she has at night after her daughter goes to bed to continue scaling it.
So after we did some coaching around her schedule and her thoughts about her schedule, I asked her, if it were easy to create more time in your schedule to work on your business, what would that look like? What would you do if it were easy? And she came up with three very distinct approaches to freeing up more time.
Make More Time
The first component she identified was her tendency to get distracted by social media when she’s working on her day job, which slows her down and ultimately ends up making her work later than she originally intended.
So I asked her, what would you do about internet distraction if it were an easy solution?
And she told me: I would turn off my internet when I wasn’t using it. And when I was using it, I would use a different internet browser that is not signed in to all of my social media apps.
As a side note – if you find yourself distracted by social media on your desktop, too – TRY THIS. It is a HUGE time saver.
Anyway, then I challenged her to keep looking for more things. What else would be easy to help free up more time? And she offered two more suggestions as well.
First, she decided she would finally start meal prepping on Sunday, and she would ask her husband to reheat and assemble the dinners throughout the week and keep his eye on their daughter between 5-6. That way, she could use that extra time to continue growing her business.
Again. So simple.
And then finally, she realized, “I think what would be the most easy and the most efficient in helping me free up time would be to hire a VA a few hours a week to answer emails and schedule my social media posts.”
So she ultimately ended up hiring a VA for a few hours a week to do that administrative work that often held her back from actually working on her business. So from simply asking the question, what would easy look like, and exploring several different possibilities, my client generated three incredibly powerful and effective solutions that gained her about 8 hours of time each week – I mean, that’s an entire work day! And she did it without overcomplicating her schedule, overextending yourself, or “burning the candle at both ends.”
Give it a Try
So if you are similarly battling with a busy schedule, or you can’t seem to make time for the things you really want to do, I – again – invite you to ask yourself this basic, yet super powerful question of “what would easy look like?” And if you need a little extra direction, pair it with the question, “what is it that I really want to do here?”
For example, if you really want more time in the day so you can work on growing your business, ask yourself a question about that. What would it look like if it were easy to find more time in the day for my business?
If you want to make time for rest and self-care on a daily basis, but you’re feeling stretched thin and can’t possibly imagine making huge pockets of time for luxurious bubble baths and spa treatments, ask yourself the question: what would it look like if it were easy? What would it look like if incorporating self-care into my routine everyday were easy? What would I do?
And when your brain immediately offers, “I don’t know.” Or “there is no easy.” Or “that’s not possible.” Challenge it. I don’t know is not an option. You need to find an answer.
So challenge your brain, and find the answer. And once you do find one answer, ask yourself, what else? And find another. Stretch your brain. Find possibilities. Because the more easy solutions you find, the less resistance your brain will offer, which will ultimately help you move forward on whatever it is you want to do. Because it’s a pretty safe assumption that most of us have an easier time moving forward on things that are easy then when we are stuck in our head over complicating the situation. Right?
All right, now one more area where I see people getting tripped up is getting a bit of tunnel vision when they’re working toward a big goal or project.
And what I mean by this, is the tendency to believe there is only one way to do something. There is only one process or one strategy that works. And I see this come up a lot.
Now, if we aren’t careful, tunnel vision can prevent us from finding simpler approaches that might be sitting right in front of our noses that could even get us to our end goal faster. But because we’re so convinced that there is only one way to do things, we miss it.
And I know I am very guilty of this. I find something that works, and it doesn’t matter how complex it is, if it works, don’t fix it.
And while there is value to this idea – don’t fix what’s not broken – I think there is also so much power in re-examining our processes and approaches every once in a while to check in and see if we could increase our efficiency or make it easier in any way.
Open Up to New Possibilities
And I’ll give you one more example to put this scenario in perspective, and this actually has to do with something my husband and I worked through with the onset of Covid 19.
My husband, Ryan, is a full-time musician, and he has gigs every weekend. And at the end of March, he was putting together a second band to start taking on the gigs that his current band couldn’t take because they were too booked up.
Now this process is pretty traditional. It’s pretty standard. You get the musicians together in a practice space, they come prepared to play specific pieces together, and they play. And then after the auditions, he interviews with the people to make sure everybody gets along well. And this is what he has always done.
