Have you committed to too much?
Are you committing to too much? As a business owner there’s no shortage of work that needs to be done. You see it. You feel the pain and frustration of not having some of that work done. And you probably see the lost opportunities that you could be chasing if only some of the work was already done.
It can be frustrating. It can cause you to add even more to your already chaotic schedule. However, we’re going to challenge you to take a step away from your to-do list. It’s important. We’ll come back to it. But first, you must ask yourself, when is too much really too much?
It does your business no good to be tackling so many to-do’s that you’re not making traction. We all know, especially after 2020, that business owners make miracles happen. When problems need to be solved, you get creative. Yet, you’re still not able to do the impossible, which is to create unlimited time.
Unfortunately, you have limits on what is realistic to achieve. And many of you already press the boundaries of what is realistic. Leading to a work/life balance that you’re not happy with. A lack of sleep. And eventually burnout. The idea that business owners must work harder is so ingrained that many business owners actually feel guilt when they are working 40 or fewer hours a week!
Our challenge to you is to recognize your limits. Don’t stretch yourself too thin. And that starts with setting realistic goals and understanding that you can’t do everything at once. And understanding that you’ll be more effective when you’re focused on specific goals without trying to do everything at once.
Consider these three tips to help you from committing to too much this year:
- Start estimating time for every task you add to your to-do list. Behind every task, write down the amount of time that it will take you to complete the task. This allows you to see if you have a habit of underestimating how long a task will take to complete, which is a common reason business owners commit to too much. In addition, it allows you to be more realistic when you set deadlines. It’s easy to say you’re going to accomplish task A, D, and F today, without thinking about how much time it will take. However, when you realize those three tasks alone will take you three hours you might rethink what you put on your plate for an already packed day.
- Create a parking garage. You have a lot of great ideas. You know there are certain things that need to get done in your business, but you also know they’re not happening right now. It’s just not the time to tackle those tasks. These tasks live rent free in your head. You don’t want to forget them. You know they need your attention at some point. So you keep them around and then feel like a failure when you don’t get them done. The trick is to not let them go, because at some point you need to come back to them. To do this you need to create a parking garage. A second list of to-do’s that you can revisit when you need to, but no longer need to spend your time or energy worrying about when you’ll do them. Creating a parking garage allows you to fully focus on what you can realistically move forward with now without losing those great ideas.
- Start asking “who else can help?” Just because you can’t move a task forward doesn’t mean that it can’t get started. Feeling overwhelmed and committing to too much can be a sign that you’re not delegating! Focus on improving your delegation skills and challenge yourself to look for ways that others can help you. They may not be able to complete a task or project, but can they move it forward? And even if you don’t have capacity within your team, could you outsource or even use a virtual assistant to get more off your plate? Be creative in who does what work.