How To Stop Overwhelm

I know what it’s like being a small business owner. It can be overwhelming at times, particularly when we fall into habits. In this interview, I outline:

  • Why we need to use the executive function in our brain.
  • How to stop responding to ‘stuff’.
  • How to link patterns and habits to the executive function of the brain.
  • Where to get your dopamine and adrenaline fix.

Feeling overwhelmed? Focus on what matters and layer your goals.
– David Wood


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[00:00:00] David Wood: We have executive function in our brain. That’s one of the things we’ve evolved. So animals go about their routines, their patterns, their habits, and they follow their instincts. Unfortunately, humans have executive function of the brain, but we don’t tend to use it as much as we could. So what happens is we fall into habits.

We might wake up and checking mail and then we’re lost. Right? We’re just responding to things. We eat the things we’ve always eat. Uh, I like to know that one coffee shop that I can always go to and get my favorite meal. And that’s fine unless we’re not happy with the pace at which we’re moving towards our goals, or we’re not happy with our goals.

So this is where coaching comes in for me. And I’m biased. I’ve been a coach for 20 something years, and sometimes in my life, I’ve had five coaches depending on what I want to work on. What we need to do is make sure we take regular time. From our patterns and our habits to use the executive function of the brain.

And this is what happens when people meet with me on a coaching call, they take time out of their day. And I say, what do you want? Now we start with say 12 months. All right. What would have you, so listeners, what would have you really be. Like you would call everybody, you know, and say, this is so awesome.

If you achieve this over 12 months, that’s the beginning. Now 12 months is too far out, so we’ve got to chunk it back. We need to layer our goals. So three months out, what would a win look like? Write down, say three business things and three personal things. It would be a win and have you fully on track and here’s, here’s the hard part.

What will you agree? Not to care about? For the next three months, because we want to do everything we don’t want to miss out. And it’s quite fun. And we get dopamine and adrenaline from responding to text and email. But what, like, if it really matters to you, what will you care about for three months? And then what will you agree to put in a drawer?

And that’s not easy to do, but once you’ve done that, we can come back again to the next seven days and say, all right, over these seven days, these are my post-its on the wall that matter. Anything else that wants to come in as going to have to get past me, because I’m going to put it in a drawer for the next week or the week after, because I’ve already got my plan or I’ll have a meeting with myself and I’ll weigh it all up and I’ll say, what can I drop this week?

We need to have that step. Otherwise I had one. He was very ordered, very structured, but he would, when something would get in front of him, he’d add it to his calendar. There was no triaged. There was no discernment. We need to be able to say, no, I’m not going to do Facebook until four o’clock. I’m not going to do that fun project.

I’m not going to watch Netflix until eight because these things are more important.

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