Feeling snowed under with work – what to do to get back on top

Feeling snowed under with work – what to do to get back on top

Yesterday I felt completely snowed under with work. This is how my day started off.

  • Logged into my laptop to find 58 new emails and 22 tasks flagged up by my CRM to be completed.
  • My brain went into overdrive! Stress levels started to rise. Brain fog descended with so much to do.
  • Looked at emails. Looked at CRM tasks. Glanced at my notepad at a new idea. Started on new idea. Aimed to just map out a few basic points to come back to.
  • Got completely sidetracked! Suddenly realised I had missed a client call!!!!!! How did I miss it? When I checked my phone reminder was on silent.
  • Stress levels rose dramatically.
  • Called the client and apologised profusely. Looked to rebook asap and my diary was chaotic. It didn’t look like I had time to breathe let alone book another appointment.
  • Spent an hour moving things around in my diary.
  • Started working through emails. Each email seemed to lead to another half dozen things to do. Three new requests for one-to-one coaching. Two enquiries about The Small Business Kit.
  • Head now in a complete spin. I felt completely and utterly snowed under and simply didn’t know how I was going to fit everything in.

And then I stopped. And I thought about what I would advise my one-to-one clients. And I started to put it all into practice myself.

What to do when you’re snowed under with work


Just look around you. Do you have a clean, welcoming, organised workspace? Or are you surrounded by half-drunk mugs of coffee, half a dozen notepads, sticky notes and scraps of paper, a scattering of business cards and various pens? Clear your workspace and clear your mind. Honestly, it works. Having only what you need in front of you helps you to retain focus and work in a more organised manner.

Create a to-do list

The next thing is to write down absolutely everything on your to-do list. Yes, everything. List down all those things swirling around in your frazzled brain, scribbled down on notepads, post-it notes and emails. Get everything out of your head and onto paper.


Now you have your to-do list you need to sort it out in order of priority. I use an online spreadsheet called Airtable. I list everything in there and then give each item a ranking as follows:

  1. Needs doing as a priority
  2. Needs doing this week
  3. Needs doing this month
  4. Would like to do it asap
  5. Would like to do it if I ever get the time

List with tasks listed in priority order for when snowed under with work You may find you have more than one to-do list. If you do, it can help to put everything into one list. You can add a column to state what the item relates to if you have more than one business or business sector. When you are going through your list delete anything that has been on there for what seems like years and realistically is never going to get done. Also, delete anything that now doesn’t seem like such a good idea or is outdated. I had quite a few of those! Now simply sort them in priority order.

Plan your diary

Open your diary or online calendar and block out times for 5-star priority items. Set 90-minute blocks of time. This time allows you to get laser focused to get stuck into the task without distractions. It’s long enough to get good quality work done but not too long that your brain starts to get frazzled. After each 90-minute block, set yourself 10 mins to check any incoming emails. Send a holding response if necessary so as not to let them take you off track unless urgent and they cannot wait. Then go stretch your legs and get some fresh air for 20 minutes. I promise you the change of scenery and fresh air will allow you to be far more productive than sitting at your desk for hours at a time. This way you will get 3x 90 minutes of focused work done each day on your priority tasks. If you complete all your priority tasks, move on to your 4-star ones. Below is a very simplistic example of what your diary could look like. This will of course depend upon your business. Your 5-star priority may be a client meeting which may take longer than 90 minutes so adapt accordingly. Organising a diary for when snowed under with work

Set up your workspace for the next day

At the end of each day, plan for the next. Re-prioritise your list moving 4-star items to 5-star if all the 5-star have been completed. Set out your workspace with just the items you need to complete your work for the next day, so you are all set and ready to go when you come back in the morning. It’s very therapeutic coming to a clean, tidy desk with everything set up rather than having to search through the clutter for what you need first thing.

