The process of overcoming “overwhelm” in business is all about knowing oneself and recognizing limits. Utilizing strategies and tools to manage these boundaries and still remain productive and satisfied as an entrepreneur, prevents overwhelm from escalating to more intense stressful states that are harmful to personal health, as well as the business.

While changing a habit takes at least 28 days of conscious repetition, effecting lasting change on a person’s life takes a minimum of six months.

Solutions to overwhelm can be complex, but their success is based largely on shifting the paradigm from a reactive one to a proactive one, and developing a degree of mental toughness.

Entrepreneurs in a state of overwhelm often fall into a pattern of depending on triggers to tell them what to do. They become so stressed they can’t focus or plan ahead, so they just react — to phones, to i-pads, to e-mail, to others’ expectations and demands.

The solution comprises systems and strategies for anchoring a strong self-management foundation to five essential pillars: sleep, nutrition, exercise, stress management and any other circumstance, such as a medical, attentional or mood-altering disorder.

Here are six techniques to use in starting a program to overcome “overwhelm in your business:

Admit that getting everything done in a day is impossible – Learn to focus on items in your to-do lists that must get done every day (“shot-at-dawn-if-you-don’t-get-them-done” items). Other things can be moved along by breaking them down, so that days are not spent entirely on fire-fighting.

Re-examine work tools – Entrepreneurs need to ask themselves if they are in control of their tools or vice versa. They learn that they don’t need to answer every e-mail right away. They also learn that they can say “no” to interminable meetings, or send a representative. They also learn that they can throw out their daytimers if they’re not truly useful.

.Block off time and space - To get the work done and meet those deadlines, shut off the phone; lock the office door; work at home or in the library.

Rename the game – Call a piece of work something else to make it into a game. For example, instead of calling the annual report the “project from hell,” call it, “training for the annual year-end marathon.”

Learn to recognize and honor personal limits – Remember that there is magic in the word “no.”

Identify sources of satisfaction – Satisfaction with life and work does not come from outside, but from within. Learn to assess what’s important in your life and what you value most on a given day, and then establish reasonable expectations.

Learning to plan your entrepreneurial life day by day takes more than just a desire to change. It takes commitment and an appreciation of your individual style.

Only by truly understanding, then optimizing your best methods of thinking and working can you change your lives and start enjoying the journey.

Results are as unique as each individual. The most significant and common shift in patterns is from a reactive to a more proactive mode. This means that, instead of just racing against time, you learn to step back and think about what you will do each day.

Finally, the key to changing behavior and getting results is learning to manage ourselves and our choices, not only the clock. And that’s just good business.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Ken Odiwé is the Founder and CEO of Waterstone Management, a boutique consulting firm helping entrepreneurs and companies reach their peak performance. He is also the founder of ‘The Entrepreneur Success Institute’. Dr. Ken is on a mission to share the secrets of The New American Millionaires with as many people as possible, so that they can experience the transformation that comes with increased wealth.