How to Stop Being so Busy
Do you ever feel like you’re just too busy? You get to the point where you just feel frazzled and like you never get time to relax. You have the to-do list from hell that just keeps growing and you constantly feel overwhelmed? Sound familiar?
I totally started feeling like this a couple of weeks ago. I’ve got deadlines approaching, I’m back working away on a regular and we have lots of visitors lined up for the next month. It started feeling like a never-ending cycle of things I ‘have’ to do and no time out.
Feeling like this isn’t sustainable and will start to affect your health and wellbeing. It will also stop you from showing up for your clients in the best way possible.
Declutter your to-do list
How long is your to-do list right now? Does it grow faster than you cross things off? Is it formed of several different lists?
If you have a list full of stuff that you have to, need to, must or should do, you are using it as a way of beating yourself up. It will keep you stuck in a busy cycle and feeling overwhelmed. It’s time to detox your to-do list and create a manageable one where you feel like you are actually achieving something. Take 10-minutes with your to-do list and ask yourself the following questions:
Often, our to-do lists are often full of things that we’d like to do or would be nice to do but aren’t necessary. They are more of a wishlist or maybe things you’ve been thinking about doing but haven’t decided yet. Really, they are ideas and while you want to make a note of them, they shouldn’t be on your to-do list. Create a separate list to store your ideas safely for future reference.
If it’s a yes, does it need to be done now, or can it be done later?
Not everything on the list will be equal. There will be things on your list which aren’t your priority and not where you should be putting your focus. Identify those jobs that are not needed this week so you can separate out what you need to do now.
Can I change the deadlines?
If you are under pressure because of a looming deadline, is it something you can defer? Whilst we don’t want to be late on something, it may be possible to move a deadline to take the pressure off yourself. You will do a much better job if you are calm than if you are stressed out of your eyeballs. Whilst you don’t want to let someone down, especially if you are working on a project that involves others. It is far better to do this ahead of time and give people warning than at the last minute.
Do I need to do this?
As small business owners, we wear a lot of different hats and can be martyrs when it comes to our business. You get bogged down feeling like you must do everything. Before you know it, things start falling through the cracks.
Work out which jobs you could hand to someone else to do. This can be as simple as getting help with household chores or finding support with your admin. Anything you can delegate in your life or work will give you time.
You may find yourself thinking how someone can’t do things as well as you. Stop this as it will just keep you busy. Accept not everyone will do things in exactly the same way as you, but it doesn’t mean they are wrong. You need help and you have to let go of trying to control everything.
This is a good area to get a second opinion from someone who can take a more objective view of what is going on. A business buddy or coach will help you identify what jobs you could hand over to someone else. It is especially useful if your inner control freak puts your name next to every job.
How can I create more space?
Hopefully, you now have a more realistic list for what you are working on this week. The trick then is to make space to get the jobs done. The best way I’ve found is to plan ahead and book time in your diary to do them. I’ve started blocking out time in my diary for specific tasks to keep them efficient and batching as many similar things together as possible.
Set boundaries and protect your time whether it is with yourself or others. Don’t allow yourself to procrastinate and waste time on social media or watching rubbish TV. With others, make sure family and friends know when you are available and when you aren’t. It will help to stop interruptions when you want to get your head down and work.
If you need help working out your priorities and detoxing your to-do list, contact me for a chat.
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