Shut off

Now you have set yourself up for the next day’s work, knowing exactly what you are going to be working on and with everything ready to go, switch off. Yes, easier said than done I know but it’s so important to shut off from work to give your brain a break. It’s the same as if you are training for something such as running a marathon. If you push your body by running long distances every single day, eventually your muscles will give up, and you will become injured and won’t be able to run at all. Your muscles need a break to recover. Your brain is the same. Do whatever you enjoy to relax. Now, if you have a young, demanding family this may be a difficult thing to do. But take at least 30 minutes each day just for you. If you love reading, go to bed half an hour earlier and read. It’s important to have time for yourself so you don’t start to resent work and life in general.

Are you still snowed under with work?

But hey. What if the above is not enough? What if you never manage to clear your 5-star priority items and more work is coming in? What if you really can’t keep your head above water?

Review your prices

Firstly, look at your pricing. If you have more clients than you can handle, put your prices up! This way you can work smarter, not harder. You will be able to earn the same, if not more, money for the same number of hours. Now when I speak to my own clients about this, they tend to hate putting prices up. They don’t want to hack off existing clients. But business is all about supply and demand. And if you continue to run at a hundred miles an hour every day and continue to be snowed under one of two things will happen:

  1. You will start to make mistakes (like me!) And I can promise you if you continue to make mistakes that will certainly hack off your clients and you will lose business.
  2. You will get so stressed you become ill and won’t be able to work which will be a huge detriment to both you and your clients.

Write to your clients and explain that subject to a business review the decision has been made to increase prices. Don’t be afraid of losing a few. As mentioned, if you get your pricing structure correct, you will be able to make the same amount of money with fewer clients.

Let go of ‘less than perfect’ clients

This could be the perfect opportunity to go through your client list and let go of any who are no longer ideal for you. How about that over-demanding client who no matter what you do, is never good enough. How about the one who wants you at their beck and call 24/7 and has no respect for your private life. Which ones make your heart sink when you see their number pop up on your phone or their email arrive in your inbox? Go through your list and select any that aren’t right for your business anymore and write that email or letter to cancel your contract. Make it polite and professional but let them know after a review of your business, you do not have the capacity to work with them anymore. If possible, recommend someone else for them to work with.

Review your workload

What jobs are you simply not getting done or which do you hate doing and take up far too much of your time and contribute the most to your feeling snowed under? Make a list of them. Once you have the list, you can determine if there are ways of streamlining them. If there are jobs you really do hate and take up too much time, consider outsourcing to someone who could complete the work in a fraction of the time and possibly better than you. This could apply to your bookkeeping, marketing or blog writing. Now, look at the time you spend with prospects and clients.

  • If you get a lot of phone calls or email enquiries when people visit your website, set up an enquiry form to collect as much information as possible before you need to speak to them. This can save a huge amount of time.
  • How do you book appointments? Do you go back and forth via email? Set up an online booking system that does everything for you including taking any payments required.
  • Do you spend a lot of time answering the same questions? Set up a FAQ page on your website and direct people to that.

Download my Client Touchpoint checklist to help you get thinking about how you deal with clients and the time it takes. The Client Touchpoint checklist helps you identify the touchpoints you have with prospects and clients and think about ways to simplify and streamline the process of how you deal with them. The first sheet just gives a few examples. The second sheet is for you to print and complete. client touch points By following the steps above you should feel more in control and able to take an objective view of how your business is running and what you need to do to stop feeling snowed under with work. If you’d like a chat to review your business and identify areas for improvement, take a look at my one-to-one services or get in touch if you have any questions.

How to overcome self-doubt

How to overcome self-doubt

How often do you wish you overcome your self-doubt and those self-limiting beliefs so you can move forward with your business with confidence?

Quite often I suspect.

This past week alone I have spoken with a number of clients (all women I may add) who have all told me they are doubting their abilities, feeling overwhelmed by the responsibility of running a business on their own and are lacking the confidence to be able to move forward.

Does this sound like you? Overcoming self-doubt is one of the top challenges faced when running your own business.

