Use this easy rule to protect yourself from digital overwhelm

Last week I was talking to my Jewelry designer friend and she was expressing her frustration about her overwhelm around all the things she should be doing online for her business. She found she was spending more time worrying about this than actually making her jewelry. 

I totally felt her pain and annoyance; how many of us spend more time setting up tools and reading about marketing than actually doing real work in our business!


I understand the learning curve and the idea of having to do it all yourself at the beginning but let’s be honest, after awhile, it becomes more of a distraction than anything. Spending time obsessing about email opens and clicks, learning to set up a new tool, or convincing yourself that it is super important that all your social buttons stay on the top right corner of your site or else all hell will break loose.

Yes, there are some digital tools that are absolutely crucial to have in place but if you are spending more time setting them up than getting results, then there is something wrong.


To evaluate if you are wasting time in the setup or initial learning curve, I created  the 1/3 rule; if you are spending more than a third of your time setting things up, configuring the tool, or just figuring out where everything is (and not actually reaping real benefits) then it is time to re-evaluate the use of the tool.


Here is how the 1/3 rule works:

Step 1) Identify which tools you are in daily and weekly, spending more than one hour.

Step 2) Get specific: What are you doing? How much of it is productive campaign set up or evaluation of data. Or is it muddling around figuring out where everything is because you keep forgetting? Or getting lost in support forums over a specific functionality you can’t find?

Step 3) Once you’ve identified what you are doing, estimate how much total time are in the tool, both daily and weekly. 2 hours, 5 hours, 10 hours?

Note: Keep in mind that if you just started using the tool and doing initial setup, then that learning curve might take extra time. But if you already have already been using the tool for a couple months, how much productive vs. unproductive time are you spending in the tool?

Step 4) Identify tools where you are spending more than a third in unproductive time.


I want to be clear: unproductive time feels very distinct in your body. It feels overwhelming, stressful, like you are walking in circles without getting anywhere.


If your are spending 40 min of the hour in the tool figuring things out, and then the last 20 min actually getting real work done (that will bring value to your business) then it’s time to consider the following questions:

  • Are there automations in this tool that I am not taking full advantage of?

  • Are there other tools that are simpler or have better functionalities based off my needs?

  • Do I really need this tool? If I got rid of it, would it be the end of the world?

  • Can I hire someone to help me better manage this tool?


At the end of the day, if your digital tools are creating more work for you, there is something wrong.


It is important to keep track of where you are spending your time and energy, so that your digital tools don’t end up draining all your energy.I know how it feels to be overwhelmed and frustrated with how you spend your time online and I’d love to help out. If you think you might want some help in evaluating your online business tools and systems, reach out to me for a free 15 min consult call and we can chat.