I was naive when I first set up Nut Blend, driven by excitement and enthusiasm to share my idea with the rest of the world. I never thought about the long-term anxieties that would come with wearing all of the hats. Logistics, new product development, manufacturing, social, networking, sales, negotiating, finance, accounts, supply chain. The list goes on...
Being passionate about a job and/or product also means it's hard to switch off. What I'm sure resonates with many. Personally, I can be super optimistic one day and crash the next. Plus, alongside work pressures, throw in a social calendar and it's hard to find a healthy work-life balance.
If this sounds like you - and you're in need of a fresh perspective - here are a few things I do to help me manage my workload*. Crucial for a long list of time-sensitive deadlines and tasks that demand my energy and urgent response.
*I appreciate that hearing advice is often bittersweet and often condescending; easier said than done, especially when you're in a wormhole of overthinking...
In the office:
- Write a list, it's always better to get it out your head.
- Voicenote someone to explain your plan of action - what steps you'll take in chronological order to get to said outcome.
- Prioritise the most important tasks so you gradually work your way from the (totally overwhelming) top to (potentially more enjoyable) bottom.
- Try not to jump from one task to another. Start with one and then move onto the next. Not only is the latter less overwhelming but there is nothing more satisfying than physically ticking off one fully completed task than having more jobs only 'half' done.
- If possible, set realistic deadlines. Don't overpromise or stretch yourself and allow for more time than less; a manageable goal that prevents setting yourself up for failure.
- There's no harm in asking for help - if you need something explaining, clarifying or changing. Even an extension.
- If you can, take your time. Only you know your work efficiency and how much/what you can achieve in a given period.
- Zoom out and see the bigger picture. Right now, you're not alone in your feelings - others may also be struggling with workload and/or deadlines.
- Talk to a colleague or someone in a similar situation. Hear their perspective to break your trail of thought and cloud of judgement.
- Go get some fresh air, a coffee, a great lunch. Or try to schedule in some exercise - preferably away from your laptop at a time that suits your schedule.
- Read, listen to a podcast or turn up the radio - being distracted helps you to reset your thoughts and switch off.
- Make a social (or individual) plan to look forward to. Watching Bake Off, for example.
- Know that this feeling is temporary; no matter what, this situation and feeling of anxiety will pass (and may even result in you thinking, 'as if I got so worked up about xyz...').
- Breathe. You'll never regret taking a short break. You will regret working quickly, often distracted or under-energised, especially if you end up rushing and making mistakes. So sit back. Go fill up your water bottle. Stretch. Reassure yourself, talk out loud even!
- Don't compare yourself to anyone else. Their job might require or demand totally different expectations and your journey is unique to you and not up for comparison. If you tend to go down this route - get off Instagram ASAP.
Finally, my biggest learning to date is being honest. Putting myself in a vulnerable position - talking openly about how I actually feel - is scary, but ultimately makes me feel better and less alone. Brave even! To let someone in and listen to what's going on in your brain-space, even if it's an irrelevant thought (no such thing). The power of words is underestimated. That someone can probably also relate more often than you think - and the conversation may even break down communication barriers and help all work-life relationships.
We've all been there...
What began as 'missing nut butter samples' turned into me knocking at various doors; addresses the courier supposedly delivered them to. One happened to be a building site - and on explaining my predicament they made me put on this attire to go and check in the site office upstairs. The samples (of course) were not here. In fact, I never found them - by actively going round to random flats - instead they spontaneously turned up one day after all. A good story but the pressure (and frustration) to find them was real.