If you’re a business owner, chances are you’re part of the 84%.
According to The Alternative Board’s 2017 Business Pulse Survey, “84% of business owners are working over 40 hours per week, and 1 in every 10 feels continuously overwhelmed by their responsibilities.”
I am all for buckling down and getting work done, but I also believe that running a business doesn't have to be so hard. Finding a way to maximize productivity without feeling like you’re drowning in a sea of tasks is just a matter of focus.
These five tips should help to reduce your overwhelm:
1. Focus on accomplishing 3 things per day. Trying to go in too many directions at once will leave you spinning in circles or frozen with uncertainty about what to do next. You end up not accomplishing anything. By choosing just a few tasks, you move closer to your goals in a calm and orderly way. Once you get these done, you can always choose three more to work on.
Success Connection member Judith Iris Lax Quate uses the medium of art, particularly Zentangle, to help people find healing in their lives. Focus is part of her strategy to keep overwhelm at bay. “I re-evaluate my priorities,” says Judith, “and focus on one challenge at a time.”
2. Focus on what is important. Treat your life like a college essay and edit it. Eliminate everything that doesn't help you reach your big goals. Learn to say ‘no,’ or at least, ‘I'll think about it’ before adding more to your plate. Everything you commit to should be in line with your values and help you reach your overall life goals.
3. Focus on what you're good at. Identify your strengths and weaknesses. You should understand the many facets of your business, but you shouldn't be doing them all. Delegate anything that you are not good at or that completely saps your energy. You will enjoy your business more and produce better work if you allow the expertise of other professionals to support you in areas that are not your strong point.
Success Connection member Lisa Menz, owner of The Fox and Hound Bed & Breakfast, relies on delegation to handle the potentially overwhelming work of managing a thriving B&B. “I will give whatever tasks I can to my small staff,” she says, “or pull my family into doing some tasks.”
4. Focus on earning income. Some business owners think if they do it all themselves, they’re saving money. In reality, the opportunities you’ll lose doing menial tasks will cost you more than hiring someone to do those things for you. Delegating the $15 per hour tasks frees you up to work on the higher dollar per hour tasks.
5. Focus on the 'big rocks' first. One of my favorite stories is 'The Big Rocks of Life.' You can read it HERE, but the overall message is that to best manage your time, you need to give priority to your big goals. Schedule a block of time to get your important work done. All the small tasks will get done in between these appointments. If you focus on accomplishing all the minutia first, it will eat up your day and you won't have the solid block of time you need to do your important work.
This strategy is also a pivotal one for Lisa. “I list out all the things to do and prioritize them,” she says. This allows Lisa to focus first on the tasks that will most benefit her business rather than getting caught up in the countless smaller items that could fill up the day a few minutes at a time if she let them.
Having a prosperous business requires effort and work, but it shouldn’t require you to burn yourself out. Instead of running yourself ragged by running in every direction at once, try these strategies, and grow your productivity and happiness at the same time!
If you need help getting clear on where to spend your time and start making a real impact with your work, let's work together one-on-one to fast-track your market leadership goals. Learn more HERE.