Sooner or later, all home business entrepreneurs suffer from something I call  "sticky-whelm" aka information overload

In talking with a lot of other home business entrepreneurs, overwhelm is a common concern. In fact, it’s among the top reasons why some people just give up on their dreams of becoming a successful home business owner. They can’t manage the sheer volume of information, especially in the beginning. But stick with me for a few minutes, and I'll share my strategy to overcoming overwhelm.


I decided to take a photo of my workspace because I felt it was a pretty accurate representation of what goes on inside my head when I’m overwhelmed with information. My excessive use of stickies is a symptom of my fear of overlooking a crucial piece of information- thus serving as a sort of pre-emptive mechanism for my stress-induced memory loss!



The vast majority of home-based entrepreneurs, are either a one-woman or one-man show, which obviously places certain limits on our time and creates stress. The very nature of home business is predicated on the fact that we utilize technology to help us conduct our business. We’re at the computer or on the smart phone, where information is at our fingertips. Add to that the constant barrage of email and social media alerts, and we’re essentially in a constant state of “at the ready.”


How is one person supposed to handle it all? I think you can tell by my photo how I used to deal with it. In an effort to get my stick-whelm under control before it buried me, I did some research and put together a strategy that is working for me. With a little bit of planning and holding yourself accountable, you can implement a similar strategy to help “un-sticky” your overwhelm.


Plan to Be Successful By Planning Your Time!
It’s been said a million times (and with good reason) to manage your time wisely. Now more than any other time, technology allows us to either waste away the day on trivial non-income producing activities, or to take advantage of it and use it to become more efficient through automation.


Plan Your Time According to Your Power Hours
I know that I’m most productive during the morning hours after I’ve had my workout. So my power hours are between 8am and noon. Some of my entrepreneur friends are night owls and so they schedule accordingly. The point is to be in touch with your own bio-rhythms and work with your strengths, not against them.


Use Technology Wisely
Make use of technology and resources that increase your productivity and free up your time. I use a few productivity apps that have made me more organized and more efficient, allowing me more time for income-producing activities. Some are available for both smartphone and your computer, making it easy to integrate the two and reduce redundancy. (Recommended resources are included at the end of this article.)


On the other hand, know when to turn technology off. It has a time and place, and it isn’t necessary to have it on 24/7. Designate a specific time for phone and email activities and then TURN THEM OFF! The world will not come to an end, I promise.


Opt-out of useless or low priority email subscriptions. Whittle your subscriptions down to only those that help you TODAY in your business or personal productivity. Otherwise the “shiny object syndrome” will keep you a perpetual slave to your inbox.



Create a work environment that invites productivity and minimizes distractions.
Make sure your workspace is adequate to meet the needs of your business. That means a reliable computer, phone and internet connection. Beyond that, paper, writing utensils, and yes - stickie pads - to be used judiciously, of course!



Commit to doing one activity at a time and giving it your full attention
For example, if you’re trying to learn a new skill, allocate time to do that and nothing else. Give it all of your attention. If you’re performing routine daily tasks like returning emails and calls, devote time to do just that. When you try to multi-task, your brain can get bogged down and lose the very focus you need to in order to be the most effective in your business.



Prioritize Your Schedule


Divide your activities into two categories as follows:

Income-producing activities
Engaging in income-producing activities is what drives your business. They include activities that have a direct effect on your profits, such as lead generation, advertising, article writing, prospecting, communicating directly with customers/clients via phone, email, etc.  Because they affect your bottom line, income-producing activities should be scheduled during your power hours.

Non income-producing activity
Though learning, developing new skills and working on personal improvement are all valuable and essential to becoming a better entrepreneur, they are not considered income-producing activities because, well, they generally cost us money.
Examples would be reading trade or industry blogs and journals, reading personal improvement books, watching or listening to instructional or motivational materials, training CDs, DVDs, attending seminars, webinars, lectures, conferences and conventions, etc.

These activities deserve to have your full attention when scheduled at the appropriate time.



Wrap Up:
Being smart about my time and planning it out is really the key to overcoming my sticky-whelm. Instead of following every other email and link and disappearing down some sales funnel, hold yourself accountable to the schedule you’ve made and you’ll minimize the inevitable information overload we all face as home business entrepreneurs.


How do you handle “sticky-whelm” in your home business? Do you have any pearls of wisdom for our home business community that you feel could be beneficial? Do tell by leaving a comment below.



Recommended Apps to check out:

Evernote   (everything but the kitchen sink!)
Drop Box  (file sharing and storage)
Teux Deux (To Do)   (to do list tracker)
IdoneThis   (to do list and reminders)
Xmind  (mindmapping)

Eryn McCormick is an online marketing entrepreneur, coach and award-winning blogger. She's a woman on a mission to "inform, inspire and ignite" people to take action to recapture their own earning power by leveraging their skills, talents and abilities to start an online business from their home computer or on the go with a mobile device.

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