You know that feeling when your desk is literally buried under a mountain of Post-Its? Like, you’ve got so many reminders stuck around your workspace, you’re starting to forget what the actual color of your desk is. Been there, done that. Hell, I remember a time when I was so swamped I could barely remember my own damn name. I’d introduce myself as ‘Hey, I’m…uhh…the guy swamped with work?’ Yup, those were the days. ‘Overwhelm’ wasn’t just a word in the dictionary for me—it was my life anthem.

Overwhelm. Let’s dissect that beast, shall we?

When you’re constantly in this state, it’s like your brain decides to take a vacation without telling you. Mental sluggishness, forgetfulness, confusion—basically, all those fun things that make you feel like a grandma without her reading glasses.

And don’t even get me started on problem-solving. Imagine trying to solve a Rubik’s cube while riding a rollercoaster. Sounds fun, right? Yeah, not so much. That’s what your brain’s going through—trying to come up with creative solutions while being tossed around in a whirlwind of to-dos. It’s not a pretty picture.

But let’s get one thing straight: Overwhelm isn’t just a state of mind. It’s not some imaginary monster that’s out to get you. It’s a cognitive shitshow that can seriously screw with your productivity, your mental health, and even your self-worth. It’s that demon lurking in the shadows, ready to jump out and scare the living daylights out of you when you least expect it.

The good news? You’re not alone in this battle.

We’ve all been there, stuck in the eye of the storm, wondering how the hell we’re going to get out. But I’m here to tell you there’s a way out. I should know—I’ve been there, done that, and lived to tell the tale.

And no, I didn’t get a magic wand or some secret potion. I just found some solid strategies—five of them, to be precise—that helped me turn the tide and reclaim my sanity. It wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t overnight, but it was totally worth it.

And that’s what I’m going to share with you today. So, buckle up, folks. We’re about to kick overwhelm right in the ass and take back control of our lives.

Common Misconceptions about Overwhelm

Feeling overwhelmed is a universal experience. Whether you’re a Fortune 500 CEO or a high-school teacher, a best-selling author, or a hard-hustling entrepreneur, we all face moments when life’s demands pile up like skyscrapers, casting long, dark shadows of stress and anxiety. Yet, somehow, the perception of overwhelm, particularly in the business world, is riddled with misconceptions and stereotypes.

The most pervasive of these misconceptions is the idea that being overwhelmed is a sign you’re not cut out for the hustle and bustle of entrepreneurship. We’ve all heard it, haven’t we? That whispering little voice that says, “If you can’t handle the heat, get out of the kitchen.” Well, let’s get one thing straight: That voice is full of shit.

This viewpoint, often fuelled by the glorification of the “always-on” culture, is both harmful and misleading. It paints a picture of successful entrepreneurs as superhuman entities who effortlessly juggle multiple responsibilities without ever breaking a sweat. But let’s get real here: That’s a pile of grade-A bullshit.

Entrepreneurship is not a walk in the park. It’s a crazy rollercoaster ride filled with ups, downs, and wild turns that would make even the toughest stomachs churn. Feeling overwhelmed is not a sign of incompetence or inadequacy. It’s a signal that you’re pushing your boundaries, challenging your limits, and, yes, sometimes biting off more than you can chew.

It’s a sign you’re human, not a freaking cyborg.

Instead of considering overwhelm as a mark of failure, we need to see it for what it is: a reaction to an excess of demands on our time, energy, and resources. It’s your brain’s way of saying, “Hey, we’re operating at max capacity here. Can we take a breather?”

Another common myth is that overwhelm is a purely negative experience, a condition to be avoided at all costs. But guess what? That’s not entirely true either.

Don’t get me wrong, constant overwhelm is definitely not a picnic. But the occasional feeling of being in over your head? That’s not just normal—it’s a critical part of growth and development. It forces us to reassess, reprioritize, and sometimes reinvent our approach. It propels us out of our comfort zones and pushes us to find innovative solutions.

In fact, many breakthroughs—both in business and in personal development—come from periods of intense challenge and discomfort. So, instead of running from overwhelm, we should learn to navigate it, manage it, and even use it to fuel our evolution.

And finally, there’s the stereotype that you can eliminate overwhelm entirely with just the right combination of time management hacks, productivity tools, and wellness practices. While these resources are invaluable in managing and reducing stress, they are not magic wands that will suddenly transform you into a Zen master of calm and control.

