Spread too thin?
Being a business owner has its ups and its downs. Along with the freedom and enjoyment that comes from steering your own ship and not reporting to “the Man”, comes an incredible amount of responsibility. If, by chance, you are also the head of your household and you have the perfect recipe for overwhelm.
It is incredibly easy to spend yourself too thin, and it can happen in the blink of an eye. So what to do about it?
How Do You Know If You’re Spreading Yourself Too Thin?
Recognizing that you have the problem is the first step in solving it!
Sometimes the signs that you’re doing too much are subtle. Other times there’s absolutely no doubt in your mind that you have too much on your plate. Here are a few signs that you’re spreading yourself too thin:
- Insomnia – you go to bed and cannot get tomorrow’s agenda off of your mind
- Fear and doubt – fears and doubts start sneaking in. You doubt your skills, direction, and purpose.
- Moody – you feel tired, irritable, and frustrated. You may find yourself snapping at your children or family members and then of course feeling guilty about it.
- Exhausted – everyone gets exhausted from time to time. However, the exhaustion that comes from overwhelm doesn’t go away.
- Family members – when your family members start acting out or complaining that they don’t see enough of you, then you know you’ve tipped the scales of balance in the wrong direction.
- Negative thoughts – when you start thinking, “I’m doing too much”, “I’ll never get this done”, or “I’m not going to make it” then you’re likely spreading yourself too thin.
What Can You Do about It?
Now, spreading yourself too thin isn’t all doom and gloom. It is a very useful sign that things need to change for you. And sitting down and assessing what isn’t working is a great way to improve and grow both professionally and personally. Truth be told, spreading yourself a bit thin can also be invigorating and fun – it’s certainly better than being bored.
However, to be productive and to get where you want your business to be, it’s important to regularly assess if your energy is being put into the most productive tasks. For example, if you spend two hours answering email every day, those aren’t productive hours. You ideally want to spend your time on high priority tasks – tasks that make you money and move your business (and your life) forward!
Tools to Overcome Overwhelm
When you feel overwhelmed or that you’re spreading yourself too thin there are some very effective solutions.
- Create a schedule – Schedule your day. Put your high priority tasks first. Schedule time with your family and friends. And schedule downtime for yourself. If you cannot take care of yourself then you can’t take care of everyone else.
- Pack a Lunch – If you are living on a steady diet of coffee and take-out, trust me you are setting yourself up for failure. Not to go all woo-woo on you, but taking care of your physical health by eating at proper intervals, a getting a solid mix of foods, and drinking plenty of fluids (water… not coffee), will go a LONG way towards stabilizing your energy and your mood.
- Create a business plan – If you don’t have a business plan, create one. If you do have one, then use it. Set aside time each week, or month, and review where you are and where you want to be. Use your plan to help you stay on track.
- Outsource – You don’t have to do it all yourself, and to be honest you probably shouldn’t. Outsource those tasks that you dislike, that take you tons of valuable time or that don’t make it to your top priority list. These tasks can include house cleaning, writing, social networking – you decide what gets taken off of your “to do” list.
Don’t be afraid to turn down opportunities, requests and other things that take up time (time that you don’t want to spend). This is your life. Be confident in your decisions and use the word “No” whenever you need to.
You’re the boss of this life and your business – take back your time and regain control!