Help me! I’m too busy and something needs to change...
We've all been there—overwhelmed with our never-ending to-do lists, feeling like we're drowning in tasks, and desperately needing some breathing room. Being 'too busy' can be detrimental to both your well-being and your business. It can hinder growth, lead to burnout, and negatively impact your client relationships. The good news is, it's a fixable problem, and with a little introspection and some strategic adjustments, you can regain control and find balance. So, grab your to-do list and let's get started by asking yourself four crucial questions.
Question 1: Does this really need to be done? (If yes, now or later?)
We often clutter our to-do lists with items that don't truly belong there. Some tasks are mere ideas, maybes, or "wouldn't it be nice ifs." They're thoughts that have yet to become concrete actions. To declutter your list, create a separate idea list and get those non-urgent items off your to-do list.
For the remaining tasks, evaluate their urgency. Not everything needs to be done NOW. By setting realistic due dates, you can prioritise effectively. What can wait until next week, next month, or even next quarter? Being strategic in planning ahead is key to avoiding the constant feeling that everything must be done immediately.
Question 2: Do I need to be the one to do this?
Many business owners fall into the trap of believing they have to do everything themselves. But this mindset can be counterproductive and lead to tasks slipping through the cracks. Reassess your list with the following considerations in mind:
"Well yes, someone else could do this for me but I'm the only one here, so I have to." If you're a solo entrepreneur, this might hold true for now. But keep in mind that growth often necessitates hiring help eventually. Plan for it.
"But no one can do it as well as me – so I have to be the one to do it." This belief can be a growth barrier. Yes, you might excel at certain tasks, but you can train others to be just as skilled or find someone already proficient in that area. Consider documenting your processes to confidently delegate tasks.
The goal here is to identify tasks that others can handle for you, even if you're not ready to hire a team yet. Start by giving more responsibilities to the people you currently work with and plan for additional support in the future.
Question 3: How can I create more space?
With a refined list of what truly needs to be done, it's time to ensure you have the space and time to complete these tasks. Here are two essential tips:
Plan ahead: Schedule time in your calendar for specific tasks or types of tasks (e.g., writing time, client time). By blocking out dedicated work periods, you can minimise interruptions and stay on track.
Set boundaries: Distractions can erode your productivity. Whether it's your team, clients, family, or social media, they can divert your focus. Take control by closing your door, muting your inbox, turning off notifications, and communicating your availability clearly. Learning to say no is also crucial to protect your boundaries.
Question 4: Do I need to renegotiate any deadlines?
If you find yourself in a situation where you can't meet your commitments, it's crucial to address it promptly. Rather than letting people down or missing deadlines, take the initiative to renegotiate. Be honest and communicate the situation to clients, team members, or anyone affected by the delay. They may not be thrilled, but they'll respect your transparency, and you can work together to adjust timelines if necessary.
The beauty of these four questions is that you can apply them repeatedly whenever you're feeling overwhelmed. By periodically reassessing your tasks and responsibilities, you can maintain a healthier work-life balance and prevent yourself from falling into the 'too busy' trap. If you're looking to break free from the cycle of perpetual busyness, consider seeking support from professionals who specialize in optimizing business operations, like an Online Business Manager (OBM). They can help you identify tasks that can be delegated or streamlined, ultimately allowing you to regain control and foster business growth.
How an Online Business Manager Can Help
If you're still finding it challenging to tackle the questions mentioned earlier and implement the necessary changes to alleviate your overwhelming workload, it might be time to consider enlisting the help of an Online Business Manager (OBM). An OBM is a professional who specialises in managing and optimising various aspects of your business, making your life as a business owner more manageable. Here's how an OBM can assist with each of the four crucial questions:
A Spoonful of Structure
It's easy to get lost in a sea of ideas and tasks, unsure of what really needs to be done and when. An Online Business Manager (OBM) can introduce a much-needed structure to your business operations. They're experts in creating comprehensive business plans, organising your to-do list, and defining realistic timelines. Working with an OBM means you'll have a clear roadmap, ensuring that tasks are well-defined and prioritised. Their strategic approach will help you distinguish between what should be done now and what can wait for a more opportune time.
Mary Poppins knew the value of a little magic, and OBMs can work wonders with delegation. They can help you identify tasks that can be outsourced or assigned to the right team members. Rather than carrying the entire workload on your own, an OBM can assist in building a capable team or streamlining processes. While you might think, "No one can do it as well as me," OBMs specialize in creating documented processes that make training easier and ensure consistent quality. They'll help you find the right balance between doing what you excel at and trusting others to handle the rest.
The Time-Taming Umbrella
OBMs are your time-management experts, wielding their umbrellas of efficiency. They help you plan ahead by scheduling tasks and appointments, ensuring you have dedicated time for essential activities. Whether it's client meetings, project work, or administrative tasks, OBMs can help you allocate your time wisely. They also help you set and maintain boundaries, ensuring that distractions are kept at bay. By working closely with you, they can establish a well-structured calendar that maximizes productivity and minimizes interruptions.
A Spelling Lesson in Deadlines
In the rare event that you find yourself overwhelmed and unable to meet a deadline, an OBM is there to lend a hand. They are experts in communication and negotiation, helping you maintain strong client and team relationships. When you need to renegotiate a deadline, they can assist in crafting a message that conveys your sincerity and commitment to delivering quality work. By taking the initiative, you'll not only preserve your professional reputation but also earn respect for your honesty and proactive approach.
In conclusion, if you're tired of being constantly 'too busy,' it may be time to consider partnering with an Online Business Manager. They bring order to the chaos, help you delegate effectively, manage your time, and navigate challenging situations. Much like Mary Poppins, OBMs can add a touch of magic to your business, making it more organized, efficient, and enjoyable. If you're ready to step off the hamster wheel and experience the benefits of a well-managed business, don't hesitate to explore how an OBM can help you prioritize your tasks, delegate effectively, and create a smoother, more balanced work-life dynamic.