Step 6 to Non-Overwhelm: “Shut it down!”

by | May 1, 2019

[ This post was the base for Chapter 2 in my book, Welcome to Non-Overwhelm! ]

In my 5 Steps to Non-Overwhelm post, I addressed creating and tweaking your business processes while leaving time for maintaining and growing your business. (It’s interesting real-world stuff. Really!)

Today, let’s learn this valuable-though-somewhat-painful lesson:

The world can get along without us for a while

Note: Step 6 is expanded in chapter 2 of my book, Welcome to Non-Overwhelm! Conquering biz and life chaos, starting today (link at end of this post).

Step 6: “Shut it down!”

If we are solopreneurs, we need time away* from our business.

If we have 423 employees, we need time away* from our business.

When we ignore this premise, we’re candidates for a bad experience:

[“No one can do this better”] + [Micromanagement] = [Burnout]

Including business email and phone. (“Hey! We need smelling salts over here!”)

Been there

In my twenties, I learned the burnout lesson the hard way.

Important things crowded in, and I welcomed them all into my life.
(“C’mon in. I can handle y-o-u.”)

It’s a years-long story of taking on every project thrown at me and working my fingers to the bone to hear those “Atta girl!” accolades.

What’s important to this discussion is the result:

•  Dragging around with no energy
•  Brainbox shutting down
•  Two weeks of invasive (ouch) testing at clinics and hospitals
•  Lots of doctors saying, “I’ve never seen ….(Yikes)
•  Three weeks on bed rest with yucky meds

Trust me. You don’t ever want those last two. Oof!

Burnout mode!

Caution! Overwhelmed small business owner!

Humility check

So much for “The world can’t get along without me.”

All of the gains I’d made by overwork?

Skillfully kept in place by someone else.

The projects no one could run as well as I could?

Yup. Skillfully kept in place by someone else.

Building in Step 6 non-overwhelm

The speech from my physician (which began, “I’ve never seen …”) ended with:

“There’s a little word in the English language you
need to learn.
It’s easy. It’s pronounced … ‘No.'”

That’s when he slapped me with bed rest and a regimen of monster pills.


I had FOMO [‘fear of missing out’] before FOMO was a term.

“Bedrest? Are you kidding me?”

Bedrest did not include scrapbooking (sigh), helping the cat (who was in a leg cast … and we had stairs), or cooking (hmmm). Thankfully, The Husband is a good cook.

Other than bathroom breaks, I was allowed to read in bed and take a hot shower each day. Yep. That was it.

Think you can’t get tired of lying around reading for three weeks?

Yeah. I was wrong, too.

Learning to say “No” changed e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g

I talked with friends who (a) always seemed calm, cool, and collected, and (b) were still on top of things.

As a Type A to the bazillionith degree, I admired those people.

My question for them was simple: “How do you do it?”

Pretty much, they all told me the same things (which was easier to hear from them than from my doctor):

•  Schedule time off and ‘ink it in’ on the calendar.
•  If anyone asks for booked time, your answer is “No.”
•  If you don’t want to do something, say “No.”
•  Take a nap. Watch a movie. Take another nap.
•  ‘Scheduled’ doesn’t always mean you’re w-o-r-k-i-n-g.

I listened.

It. changed. my. life.

We need a 'We're closed' sign!

We need a ‘We’re closed’ sign!

Here’s an attainable/sustainable goal

I try to close my office for two days each week. These are not necessarily consecutive days, and they may not include Saturday.

This can be tough if I have to say “No” to a website usability coaching call, or I’m testing an online course. If the calendar is incredibly tight, I forfeit my second day.

But … everything shuts down on Sunday.
Just following God’s tutoring. I doubt He needed a nap. 🙂

I mean it when I say everything.

No computer.

No business phone.

How do you think I’ve read Gone with the Wind,
House Divided, the Left Behind series, and all those
O’Malley books several times?
(Don’t get me started about DVD boxed sets.)

A bit of irony for you: as I write this, I’m in my office at 7:00 a.m. on a Monday (groggy grumble) to work on this post.

I’ll be here tomorrow and Thursday, too. I dedicate Wednesdays to working on my business, so it’s booked.

Why am I here?
I have a last-minute chance for a casual lunch with one of my proofers.
No work. Taking time to chat and create a little non-overwhelm.

To get my second day off this week, this night owl must adjust.
Big time.

This is one reason to leave slack in your calendar.
But that’s for another post.


I do keep a small notebook handy when I’m in shut down mode. I’m not going to lose a good idea for your website or my blog posts.

"I promise it works!"

“I promise it works!”

Here’s my promise to you

The more you walk away from doing too much, the more comfortable “No” becomes.

You go from overwhelmed business owner to a more peaceful happy camper!

It was so hard for me. At first.

Here’s what I discovered:

As my mindset changed, it felt good to add another “No” to the list.

It was a game with one player … and I won.

Hang in there. It’ll happen for you.

A final thought …

This doesn’t count as an official shutdown, but here’s a recent ‘cheat’ that helped me: 

In late March, I hit the road – from snow country – to plunk down at Jacksonville Naval Air Station. I tagged along on The Husband’s airline maintenance training trip and worked on projects.

Same work. Same calendar. Change of venue.

The sunshine, palm trees, and  75º helped.

A lot.

The refreshment factor of a different environment works wonders:
[Working] – [The usual interruptions] = [Surprisingly productive work]

Granted, we rarely have a lovely five-states-away retreat in our picture.

But when there isn’t time for a shutdown, any change of scenery helps.

Please find a way to take this step!

Join the Conversation

Let’s discuss “The world won’t revolve without me” (WWRWM) mode.

Feel free to use one of my suggestions or bring your own:

•  What’s a good first step to moving past the ‘overwhelm’ in your life?
•  If you’re past WWRWM, what challenged you during the transition?

•  How have you helped someone else get past the ‘always on’ mindset?

Please share this post, subscribe so you don’t miss my other offerings, and join the conversation in the comments section.

Let’s learn from each other and take another step toward non-overwhelm.

Please contact me if you need help with a tech or text project. We’ll jump on a quick 15-minute call to discuss it. Or Email meby clicking here.

Hope to hear from you soon,


Click to see Steps 1-5 to Non-Overwhelm

Check out the 7th step … and say, “Thank you!”

Find more info in my book!     Find practical goals training here

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  1. 5 Steps to 'Non-Overwhelm' - Kathie York - […] Check out the next post in this series, the 6th Step to Non-overwhelm: “Shut it down!” […]
  2. 7th Step to 'Non-Overwhelm': "Wrangle your paperwork!" - Kathie York - […] Check out the 6th step, which is about learning to say ‘No’ and keeping your sanity! […]

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Kathie York, CSQE
Queen of Non-Overwhelm
Goals Accountability Instructor

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