Beating Overwhelm whilst we smash the last 90 days of 2019
You can listen directly here.
Overwhelm will pass. With the strategies I share, I want you to know that there is hope and also a plan to help you through it.
Stuck, feeling like it's all too much. Your body reacts at times of stress too. Overwhelm can come at any time. It may build up and hit you one day when you least expect it.
As we get right into the last 3 months of 2019, I wanted to tackle this topic head-on. Giving you the tools I use to get through it when it hits me.
I want you to look back, reflect on what you have achieved over the last decade and be proud. Before we start setting our goals and plan for 2020, we need to finish this year strong with a plan to set us up for success.
Breathe and take massive action. Be bold and strong. You can get through this. If you need a listening ear, a voice of reason or someone to talk to when it all gets too much, please reach out.
Links Mentioned in the Episode
Teamwork Project Management - Project Management System
Quotes from the Episode
“There is never enough time for everything”
“Sometimes we need to make the tough decisions”
“Something unique and useful to give to your clients as a thank you”
“I don't know how I'm going to get them done but I know that I'm going to give it a good crack.”
“We only have one life so we need to give the most of it”
“The more you keep stored on your head the less you’ll be able to do this”
“You are responsible for your own career you are responsible for your own business”
“Do the things that the future you will thank you”
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Announcer: Welcome to Travel Agent Achievers! The place to learn how to grow your travel business and have fun with it. Join Roslyn and her guests as they walk you through proven steps to a fulfilling and profitable business.
Roslyn Ranse: Hi guys welcome back to Travel Agent Achievers and our podcast for episode 16.
Oh my goodness, how has this year flown?
Today we’re talking about “How to Beat Overwhelm as We Prepare for the Last 90 Days of the Year”.
As I just said.
Time has absolutely flown this year.
There is never enough time for everything.
So for me, my biggest takeaway is that there is time, it is just about allocating it (medicine for myself)
I’m blocking time. It may seem that quite fickle - as we are of service to our clients, so how do you say ‘ I’ll get back to you in a couple of hours’ or ‘ I’ll get back to you tomorrow’ without the lost booking or feeling as though you have let someone down.
It is a really tough call, however, you are in your OWN business and sometimes we need to make the tough decisions. Even if that is working outside of the normal standard hours to get things done. That’s just who we are to keep moving forward.
Today I’m talking about time and I’m talking about beating overwhelm and what we can do for the last 90 days of the year.
When most people are winding down coming October, November, December, we are going to ramp this up guys and we are going to finish strong. There is plenty to talk about and promote over the next coming months as our clients prepare for holidays so let's finish this year and decade with knowing you have given it your absolute all.
It may be that a lot of your clients are traveling.
- Have you thought about doing something different for your clients this year?
- Preparing a special thank you card or gift?
- Something that clients will remember you for?
It doesn't have to be expensive, just memorable.
Now, this is the last month of the year, if you are stuck for ideas, I want you to go back to Podcast episode #2 - How to Brand and Import Your Own Merchandise and Stand Out From the Crowd with Lauren Brown.
Lauren is absolutely incredible. Not only that she is a good friend of mine but she is an outstanding businesswoman as well. I was just talking with her the other day and not only does she provide incredible value in our podcast that we did together, but she works with some of the biggest brands and names in the world.
The end of the year is a great time, remember, to have something unique and useful to give to your clients as a thank you.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been feeling as though time is going so fast.
Where has this year gone?
Where is time now?
There are not enough hours of the day and as I reflect back I look at all the things that I have accomplished as well as all of the things that I'd still really want to do in the next 90 days.
I don't know how I'm going to get them done but I know that I'm going to give it a good crack.
Have you been feeling like this as well?
You’re starting to realise that it’s the end of the year. Christmas is coming.
The holiday period is coming. There is just so much going on.
And as I just said where is the year gone?
If you look at where you were 10 years ago, I am sure that you can reflect now today or even think about how far you have come.
What are the things that you've done and what you’ve achieved that you're really proud of? I'd love for you to send me a message on Instagram, Facebook, on our Travel Agent Achievers, Facebook page as well and just say what you're proud of.
Why do I ask you to do these guys?
Because I don't think that we give ourselves enough credit and certainly as business owners and particularly in the travel industry where we are always trying to please other people, we don't often think about ourselves.
So I want you to take a moment for yourself. Think about how far you've come. Look, you may have changed jobs. You may have moved house.
You may have started a business and you’re doing your own thing even if it’s just a personal thing. Just tell me how much you've grown and wanted you to take the opportunity to reflect and spend some time.
