Small Business Talk
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Overwhelm and How to Avoid It!
Overwhelm and How to Avoid It!
Let’s start with a few myths when it comes to time management.
- I don’t have time!
- Only I can do it!
- I have to be everything for everyone
- Multi-tasking is the way to achieve more
I Don’t Have Time
No – It’s not high enough upon your priority list.
We can all make time for the important things. If you’re a Mum, you make time to pick up the children from school. You know you have a hard stop 30 mins/10 mins/ ok. Sometimes, 5 mins as the children get older before you have to be there. If you have to go to an important meeting, you make sure you are early or on time.
The point I am making is if it is important, really to you, you make it happen.
Only I Can Do It!
Seriously, are you a brain surgeon?
I get it, we all like to think only we can do a certain task and our business is our baby. However, generally, that is not the case.
Delegation is the secret to getting your time back. The first thing I delegated was my bookkeeping because it took me so long to do, often all weekend or the invoicing I just didn’t do it at all.
- I was worried about someone looking at my books.
- Were my systems, right?
- Was I charging correctly?
- Was I spending too much money on training etc…
My first bookkeeper came in for 4 hours and had to deal with my back log. Then, she came back each week. After a month, she said I only need to come every other week because there is not enough work to warrant me coming every week. She was doing twice the work I had been doing in half the time and was still looking for things to do so would do the filing as well. Morale of the story is if it’s not your zone or genius, get someone to do it for you.
The money you pay them will be returned two fold or more through lack of stress and allowing you to do your real work.
What About When it is in my Genius Zone?
Yep, I hear you. But only I can do my zone of genius you are saying.
Well, yes and no.
There are smart ways to delegate that too.
Take this podcast for example. Yes, I need to record the interview or do the episode.
However, do I need to:
- Edit the audio?
- Make the graphics?
- Write the show notes?
- Publish the episode?
- Promote the new episode out into social media?
- Book the guests?
I think you are getting the idea.
Can I do all the above and the other things that are required for you to be listening to me now. Yes.
Did I do all of these task? No.
Are they in my zone of genius, some yes, some not?
Because I am no longer doing all of these tasks, are you getting a lesser product? No, of course not.
To be honest, you are probably getting a better product by me delegating to my team. So give it a go, choose one task at a time and outsource it to your team, a contractor or a VA. Have really clear instructions on how you want the task to be done and to it in baby steps. Add more tasks as you get more confident. Yes, in the beginning it will take more time for someone else to do itas you train them depending on the task; however, it will quickly give you your time back.
I Have to be Everything for Everyone
No you don’t.
Start by saying NO.
Even if you have volunteered to organise the Christmas party every year for your local business group that doesn’t mean you have to do it this year. Look at what things you are committed too. Which of these things are nice to do but not a necessity?
Then start saying no. Yes, that NO word.
Give people lots of notice if it is something you have always one like the Christmas party. Let them know this will be your last year or in January that you are not able to do it again this year. Will the Christmas Party be the same as yours? No, but that is OK. Let it go and enjoy it anyway.
Tasks that you do need to do you can also delegate to team members, contractors or family members even if it is only temporary.
I do a lot of traveling and sometimes, my husband needed to make dinner for the family. When the children were younger, I was a stickler for making sure they had plenty of vegetable for our evening dinner. On one particular occasion, I came home to find out that “Dad had made me chunky canned soup on toast for dinner”. The children thought it was lovely. A great fun dinner.
I of course was horrified but guess what, no harm was done, their tummies were full and they had all had a fun evening. Yep, they go double veggies the next night. No, it wasn’t done my way, but it was done.
In business, as long as the customer gets the results they need in a manner that is to the high standards of your business then sometimes, you need to let method it was delivered ago. If you have well defined task guidelines or standard operating procedure (SOP’s), then the delivery will be perfect every time.
But I am only a one woman/person business. Yes but if you do your SOP’s now, it will be so much easier for tasks you only do once in a while plus when you are ready to delegate, most of the work will be done.
Multi-tasking is the Way to Achieve More
This was definitely a myth.
Multi-tasking means you are doing more than two things at a time.
Can you really do it and do it well?
Sometimes, you can get away with it like driving and listening to the radio. However, how many times have you missed your turn off because you were listening to closely to a podcast and not concentrating on where you needed to go?
The problem with multi-tasking is you have to keep re-setting and switching between the tasks that you are doing. Multi-tasking is really bouncing between tasks, not doing multiple complex tasks at once.
A study by Adam Gazzaley MD PhD associate Professor of neurology, physiology, psychiatry and the director of University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Neuroscience Imaging Centre found that multi-tasking has a negative effect on our “working memory” which gets worse over time. Our working memory is what we use to hold and access information in our mind for a period of time. It’s our mind’s operating system. Still not convince that multi-tasking is not good for you? Try this.
Take a sheet of paper and draw two lines on it.
Time yourself while you write “I am a great multitasker” on the first line,
and then write the numbers 1–20 sequentially on the second line (most people take about 20 seconds to do this).
Take a new piece of paper and draw two more lines.
This time, time yourself switching between the two tasks.
Write a letter from the sentence “I am a great multitasker” on line one, then write the number “1” on line two.
Then alternate back and forth between writing the next letter in the sentence and the next number in sequence.
Continue until you’ve completed both tasks.
How long did you take?
What Can we do to Stop Overwhelm?
- Say no
- Don’t overcommit
- Time Block
- Restrict or reduce social media “just scrolling”
Start by making a list of what you really need to get done today. Look at your list again.
What really, really needs to be done?
What can you delegate?
What can you remove?
Remember, you don’t have to do everything yourself.
For the tasks that you do need to do yourself set time blocks for them.
For example, 30 mins twice a day to check emails. No one is going to email you when it’s an emergency so most emails can wait a few hours. You will be surprised how many seeming urgent request can be sorted by the sender if they have a few hours to think about it.
If you set time blocks for each task, you will be amazed at how much you can get done when you set yourself a specific task and concentrate only on it.
Social Media is a Great Business Tool
Yes, it is and it can also be a huge time waster and major contributor to causing the overwhelm you are feeling. Put yourself on a social media diet; limit your exposure to 30 mins blocks 2 or 3 times a day. If you can’t do it by yourself, there are lots of apps that will stop you accessing your social media platforms.
Go easy on yourself, stop trying to fix/cure/build/make the world in one day and remember to have some down time “me time” for yourself too.
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