Do You Feel Overwhelmed By All The Things You Could Do With Your Online Business?

Overwhelmed Girl

Tell me if this feels familiar…

You are starting or growing a new online business.

You frequently have conversations with other people who also have a business, and walk away with lots of ideas. Every time you go online and watch your Facebook feed, or check your email inbox, you are presented with more ideas, opportunities, and things other people do that you could do too.

While you are excited about the potential in front of you, this feeling quickly turns to overwhelm and a sense of stress. You want to do it all, but for some reason, you don’t seem to do any of it!

Progress is slow at best, and you’re so frustrated because it seems like everyone else is getting so much more done than you. How is it these people can be so productive?

The Paradox Of Choice For Entrepreneurs

Recently here in Toronto where I am living presently, I’ve had conversations with some new friends who are at the early stage of their new online businesses.

These people have skills and knowledge to share with the world, yet they often feel paralyzed and frustrated by what seems like very slow progress.

The problem gets exacerbated because they are constantly stimulated by new ideas as all entrepreneurs are, and since their current project hasn’t completely taken off yet (or they haven’t committed to one yet), it’s easy to feel swayed by other things you can do.

You can even get lost by all the opportunities within one project. Do you create a short course or a flagship training program first? Or run a webinar, or focus on social media, or write a blog? What about looking for affiliates and doing a launch? Or maybe you should focus on private coaching now, or run some kind of lean test to make sure your idea works? Or first hire people to build a team around you?

So many options!!!

If you don’t have a concrete foundation holding you on a path towards a result, it’s easy to jump to another path.

Unfortunately, this has the effect of destroying any momentum you have built up with whatever you had started to do.

The net impact of this is discord. You float around all the time and never feel anchored towards a goal.

You need the anchoring because it helps you with one very powerful technique…

Ignoring.

I’m Not Immune To This Problem

I’m not immune to the feeling of frustration and stress from wanting to get more done.

Every time I have a conversation with one of my super productive friends like Nathan Chan from Foundr, or see how much a top achiever like Pat Flynn produces, or hear how good someone else’s product launch did, or read an article about yet another person enjoying success with some new platform or app, I experience a desire to do it all!

On top of this, since I run a podcast where I interview successful people doing similar things to myself, I experience more envy, desire — and thankfully motivation too — to match the results of my interview guests.

It’s natural to compare your own results against the results of others. Unfortunately, we tend to be our own harshest critics, so nothing is ever good enough.

It’s not realistic to do it all, so there is always going to be some feeling of untapped potential (which ideally should fuel your motivation).

Commit To A Project (And Ignore The Rest)

I learned a long time ago that this feeling of wanting to do everything is a trap.

To make matters worse for new entrepreneurs, it’s much easier to fall into this trap when you don’t have a successful project yet.

When you’re not sure what your focus is, you easily jump from idea to idea. We all have plenty of ideas, but if you don’t have an active project that you build on every day, it’s too easy to change focus. There is no loss changing projects if you haven’t built something that has value.

This situation occurs in dating too. If you haven’t stuck with one person long enough, it’s easy to keep dating someone new every week. There’s no sense of loss when nothing is invested in creating something of substance.

When you do finally commit, it becomes much easier to ignore other opportunities. You don’t want to give up the momentum you already have with your current project, for something new that you have to start from scratch.

How I Get Stuff Done

Inside Laptop Lifestyle Academy I write a weekly accountability thread that all other members can see (some other members keep their own accountability thread too). In it I set my weekly goals and report back what I did during the previous week.

This practice is helpful because it keeps me on track and it forces me to focus on priority tasks.

However, the reason this works at all is because I’ve become very good at ignoring.

The act of forcing myself to limit to just the three to five tasks I can work on in one week means I ignore everything else.

Since all or nearly all the tasks tie into the one short term goal, it forces me to decide what project is most important this week.

It’s not just a way to hold yourself accountable, it’s a technique for setting priorities, which gives you the mental freedom that comes from ignoring everything else.

In my experience mental freedom is vital. For you to focus and get projects up and running, you have to have tunnel vision, at least short term.

You need a big long term vision, which contains all the different things you want to do over a period of many years, but that many conflicting projects and goals will mess you up when it comes to short term execution.

Ask Yourself These Questions…

Once a year I sit down and think about what is important to me and my business, and map out a list of project goals for the next year.

I consider all the options, all the potential projects that have grabbed my interest during the previous year, but I ignored to focus on my current project.

I also consider all the outcomes other people in my industry have achieved and ask myself if I would like to do what they have done.

