This One Simple Ritual Cures Overwhelm For Business Owners

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Peter Shallard
CEO | Commit Action |

Overwhelm is a savage threat to aspiring entrepreneurs and their goals.

Once you become infected with it, you won’t be able to avoid being:

  • Constantly stressed out and anxious

  • Increasingly distracted as you switch between tasks

  • Jolted in the gut, remembering important things you’re supposed to do

  • Doubting yourself and what you’re working on, wondering if it should be something else

  • Noticed by the people in your life who see how lost you are, and start doubting your business goals themselves

Long term – if you don’t find a cure for overwhelm – it can spiral into a depression of self doubt. When everything seems too much, the inevitable next step is to start questioning your own abilities at a fundamental and scary level.

Many entrepreneurs even find themselves snapping at loved ones who simply want their attention or energy. The overwhelmed entrepreneur has nothing more to give and can’t cope.

The good news?

A tiny handful of super elite entrepreneurs have cracked the code on overwhelm. They’ve figured out how to rid their lives of it… for good.

At Commit Action, we’ve teamed up with some of the world’s top psychology researchers – and conducted over 10,000 phone conversations with business owners ourselves – to find the tactics that the top 1% of business achievers use to succeed easier, faster and more often.

We found one simple ritual the world’s elite use to cure overwhelm completely. Here’s how their lives look without it:

  • Total clarity, every day… about precisely what needs to happen next in business.

  • No more doubts about what you’re working on now, or what comes next.

  • Springing into immediate action any time a new goal is set, or a new project begins

  • Daily confidence that you’re working on the highest leverage, best possible use of your time.

If you want to feel this way yourself, you only need to add this one simple ritual to your life.

The world’s highest achieving business owners look at overwhelm unlike anyone else.

For them, it’s a highly intuitive signal from the unconscious mind with a very specific meaning. It’s not stress, or some kind of disease. It’s not even a problem.

Overwhelm is your unconscious mind telling you to change something. It’s a signal that you’re juggling too much and there’s only one thing to do: You must prioritize!

This is the way to do it…

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Tactical guide: How to cure Overwhelm

Step 1: Get everything out of your head

Overwhelm happens when you’re mentally trying to keep track of too many things:

  • Ideas

  • Goals

  • Aspirations

  • Projects

  • To-dos

  • Responsibilities

Write them all down!

The first thing to combat overwhelm is getting everything swirling out of your head OUT of it. Your unconscious mind won’t stop stressing unless it’s 100% sure you won’t forget anything.

So grab a pen, paper… or your favorite task management software (Commit Action members use our proprietary web app for this!) … and get writing.

TIP: Don’t worry about formatting or anything, just start listing stuff in the order it occurs to you.

Most entrepreneurs who wholeheartedly record everything on the list above – simply downloading their brain’s swirling mess – end up with one hundred or more items.

Once you’ve started this list, keep it. Add to it. Subtract from it. Make it a working, living document of everything on your plate and on your mind.

We observed super successful business owners religious maintaining one centralized giant list of everything they were working on and thinking about. The first part of the ritual is maintaining this list – downloading anything and everything in the head – so that it’s current and nothing is forgotten.

If you do nothing but this first step in the ritual, you’ll immediately cut your overwhelm in half. The second step is the magic bullet for mental clarity though…

Step 2: Create order from chaos

Overwhelm is a signal from your unconscious mind telling you to do one thing: Prioritize.

Mega successful entrepreneurs keep themselves powerfully focused (and sane!) with a weekly prioritization ritual. Here’s what it looks like:

  • Review every item on your giant list of to-dos, ideas and goals

  • Get clear on your personal definition of “important”. Think about what the highest leverage, lowest-hanging-fruit opportunities are.

  • “Stack-rank” every item. Most important tasks go to the top, least important to the bottom. Establish a clear set of priorities and make sure EVERY item on your list has a place in the pecking order.

You’ll feel your overwhelm melt away, the moment you begin turning your chaotic master list into a hierarchy. Prioritization is the cure for all overwhelm.

The world’s most successful business owners all have a habit of returning to the “drawing board” – like clockwork – to check in with what’s most important. This ruthless habit of assigning priority to some items over others is what makes them immune to overwhelm.

These entrepreneurs understand that working day-to-day by picking random tasks from the hundreds of ideas and todos they have… is crazy. They know they can stay focused and avoid distraction – and the overwhelm that goes with it – by forcing themselves to prioritize.

Once overwhelm has been destroyed through prioritization, super successful entrepreneurs are able to accelerate their businesses forward faster than anyone else.

That happens in the third step of the ritual…

Step 3: Commit to specifics

Creating priorities out of the chaos in your mind will eliminate overwhelm… temporarily.
For the fix to be permanent, you have to commit to taking action. The final step of this ritual is all about actually moving forward.

The most successful business owners we’ve worked with don’t check their giant to-do list very often.

They know that as you go about your day, crushing tasks as an entrepreneur… checking back in with a giant list of tasks is going to be a huge distraction. Instead, they finish their weekly prioritization ritual by skimming the highest leverage, most significant tasks off the top of the list.

They’ll focus on those few tasks specifically, and avoid even thinking about the others.

Ask yourself:

What three things do I need to accomplish, that will guarantee this week will feel like a win?

This question alone is one of the most powerful productivity hacks you’ll ever experience. It works because it helps you figure out what your internal gauge of success is. It sets up your week so that you know exactly what you have to do to feel great about yourself and your progress.

So many of the business owners we talk to feel as though they’ll “never be done” with their work. Even after a great week, the knowledge that there is “still so much more to do” crushes their self esteem.

By committing – in advanced – to a specific number of tasks, you can set yourself up to not only get a lot done, but feel good about it too.((At Commit Action, we have evidence to believe the number three is the perfect number of commitments per week. The number three keeps coming up as a number human beings naturally focus on. Just one study involved the United States Marine Corps. They tested their Marines in tactical scenarios and found that teams with just 3 priorities – as opposed to less or more – performed the best in high pressure situations.))

  • Answer the question: “What three things do I need to accomplish, that will guarantee this week will feel like a win?”

  • Choose the three highest leverage, highest priority tasks from your giant list and disregard everything else.

  • Tweak your three commitments so that they’re realistically accomplishable in the next seven days. (Don’t set yourself up for failure!)

  • Get to work.

When you’re focusing on your three objectives, the overwhelm of juggling your hundreds of ideas and tasks will be a thing of the past.

This ritual works because it trains you to think “big picture” and evaluate all your different projects just once a week… instead of every five minutes. By using the power of pre-decision, you avoid doubting yourself and the overwhelm that follows.

The ritual forces you to treat your business like a corporate superpower, making tactical decisive moves you stick to.

Achieve Your Goals Faster