You are overwhelmed, you have so much to do that you are paralysed and don’t do anything – or it feels like you don’t do anything.
Having so much to do that you don’t know where to start is a common challenge that many of us face in today’s fast-paced and digital world. Having too much to do seems to have become the norm. When we speak to business owners we often hear that having too much to do stops them from updating their accounts, getting on with their marketing or focussing on the things that are important to their business. Quite often we find they are putting the important things off to tomorrow to focus on the urgent but trivial today.
It’s time to take control and deal with the overwhelm.
First – take 10 minutes to get everything out of your head and onto paper. You might need a bigger bit of paper. You might like to do this by thinking of each area in your business or by thinking about each customer, each employee or you might simply prefer a blank piece of paper and go with the flow.
1. Deep breath.
2. Declutter your mind, dump it all onto paper. Projects, jobs, issues, tasks – it can all go on one list. Whether it relates to your business or not – let’s get it all out of your mind and on paper. When I do this I quite like to brain dump to do’s into business departments which allows me to ring-fence them a little. I take the same approach when brainstorming a project or writing a business plan – this helps me work out where my gaps are and what my plan of action might be -it also helps to identify where I might need to outsource tasks. When I go through this process with clients – is helps us see the bigger picture and helps the client feel like they are in control.
Now look at your list and take 5 minutes to cross off everything that you cannot control or you cannot do anything about. There is no point in it being on your list if you cannot change it. Cross out anything else not relevant to your business – you could move that onto a second personal to-do list.
3. Take your list and prioritise what’s left in terms of urgent and important, and only in terms of achieving your business goals. Then apply the 4D’s. Do It. Date It. Delegate It or Dump It.
- Do It – these are the things that can only be done by you, so even if you only do 2 or 3 a day – start working through the list and taking action. Set aside the first hour of every day perhaps or start work an hour earlier to get started on your to-do list. As soon as you start working on your list and ticking boxes off – you will feel the more productive self that you are becoming.
- Date It – these are the things that can only be done by you but can be done at a later date. Schedule them. Book out time in your diary to get them done and then forget about them. You will have them covered at a later date.
- Delegate It – These are the things that need doing, but you can delegate them to someone else; your business partner, your employee (heck, this could be the development opportunity you have been waiting for), your husband wife or sub-contractor. Who can do the task that needs to be done? If they can do it better than you – then outsource it! Bookkeeping, accounting, HR, admin, telephone answering are all area’s of your business that can be outsourced to someone better qualified and faster than you allowing you to get on with the most important tasks that only you can provide to your business. Own it but delegate it and bring those skills into your business – if paying a virtual assistant £25 an hour allows you to go an earn £100 for the extra hour saved – it’s a no brainer.
- Dump It – if it’s not important and it’s not going to help move your business forward then just dump it. You haven’t got time. You have better things to do.
Now you have a working list of things that must get done in the order that they need to be done – you will start to feel more in control by the moment.
You can keep your to do list in a note book, on scraps of paper, in electronic to-do lists such as Todoist and Wunderlist – what ever works best for you. Personally, I favour the electronic to do list that goes with me where ever I am and allows me to update, schedule, delegate and action when ever I have a few spare moments. If something pops into my head as I’m trying to get to sleep – onto the list it goes and I know I have it covered – tomorrow.
4. Now you have done all that you can start to recognise what kind of person you are from the quadrant in which you live! What are you going to do about that?
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|1||Dealing with Overwhelm|