You start off guns a blazing with a fantastic idea running around in your head and the world is rosy.  You are going to be a millionaire by year 3 – and then reality kicks in.  Things don’t take off quite as quickly as you had hoped.  The hours you have to put into your new venture are far longer than you anticipated.  You feel guilty for not spending as much time with your family as you had hoped.  So the self-doubt creeps in. Maybe you aren’t cut out for this after all.  Maybe your fantastic idea isn’t quite as wonderful as you first thought.

How to overcome self-doubt

Overcome self doubt quote

Firstly stop what you are doing. Stop right now!

Sit back and instead of thinking about all the things that you haven’t achieved and the things that haven’t worked, write down all the things that you have learnt along the way and how you have grown personally.

Look at all the things you have achieved, no matter how small. Take a blank piece of paper and let all your thought spill out into written words. Get them out of your head where they are swirling around and on to that piece of paper. Then take one thing at a time and work out how you are going to get back on track.

This may be re-evaluating a time frame for getting that event off the ground. It may be changing the way you are marketing your business as what you are doing at the moment is just not working. It may be a realisation that you need external help as you really cannot cover every aspect of the business on your own. Take some time to re-plan and regain your focus. Then put some practices in place on a daily basis to help keep you on track.

  • Each day, write down 3 things that you are grateful for. This will help you focus on what you do have in your life that is working well and will help you stop focusing on the negative.
  • Read a chapter of a motivational book each day or listen to an audio. This can be a great way of keeping inspired and finding new ways to keep motivated.
  • Find a mentor, whether on a professional basis or a friend you can turn to when sometimes all you need is someone to listen and hold your hand. Find someone you trust and respect and who can help reassure you in those times of doubt.

Whatever you are feeling, remember that you are not alone. Self-doubt is a normal process that happens to everyone at every level of success. Take some time out, refocus on the positive, then pick yourself up and move that tiny step forward towards your goal.

If you would like help with your mindset and motivation, access the modules available in The Small Business Kit.

Freelance burnout – what it is and how to get out of it

Freelance burnout – what it is and how to get out of it

Are you suffering freelance burnout? Did you even know there was such a thing?

If you are feeling drained, de-motivated and would far rather lie on the sofa binge-watching Netflix all day than turn on your laptop, you may well be suffering freelance burnout.

Over the past few months, the surge in business coaching requests has been incredible!  And I’ve noticed a recurring theme running through many of these coaching sessions.

Freelance burnout!

The past 18 months has affected all of us.  From those of us who suddenly found our business crashing around our ears due to the lockdown to the other extreme of being so run off our feet, we didn’t know which way to turn. 

Whichever end of the scale you were on, we have all had to adjust our businesses in some way or the other and on many it has taken its toll.

Working for a company that makes the decisions and can put you on furlough in a downturn has its advantages in a scenario such as what we have been through.  Being a freelancer and having to take the full burden on your own is a huge stress to carry.

At the best of times working alone can take up more time than we expect which impacts on our social life with friends and family. Combine this with suddenly having to adapt your whole business to a wholly unexpected event and the demands can seem unbearable.

This is where freelance burnout comes in.

What is freelance burnout?

Freelance burnout is when we simply become exhausted and fed up with our work.  We lose our motivation and constantly feel distanced from what we used to enjoy.  The simplest of tasks seem to take forever and we would do anything to be able to stay hidden under the duvet than face another day sat at a desk.

We feel more isolated than ever and feel like we are steadily slipping into a black hole.

When you feel like you are falling into the black hole of freelance burnout, how do you crawl back out again?

How to get out of freelance burnout

woman suffering freelance burnout talking to someone on her mobile whilst crying

Talk to someone.

By sharing your feelings, you can realise you are not alone.  This person can bring a new perspective to your situation and help you see how you can tweak what you are doing to start to regain positivity and enjoyment.