Overwhelm is not something you “defeat” once and for all. It’s an ongoing challenge, a balance to strike, a tide to navigate. It’s a part of life, and even more so, a part of the entrepreneurial journey.

But guess what? It’s a journey you can survive and thrive in, and I’m about to share five strategies that can help you do just that.

Strategy 1: Prioritize Like a Pro

Here’s the deal: You have a finite amount of time, energy, and resources. If you’re anything like me, you’d like to think otherwise. You’d like to believe you can do it all. And hey, who can blame you? We live in a society that practically worships at the altar of “busy”. But here’s the harsh reality: Trying to do everything often results in accomplishing nothing. And that’s why you’ve got to learn to prioritize like a pro.

It sounds simple, but it’s a skill that eludes many people. You see, there’s a fundamental difference between being busy and being productive. Being busy is about doing stuff. Being productive is about doing the right stuff. And figuring out what that ‘right stuff’ is, that’s the crux of prioritizing.

First off, you need to understand the difference between urgent tasks and important tasks. Urgent tasks are time-sensitive; they need to be done now. Important tasks, on the other hand, are value-sensitive; they contribute significantly to your long-term goals and vision. Sometimes, a task can be both urgent and important. Sometimes, it’s neither.

The tricky part is that urgent tasks are often the loudest. They’re the ones clamoring for your attention, waving their hands, and shouting, “Look at me! Look at me!” But just because a task is shouting loudest doesn’t mean it deserves your attention first. This is where many people falter. They get so caught up in putting out fires that they never get around to the tasks that fuel their progress and growth.

Prioritizing like a pro means resisting the allure of the urgent and focusing on the important. It’s about zooming out from the frenzy of the now and aligning your efforts with your ultimate goals.

That email that just pinged in your inbox? It can probably wait. That proposal for the new client you’re hoping to land? That’s where your focus should be.

Prioritizing also involves saying goodbye to tasks that no longer serve you. This can be hard, particularly if you’re used to ticking off a lot of boxes on your to-do list. But remember: Just because something is on your list doesn’t mean it deserves to be there. If a task doesn’t contribute meaningfully to your goals, ditch it. Your time is valuable. Don’t waste it on things that don’t matter.

Finally, effective prioritizing involves constant reassessment. Priorities aren’t set in stone. They shift and change as your circumstances, goals, and resources change. So take time regularly to step back, look at the big picture, and reassess where your efforts are best directed.

Being overwhelmed often stems from feeling like you have too much to do and too little time to do it. But when you prioritize effectively, you take control. You decide what deserves your time and energy, and you let go of the rest. And that, my friends, can make all the difference.

Strategy 2: Delegate or Die Trying

All right, this one’s a biggie. Hell, it was a biggie for me. I was the ultimate control freak, trying to have my fingers in every pie, believing I could do it all. But here’s the thing: You can’t. And you shouldn’t. Welcome to the gospel of delegation.

Now, you might be thinking: “Hey, I’m the best at what I do. If I want something done right, I’ve got to do it myself.” Well, buddy, here’s a news flash for you: That’s bullshit. That mentality is not only detrimental to your mental health but also to your business. It stunts growth, creates bottlenecks, and sets you up for burnout.

Delegation is about recognizing the value of your time and understanding that it’s better spent on tasks that require your expertise and unique capabilities. It’s about empowering your team and leveraging their skills to achieve more than you ever could alone.

The problem is that many entrepreneurs see delegation as a sign of weakness, an admission that they can’t do everything. But it’s the exact opposite. Delegation is a sign of strength. It’s an indication that you understand the bigger picture, that you’re a leader, not just a doer.

But I get it; delegation is scary. You’re putting your baby—your business—in someone else’s hands. But unless you want to spend your life buried under an avalanche of work, you’ve got to start letting go.

Start small. Delegate tasks that are time-consuming but don’t require your unique skill set. Things like scheduling, email management, and administrative tasks are great places to start. And remember: Delegation isn’t abdication. You’re still in charge, you’re just enlisting help.

Next, invest in training. Your team might not do things exactly as you would, but with proper training and clear expectations, they can get damn close. Be patient. It takes time to train someone to do things up to your standard. But once they’re up to speed, you’ll be amazed at how much time and energy you save.

