3 things to do right now as an overwhelmed business owner

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Written By Sam Davis Ph.D.

Sticker Crypt is the internet's premier source of free advice for artists and small business owners! 

Running a small business is no easy feat. Small business owners are responsible for wearing many hats and managing an array of daily tasks. This can often lead to feeling overwhelmed and stressed out. But don't worry, you're not alone. In this blog post, we'll explore the most common reasons why small business owners feel overwhelmed and provide actionable tips to help you overcome these challenges.

An overwhelmed business owner may have too many projects, and may try to do all the projects at once. The to do list feels stale and stuck. Mental health? We don't even want to talk about it.

Why Business Owners Feel Overwhelmed

Information Overload

In today's digital age, it's easy to get lost in the sea of information available online. From social media to email newsletters, it can be challenging to keep up with everything that's happening. Small business owners often feel like they need to stay on top of everything and consume all the information available to them.

Even if you're a new business owner, you don't need to spend your personal life diving into more project ideas and other tasks during your time off.

Staffing Issues

Small businesses often operate with limited staff, which means that each employee wears multiple hats. This can lead to burnout and feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of tasks that need to be done.

But let's be real: many small business owners are a one-stop shop. You are the project manager, CEO, finance director, and social media sites coordinator. If you don't have money to hire valuable talent as help, you're missing out on a few hours a week of freedom.

Instead of freaking out, optimize. Focus on smaller projects where you can win, and generating enough cash flow where you CAN hire an assistant.

Balancing Work and Family Life

Small business owners often find it challenging to balance their work and personal lives. With so much to do at work, it can be challenging to find time for family and personal activities, leading to feelings of guilt and overwhelm.

You can refuse phone calls and spend time with your family. It's not wasted time.

Balancing New Projects and Maintenance

The overwhelmed business owner has too many ideas and not enough time. From taking training programs to juggling multiple projects, the number one issue I see for new business owners is that they don't know how to cut their pet projects and focus on the best.

3 Practical Tips to Overcome Overwhelm

1. Prioritize Your Tasks

One of the most effective ways to overcome overwhelm is to prioritize your tasks. Start by making a list of all the tasks you need to complete, and then rank them in order of importance. Focus on the most important tasks first and work your way down the list. This will help you stay focused and productive, rather than feeling like you're drowning in a sea of tasks.

For example, if you're a small business owner who runs an online store, your top priority might be fulfilling orders, responding to customer inquiries, and updating your website. By focusing on these tasks first, you can ensure that your business runs smoothly and efficiently.

I love the Getting Things Done system (Google it, trust me) because it forces you to turn your to-do list into projects, and then turn those projects back into actionable, bite-sized items on a clean to-do list. This transformation helps you tackle decision overload and become a better project manager.

2. Delegate Tasks

As a small business owner, it's easy to fall into the trap of feeling like you need to do everything yourself. However, delegating tasks to your staff or outsourcing them can help alleviate some of the workload and reduce feelings of overwhelm.

For example, if you're a small business owner who runs a marketing agency, you might outsource your bookkeeping tasks to a virtual assistant or hire a part-time employee to manage social media accounts.

For the one-person business, consider AI or virtual assistants as a way to improve your costly productivity delays. AI can spit out an email or blog draft in seconds.

3. Schedule Time for Yourself

Finally, it's essential to schedule time for yourself. This can be anything from taking a walk outside to reading a book or spending time with your family. Taking time away from work can help you recharge, reduce stress levels, and prevent burnout.

For example, you might schedule a weekly date night with your partner or block off time in your calendar for a workout class or yoga session.

I find that cutting off ALL the projects, and work, after about 8pm, works for me. Then I spend my evenings winding down with s0me Sudoku, reading, or television.


Feeling overwhelmed is a common experience for small business owners, but it doesn't have to be your reality. By prioritizing your tasks, delegating responsibilities, and scheduling time for yourself, you can overcome these challenges and lead a more balanced life. Remember, small steps can lead to significant changes, so start implementing these tips today and watch as your stress levels decrease.

Too many projects is not an excuse to let yourself suffer. You're building a business so that you can have a better life. Take one task at a time and enjoy life in the meantime.

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