Covey at a Crossroads – How to Conquer Overwhelm

Have you ever been in a situation where you were looking for some business documents and you couldn’t find the folder they were in or the stack of paper you know you put them with?  Have you noticed how your memory plays nasty little tricks on you all the time especially when you are busy or multi-tasking? Our brains can only process 2-7 pieces of information at a time.

If we look at the last century, we are able to see how commerce sped up with an increase in the flow of information. There were huge jumps in how we were able to communicate:

      • Western Union
      • Ham Radios
      • Telephone-Party Lines
      • Telephone-Private Lines
      • Two Way Radios (emergency services)
      • Fax
      • Pagers
      • Car Phones
      • Cell Phones
      • Computers
      • Laptops
      • Tablets

As the communications became more sophisticated so did the methods we needed to manage the communications:

        • How many Business Owners are still dealing with paper?
        • How many have in-boxes that are not categorized?
        • How many owners still print out all the documents they receive?
        • How many are still fighting the sense of being overwhelmed with information, data and documents?
        • How many are still wishing all of this could be popped into a shoebox so you can stash it away until the right solution presents itself?

A large number of the calls I receive are about the stress produced from being overwhelmed. For the sake of this post, we’ll name give it the proper name, Overwhelm because that’s what it feels like – a tall, nagging hovering over us physical person, much of the time. In my humble opinion, our society is experiencing an epidemic of stress-related health conditions relating to Overwhelm. It is so easy for us to become overwhelmed in one area and believe it won’t impact anything else.


I am here to confess that just the opposite is true. Overwhelm and the conditions that go along with it such as stress, and in some cases panic are a condition of our society and unless we are willing to start doing things differently, we will all suffer the ill effects of stress on our bodies and in our businesses.

So how do we combat Overwhelm? Good question! The answer is both simple and it is not easy.

The answer is we have to change what we do and how we react.

My client “Tim” was very reactionary. The stress it was creating was unnoticeable at first, a snippy word here and there. As the stress mounted the snips turned into rants that he took home from the office. Needless to say, no one in Tim’s life was immune to his reactions.

To solve the problem Tim has to address his attitudes and behavior on all fronts. He started by working with me to build a strategy. The hallmarks of the strategy were organization, Stephen Covey’s 4 Quadrants and Proactivity First, and starting the day with gratitude. As he worked through the process of implementation, the Overwhelm lessened and eventually disappeared.

Remember, You are in charge – if you do not like your results, learn, practice and MAKE different choices!

This post is part of a series.
Top Secret Tasks to Small Business Mastery, Part 3: Overwhelm
Stay tuned for more on this powerful topic.