Well, once the quarantine occurred, this was – of course – not an option. And because of this sudden halt in his plans, Ryan felt stuck. He had one specific plan that he knew worked, and he knew that there was no way he could start working with and training his new band when everybody was self-isolating.
So we took time again to explore this valuable question – what if it were easy? How can we move out of this tunnel vision and start considering other approaches to reaching that same end goal? And after some brainstorming, Ryan decided he could audition the musicians virtually. He sent out audition pieces to the applicants, they recorded their performances and sent in the application material, and currently, as I am recording this podcast, Ryan is upstairs in his office conducting his second day of Zoom interviews.
And perhaps the most amazing thing about his whole situation is that when we were out walking Bruno yesterday, Ryan mentioned that this new process was not only working, but it was actually easier and more efficient than trying to finagle everybody’s schedules and get everyone together to play at the same time. Plus, Ryan is able to listen more closely to each individual person on their instrument, rather than trying to hear each instrument over everyone else in the entire group who are playing together.
In fact, he told me that this might be the approach he uses any time he does auditions going forward because it is so efficient, it so easy to do, and it actually does a better job at creating the results he wants – which is finding the right people for his band.
So rather than over-complicating the situation, and getting stuck in the “one and only way” to make this happen, Ryan opened up to new options, And by simply asking, how can we make this easy? How can we think outside the box? How can we make this happen? That big goal, which once seemed literally impossible since we couldn’t bring the musicians together – became an amazing reality in the best way possible.
Are you Over Complicating Things In Your Life?
So what about you? Is there a place in your life where you might be over complicating things? Is there something you want to start but haven’t because of all the steps involved? Are you interested in learning a new skill or implementing a new program but there is so much to learn that you don’t even know where to begin?
If so, then ask yourself, what would it look like if it were easy? And answer that question.
Thoughts and Feelings to Move You Forward
And of course, after you know what you want to do, the next steps are to break down the goal into steps and then find the thought and generate the feelings you need to start making things happen.
So let’s go back to the list building email I mentioned at the beginning of the episode.
We said the end goal is to get X number of people on your list, and in order to do that, you need to get an email provider, put up a landing page with a signup form, and create a freebie to give in exchange for your client or customer’s email address.
So we have your result, and we know the steps you need to take.
Well, the next thing to consider is how you need to feel in order to take those steps. How do you need to feel in order to research email providers and make a decision, learn how to create a landing page, and put a signup form on it? How do you need to feel in order to design some sort of freebie in Canva or Google Docs or word?
Do you need to feel determined? Dedicated? Is it confident? How do you need to feel to take those actions and figure it out?
And then finally, what do you need to think in order to feel that way? What do you need to think in order to feel confident so that you take those actions and create your result?
And to offer you one thought that I find especially effective after doing this exercise is simply a rephrasing of the powerful question we’ve been using all episode: THIS IS EASY!
This is easy. I’ve got this. It’s no problem. I know what to do. And from that space of confidence and determination, you can take clear actions and create the result you want. Simple. No more drama. No more overcomplicating things. You’re just making things happen.
6 Weeks to Success
And speaking of making things easy, over the past month or so, I’ve had several people reach out to ask me about my 6 weeks to success course asking when I’d open it up again.
For those of you who have been listening for a while, you might remember that I opened that course for sale for a short time in February, and the doors have been closed since then.
Now, perhaps due to more people being home, or the fact that this episode is dropping on Memorial Day and it’s almost summer!, it seems that setting and working toward goals is on people’s minds right now. And many of you are looking for some tools to help keep you motivated and moving forward and taking action, which is awesome!
Originally, I wasn’t planning to open up the course again until the fall, but I decided that I would shift gears and open it up on Memorial Day instead so any of you who are working toward some big goals or might need a super easy framework to follow to help you make thing happen, make sure you go check it out. There are a few ways to do this.
First, you can head to imbusybeingawesome.com/motivation. This will bring you to my Mastering Your Motivation training, which is completely free. It teaches you my top four strategies to generate motivation and start making things happen, and at the end of that training I talk a little bit about the course and tell you how you can sign up.
And – as a side note, if you’re simply looking for some great motivation strategies and aren’t interested in the course – you should definitely come check out the training. It’s super good stuff.
But for those of you who are interested in learning more about the course, I share some information there about it.
And if you just want to learn about the course itself, you can also go to 6weektosuccess.com and read what it’s all about!