These days it seems like everyone is making an online course. And if yours is still in the works it’s easy to get discouraged.
Maybe you’ve seen a lot of ‘competition’ and feel like it’s not worth the hassle?
Maybe you’re just overwhelmed and talking yourself out of doing the work?
Maybe you struggle with the technology part and feel behind the curve?
Why It's not too late
Whatever the reason, I’m here to tell you it’s not too late. Take it from someone who’s spent the past 8 years creating online courses: when it comes to entrepreneurs building courses, the market is young.
Online courses are in the infant stage when it comes to entrepreneurs. It’s only in the past five years that they’ve really started to be widespread. Also we’re only about a year...maybe two...into knowing what we’re doing with regard to courses. Some would argue we’re not even there yet.
(If we were talking about academic online courses, that would be a whole different conversation. Those have been around for a while.)
In other words, there’s still plenty of room for you to differentiate your course from others in your field. One way to do that is to create a course that gets results and makes a difference in people’s lives.
Because if you have something to teach and an audience to teach it to, it’s never too late. So let’s move on from that discussion, shall we?
And let’s talk about what’s really bothering you: You’re feeling overwhelmed.
I feel you. It happens to me too. Last year, it happened a lot.
How to feel less overwhelmed
See, I’m a bit of a weirdo. I like working. In fact, if I have more than one day off in the week I kind of go stir-crazy. So when I get overwhelmed, I know it’s because I’m taking on too much or I need to be more organized.
So about six months ago, I created a system for managing overwhelm. Here are the seven strategies I’ve used to be less overwhelmed this year:
1 - Write out your top three priorities for the day
This one is great if you feel scattered. Start each day by sitting down and writing out your top three priorities for the day. Every morning I pop open my Moleskine and jot down my first thoughts (to get the chatter out), what I'm grateful for, and my top three priorities. It's a great tool for gaining clarity and control over your day.
2 - Create calendar channels
This is pretty straightforward: in your calendar app, give each day a focus. For example, I have a day focused on Admin, another on Writing, etc. This allows me to group tasks and projects together.
3 - Only hold meetings on certain days
If you can manage it, set aside two to three days for meetings and leave the rest of your calendar open for your projects. This was a game-changer for my calendar. Having meetings scattered throughout the week can really dampen your productivity.
4 - Stop keeping a task list; start seeing everything as a project
I used to use an app called Things to manage my tasks. But as I got busier, I realized I just had a long list of tasks staring me in the face each day and no way to see how they related. Instead of making me feel accomplished, it made me feel more stressed.
So I switched to Asana. Because Asana is project-based, it forces you to think of your work as a project with a due date, sub-tasks, etc. It really changed the way I organize my work.
5 - Map out your course releases for the year
If you feel like you're trying to take on too much, try slowing things down: decide what you're going to create for the entire year, then set a date for each release. This works best if you keep it simple by planning only 1 to 3 course releases per year.
6 - Use an editorial calendar
I fought this one for a loooong time. But it works. If you run a blog in addition to a business, it's easy to feel overwhelmed by even the idea of writing. Man, I used to dread writing articles!
Now, I have a list of topics that I'm going to write about. Each one is setup in Asana, so I just look at what's coming up and write the article. I don't even think about it, I just do what's on the calendar.
My friend Paul Jarvis does it even better: he blocks out 6 hours every month to write a bunch of articles. We can only wish to be as productive as Paul. :)
7 - Go the $%#! to bed
When you feel overwhelmed, you think you have to work harder. So you stay up late. And then that makes you tired, which makes you feel more overwhelmed. It's a horrible cycle.
I used to stay up regularly until 2am or later (I'm a night owl). But eventually, you find that you're awake when your loved ones are asleep and asleep when they're awake. So you're not only tired, but alone. That, my friend, is no bueno. So now, I usually go to bed by 11pm. I get more rest and actually see the people I love now. Imagine that!
Hopefully reading this article helps you realize that A) it's not too late for you to create your online course and B) there are ways to manage overwhelm. At the end of the day, it's all about committing through the ups and downs of entrepreneurship.
Looking for structure and a community to help you launch your online course? Check out my new program, Finish Your Damn Course!