I can guarantee that the gratitude that will come with this and when you look at yourself and say wow I actually did it or I have achieved that. You will be grateful and you will also be able to breathe. We only have one life so we need to give the most of it and I'm not going to get all theoretical. I just want you to do this for yourself, to take a moment and share. I love to hear from you and I really appreciate it if you could send me messages because we all face challenges. It’s okay. It’s a part of life but we are here to support each other.
Particularly, small business owners, I think it's really important that we do connect. So you are on travel and I want you to go to our Achievers in Travel Facebook group so that you can join and be a part of something that’s really important for that connection.
Accountability and the connection. Don’t forget to also subscribe to the podcast because I don’t want you to miss anything over the next couple of months.
Our topic for today is beating overwhelm.
Overwhelm is something that me personally I've struggled with for many years it's one of those things where there is just so much going on I don't know where to turn to and if another thing gets pulled on my plates then I can experience analysis paralysis where I can't physically move but I can also burst into tears.
Can you relate to this?
Do you know what I mean by this is where you just get completely stuck and you don't know how to move forward? You know that things need to get done and stuff just keeps piling up but for me, this is where I feel quite overwhelmed and stuck.
I physically cannot move and the tears flow. I wanted to share what I do to beat overwhelm and so you can also have a plan of attack in case anything happens to you and you just need to get stuff out of your head to be able to move forward.
I don't want you to experience the same level of overwhelm or the analysis paralysis where I'm thinking everything is going to be done right now and everybody is waiting on me.
But I'd love for you to use some of these strategies to keep moving. And if you do have other strategies please share them with me because I am always open to learning and if you have different ideas. That’s awesome!
Overwhelm for me is where there are so many things going on. It may mean different things to different people but that's what it is for me. So these are the strategies that I use to overcome it.
Step 1. BREATHE. I say this and I laugh at it but it is very true. I accept that things are not going away even if I really want them to. I have stepped away from my desk and I breathe. I don't go into meditation.
It’s not something that I’ve practiced before but maybe I should investigate it but for me, I just ignore everything that’s going on and I take 2 minutes to take care of myself. I know that if I take this couple of minutes to be processing things.
I will be able to keep going. So breathe. What a great plan of attack right that just sounds so simple.
Often times though we don't even think to breathe and our shoulders keep lifting up and we get headaches and neck strain and back pain but if you take this moment when you are acknowledging that things are just getting too much or you'll see that you're feeling the pressure and the overwhelm is building up. You feel so much better just by taking up that 1 step to breathe.
Step 2. BRAIN DUMP. My husband is fantastic in seeing when things are too much and he will say to me, 'Ros, do we need to go and do a brain dump?'
I take this away from my office and I step away because that's where all the distractions are. My laptop, my computer screen, my phone everything that can distract me is in my office so I will step away from the computer take a note pad sometimes a blank notepad so that I don't even have the to-do list in anyway and I do a complete brain dump everything that is in my head at that very moment that is stopping me from moving forward.
I will write down and it could be as simple as hanging a load of washing out. It could be that I need to send an invoice to a hotel for permission. It could be that I need to connect with a VIP client and give them some news that I don't want to deliver. It’s procrastinating over.
It's about getting everything out of my head and for me, I could write for one or two pages and this doesn’t take hours. It might take 5 or 10 minutes. What this does is it allows my brain to take a moment of breath and freedom so that I'm not storing everything inside my head.
I also did this with all of my travel bookings and it’s one of the reasons why I have set up systems in my business is because I needed to let go of everything that was going on in my head.
I learned at a conference about boxes and I’m going to use that job because that’s how it relates to me. I don't remember the technical term but what I do know is when you start a new task you open a box in your head and if you don't finish that task it remains open until it is finished.
So for me with my clients, I would have a client call out of the blue and say hey ‘Ros I'm traveling to LA next week. Do you know my flight number?’ Seriously, they could go back to their email and they would have all of this information, however, I would know that information in my head and I was hanging on to every piece so I would be able to go back to them and I knew whether they were in a window seat.
Whether we organized meals for them, what time they're flight was, what time they needed to be at the airport at a particular time or a different one to usual.
That information was stored in my head and by not closing that box and having that information stored elsewhere it will keep creeping in and the overwhelm will continue to build up so I was in a constant state of stress.
I would have regular weekly massages because the tension in my neck and in my shoulders would always be there. I could be storing 50 to 100 pieces of information in my head from client booking. Now really guys, who want to do that? Hopefully not you.
So I set up the systems that allow me to put everything out of my head and I use Teamwork which is a project management system and it’s all online.
So anyone of my team now or I could access information at any time. I know when clients are travelling. I get triggers and alerts so I don’t even have to think and it works an absolute treat I no longer have to think and remember where clients are travelling to and when I don't.
