Small Business Overwhelm?
Hit the Reset Button!

By Helen Kosinski

Many small business owners get overwhelmed with the many aspects of running their businesses. Our guest blogger, Helen Kosinski, is here to help you reset with her “brain dump” technique.

Do you remember the ending of the television cartoon series “The Jetsons”? The part I’m hoping you remember is where George, the father, is on the treadmill with Astro, the dog, and they are walking at a leisurely pace until Astro sees a cat. The cat jumps on the treadmill. Astro speeds up the treadmill trying to catch the cat! George loses his footing. The next thing you see is George going round and round yelling for help, while Astro and the cat sit on the side watching him. Here’s a link to a Youtube video of the beginning and end of this series:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2Z8kPpLg1g

This cartoon is funny; however, it seems as though many people these days feel like George on that treadmill, going faster and faster! Even if they are still ‘upright’, many of them are feeling like they COULD lose their footing very easily, just like George did. This is what overwhelm feels like.

Let’s face it, we are all very BUSY and most of us are on the GO all of the time. We’re taking multi-tasking to a new level! We’re checking email, while someone important is talking to us. We’re constantly checking social media (e.g., Facebook) so we don’t miss something going on in someone else’s life and we’re posting our own life events right as they are happening. We’re either running to meetings or taking the kids to their game or taking our aging parents to the doctor’s. Whew! That’s enough to make anyone’s head spin, isn’t it?

This chaotic life can be hard on our physical bodies. Perhaps you have experienced some of the common symptoms of stress:

  • headaches
  • insomnia
  • chest pain
  • frequent colds
  • clenched jaw

Overwhelm also takes a toll on our emotional and cognitive well-being. This can show up as:

  • forgetfulness
  • agitation
  • inability to focus
  • disorganization

(For more information about these symptoms, please visit the WebMD site: http://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/stress-symptoms-effects_of-stress-on-the-body)

What can you do to reduce that overwhelming feeling? Here’s a simple technique that I call a “brain dump”. Many of my clients have used this technique and have found it to be like a reset button!

All you need is:

  • a piece of paper
  • a pen or pencil
  • less than 10 minutes of uninterrupted time

During this uninterrupted time, sit down and write down EVERYTHING that is swirling around in your head. Do not edit it. Do not group things together. Do not judge it. Just write it down on the paper!

Once you have all the “stuff” out of your head, then you can start to decide what to do with it. At this point in time, do things such as:

  • group like items together
  • evaluate whether or not you want/need to do anything with a particular item
  • decide what is (are) the top priority item(s) for you to focus on immediately
  • figure out who you can delegate items to, etc.

Getting “stuff” out of your head and putting action plans in place, puts you back in control, which helps to reduce and even eliminate that feeling of overwhelm!

This reset button can be used as often as you want. It may be something you want to do weekly or even daily to keep overwhelm to a minimum!


Since 2005, trusted confidant and rebel thinker Helen Kosinski has partnered with small business owners and corporate leaders who are too busy to think straight. Together they unlock creative steps to strip away what isn’t working and replace it with a systematic work life, which allows her clients to freely enjoy what’s most meaningful to them. Be sure to check out her website: www.BetterThanEverCoaching.com for more valuable tips, tools and techniques to find more time, more focus and more success!

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