Too much to do and not enough hours in the day? This is all too common in today’s era, especially if you are a business owner trying to juggle multiple responsibilities; wearing too many hats and some of them don’t even fit.
The electronic age was supposed to free up time through automation. Somehow technology has taken over and created an environment where we are now working longer to keep up with the speed at which things are coming at us. Smartphones keep us connected 24/7, email at our fingertips and non-stop social media are only a few of the things that consume our time.
Sometimes our To Do lists aren’t realistic. There are so many tasks that it becomes overwhelming; we somehow believe that we should get everything done today. The following suggestions may help you reduce your “overwhelm.”
- Tackle a few quick items first. To get the day started on a positive note, tackle a few quick and easy items first to gain a sense of accomplishment. This goes against traditional wisdom of prioritizing the most significant things first but why not shorten your To Do list first thing?
- Focus on the important things. Ask yourself, what can I eliminate that isn’t important? What can I postpone for a few days or weeks? What can I delegate to someone else? Are there tasks that don’t add value? Prioritize and stay focused on the task at hand.
- Don’t multitask. Studies have show that multitasking is a myth. Your brain can really only focus on one task at a time so although you think you are writing an email and talking on the phone at the same time, your brain is constantly switching back and forth. Focus on one task at a time and give it your full attention. You will be surprised at how much more efficient it is.
- Ask for help. You don’t have to do everything yourself. If you have staff, let them grow by delegating new tasks to them. Many times, you find they have skills that are better than yours in particular areas. Consider outsourcing certain functions within your business. There are excellent providers that can support you in fields such as IT, HR and payroll, accounting, marketing and others that provide you with the expertise without you increasing your infrastructure.
- Say No. Learning how to say no – graciously – can be a life-saver. Be willing to set boundaries for yourself and when someone makes a request of you, think about whether or not you can actually deliver on the commitment. As hard as it is to say no, it is even more stressful when you are unable to deliver without burning the midnight oil.
Next time you get that feeling that you can’t get it all done, take a breath, review your priorities, ask for help and focus on the tasks that add value.