My husband, when he even asks me about our own trips I honestly do not know. So, I'm going to Tokyo in January, I do not remember the day or the time anymore because this is all handled in our project management system.
The reminders will come up so as soon as I book those flights they go into my calendar, into my project management system and I have a step by step process that talks about everything that I need to do but I don't need to keep that information inside my head anymore.
The project management system does all of that thinking for me and believes me a computer is way smarter. So I may be able to close those functions out of my head and might be able to keep moving forward.
And now when somebody calls me and says ‘Ros do you remember what time of day I'm going? If I'm not in my system, I will say guys go and check your email. I'm sure that I sent it to you. You need to be doing the things that give you joy and that keeps your business moving forward.
The more you keep stored on your head the less you’ll be able to do this.
So right and this is where it may be just me. Am I struggling with this sort of stuff or do you need to get things out of your head as well?
So I want you to keep moving forward. So if you can do a brain dump with somebody else and you prefer to do it this way. That's cool.
You don't even need to write. You can just verbally say it and somebody can write it down for you. That’s awesome but if you want to do it by yourself, take it out of the office and away from your computer if you can.
I just want you to give yourself and your brain a slight break.
Once you've got everything out of your head you're able to then prioritise. What must be done first?
So for me in my business on a daily basis, the first thing that’s done is to check the banking and receipting money. It is the first thing that we do and these could take 5 or 10 minutes. So you're checking the bank statements and get it done. The receipts may not be sent out straight away because that is an administrative task that doesn't take a whole lot of brainpower to do that. So you’re receiving your money, you’ve got your receipts there to send out but I do that later on in the day.
The next thing that I do is to move straight on a sales process and I’m looking at what new inquiries have come in. What needs to be processed straight away. What bookings need to be actioned and then also reverting back to clients and asking additional questions or getting information from them.
I'm also doing research because that needs a lot of brainpower and sometimes you need to gather more information so that can help you. So you are looking at money first thing then you are looking at sales.
You are processing bookings, right?
Processing the booking is our job. And to be booking travel for others means sales and if we don't have sales we don't have a business.
For me and my business, I am tracking sales every week.
I need to know what bookings have come in what monies have been processed and see how we are tracking our business for future bookings. I have clients and colleagues that talk to me about this all the time.
They talk to me about forwarding bookings and how they see that things are looking healthy or they are worried about next month and how are they going to pay stuff. They are constantly looking at numbers and guys if you are not looking at your numbers, you need to do so.
We have another podcast episode on our numbers and I’m going to link that to the show notes because there are some great tools and tips in there which is really easy for you guys to know how to look at your numbers and to move forward knowing what you need to do and what needs to be covered.
So looking at all of these different things can lead to overwhelm as well.
So you're going to prioritise everything that is on that initial brain dump list.
There may be things that you can hand off to a colleague or an assistant but if it’s just you by yourself you have to do the work.
You might be the only one that can do the banking but you can hand off your annual accounts and your buzz for instance to an accountant but you need to initially get the base work done. so look at the things that you have control over and prioritise those.
I use a system of putting an initial next to my task and it maybe somebody else's name that’s on my team so that they can do that task or if it is something that I must do. I have to look at the tasks and then prioritise them by number. So a number 1 means it has to be done first and that may be the most challenging thing or it may be a quick win.
For me, I like to have a quick win because that helps me with momentum and moving forward. It also gives me the satisfaction that I am achieving something and that there are so many things going on and so many things on my list and I can't move forward then I'm going to get stuck again. so to be able to have a quick win that gives me the momentum to keep going that’s what I will choose.
Having a game plan is the next step. So looking at what is urgent and what's working for you and I used to tell myself that everything was urgent.
Everything had to be done that day that if a client didn't hear back from me mediately then they would hate me. The stories that I would tell myself were atrocious. OK so not necessarily atrocious is probably too big away, however, they weren't very helpful.
My sister at the time was working in mental health and suicide prevention. She was in mental and suicide prevention and I was in international education and I was on travel and one day I spoke to her. It was 10 o'clock at night, I was in tears. I was in the office.
I just ordered pizza so I could have something to eat and said to her that I feel like I’m letting everybody down and she said something to me that I will never ever forget. It can bring tears to my eyes.
She said ‘Ros if you do not respond to that email today will somebody die?’ Now that might seem quite dramatic and huge in the scheme of things but she was absolutely right and I will never forget up to this day that if I don't respond to somebody’s email or do I need to be doing it at 10 at night and deprive myself of sleep that I know is needed. That an email wasn't urgent.
