If you’re a solopreneur who has been juggling all the tasks in your business, you may be feeling the pressure of getting it all done. But not JUST done. Done and with quality.
You may have considered hiring some support but are unsure what you could be delegating. Or even whether you should.
So what can solopreneurs or small business entrepreneurs do to determine what and whether they should delegate?
The very first thing to look at is what can you afford? Have a good look at your budget, look at your revenue, look at your expenses, and have a good look at those expenses. Review your subscriptions. Have you been spending money on subscriptions that you haven't used in months? And, I know, I frequently hear: “Oh yeah, but I might use it.” Well, how about we deal with it when it comes?
Because if you haven't used it for months and months, chances are you don't need it unless it’s an annual subscription paid per month, but that's a whole...
If we’re to believe social media/the internet, then when we find our “true calling”, when we follow our “real passion”, when we’re “fully aligned”, running our own business our way, there will be no such thing as work.
It’s all going to be bliss, successes and an embarrassment of riches.
I’m just going to go ahead and pop that little balloon.
Running a business should be mostly amazing, fulfilling moments. And, unfortunately, there will always be parts that just plain suck.
No matter how aligned and fulfilled and joyful and all the things the work is for you, there will always be parts that are just plain draining.
So what could entrepreneurs do when they are faced with tasks that they find incredibly draining?
The first thing is to see if there's anything that can be responsibly delegated.
Obviously, if there's something that you truly dislike doing that can be delegated, then...
Anyone leading any kind of initiative knows that there are several aspects, departments, teams that come together to contribute to success.
And the leader is usually the one keeping an eye on everything.
We are frequently the head juggler, trying to keep all the balls in the air, or – at least – we work really hard at not dropping too many. As part of that juggling exercise, we tend, some of us anyway, to want all the things all at once this month.
What we must keep in mind though, is that there's an extremely fine line between pushing for results and overextending ourselves and our team.
If you find yourself, or you're finding your team, frequently remarking that there's not enough time, then it's important to start digging into the issue and make sure that we're not in fact setting ourselves up or setting our team up for burnout.
So how can we evaluate whether what seems on the surface like a time management issue is actually hiding a much larger problem?
Have you ever been in a position where you had to revisit a past decision that you made, but when you started reviewing the available information, you couldn't remember why and how you came to that decision?
Yeah, that happens to me too.
As leaders, we have so much going on, so many decisions to make day in, day out. At some point some of the details will escape us.
So how can we help guard against losing too many valuable decision making details?
Whether it's when creating a budget, collecting metrics, or analyzing information, taking a moment to record your thought process could help yourself and other reviewers better understand what they are looking at and what was my thought process.
It doesn’t need to be long. Adding brief notes, a short comment, a thought, is sufficient.
This also helps provide an overview of some of the history, because that tends to get lost as well. If a team member suddenly leaves, that is a loss of history. This is a way to...
It's great when we get lots of time to dig into a problem before having to choose a solution to implement.
I love it when that happens!
Except that, in my experience, it rarely ever happens. In fact, in my experience, leaders usually have to make decisions essentially while still processing incoming information.
More than once, I have found myself having to stop and refocus because my mind was wandering off in “analysis land” in the middle of a meeting.
So, what process could we follow if we wanted to do a rapid risk forecast?
The first thing we could do is ask ourselves for simple questions:
Write it all out.
If you have something that is likely to happen and the consequences are low, consider whether it is something that is extremely risky that you need to address...
Running a business, being a leader, requires a lot of energy.
And sometimes, the demands of the day pull us in the direction that it dictates.
Next thing you know, you find yourself with an ever-expanding task list, constantly short on time, forever exhausted, and the busyness of running a business has caught you in its web.
I'm not saying that you're not working hard. You're working very, very hard.
But you're working hard on the wrong things and you're headed in the wrong direction.
And, in a few months, maybe a year or two even, you'll realize that you keep getting farther and farther away from your goals.
So what can you do to get out of this busyness web?
The first thing you can do is to stop for a moment. Hit that virtual pause button. Stop and reevaluate your priorities.
When doing so, ask yourself:
That's going to change. It's going to be fluid. For sure, we don't want...
Being the CEO of growing companies, I spend a lot of time and energy in the realm of both strategy and implementation.
The only way that I'm capable of accomplishing this much while keeping burnout at bay – and staying in the world of fatigue that is reasonably easy to recover from – is by being extremely intentional about managing my energy.
So, as leaders, what can we do to better manage our energy?
For sure, managing our energy involves a lot of aspects. But there are three top areas that I pay the most attention to.
What does it mean to “be aware of planned elevated levels of required energy”?
It's about all of the big growth pushes that we cycle through. Growing a business requires a lot of momentum. It requires us to be that force that will move things forward. To dig in and find that energy that will propel everything forward. That energy that will inspire and create change. That will move us...
Without falling into the hustle glorification trap, I think it’s safe to say that most of us leaders struggle with juggling the demands on our time, getting those priorities addressed, while remaining adaptable.
So, how can we, as leaders, be both adaptable and focused on advancing initiatives?
As a CEO myself, that unfortunately is also a constant struggle and I have to remind myself of the need to push for focus otherwise my time would get swallowed up.
For sure, when running an organization, it’s essential for us to be able to adapt to whatever is being thrown our way.
Whether it’s a major complaint that needs investigating, an essential team member who leaves suddenly or even a client that demands a situation be solved “today”, these unexpected challenges can threaten to swallow up our days, weeks or even months.
I know for myself sometimes it feels like all I do is go from one crisis-of-the-day to the next. And...
Your fingers are typing, your eyes are scanning, your mind is racing.
Despite your impressive speed, you’re barely making a dent in that ever-expanding task list.
You push on. More gets added. “No worries,” you think, “You got this.”
Except that you’re constantly short on time, forever exhausted and you promise yourself that as soon as you finish that next “thing”, you’ll get a handle on this out-of-control hamster wheel. You may even take time off!
Until the next week. Where it’s more of the same.
And the following.
And the one after that.
And the cycle continues.
Although there are times when it is necessary to go heads-down and push through to get unstuck, it shouldn’t be that way all the time. That feeling of “survival” is draining, and our bodies are not a fan. Soon enough, you’ll start experiencing physical and psychological symptoms of “keeping on keeping on.”
So what do you do...