After being stuck in what feels like a parallel universe for the past two years, consumed by daily case numbers, chaotic restrictions and disruptive announcements, once everything was “back to normal”, my ambitious personality took over as I thrust myself into work immediately. I’ve been head down bum up for the past 12 months with tunnel vision to grow my business, sending multiple proposals each week, attending every in-person event, and seizing every networking opportunity. While this full-throttle approach has been great for my business, it was at the end of December, while sitting at my desk about to hit submit on my 11th fiction novel, a wave of uneasiness hit me like a tonne of bricks – I am overwhelmed. 

From growing my business to writing a new book, managing employees and planning for a holiday, thinking about all I have to do before the end of the year and the persistent voice yelling there’s still so much more to learn, do and achieve. 

I’d managed to suppress the internal chit-chat for the past year, but I can’t ignore it anymore. Especially when I continued hearing from clients, they were also feeling overwhelmed. 

If you’re nodding along, feeling overwhelmed by impeding deadlines, inundated with tasks or unrealistic expectations of yourself, I invite you to pause, rest and reset. In this article, I’ve shared my top tips for reducing the overwhelm and maintaining a sense of calm in the hustle culture of writing and publishing – avoiding a path of self-destruction. 

See you on the other side. 

How to reduce business overwhelm

1. Prioritise tasks & delegate 

At the of the day, it doesn’t matter if you’re the best author, publisher or creator; we can only do some much in a day. It’s fantastic to dream big, be audacious and set ambitious goals, but avoid disappointment and overwhelm from the get-go by learning to prioritise and delegate your inevitably lengthy to-do list. 

How to prioritise & delegate tasks 

Make a list of everything you need to (or want to do). Using the Eisenhower decision matrix, separate the tasks into four sections, deciding whether they’re urgent or non-urgent and important or non-important. Once you’ve allocated everything, you can easily visualise the important and urgent tasks to prioritise and the non-important urgent tasks to delegate. As for the important non-urgent tasks, schedule time in the future to focus on these. And ask yourself if you can delete the non-important/non-urgent tasks from your to-do list. 

2. Giving yourself a break and time to reflect

Never underestimate taking the time to stop, rest and reflect. While it can feel impossible to stop if we’re busy, this is the best time hit pause. If we’re feeling overwhelmed, our judgement can be impacted and affect productivity. Have you ever had those days when you’ve got so much on your plate and feel so overwhelmed you end up staying at your computer for hours getting nothing done? You’re not alone. 

If you feel anxious, overwhelmed and stuck from having too much on your plate, give yourself the morning or afternoon off. I know it sounds counterproductive, and you might find it hard not to think about work; however, never underestimate the power of taking a minute for yourself. Here are our favourite things to help us feel calm and relaxed when we’re stuck in overwhelm-paralysis. 

  • Read a book 
  • Take ourselves to a movie 
  • Walk along the beach 
  • Sit on a park bench
  • Go for a run or skateboard  
  • Journal 
  • Meditate 
  • Listen to music 

3. Lean into your intuition & respect your limits 

Do you struggle to say no? Are you constantly inundated by tasks outside your interest, values or capabilities that feel draining? It might be time to start listening to your intuition. You know that uncomfortable feeling when something doesn’t feel quite right; This is your signal to stop, reflect and lean in. Whether it’s a proposed project, publishing opportunity or book idea editor, before committing, ask if this is something you really want to do and be honest with yourself. If it’s outside your wheelhouse, misaligned with your values or feels ‘yuck’, say no and trust that something better will come along! 

4. Journal prompts 

It’s no secret we love journaling at the daring press. Here are our favourite journal prompts for when we feel consumed by work, unmotivated and overwhelmed. 

  • Can you identify any specific triggers making you feel overwhelmed?
  • If you’re feeling overwhelmed by something within your control, brainstorm solutions and create an action plan if you’re up to it. 
  • Is there anything you can let go of in your business that’s causing overwhelm?
  • What are three things you’re proud of in your business?
  • What’s one thing you can do today that will make tomorrow easier?

5. Positive affirmations

As a self-employed author who wears multiple hats, it’s inevitable to feel overwhelmed from time to time. When you’re feeling anxious, drained and down, it’s helpful having a list of positive affirmations you can read out loud to shift your mindset. Here are some of our favourites: 

  • “I am enough.”
  • “I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished so far.”
  • “This is only a chapter; it’s not my whole story.” 
  • “I’m doing a great job, even if it doesn’t feel like that today.” 
  • “I release the past and embrace the present.”
  • “Great opportunities will continue to present themselves” 

Know the signs of burnout 

While it’s normal to feel overwhelmed occasionally, it’s essential to know the difference between feeling stuck and burnout. If you’re feeling any of the following symptoms more than a few times a week, it might be time to reassess how you’re running your business, delegate tasks and take a break. 

  • Helplessness
  • Pessimistic thoughts 
  • Sense of failure and self-doubt
  • Decreased satisfaction
  • Feeling detached or alone in the world.
  • Loss of motivation.

Find work-life balance in 2023 

Don’t let overwhelm cripple your author business. As incredible as it is to work for yourself, do what you love and have a rewarding career, remember to take time for yourself. Spend time with my friends and family, play with your dog or cat, and enjoy life without feeling as if you’re chained to your computer 24/7, trying to keep up with the rat race. Book a discovery call with The Daring Press today if you’re looking for support in growing your incredible author biz without the overwhelm and burnout.