Nobody was going to get hurt if I don't get back to them straight away.
Now in her business being mental health and suicide prevention, if she didn't respond to a phone call at 10 at night then it may have been and come to be the loss of life. And it puts into perspective and for me, it was the biggest wake-up call that I could ever have.
I was giving so much to everybody else and trying to look after everybody else's need that I lost track of looking after myself. So I want you to have a game plan and want you to have something to look at. what's urgent what must be done today and what can't wait until tomorrow.
I have to say this to my staff when they’re feeling the pressure that they need to get stuff done right then and there. I ask them ‘can it wait until tomorrow?’. Even if you want to have a clear desk and that’s the goal to have a clear email but maybe things there that don't need to be done for another week or may not be urgent until the weekend. Who knows what needs to be done right now and right today.
Look at your washing. Your washing may be on your brain dump list does that need to be done today or can that wait until the weekend. Realistically, it's about prioritizing and having a game plan for every task on that list to help you move forward.
So once you cleared out the urgent things and you know number one or number two tasks and these need to be done no matter what. I want you to go back and re-prioritise the rest of your list even.
If you need to rewrite it on a blank page or on a blank Google doc or on an email or something so that you are looking at this with a fresh set of eyes because I can guarantee when you look at something with a fresh set of eyes you will be able to take a new perspective.
You will see if something is urgent again or if realistically it doesn't matter if it's not done so having you clear out those urgent things re-prioritise. It’s okay but needs to keep moving forward and I will keep saying this because if you get stuck you just need to go and do that brain dump again.
The last thing that I do once I have done the brain dump once I've prioritised once I've got through it all again, and I have a plan in place and I've done a few things for myself. I looked at my overall goal for the next 90 days and moving forward.
I have put together a very special checklist and worksheet for you today following this podcast. I want you to download it. Go into travelagentachievers.com/podcast/16 and this is going to help you do your brain dump but then also look at the bigger picture with writing down what's on your list for the next 3 months.
And remember guys we are in the final stretch of 2019 there are three months left for the rest of the decade we move into 2020. As I look at client trips now Im automatically looking 2021.
So I want you to use this 90-day goal setter to plan out your next 3 months however you want to use it and write out some of the bigger goals first that the things you need to do to achieve it. Then jump onto the Travel Agent Achievers Accountability website join our Achievers in Travel Accountability group. Check out our Facebook and Instagram pages. Let us know what you're working on.
For me, I love being able to look at the bigger picture and know where my business is going but at the same time, we all have the day-to-day details that we need to focus on.
So what do you need to do for the next 3 months?
You’ve done your brain dump. You know what’s on your to-do list. You know what you need to act. Let's get this started. At the end of 2019, we are going to celebrate.
I want you to celebrate the things that you’ve achieved.
I want you to be bold I want you to step out of your comfort zone and I want you to bring all of you to your business.
You are responsible for your own career.
You are responsible for your own business.
The reason I started Travel Agent Achievers is to help you and guide you and give you the skills and information that will help you move forward but ultimately, you are responsible you are the one that needs to take action.
I can be here to guide and assist you and give you the tools along the way. Keep you accountable with whatever format may look at however you are the one that needs to do the work. I have a great quote by Maya Angelou “Nothing works if you don't”
I want you to do the things that the future you are going to thank you for. it's not about stopping. it's not about slowing down, it’s about getting through the next few months to really achieve some goals that you've always wanted to do.
I don't want to overwhelm or procrastination to beat you. This isn't about that. This is about moving forward and having the strategies and the steps in place to help you do so. Who knows maybe you need to put on your 90-day action plan that you do get a weekly massage.
For me, it was one thing that I really look forward to but I shouldn't be looking forward to something like that. I should be looking forward to getting rid of the headaches, the stress, the anxiety, the overwhelm. I shouldn't have to be relying on paying on a massage in order to make myself feel better and I don't want you guys to feel either.
So if you have other strategies to beat overwhelm, feel better about yourself. Please share it with me, share it with the group because we’re all in this together.
This is episode 16. Thanks so much for listening.
If you have any questions, please feel free.
Always reach out to me. Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast on your favourite platform wherever you are and also if you love it.
I get emails saying “Ros I absolutely love the podcast’.
Thank you so much. It means the world to me but please leave a review, definitely, if you love it, I would love that.
It certainly helps with getting the message out to more people and I’m in this for the long haul. I'm in this for you guys. I really want the travel industry to see that we are business people and we can make a difference not only in our client's lives but also in our own and our families as well.
So have an awesome rest of the week guys, take care, look after yourself, go get a massage on the weekend and I’ll talk to you soon!
Bye for now.
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