Too Much On My Plate.
My client just started her business last year. She has been relatively successful but is now engaged in finding different ways to acquire new customers. As a sole practitioner there are many demands on her time. In the last week or two she has begun to feel overwhelmed by what she has to do and unsure about what she should do first. Sometimes she feels she is working on the wrong thing. She feels she is pulled in many directions.
As many of you know I am a care giver for my mother who is 101. She stays with me in the summer which means along with running my business I must take her to doctor’s appointments, cook her meals, pay her bills and manage her medication. It is hard to fit everything in.
In the winter she lives in Florida so once a month I go there for a week to fill her freezer with meals, pay her bills and do the various errands that she needs done. That means I need to do the work for my business in three weeks each month instead of four. There are times when I feel completely overwhelmed—usually when I return from Florida!
One of the techniques I use for myself is to make a list of all the things I want to do. In my overwhelmed state I am sure I will forget something important! The list calms me because I am able to see everything written down and in one place. ( I take some time doing this. I leave it and come back to it several times so I get everything down.)
Then I reflect on my business priorities. What is my business focus for the month or the year? Most often it is increasing revenue in some way. If I look at my list I put a star next to the tasks that could immediately increase my bottom line. I know I must do those things first. It is easy to get caught up in the checking off of items on my list and not get to those items that benefit me the most.
Next I look for items that I can say “No” to. Have I over promised this month? Do I need to eliminate a few tasks?. So many of us (myself included) want to do it all. Sometimes we can’t. This is a really hard one for me.
Now of the jobs that are left, I need to know what I am best at and most importantly what are tasks that only I can do. I want to do those tasks because I can do them relatively quickly and I cannot delegate them. I want to offload those tasks that others can do at lower cost or that take a skill that I don’t have while I do my best work.
That means delegating some work if you have people you can delegate to. Some sole practitioners find using Virtual Assistance helpful. These are people who do the administrative tasks of your business and do not require being at your location. They will answer your email, do your billing, keep your records, send out your advertising material etc. For more information on Virtual Assistants see www.assistu.com.
Finally here is a tip another coach gave me when I told her I was feeling a bit overwhelmed with all that I had to do in this month. She asked me what I usually did when I was overwhelmed and I told her I calm myself by breathing deeply. The problem is that when I am overwhelmed I am so busy I forget to breath!! She suggested I find a piece of jewelry that I normally wear and each time I look at it or touch it, that I stop and take the time to breathe deeply. I chose a cameo ring that I wear every day. It’s my reminder to stop and relax. It makes a world of difference.
- Make a list of all the tasks you have to do.
- Determine a strategy for accomplishing these tasks ie what to do immediately, what to let go of, what to delegate etc.
- Implement your strategy
Improve your business or work results
Constant overwhelm can be detrimental to your business and/or your job. If you have difficulty staying on track and focused then a coach can help you. It is easy to excuse yourself and put off the necessary tasks or to stay in overwhelm without moving forward. I have helped many clients to break up the log jam so that they have moved forward. I can do that for you. Please feel free to call or email me at 781-598-0388 or firstname.lastname@example.org. I am a sparker. I spark the energy in my clients so that they move forward with passion.