Delegation also requires trust—lots of it. You’ve got to trust that your team is competent, that they have the company’s best interests at heart, and that they’ll come to you if they hit a roadblock. This can be tough, but remember: Trust is a two-way street. If you want your team to trust your leadership, you have to trust their abilities.

Lastly, accept that mistakes will happen. No one is perfect, not even you. When mistakes occur, treat them as learning opportunities, not just for your team, but for you as well. Use them to refine your delegation process, to learn how to set clearer expectations, and to understand where further training might be needed.

Delegation is a skill, and like any skill, it takes practice. But once you’ve mastered it, you’ll be amazed at how much more you can accomplish, how much less overwhelmed you feel, and how much more you can focus on what you do best: leading your business to success.

Strategy 3: Embrace the Magic of Mono-tasking

Let’s talk about the big M—multi-tasking. We’ve been fed this myth that multi-tasking is the superhero skill of the highly productive. That to succeed in this crazy, fast-paced world, we’ve got to be juggling ten balls at once while riding a unicycle blindfolded. Well, I’m here to tell you that’s a load of crap.

Our brains, as marvelous and impressive as they are, just aren’t built for multi-tasking. We think we’re getting more done, but in reality, we’re just shifting our attention back and forth between tasks, which burns more energy and makes us more susceptible to errors. It’s like revving your car’s engine while it’s in neutral. You’re making a lot of noise, but you’re not going anywhere.

So, what’s the alternative? Enter mono-tasking—the art of focusing on one thing at a time. And when I say one thing, I mean ONE thing. Not checking your email while on a conference call. Not scrolling through social media while working on a report. One. Thing. At. A. Time.

Here’s the deal with mono-tasking. When you focus on one task at a time, you’re able to engage your full cognitive resources, improving both your efficiency and the quality of your work. You’re fully present, fully engaged, and fully productive. It’s not about doing more; it’s about doing better.

But embracing mono-tasking isn’t as simple as deciding to focus on one task at a time. It requires a shift in mindset. It requires acknowledging that our attention is a limited resource and treating it as such.

You need to create an environment that supports focus. That might mean turning off notifications, setting office hours, or investing in noise-cancelling headphones. Anything that reduces distractions and encourages focus is a win.

You also need to get comfortable with the idea of “slow work”. We’re so conditioned to value speed—fast responses, fast decisions, fast results. But quality work takes time. It’s okay to slow down, to take your time, to let your work unfold naturally without rushing through it.

And most importantly, you need to give yourself permission to focus. We often feel guilty for not being available 24/7, for not responding to emails immediately, for not being “on” all the time. But here’s the thing: You can’t do good work if you’re always available. You can’t focus if you’re always interruptible. So give yourself permission to tune out the noise and tune into your work.

Mono-tasking isn’t just a productivity strategy; it’s a sanity strategy. It’s about choosing quality over quantity, depth over breadth, focus over fragmentation. It’s about reclaiming your time, your attention, and your sanity from the clutches of overwhelm.

Strategy 4: Master the Art of Saying “No”

Pop quiz, hotshot. You’re swamped with work, your to-do list is longer than a Stephen King novel, and someone asks you to take on another project. What do you do? If you answered “Say yes and figure out how to make it work,” we need to have a chat.

Here’s the harsh truth, my friends: If you don’t learn to master the art of saying “no”, overwhelm is going to be your constant companion. Saying “yes” to everything is like trying to cram ten pounds of crap into a five-pound bag—it’s not going to end well.

You see, every time you say “yes” to something, you’re saying “no” to something else. Every task, every project, every commitment takes up time and energy—resources that are limited. So if you’re saying “yes” to things that aren’t a priority, you’re saying “no” to things that are.

But how do you know when to say “no”? Easy: You go back to Strategy 1 and look at your priorities. If something doesn’t align with your priorities—if it doesn’t contribute to your goals or values—then it gets a big, fat “NO.”

Here’s another reality check for you: People will respect you more when you say “no.” I know, it sounds counterintuitive. We’re often worried that saying “no” will make us look bad, that it will hurt our reputation or damage our relationships. But the truth is, people respect individuals who know their limits, who respect their own time, and who have the courage to uphold their boundaries.

Saying “no” is a way of asserting control over your time and your workload. It’s a way of standing up for yourself and your needs. It’s a way of signaling to others—and to yourself—that your time and energy are valuable, and that you’re not willing to squander them on things that aren’t important to you.