As the saying goes, a problem shared is a problem halved and is why I have suddenly become so busy of late.  So many have contacted me as they know and trust me to be a sounding board when they need it.

back view of a woman sat overlooking the sea whilst taking time out

Take time out

I promise you it will be far more productive to shut down for a week and have a clear break than trying to drag yourself through the motions each day.  Contact clients to postpone meetings and/or work.  Explain you have an unexpected situation that needs dealing with as a priority.  Set up an email autoresponder and change your voicemail.  And then shut off!  No checking emails ‘just in case’.  Things will wait and the world will keep turning.

woman's hands typing on laptop whilst reviewing her work

Review your work

Take a good hard look at what you are doing when returning to work.  Review your business goals.  Are you still on track or have you been side-tracked and now going down a route you don’t feel comfortable with?  If this is the case, go back to what you originally planned and adjust to get back on track.

woman thinking with notepad and pen

Review your clients

Are you working with clients that drain your energy and who you dread hearing from?  If yes, then ditch them!  When I first suggest this to my own clients, I get the instant response of ‘I can’t afford to’ or ‘they pay me too much to do that’.  But whenever they have taken my advice, they have instantly felt a weight lift from their shoulders which opens them up to attract new clients that they love working with.  It can be a difficult decision, but it can be a real game-changer.

an organised filing system

Get organised

A muddled workspace creates a muddled mind.  If your work is all over the place and you are jumping from one thing to another this is only going to cause stress.  Sort your work out.  Plan your future diary.  Use productivity tools such as CapsuleCRM to help you take back control and get organised. Prioritise your work and plan what you are going to focus on each day the night before – a simple but powerful tip!

a clean tidy workspace with white laptop on a clear desk

Sort your workspace

Following on from the point above, is your desk sinking under a pile of notepads, post-it notes and coffee cups?  Give it a declutter.  Go through drawers, pen pots and files and get rid of anything now defunct.  Give everything a good clean and add some finishing touches such as a favourite picture or new plant.  It’s amazing how a clean, fresh workspace can affect our mood.

the word outsource written on a piece of paper


Have you got dragged down trying to do things you hate or take up too much of your valuable time?  Then outsource it.  Again, I can hear the retorts of ‘I can’t afford it’ but can you afford not to these things are contributing to your burnout and overall health?  Spend money wisely and it will ultimately reap rewards by making your workday more efficient and freeing up your time to work on attracting the perfect clients.

woman's hand writing in a diary to plan ahead

Plan ahead for YOU and avoid future freelance burnout

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you can carry on working and will take a break when you need it.  We invariably fail to do this and think we will work just another week and then take a day off, which never happens.  Pre-book time off in your calendar and make sure you take this time out.  Pre-book a mini-break, a massage or lunch with friends.  Create an email to go to clients well in advance to inform them you will be away and to let them know of your cut off for any questions before you take the break.


So, there you have it.  If you are suffering freelance burnout, you are most certainly not alone.  It is a more common occurrence than many like to admit to.  Please don’t suffer alone.  Take that first step, admit you need help and use the tips above.

And of course, if I can help in any way, get in touch, and let me know.

How to get into a positive mindset by removing negativity from your life

How to get into a positive mindset by removing negativity from your life

Having a positive mindset is crucial to running a successful business. But at times this can be easier said than done.

We hit hurdles. We lose a client. We have stress at home. We get tired and run down.

Sound familiar?

To create and retain a positive mindset we need to reduce the amount of negativity we are surrounded by. Things which affect us and can turn a positive mindset into a negative one are who you surround yourself with, what you see on social media and what you watch on the television. 

If we are surrounded by people who are negative or draining, this rubs off on us and we start to feel drained and fed up with ourselves.  If we constantly see posts on social media or the news full of doom and gloom this is going to start to weigh us down and have a negative impact on our mental wellbeing. 

To help retain a positive mindset, or regain it if yours is somewhat lacking, try the following three tips.

1. Distance yourself from negative people

This is something I did a very long time ago when I attended a workshop. It isn’t easy but I promise you it works.

