Getting out of overwhelm

12.08.13 | Posted in General


Being in overwhelm isn’t a state I enjoy. I’m lucky that I rarely experience it but I’m knee deep in it at the moment. The business is growing at such a rate that it feels hard to keep up at times, a couple of my key people are on leave, I’m getting asked to do more and more public stuff, we need to find a new office as we’re bursting at the seams, we need more people on the team, I’m on a plane every week, and to add to all of that I’m moving house this week. And there’s that small thing of the little people in my life – I’m discovering that three children aged four and under is not exactly for the fainthearted.

So when I found myself drowning today I coached myself out of it and wanted to share some of the learnings with you.

1) Just work on one or two big things
Overwhelm can be awesome as it causes you to step back and ask ‘OK what’s important here? What needs to be prioritised?’ I decided just to work on two things and two things only. Everything else can wait until I’m in a stronger state and can manage it.

2) Don’t look too far into the future
I did this and it sent me into a meltdown to see no white space in my diary for many, many weeks. Now I’ve decided just to tackle each day as it comes and not stress about what’s yet to happen/coming up.

3) Say no
This is an obvious one but crucial to scaling the walls of overwhelm. There are only so many hours in the day and you need to focus on what’s going to create the most impact.

4) Share how you’re feeling
Writing this post has lifted me out of overwhelm, so thank you for the opportunity to share it. I’m now back to old Em and know that I’ll get through this week. And next. And the one after that too.


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  1. Jodie @ parentwellbeing

    Em – It’s a full and enriching life you’re living, isn’t it! Lots of exciting developments, opportunities and learning experiences – but as you say it can sometimes all feel a bit much! Thanks for sharing your experience – and your strategies. And best wishes with it all!

  2. Zoe

    We all feel like this at some times throughout the year. It’s nice to make it known so others know that it can be normal. Well done again Emma.

  3. Bec

    Thanks for sharing Emma. It’s so important not to let that feeling of overwhelm overtake you. These are really great simple steps – thanks!

  4. Cheryl Leong

    Thank you for your honesty and sharing this Emma. Even super women can be vulnerable sometimes. I’m sure many a working mother has found themselves exhausted and absolutely spent with juggling all the responsibilities that surround them – and I’m quite sure you have a lot more on your plate than most of us with running a thriving business and three very young children. Your tips are a reminder to all of us trying to be octo-women that reaching out to a life bouy to help keep our heads above water keeps you going so you can conquer another day. Keep inspiring us all x

  5. Kelly Exeter

    Errr …. did you just say ‘moving house’?! Why do we do these things to ourselves?!!

    But – sounds like you have it all under control lovely. And I agree that sharing the feeling is always a good way to pole vault out of it!

  6. Emma

    In hindsight Kel, it was the stress associated with the move that sent me into a spin yesterday. I think I underestimated it!

  7. Louise @ Foxy and Fabulous

    I’ve never known you to do things by half gorgeous! Sometimes what we need most is the permission to admit that we’ve bitten off too much, take a deep breath and just eat the elephant one bite at a time. Of course, a cathartic vino with a girlfriend does wonders too! You’re on the right track starting with the small stuff in front of you and saying no in order to focus on what’s important. Now go one step further and ask for what you need, delegate small projects among your amazing team and outsource the rest within your fabulous network. xox

  8. shivani

    I have been describing myself as overwhelmed lately too. So good to read your BLOG!
    Do we as entrepreneurs take on too much at times and now we are running everything ‘Just in time’ or do we need it for the adrenalin to perform better?
    Shivani x

  9. Emma

    Sometimes it feels like we are in the backseat of a car without a driver! We all go through it, but it is so nice to hear from such an inspiring leader that you go through it too. Sometimes that breather also enables us to be very grateful for the “fullness” in our lives….where would we be with out it.

    M x

  10. Siemone Greig

    Hi Emma

    How about looking at some office space at Lakes Business Park in Botany. We would love to have Business Chicks in our park. Let me know if you’re interested!

  11. Kim Peirce

    Hi Em, the key to this latest piece of yours is that you were able to remember to take a moment and…breathe. Such as simple thing to do, but so effective and we often are so caught up in our ‘mind space’ that we forget to do just that! I’ve launched my latest business this week and I’d love to send you one of my ZEN blend tea plans so you may take some time out during your day and reclaim your ZEn! It is perfect for women like us that have launched into motherhood, business and life all at once and I know you will find some ZEN enjoying it! My goal is to sponsor one of the upcoming Business Chicks events in the next 12 months by providing my teas for the divine gift packs us Business Chicks members receive at BC events, but until then, please accept my gift to you this week. Just let me know where I should send it through to. Warm regards, Kim.

  12. Jen @ 1st Ave Comms

    My first time reading your blog (as a new business chick member) and it made me laugh as I thought I was the only one to have a plate not just full but overflowing.

    Then again I don’t think I would have it any other way. I don’t “do” bored.

    Just writing down all I have to do takes the overwhelmed feeling away. Then I remember to feel grateful that I run my own business and have the support of a great husband, family and friends.

    Thanks Emma – and good luck with the move. Make sure you know where the wine glasses, wine bottle and cheese knife are – everything else will fall into place.

  13. Pip

    Gorgeous read Em ! Everytime I attend a BC event I feel like we are all in the same boat and its OK to admit when we are overwhelmed everyday we do an amazing job of juggling !

  14. Kate Weiss

    Hi Ems – I seem to remember sharing my own overwhelm with you a few months back – your advice was just do one thing at a time and be kind to yourself- enough said!

    I am with you with the move – we just moved 3 weeks ago and Amy changed schools on top of huge momentum at Table of Plenty HQ! Xx

  15. mish

    Hi Emma,

    you certainly have a lot on your plate at the moment and your tips are great… hang in there… take a deep breathe until you get to the other side (of at least the shifting house) and take time to celebrate your wins… like making it through the day!
    big love x

  16. Kylea Tink

    Oh Em – isn’t is crazy that the universe can conspire to throw so much our way at anyone point in time. My Gran used to say that “the good lord never sends you a burden that he doesn’t send you the strength to carry it” but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt along the away. If it helps – my three under 4 are now three under 11, our rapidly grown business found a new office, my staff came back from leave, and I decided to never again get a red eye domestic flight. Your tips are truly fantastic though so thanks for sharing. The one I would add – sometimes just laughing out loud at your sheer audacity to think you can do it all is really quite cathartic. Now .. got get em tiger xx

  17. Melissa

    I love the only concentrate on one day at a time. I’m so guilty of looking at my week of appointments and feeling overwhelm. I’m absolutely stealing that one to apply! x

  18. Natalie

    And like a very wise friend said to me one time when I was stressed as me and my family were about to head overseas in a couple of days, we had guys in our kitchen prepping to renovate, hubby was away on a last minute business trip and would return on the day of our flight out, and I was about to start a Uni course online, after not having studied in about 15 years (so I was working out time difference on the other side of the globe for my first assignment within a week, when I might still be jet lagged)……she said,”be thankful that these are the things you have to stress about.” My stress was gone