Remember, you’re not a robot. You’re not a machine. You’re a human being with limited time and energy. You can’t do everything for everyone all the time. So give yourself permission to say “no”. It’s not a sign of weakness—it’s a sign of strength. It’s a sign of someone who knows their worth, who respects their own time, and who’s not afraid to stand up for themselves.

Mastering the art of saying “no” is like a superpower. It can free you from the shackles of unnecessary obligations, guard you against the onslaught of overwhelm, and grant you the time and space you need to do your best work. It’s not always easy, but I promise you—it’s worth it.

Strategy 5: Get Intimate with Your Inner Zen

Alright, we’ve talked about setting priorities, delegation, mono-tasking, and the glorious art of saying “no.” All of these strategies can significantly reduce the burden of overwhelm. But there’s one more crucial piece of the puzzle—taking care of your mental well-being. Or, as I like to call it, getting intimate with your inner Zen.

Let’s get one thing straight: living in a constant state of overwhelm is no bueno for your mental health. It’s like running a marathon with no finish line. Your stress levels are through the roof, your brain is in overdrive, and before you know it, you’re teetering on the edge of burnout.

So how do you counteract this? You make time for mental breaks. You practice mindfulness. You find stress management techniques that work for you. You make self-care a non-negotiable part of your routine.

Look, I get it. When you’re neck-deep in work, taking a break might feel like the last thing you should do. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that working longer hours means getting more done. But remember: You’re not a machine. You need time to rest and recharge. And studies have shown that taking regular breaks can actually increase productivity and creativity.

Mindfulness is another powerful tool in your arsenal against overwhelm. It’s about being present in the moment, about focusing on what you’re doing right here, right now, rather than getting lost in the chaos of what needs to be done. And the beauty of mindfulness is that you can practice it anytime, anywhere. Whether you’re sipping your morning coffee, walking to work, or tackling your inbox, you can be mindful.

And then there’s stress management. Everyone has their own way of unwinding. For some, it might be a vigorous workout or a leisurely jog in the park. For others, it might be yoga, meditation, or even a quiet hour with a good book. The key is to find what works for you and make it a regular part of your routine.

I know, making time for breaks and self-care can feel like just another thing to add to your to-do list. But trust me—it’s worth it. Because when you take care of your mental well-being, you’re not just combating overwhelm. You’re also boosting your productivity, improving your creativity, and enhancing your overall quality of life.

So get intimate with your inner Zen. Prioritize your mental health. And remember: You can’t do your best work if you’re not at your best.


We’ve hit the end of our crash course in combating overwhelm. No, it doesn’t come with a diploma, but, hell, it’s possibly more useful than some degrees I could mention.

We’ve talked about the power of prioritizing, the necessity of delegation, the magic of mono-tasking, the strength in the word “no,” and the crucial importance of getting cozy with your inner Zen. And the one thing these strategies all have in common? They’re all about taking back control.

Overwhelm, at its core, is a feeling of being out of control, like you’re on a runaway train with no brakes. But when you start using these strategies, you’re no longer just a passenger on that train. You’re the conductor, and you decide how fast it goes and when it’s time to stop and rest.

Don’t get me wrong. None of this is a magic bullet. It’s not going to change things overnight. It’s going to take time, practice, and a fair bit of trial and error. But remember: You’re not aiming for perfection. You’re aiming for improvement. Even small changes can make a big difference.

And here’s the kicker: You’re not alone in this. Everyone, and I mean everyone, experiences overwhelm at some point. So don’t be too hard on yourself. It doesn’t mean you’re not cut out for entrepreneurship. It means you’re human.

I’ll leave you with one final thought. Remember that hamster on the wheel I mentioned earlier? Imagine, just for a moment, that the hamster decides to take a breather. It steps off the wheel, stretches its little legs, and takes a moment to enjoy a sunflower seed or two. Does the world end? Does the hamster’s little hamster life collapse in ruin? Hell, no! It just goes back to the wheel when it’s good and ready, feeling refreshed and recharged.

Be the hamster, my friends. Step off the wheel once in a while. Your to-do list will still be there when you get back, but you’ll be in a much better place to tackle it.

About the Author: Geoffrey Byers
Geoffrey is one of the world's foremost Designers. He is also a Serial Entrepreneur, Author, Speaker, and Mad Scientist. Hypothesis-Driven experimentation is his love language.