I am overwhelmed.
With things I want to learn.
With things I want to do, launch, and be.
At any given time, I have a bajillion tabs open, despite having a full docket of things I want to read in my OneTab:
There is never a moment of quiet in my brain. I listen to business podcasts or videos while I work on websites, I listen to design podcasts when I go for walks or clean the kitchen. I read work-related books before bed. I make lists and notes all day long of ideas and things to read. I am constantly having an inflow of information into my mind and ears and eyes.
It’s no wonder, really, that it took me a whopping two hours to fall asleep last night (usually I’m out in 5 minutes). My brain just kept buzzing with ideas and questions.
Why so obsessive?
I want to consume all of the knowledge in the world and be super successful at my business.
Which, let’s be honest, that first part is impossible. It’s a good problem, but a self-sabotaging one. I can’t work on my business if I’m always learning about how to work on my business.
Here are four ways I’m dealing with the too-many-tabs syndrome:
1. Get real and just work
The idea that suddenly I’ll reach a saturation point and just be able to do it all perfectly – the business side, technical side, creative side – is just a fallacy. The most I’ve learned has been through experience. It’s sort of like cramming for an exam – you can never learn enough to ensure you will get 100% of a test. You just do the best you can, have confidence, and do it.
Plus, in some ways, I’m sort of glad I’m so passionate about this. For so. many. years. my day job didn’t feel like it. Like that thing you’re meant to do; where your passions meets someone else’s need and all dreamy stuff I never thought would be a part of my life. I am so excited every day to learn more. I just have to take control of my learning and not let it control me.
2. Find quiet.
For me, that has been on my runs. Normally another time I squeeze a little more learning (business podcasts!) in, I listened to nothing for a 5-mile run this week. Turns out my brain had enough going on to keep me busy. I also love reading novels and find that a great departure from the rest of my day spent consuming information. Reading a novel is so consuming you forget about the other stuff you consumed. (Um, I just used “consume” three times in 16 words. It’s ALL-CONSUMING.) Also, writing. Writing is like quiet for me.
The quiet is where the ideas and learning have an opportunity to germinate and bloom. If I’m always consuming or producing, I never have time to be intentional about it.
3. Stop comparing.
Some people are better than me. Some people are worse than me. Neither should affect the way I feel about my own business. Instead of feeling intimated and discouraged by the better ones and feeling frustrated by the worse ones, I just need to focus on me and my story. Maybe I need to reread this post about keeping my eyes in my own lane. Will I never learn?
4. Social media boundaries.
For me, this means staying off Pinterest and not trying to keep up with Twitter. Pinterest is a great resource for some people, but for me it’s just too much. Clearly I have enough sources of inspiration and things I want to read, I don’t need one more spot to store and forget articles I want read!
Twitter, my first social media love, is a wonderful place. But I cannot keep up. And the constant stream of information from the 400 people I follow only makes the quiet harder to find. It’s like I have 400 people’s thoughts running through my head when I read it. So, I pop in a few times a day, but don’t try to read everything that everyone has said.
I feel a little guilty not keeping up, but I made a list of my top five priorities and try to make my actions in line with those priorities. I care about running and work? Then I’d better show it by spending time on those things.
And now I’m off to run and find some quiet!
Tell me, how do you manage the overwhelm? I want to learn from your ways. Or am I the only person that is crazy like this? Please tell me I’m not.