As entrepreneurs we seem to come down with a repeated illness. The illness that I’m referring to is known as overwhelmitis. I know it all too well. In fact, before I learned exactly how to overcome it, I almost threw in the towel at my business. I know that many of you could possibly be at that point right now and I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to be that way. You can have smooth days just like all the other business owners that you envy and say to yourselves “How do they do it”? You can do it too. We’re all super busy, but there are reasons why some manage to fit everything in and others don’t. It’s time to stop being super busy and be super practical and productive.
You have over fifty emails in your inbox as we speak asking for a favor or two, business and personal.
Your best friend wants you to skip out on your tasks today and have drinks with her because she’s off work.
Your next-door neighbor is having a BBQ this weekend and wants you to cook your specialty potato salad.
Your kid’s school needs an extra chaperone for the field trip the same day of your most important contract meeting of the year.
This list can go on forever. At some point you will have to realize that in order to keep your sanity and function normally you will have to come to grips with reality. You can’t be everywhere and you can’t do everything. You will have to learn how to say NO- when it’s appropriate of course. I know that you love your children with all your heart and would do anything for them. The thought of saying no to their schools breaks your heart, but I’m pretty sure that there are probably a few stay at home moms on the parent call list that you can call up and ask to replace you and owe them a favor. Your best friend has to understand that just because you own your own business doesn’t mean you slack off when you want to. Everyone one in your life including your children have to learn to respect that you are still working and things still have to be done within a specific time frame. Your neighbor will not UN invite you if you can’t make your specialty this weekend (Hopefully).
When running your business you will begin to see patterns of interruptions and you have to decide which ones need your attention and which ones you can say no to without felling bad about yourself. Your business deserves your attention and one hundred percent commitment from you.
Make practical choices
Not just in business, but also in life we are given so many choices that it almost seems to paralyze the mind. You get stuck and confused and don’t know what to do. What do you do? You choose wisely.
When making decisions review the potential outcomes in positives and negatives. Ask yourself how it can benefit you or create a benefit for someone else. If it doesn’t make sense to you, then don’t do it. If you are one of those people who can’t bear to say no, then think of an alternative. You don’t want to make enemies with your neighbor? Then offer to buy something pre-made from the grocery so that it will save you time and energy. A joint venture offer that doesn’t quite fit with your niche? Recommend another fellow business owner you know that would be perfect for that venture. Planning your next product launch that happens to be the same week of your kid’s graduation and a family friends first communion? Reschedule that launch in a heartbeat.
Learn to identify what situations will be good and what could potentially be bad. This can decrease your stress levels in droves. There will always be situations that come along that are completely out of your control but if you make smart choices, everything can run efficiently.
Delegate, Delegate, Delegate
Don’t kid yourself! You may want to do everything yourself, you may have even tried, but you quickly found out that you just can’t. Running a business and a household are giant weights that we carry around mentally. Where are my next sales comings from? The house needs to be cleaned. What’s for dinner every night of this week? I need new topics for my blogs and newsletters. Wait, when do I even have time to write my blog? I need to schedule a conference call with fifteen of my key employees but when can I do that if I am away at a seminar? This is the life is a busy woman entrepreneur- I know from personal experience.
This is where outsourcing and delegating plays a big part in relieving your stress. If you don’t learn to delegate you are taking major risks in your business growth and your personal life. Long are the days where you need a full-time assistant that follows you around all day. Who are we kidding even the assistant doesn’t have time right? Hire a virtual assistant and send all those small but necessary, irritating tasks to them. Let them book your meetings, your flights, schedule seminars, contact affiliates, and run weekly newsletters. There are even VA’s that can watch and control your trading accounts. Now come on who doesn’t need one? Hire one today. As for your household if you have teenage children, delegate chores to them weekly or monthly. This not only gives them responsibility but also frees up your time for more important things. Also look into hiring a housekeeper/assistant. Let someone else do the the cleaning for $25 an hour or the laundry while you just do your cooking.
You may not realize this but all helpers are called stress busters because they free up so much of your time. Most people have a preconceived notion that housekeepers are only for wealthy people and are very expensive. In reality a large percentage of the population including career 9-5 women are utilizing such services and it is not as expensive as you think it is. You have to get over those self-imposed barriers of hiring help. It’s the only way to grow. Professionally and personally.
Set a routine, stick to it
Now we all know that everyday will not run according to plan. We could only be so lucky. But if you create a routine and stick to it things will go a lot smoother mentally and physically. In the book, The Success Principles by Jack Canfield best selling author of chicken soup for the soul. Jack advises you to create a weekly schedule of FOCUS days, BUFFER days, and FREE days. This worked wonders for myself as well as many of my past clients.
Decide what your focus days will be and create a schedule for those days. When will you work on your marketing, blog, product releases, conference calls, meetings? What will you do on your buffer days? Delegate, publish, attend workshops or networking events, work on a new program, write a chapter in your new book you decide. Most importantly your free days. The day or days that you choose to do absolutely nothing business related. You will not answer an email, return a phone call that’s business related and focus this time on yourself and your family. This type of schedule will create more mental clarity and free time for you to still enjoy the people that mean the most to you.
In business it’s hard to figure out which things are important because everything seems important. It’s very critical that you start learning how to decide which one is more important than the other. This will save you time, energy and increase your productivity without feeling so overwhelmed.