My goal is to get really clear on what I want, without being overtly influenced by envy or greed or similar desires that naturally arise when you hear about other people’s success.

It’s important to be motivated by other’s results, but it’s more important to be true to your own goals, and how your strengths can be used to meet them.

These are the kind of questions I ask myself when going through this process…

  • Do I want to do the work required to get that outcome?
  • Am I being true to the cause that motivates me, or am I just thinking about the money I can make?
  • Is this the best use of my time given other projects I could focus on instead?
  • Can I get the same outcome doing something else that is better suited to my strengths?
  • What resources do I need in place to get this outcome?
  • Does this project fit in with the overall vision, brand and message I want to deliver to the world?
  • Are there synergies between this project and other things I have already done that will give me an advantage?
  • Fast forward twelve months from now, what outcome would make me happiest?

These are important questions because they give me clarity. Born from this clarity are the projects I choose to focus on during the next 12 months. I then sequence these projects in order of priority, giving more than enough time for each project, and make the commitment to ignore everything else.

The decision to ignore is absolutely vital for peace of mind and productivity. When you ask yourself questions like the above you can be confident you are making the right choices for what you want right now, not something you feel you should do because other people are doing it or just because you like the idea.

What Are You Focused On?

I’ll end this article with an important question…

What are you focused on right now?

When you think of your answer to this question, consider whether your commitment to your cause is powerful enough that you ignore everything else.

Are you truly centered by this goal, or are you trying to juggle multiple projects that are not connected to the core outcome you desire?

Are you easily distracted by new ideas, or things that other people do, to the point that these potential ideas stop you from taking action on your current project?

If you’re not making progress on your current project, ask yourself whether you prioritized your current project for the wrong reasons?

Any time you come across an over-achieving entrepreneur, at the heart of their success is a burning desire. They are driven to succeed by single-minded focus to see their idea come to reality, combined with a sense of urgency to make it happen as soon as possible, and a joy in the process of creation.

What burning desire do you have?

Yaro Starak
Setting Goals

About Yaro Starak

Yaro Starak is the author of the Blog Profits Blueprint, a report you can download instantly to learn how to make $10,000 a month, from only blogging 2 hours per day. You can find Yaro on Facebook, Twitter and .

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33 Comments

  • Yaro,
    The title of this post alone made me click it instantly. I have always gone through this problem. I want to do it all. Every business idea fills me with unspeakable motivation.

    Sadly, these days we are way too exposed to new ideas and techniques. We have forums, blogs from successful people, in addition to our own ideas that we (unexpectedly) come up with while lying down in bed.

    I try my hardest to fit in a few at a time, but I also try really, really hard to ignore the rest (as you have suggested here).

    I even have to rely on a to-do list now in order to accommodate all my entrepreneurial curiosities. So far so good — but also overwhelming.

    I shall keep your advice in mind the next time I try to add something else to that growing to-do list. There’s only so much one can do in 24 hours, after all. We need to recognize that.

    Thanks, and keep up the great work, Yaro.
    Elvis

    • Hi Elvis,

      It sounds like you have the answer, now you just need the discipline to stick to it and the clarity to know what you choose to focus on are the right things for the right time.

      You keep up the good work too!

      Yaro

  • Hi Yaro

    As soon I saw this post on my Facebook feed today, I saved the link for further link. For the past seven days, I have been going through this overwhelming effect. I listen to a lot of things from other people. As you said, you go through different sets of emotions while taking your interviews. I also go through the same sets of emotions while scanning other’s sites.

    There are two sides to online learning. On one end, we have the chance to learn golden points from generous people who are willing to share information with the world. On another hand, there is also a risk of experiencing ‘information overload’.

    To make my online presence, I am focusing on pitching my ideas on authoritative sites. I always aim at providing valuable content to my audience. I am planning to kick start my next year with video content series. I’ll start from the scratch. I don’t have any basic knowledge. But, I am working hard to extract knowledge from online experts.

    I have one confusion in mind: Should I focus on video interviews or podcasts?

    I have learned a lot of things from this roller-coaster ride. I’ll keep hustling till the end.is Thanks Yaro for sharing this topic. Much needed today.

    • Hi Yatin,

      If you do video interviews you can take the audio and use it as a podcast. It’s more work of course, but if you can outsource one aspect so you just have to focus on the content creation and not the repurposing of content, it can work well.

      This is what I do with my podcast. I record the audio interview, and someone else turns it into a video for YouTube.