Grab a piece of paper and write down the people you spend the most time with. Then add to this list people you don’t see very much but would like to see again. Try and get at least 10 names (you can have as many as you want). Include absolutely everyone from friends and family to colleagues and occasional acquaintances.

Now, on another piece of paper write down the numbers 10 to -10 in a column as below.

people you spend the most time withtip to regain a positive mindset

The next step needs to be done quickly and without much thought. If you have someone to help you, it can be easier. Get the other person to randomly read out the names you have written down with just a short pause between each. As they read out each name, you write down the name against the relevant number. Number 10 is for when you feel a surge of happiness and excitement at hearing the person’s name and the thought of seeing them. Minus 10 is when you feel sick to the stomach and would do anything to get out of meeting the person whose name has just been read out. This exercise can be quite telling and may well shock you. It may that you spend a lot of time with a family member but you mark them as minus two. Don’t feel guilty about this. You must be honest with yourself.

Now for the difficult part!

Cut out the negative people

Take a look at anyone in the negative bracket. These are the people you want to start to distance yourself from. This of course can be easier said than done, particularly if this is a work colleague or someone in your family who you live with. It could be your current ‘best’ friend but who over the years has turned into a moaning Minnie and who always has a drama going on. When you meet them you always come away feeling drained. Start to cut back on the number of get-togethers you have. Make yourself busy with other things or pre-book to go to events/meals etc with other people. This is going to feel uncomfortable to begin with and it’s going to take time, but it can be done. Believe me, as I’ve done it myself many years ago. The relief over time is huge!

Surround yourself with positive people

Now, look at the people in the positive bracket, particularly those in the higher range. Start to bring these people into your life more often. Arrange to meet up or have a chat on the phone. Maintain regular contact with these people. These are the ones you are going to bring positivity and happiness into your life. You don’t need to start stalking them or hanging out every week but just knowing they are there can be a huge boost. 

2. Cut out negative social media

There is a huge amount of negativity which surrounds us on social media and here is tip number 2.

Go to your social media channels. I personally use Facebook for most of my social media. And so that was my focus.
Start to scroll down through your newsfeed and identify the repeat offenders who consistently post negative chatter. These can be the people who constantly post and share scaremongering stories, conspiracy theories, political diatribes or just moan and groan.
Pick out every post you see where you feel your energy instantly drain from you, or even just by seeing a particular person’s name, you feel your energy drain.

Remove the negativity

Now, do one of two things. 

  1. If this is someone that you really do not care whether you ever see or speak to them again in your life, I suggest that you simply go and unfriend them.
  2. However, if it’s someone that you feel you would like to keep in contact with in the future just unfollow them. They won’t know that you’ve done this, they will stay as your friend, but you will stop seeing the negative chatter popping up on your newsfeed, day after day.

You can follow this procedure with groups you are in where all you see is negativity and arguing.  Simply unfollow.

Surround yourself with positivity

The next thing to do is to go back through your newsfeed and look at the people who when you see their name instantly feel your energy being lifted, whether because they ooze positivity, or whether it’s because they make you laugh.
Now select those to pop up in your newsfeed first.  You want to be filling yourself with these positive-minded people to help you stay in a positive mindset.
Honestly, I promise you if you do this, you will feel so much better.
Get rid of the mood hoovers – those people that suck the energy out of you. And fill your life with people who make you feel good.
To unfollow or add friends to the top of your newsfeed, watch the video below.

3. Choose more carefully what you watch on tv

Start to become more aware of what you watch on television and how the programme or movie makes you feel. I for one have drastically cut back on watching the news. No, I don’t want to bury my head in the sand and become oblivious to what is going on in the world around me, but I also know that watching the News at Ten and seeing children being killed in a war zone is not going to give me a good nights sleep.

We are constantly being bombarded with news articles and documentaries on global warming, crime rates, soaring energy costs and the like. No wonder we start to feel anxious and lose our positive mindset. You don’t need to cut these out entirely, but do limit the amount you watch. Anxiety and watching television are well documented.

