There was a series of hellacious storms in our area, with tornadoes and massive rain. And even though my house sits on a small hill and has virtually no history of water problems, this one got me.
Full basement. Standing water.
(And I was out of town.)
Angels in my life came to the rescue, and for that I am (beyond words) grateful. Without them it could have been even worse.
But I still came home to one heck of a mess.
Bookshelves pulled out from the walls. Furniture scattered. Ruined books and papers.
Total chaos as anything and everything I’d ever had in a box or on the floor or tucked into a closet was grabbed and stacked on top of one thing or another.
There were bare concrete floors where once there was carpet, and a hint of mold in the air.
There was chaos in my house.
And chaos in my head, as well.
Between cleaning up the mess in the basement, maintaining my existing businesses and doing the work I’m ready to do to grow – (I’d just spent 3 days with my coach!) – I was completely overwhelmed.
But I didn’t stay there.
How do you get back on track when chaos hits?
You go back to the structure, systems and habits that support you – as an entrepreneur, and as a human being.
Here’s how I teach my clients to turn their chaos back in to calm.
1. Get Back to (Your) Center.
At times like these, our energy is split in so many directions that we can’t think.
So the very first thing to do, is get back to your own center of gravity, in your mind, in your body, and in your spirit.
For myself, that meant getting back to daily practices that I know work for me.
One of those is taking just 10-15 minutes each morning for meditation. Another is doing two fast 15-minute walks a day, one in the morning, the other in the evening.
For you, it may be a practice of Morning Pages or centering prayer.
It may be just a peaceful cup of coffee on the porch before diving into your day.
2. Tackle the Big Uglies with Tiny Times.
There’s nothing new about breaking big goals into small steps, but when I’m overwhelmed, I can take that baby to a whole new level.
I will literally set my timer and spend ten minutes a day – just 10 minutes – tackling The Big Ugly that is staring me in the face.
You’d be surprised what this single, simple step can do for you.
This week, that means I’ve been picking through decades’ worth of volunteer projects, soggy books, and paper mess that has to be tossed.
For you, that might mean 10 minutes researching blog topics, 10 minutes of filing, or 10 minutes reaching out to former clients and customers to say hello.
3. Keep Your Spirits Up.
Ask for encouragement. Yes – ASK! Tell your team that you need some extra help. Tell your mastermind group or your coach that you could use some direction.
I reached out to my accountability partner, who helped me think through what mattered most.
Tell your most supportive friends that you could use some happy distraction in the midst of the work. A little bit of that can be quite healthy, as long as you do it mindfully and within limits.
Last weekend, I took a few hours to go to a matinee in a grand old historic theater with a friend.
Then I got right back to it.
What about you? What’s your favorite go-to strategy for getting back on track?
Share it with us in the comments below.
(You’ve got ideas – we want to hear them.)
And if you often feel like I did last week — when you don’t even know where to start — just hit reply and reach out for a quick consult.
I’d love to help.
Photo Credit: Shane Gorski on Flickr