      Yaro

      • Thanks for the advice Yaro. I’ll keep the point in mind and implement them in my future projects.
        Have a great week ahead 🙂

  • Hi Yaro,

    The list of questions you ask is golden! It’s exactly the kind of things I need to be asking myself right now.

    Joining your community has really helped me see, if nothing else, the value of ignoring things that are not vital to our missions. It’s also helped me to see I’m not the only one trying to do it all myself. Even the most successful people seem to battle that demon constantly!

    Did you find you had more or less of a problem with the “do it all” syndrome after you had success?

    I’m coming along slowly but thanks to you and the community, I AM moving forward nearly every day!

    Best,

    Jeff

  • Wow…. this is the main problem am facing today. Thanks 4 the solution

  • Hi Yaro,

    I’m one of your BlogMastermind students. This topic (overwhelm & productivity) is the main subject of my blog as I suffered terribly with overwhelm and easily get distracted.

    I decided to use ‘to do’ lists, cheklists and worksheets to help me get organized and focused, along with only doing ONE thing at a time (which I learnt from you from a previous blog post).

    I installed the Chrome extension ‘StayFocused’ which allows me to block or severely limit the time on distracting websites such as Facebook and The Daily Mail, and I can honestly say that this helped enormously.

    I’m in the middle of planning some marketing for January and this blog post was great timing to remind me to keep focused and not to get distracted.

    Thanks!

  • Steven Rose, Jr.

    This is a really useful article. One of my biggest problems is the feeling of not getting enough done as I feel I should. I’m in progress of trying certain techniques such as a limited to-do lists (no more than 6 items on a list), which has been helping but so far I haven’t got the daily to-list nailed down yet. Most of my daily to-do lists end up turning into weekly ones. I’ll consider your suggestions here. Thanks!

  • Thanks, Yaro. I have definitely had this problem, but after a year or so of jumping from one ‘BSO’ (bright shiny object) to another, have finally found my focus. So, whenever, I listen/read any new information, I always try to bring it back to ‘can I use this to progress this one project?’
    Thanks for this post and the review questions you included.

  • Dennis

    You’ve outlined a nice set of questions to think about when assessing new opportunities and their alignment to your goals.

    If you choose to love then commitment isn’t such a scary word and idea. You may be ready young Skywalker.

    I’m looking forward to Yaro Jr. the second!!! Now that may be a scary idea. 🙂

  • Most try to do too many things at a time.

  • Hi Yaro

    Thank you for another relevant subject. I felt overwhelmed in exactly the way you describe for some time until I found your blog about a month ago. It really inspired me to get my online business going and as a result I am thrilled to share that I will be posting my first webinar early next year. The free stuff you provide is phenomenonal and I don’t know how you do it but somehow you put into words exactly what it feels like to be a virgin infopreneur

    • I’m glad to hear I’ve helped you take some action Yasmin. Let me know how your results go!

      Yaro

  • Yaro I wish you know just how familiar all you said are. It’s everything I have been struggling with. And the main reason is exact what you said:

    “To make matters worse for new entrepreneurs, it’s much easier to fall into this trap when you don’t have a successful project yet.”

    I’m not making the kind of online income I need yet. So when I talk to a friend who claims to be earning more than what I am still hoping to earn online and seemingly doing that with lesser effort, then it’s hard not to get distracted even though what I was working on hard better income if it became successfull. There’s always the feeling that perhaps there’s a quicker easier way to earn from online content writing. But in the end I have I a lot of work in progress projects all not yielding desired results because I am always juggling more than I can handle and end up feeling overwhelmed resulting to many days of no work due to lack of motivation to work.

    But I’m positive that 2016 is going to be different. Recently I have decided things have to change. I won’t achieve much if I keep going like this. I get really excited about a project and put all my time into it and start to push it. But then I hear about a new idea from a friend and I’m all excited to start that. So excited that I leave something I already invested good amount of time in to puruse the new idea.

    I decided it was time for a change when I became excited about yet another new idea recently. But realizing that the whole year was spent moving from one project uncompleted to another I decided to complete all my work in progress projects; at least to the point that I would only need to work on them once a while as a way of maintenance before starting work on my new idea. I already have all I want to do in 2016 planned out. But not until I have completed all the projects that have good income potentials will I start working on my 2016 projects. I probably would spend all of January completing them, but that’s okay.

    Thanks for the post Yaro. It was right on time. It helps to know others have this issue too. And somehow it motivates me to continue on the path of change that I already started.

    • You sound like you have a lot of projects going at once Karo! You might want to review you work and see if working on fewer projects helps too. Less is more in most cases.

      Yaro

  • Hi Yaro,

    Just wanted to thank you for the great information you are sharing on your site and for educating us in a simple and fun way!

