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Feeling overwhelmed? Wave your hands in the air like you don't care

What do poor quality work, low productivity, finding and losing your passion have to do with feeling overwhelmed while running your business?


A young child painting on a white wall with her hands
A creative interpretation of decorating a room

You may be aware that British productivity statistics are embarrassing in a global context.


Have you noticed that many tradespeople and apparent ‘experts’ in Britain are doing a really crap job? Without wishing to state the very obvious, repeating work reduces productivity.


For instance, as the leaseholder of a flat, I have had the misfortune of working with several contractors whose inadequate work was deemed ‘good enough’. The work has had to be done again. And again. And again.


I’m beginning to get an idea as to why British productivity is so low.

Car completely engulfed by flames
Oh those passionate French

In comparison, we only need to look at the French, with whom we’ve vied for centuries. Despite the cultural stereotypes that they love bureaucracy, hate to change their traditions, strike often, riot, set fire to cars and have laws to protect their long lunches, their productivity is between 9% and 28% better than the UK (depending on the industry sector).


Many economic, policy and managerial reasons are put forward for this and I would like to add my own hypothesis...



Take a break


Research shows that humans are inherently lazy. You might totally disagree with this statement if you are rushed off your feet with busyness and a desire to be productive and make progress. But you are fighting your inherent need to conserve energy for survival!

Woman asleep at her laptop
I'll just put my head down for a minute...

Either way, you need to overcome your own inertia every day.

Be honest, when are you at your happiest? Is it sitting somewhere pleasant, possibly in good company, with food and drink within easy reach?


And research shows that most humans love the status quo because it is a known quantity. Even if the status quo is painful. It’s only if the status quo becomes too painful or your hand is forced that you will do anything about it.


So, to my hypothesis: you need to know that any effort expended has to be worth the reward. But what if you can still get the reward without the effort? I think there are many people putting in very little effort because they are likely to get the reward anyway. And if the reward is only money, research has shown that beyond a certain point money loses its ability to genuinely motivate you.



Find your passion, make it happen, you can dance right through your life


My message to people doing crap work is to go and find something you're passionate about. However, if you’re reading this blog, I don’t believe you are a person who wants to do a crap job.


I hope you already know what it is to feel passionate about what you are working on. It is possible for work not to feel like work.

A woman holding two sunflowers to her face while smiling
Taking time to appreciate your passion

When I started my garden design business in the Noughties, I understood for the first time how rewarding work could genuinely be. On a very different scale to anything I had done before.


But in reality, passion in work isn’t that easy to come by.


Which means that when you are passionate about your business you need to care for and nurture that passion. It needs protecting.



You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone


Aerial view of a pair of pumps on tarmac with street markings showing arrows and a question mark
Overwhelm creates patterns of behaviour that will keep you stuck

Persistently feeling overwhelmed will eventually kill your passion. Overwhelm becomes a one-way street filled with high stress and short-term strategies to not feel overwhelmed.


Don't let it kill your passion for your business so that you go back to a job that you will go through the motions for.


I've been lucky to find two passions in business: garden design and, eventually, business coaching. It's been a painful and hugely rewarding journey. But I know how lucky I am, and I am mindful of what I need to do to keep my passion alive and not get overwhelmed.


If you feel your passion might be at risk, get in contact.

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