Mar 4, 2021 • Podcast

How do I manage feeling overwhelmed?

On this episode, Paul gives some helpful tips on handling the stressors of being in sales.

Show Notes:

Not feeling stressed? Then you’re probably not doing your job.

Be thankful for having so much on your plate.

“It’s important to give yourself breaks throughout the day.”

“Prioritize your tasks by ______ and ______.”

“The simple act of moving forward is going to keep you moving forward.”


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How do I manage feeling overwhelmed?

(Transcribed from podcast)

On today’s episode, we’re going to talk about feeling overwhelmed. If you’re in sales and you don’t feel overwhelmed, you’re probably not doing your job. There’s always something to do. You always have things that need to get done. There’s always that one more call. Sales is almost like a constant state of feeling overwhelmed, so it makes sense that we talk about it. How do you overcome that? And this is based on a conversation I had from a live sales training recently, actually a newer salesperson. And you remember those rookie days when you’re just joining a company. If you feel overwhelmed, that’s part of it. It’s learning how to manage that stress. So we’re going to talk about how you manage those feelings of being overwhelmed on today’s episode.

Before we get into that, a quick shout-out to Andrea over at The Creative Impostor Studios. Andrea has graciously offered to meet and connect with you if you’re interested in starting a podcast. We have a link to her [website on this] episode’s webpage. She’s going to meet with you, answer your questions, maybe even provide a little guidance on how to get started. I know Andrea has been extremely beneficial in helping us get this podcast going up and running. So reach out to her—The Creative Impostor Studios. They do an absolutely wonderful job.

Also, if you’re new to sales and you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, maybe it’s time to do some studying. Study your profession. Pick up your copy of Value-Added Selling. It’s available wherever you get your books: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Chapters for my Canadian brother and sister. You can get it up there. It’s available worldwide. So check it out. It’s going to help you become a better seller. Better salespeople are more effective, and they don’t feel as overwhelmed.

So with that being said, let’s get back to that question, How do you manage the feelings of being overwhelmed.

First and foremost, if you don’t feel overwhelmed, you’re probably not doing your job. In sales, we have to be busy. That’s part of what we do. We’re the movers and shakers. We’re making things happen. Be thankful if you feel a little bit overwhelmed; it means you have a lot on your plate. You have a lot of opportunity, and that’s a good thing. So many sellers right now are struggling to find opportunities to fill their pipeline, to meet with their customers. So if you are feeling overwhelmed, don’t get frustrated by it. Be thankful for it. But with that being said, we want you to be productive through it. So as you’re trying to manage these feelings of being overwhelmed, here’s a couple of things think about.

First things first, when you are in a constant state of being overwhelmed, it’s important to give yourself breaks throughout the day. And you can do this in several ways. I know salespeople that will do breathing exercises, that will take a few minutes listening to some music just to unplug for a little bit. I know salespeople that will go out and take a walk. What a great idea. Spring is almost here; it’s knocking on our door. The weather is getting better every single day. Go ahead and take a five-to-ten-minute walk, 15-minute walk, whatever you need to do to clear your head. The key is, when you do have those feelings of being overwhelmed, give yourself some time to disconnect. Five to ten minutes. I’m not talking about disconnecting for hours at a time. No, you just take five to ten minutes to yourself. Take a walk, take a deep breath, disconnect.

Second thing you need to do is get over it and get back to work. We’ve got to get over it. When you feel overwhelmed, the best thing you can do is just keep plowing forward. So with that being said, I’m going to give you a few tips to think about. Once you’ve disconnected, once you’ve taken a minute, a breath, whatever it is, here are some things you can do to help get you on the right track and really ease some of that tension.

First things first, prioritize. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s because you have a lot of things you need to do. Prioritize your tasks by urgency and payoff. Those are the two metrics you should consider. Get your to-do list out—just get it on paper. Stop letting all those thoughts circulate in your mind about all the things you have to do. Literally write them out on paper—all the things that you need to do—and then go through each item list by list. Prioritize them by payoff and urgency. High-payoff items that are very urgent, for example, completing a proposal that you have to submit to a hot prospect, that’s a high-payoff activity. It’s also very urgent. You need to get it done quickly. High payoff/high-urgent activities, they need to go at the top of the list.

You’re also going to have those urgent items that don’t have the big payoff, right? If your manager said, “Hey, you need to complete your call report,” “You need to fill out your expense report,” whatever it is, they have to get done, but the payoff is pretty minimal. Procrastinate those a little bit. Those are the next things on the list.

Other things you have are going to be the high payoff, non-urgent things. And this includes things like training, practicing, role-playing, preparing. These are things that you can do. There might not necessarily be a timeline, but you need to continue doing these things. And then you have the low urgent, low-payoff activities. These things don’t even need to be on your list; cross them out. So first things first is you need to prioritize.

Now that you’ve prioritized your list, it’s time to shrink your list. And think about this for a moment. If I told you you’ve got a list of 100 things you need to complete by the end of the week, a list of 100 things is overwhelming. No wonder we feel overwhelmed if we write out a master list of a hundred things we need to do. Instead, shrink that list. it’s easier to complete ten lists of ten items than it is to complete one list of 100 items.

And the reason why is we simply shrink what we need to do. And once we complete a list of three or four items, we knock it off the list, we start to feel more motivated. We feel a sense of accomplishment. That’s going to motivate us to want to keep on going and to move forward. So first two things, again, prioritize your list and then you need to shrink your list.

Now that sounds great, but when you get those moments of, let’s call it despair or completely overwhelmed where you just feel like you can’t do anything, you have to do something. Resist the urge to just sit there and wallow and feel overwhelmed. That’s what you’re going to feel like doing, but you have to act against that temptation. So just do something. Get started on an easy task just to generate momentum. If you need to respond to an email that you’ve been putting off, take a few minutes; respond to the email. Just get started; just do something. The simple act of moving forward is going to keep you moving forward.

So far, three things: prioritize, shrink your to-do list; and the third thing, just start doing something.

Now, the fourth tip and final tip, keep going. When you’re on a roll and you are knocking things off your task, just keep going. Oftentimes, I’ll see salespeople who are disciplined to end their day at five o’clock, where they say, “I have to be done at five o’clock.” Well, if you’re going to end your day at five o’clock and you’re right in the middle of a task, and you say, “Oh, I can take care of that tomorrow,” think about the start and the stop time that you are going to waste. You know, if you stop the task and then you have to start it over again, it’s going to take you a little while to get started.

Think about warming up an engine. Once you warm up the engine, it’s going to take you about ten, fifteen minutes to get it warm, where it’s comfortable. So that timeframe, where you’re warming the engine back up, that’s wasted time. So once you were in the middle of a task, keep going. If you only have two or three tasks left on your to-do list, go ahead and knock it out. It’s going to help you so much more the next day. You’re going to feel so much better. You’re going to feel less overwhelmed and you’re going to feel more productive.

So that is the show for today. Again, we talked about how you manage those feelings of being overwhelmed. Just remember, when you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s a good thing. It beats the alternative, because it shows that you’re busy.

Make it a big day.

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