  • John Bernard

    Hello Yaro. I`ve been following you on and off for years now, probably not long after you started online. Great to see you building and building your business and creating such excellent content. My own problem is focus and that`s the problem with the entrepreneurial mind. I`ve had so many businesses over the years and yet even now as a pensioner I still cannot seem to focus entirely on one area of business. I`m going to copy and paste most of this article to print out and concentrate on getting this essential focus message imprinted in my mind. Very best wishes for 2016, John

    • Sounds like a good plan John, and thanks for being such a long time reader!

      Yaro

  • Hi Yaro
    What a great and simple stated article.
    My word of 2016 for CLARITY. I think this is something most entrepreneurs suffer from, as you have said we tend to get sidetracked by other ideas and others successes we think we could also do just as well….and maybe make a million dollars by doing it.
    But when it comes down to it, for me, it’s following what makes my heart sing, what I find easy to write about and talk to others about.
    The experiences and knowledge I can share is where my clarity is becoming stronger already.
    I’m pretty happy that the questions you posed in your post are ones I have put to myself and now I’m following them through.I think I’m on the right path at last.
    Cheers

    • Clarity is an awesome feeling Brigid. It sounds like you’ve been on a journey lately that has helped get you to a clearer place.

      Yaro

  • As an entrepreneur, I myself oftentimes feel anxious about what to do to get to the goals.

    Thanks for the article.

  • Yaro,

    Thanks for this great advice. While I do not own an online business I do get leads from my website. Every month there are dozens of emails that come in telling me I need to do this and do that. Facebook advertising, Yelp reviews, Google Local updates, etc. There is no way any successful business owner can keep up with all of this while still maintaining a website. These tips are very useful and I will put them into my practice.

    ~Derek

  • Todd

    Ultimately this feeling of being overwhelmed boils down to a fear of failure. You’re afraid to commit to one of your options because what if you do and then you fail? It’s “easier” to just float around dabbling here and there without ever really failing (or succeeding).

    You have to put aside your fear, buckle down, pick something and stick with it until you make it work or find out it doesn’t work.

  • Hi Yaro,

    This is what keep encountering and you have brilliantly dissected the different facets that needs to be dealt with during venturing into online business, handling new projects and more so the way it should be dealt, that is so important. Many times we may be knowing the solution but we falter in the execution and the approach we adopt in solving the problem. Yes, this distraction of having so many ideas knocking your doorstep and constantly getting lost in the game of prioritization and the focus that so vital, as rightly mentioned by you for achieving success and making the real difference. With the digital connect, the flow of ideas and inter-connection of different ideas is on the go and we are caught in that good dilemma of what to keep and what to let go, we cannot keep all the ideas to us and we cannot fructify all the ideas into business value proposition…

    I really enjoy your podcast on success stories interviews, but I always wonder why not you conduct interviews of people who were almost there but couldn’t achieve the so-called the success as judged by us but there side of the stories is equally inspiring and the learning from them is much more and there investment in learning can benefit many others, it is not that we have to learn from only people who are successful, I see there is a paradox and it would great to see some “failures stories” in your podcast…

    Thanks so much for your wonderful thoughts and you are always an inspiration, that’s how it is reflected in my blog.

    The power of blogging…conversation and connection.

    Best,
    Nihar

  • Hi Yaro, thanks for this. I’m a new reader of your blog (can’t believe I only came across your blog now) and love the clarity in your posts. This one resonates with me specifically as I often am overwhelmed with choices because like many, I am afraid of failing and regretting my choices. For a while now, I have been thinking of becoming a digital nomad, have written a bunch of content for a website that I have not yet launched because I’m thinking maybe this isn’t the right move. Which is frustrating. Reading this post is a great reminder to just commit to one task and focus on it. So thank you.

  • Plenty of business ideas but fear of failing messes it up!

  • I call myself “Jill-of-all-trades” – somehow everything gets done! Of course, anyone who works 28 hours a day will get everything done!

  • I focus on the outcome and get into alignment in everything I do. But then when I don’t feel like doing the work I just do it anyway because it has become a habit. Great article:-)

  • I always feel overwhelmed, This is a great post thanks! I also started doing a morning routine that helps a bit.

  • Wow! This touched home on so many levels. Thank you for sharing. It’s enlightening to know that many others struggle with these same issues.

  • Really insightful article Yaro. Growing a company online can be like a kid in a candy store, so many options! I like your idea of focusing on three to five tasks a week, will be interesting to see what progress I can make by adopting this!

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