If you are going to watch tv, start to watch things that make you feel good. Watch uplifting movies or documentaries or choose a good comedy. Schitt’s Creek is my all-time favourite for a good belly laugh. And cut out the binge-watching. Again, binge-watching television has been shown to affect mental health. This can be due to tending to binge-watch alone, increased inactivity and disturbed sleep. Try to switch to reading a good book or taking up a hobby rather than getting suckered into the television.


Follow the three top tips above and see how your mindset improves. 

When You Know What You Need To Do But Just Can’t Do It

When You Know What You Need To Do But Just Can’t Do It

Are you suffering from the following:

  • Not sleeping well
  • Poor concentration
  • Lack of focus/clarity
  • Full of ideas but have to finish other things first
  • You know what you need to do but just can’t do it.

And the list goes on ………………….

Sound familiar?

A lot of you have contacted me recently to say it does, and I include myself in that list.

Feeling like this can be attributed to many factors and for women of a similar age to me, Peri-menopause has a lot to answer for!

All too often we suffer in silence as we don’t want to be seen as weak when everyone else around us seems to have it all going perfectly for them.  But the reality is that others are feeling the same also.

If you feel like this, start to keep a diary of how you are feeling at what times.  Try to see if there is a particular time when you have more energy and focus.  Block out these times to do your core work with clients.  Where you see a pattern of times that your energy is particularly low, block this out to rest.  You must take care of your health first and foremost.

With the problem of knowing what you need to do but not doing it, this is a common phenomenon and I found a great article on this very subject by Jon Covey.

Sometimes when our business feels like it is about to take off, we can self-sabotage.  It’s the fear of the next step and the fear of the unknown.  We have been in our safe place building slowly and then we realise if we do this or that, we can take it to the next level.  And this is where the paralysis comes in.  We get afraid that if we go to the next level we will open ourselves to a wider audience that may have people who will oust us as a fraud.

We get scared and so use distraction techniques by over planning and getting distracted by yet another new idea (anyone else suffer from Bright Shiny Object syndrome?)

You need to take the leap.  You need to take the next step out of your comfort zone.  But with a little planning, it needn’t seem so scary.  Map out what you need to do.  Break it down into small steps.  Give yourself a deadline for each.  And then go do it.

If you are struggling and need help, come join my Facebook group to share your feelings with other women building their business and going through the same struggles.

What to do when you’re feeling exhausted

What to do when you’re feeling exhausted

Now then, quite a few women I have spoken with recently have told me they are feeling exhausted (and I include myself in that group)

When we feel tired and exhausted, the immediate tendency is to rest. We take time out.  We sleep, meditate, take a bath, have a massage etc.

Yes, these things are important and you do need to rest but something I have learned along the way is that rest must be interspersed with activity.  Sometimes, particularly when we are feeling low, continual resting can exacerbate the situation.  The less we do, the less energy we have.

It really can help to beat exhaustion by getting up and do something active. This doesn’t have to be a 10-mile run.  It could be something as simple as putting on your favourite upbeat music and having a boogie around the kitchen.  Ok, you don’t have to go quite as far as the picture below but you get my drift.

What to do when you are feeling exhausted

But I’m simply too tired I hear you say.  Yes, it can be incredibly hard to get up and move when you are feeling drained and exhausted but just take it in tiny steps. 

Rather than thinking you have to go for a run, just put on your running gear and decide to go for a 10-minute walk.  Once you are out the door you may just find that you want to jog for a minute or two.  Don’t plan to dance.  Just put the music on and see what happens.  Do 10-star jumps.  Or 5 if 10 seem too much.  Or even 2.  Something is better than nothing.  It’s usually that initial moment of action is all that is needed to help change our mindset and get us moving.

Movement can help release energy and endorphins which in turn make us feel better.  Getting the balance of rest and activity is key when we are feeling low. Try it for yourself and let me know in the comments below if it works for you.