Recently a client called me distraught that their business plan was being suffocated by the amount of admin required. Situations like this aren’t uncommon – in any arena seemingly great ideas can quickly be drowned by growing lists of daily activities. Overwhelm is a common word used at these times and in a business environment it can be a killer.
Immediate responses to such overwhelm fall into the fight or flight categories. The detail either continues to be tackled on a daily, hourly basis or they are ignored in the hope that they will go away. Either response can lead to chaos and panic preventing any progress. Initial enthusiasm and passion begins to wane and the death bell tolls, sometimes for a long time, before you and your business collapse in an exhausted, disheartened heap.
So how can you prevent overwhelm taking hold in your business? As with all virulent illnesses the key is not to struggle on alone but get help. This may come in the form of a mentor or coach who can help rationalise the chaos and help organise your goals in a practical, realistic way. It may also come in the form of a strong support network – outsourcing appropriate tasks will soon restore the feeling of control and progress.
Be realistic about tasks that will only take a few minutes. Viewed in isolation individual tasks are quick and easy but in this case a backlog of numerous activities can be debilitating. Book a formal appointment time in your diary and realistically list 2 or 3 tasks to achieve in that time. Continue to book as many appointments as you need to get the overwhelm list under control.
As each appointment slot arrives treat it with the professionalism you would a paying client – you are your own client. Focus on the tasks listed and feel that sense of achievement as you tackle each one. And if there isn’t anything on the list for you to do personally use the time to check in with those you outsource too. Being proactive is far less stressful and more rewarding than a last minute dash.
As with all illnesses a return to full health may take a while but prevention is better than the cure. Take time today to improve the health of your business today!