Too busy in business to hear yourself think?
August 14, 2013
Most of my clients come to me because they are too busy. Too busy to grow their business. Too busy for a healthy work-life balance. Too busy to enjoy, relax and finish each day with that feeling of achievement. I read a great article the other day which addresses volume rather than productivity (It’s not about life-work balance, it’s about life-work volume)
Basically there are three solutions to your too busy problem.
Solution 1: Reduce the amount of work you need to do today
Solution 2: Re-organise “how” you work in terms of scheduling your days into blocks, turning off distractions and other time management tools
Solution 3: Take a step back and look at the overall picture of why you are too busy. Develop an action plan incorporating solutions 1 and 2 into your strategy.
Too Busy Action Plan: Part One
1. Write a list of what you have to do in the next week.
2. Next to each item, prioritise and estimate time needed for each task. Also list a possible alternative way that this task could be completed. Possible alternatives could be:
- outsourcing (here I am guys!)
- delegating to a staff member
- rescheduling if not urgent
- systemising the process to reduce workload and duplication
3. Ask yourself what will happen if this task is not completed. This will help to establish priority and ultimately whether it is something you need to do yourself.
4. Schedule these tasks into your diary. Block out sections of time to allow for tasks such as email, urgent tasks and most importantly … some free time so if the unexpected happens, it doesn’t blow your schedule and have you feeling you’ve failed.
5. Evaluate! At the end of the day and/or week, look back at how you have (or have not … don’t despair) kept to your schedule. Look at where you have blown out in time and why. Allow for this in your upcoming schedule.
Too Busy Action Plan: Part Two
1. For a longer term solution you need to pop your futuristic glasses on.
2. Go back through the last month’s schedules. Categorise items into:
- Which tasks you absolutely need to do yourself
- Which tasks are consistently rescheduled
- Which tasks ‘queue jump’ or throw out your schedule
- Which tasks are suffering … and not being performed as well as they could be
- Which tasks have an impact on your long term growth
- Which tasks are not on your list … but should be
3. Prioritise these categories and look at a long term solution each of the categories. Ask yourself:
- Do you need to take on a staff member?
- Are there ways you can automate some of these tasks?
- With small changes to tasks can you avoid duplication?
- What online (cloud based) tools would make these tasks quicker, or even better – do them for you?
- Do you need to introduce packages or change how you offer products or services to better systemise?
- Is there a service provider or supply that could do some of these tasks more efficiently?
- Do you need to learn to say no now and then [gasp!]
I’ve run through this action plan on my own workload and while it’s very much a work in progress, I know I am working toward a goal. We all work hard, and work long. We are too busy and for those of us growing a business it is to be expected … and, well, go hard or go home! But it is absolutely crucial that you bust your gut so to speak in order to reach your goal. If you don’t keep them constantly in your mind you will never achieve them … and that is not the result you deserve.
Your turn: Share with me one way you have saved yourself from the ‘too busy’ cycle. I’d love to know what works for you.