When you are building and running your own business and you have no staff to delegate to, it can feel a bit overwhelming at times. I don't think I am alone in this. I mean I can't be that unique an remarkable that I am the only one who still, after almost a decade as a solopreneur / entrepreneur, struggles with the plight of too much to do and not enough time to do it in. Or the underwhelm of boredom (yes, some tasks just bore me to tears). True, I have three companies, but I can coast one or two for a few days and still not miss a beat (thanks to the tools I use). But every once in a while it's as if I experience a train car pileup and I need to get the trains back on the track and moving forward.
You gotta' shovel the coal to keep the steam engine running. But yet, there are times when there seems to be to much to do or no enthusiasm to do it. What happens to me in those instances is that the feeling of drudgery sets in and motivation is, well, nowhere to be found. But you still have a business to conduct. It's not like there is a staff to take over while you are on a “mental break”. You need to keep things going forward right?
In business you never know “the” breakaway moment until it has already happened and for a sustainable business you need forward momentum. Forward momentum is critical to company growth. It doesn't have to be fast, it can be slow and steady at times, just as long as you are moving forward. So what can you do in those times where you just feel like you have a list that can never be completed or you are just flat out bored with the tasks? How do you get things back on track and moving forward?
Here are five tactics I employ when I get in this predicament. I hope they will help you as well!
- Work on what matters the most at the time and make every effort to get that off of your list before you take on the next task. Some days, if all you could do is get one task done but it was completed and done very well, there is a great relief.
- Create a written list and rank order the tasks. Check off the task once it is done. I mean literally physically write it down with pieces of paper and a pen. There is a feeling of true satisfaction and a reward for getting it done and actually crossing it off the list.
- Organize the workspace. Either the digital one of the physical one. I find if I am feeling overwhelmed, chances are something around my work has gotten out of order or has gone to ciaos. I have a specific file folder on my computer, it's like my junk drawer. So I usually need to go in and delete or move files to their permanent location. I always feel better after purging and cleaning my disk space.
- Unless someone's life hangs in the balance,. don't be afraid to walk away for a few hours and do something completely different. Something you don't normally get the chance to do. Don't worry, what you need to get done will still be here when you get back, but you will be able to approach it with a fresh perspective.
- Create a game. I have played several games. One of my favorite ones I have task cards and I have organized my days around them when things get really backed up. I delegate a set amount of time (usually an hour)and sprint through as far as I can go then I move on to the next task card. This frees me up for having to “think” about it, I just Do It. Action creates a momentum of its own and before I know it, the day is done and I have hit on all of my priorities.