I can honestly say that I have always been prone to working on several projects at once while at the same time watching TV, talking on the phone, and chewing gum. I felt that this was the best way for me to get the most accomplished in the shortest amount of time. I thought I was being uber productive. I have since learned that multi-tasking is actually the best way to sabotage ones efficiency and become completely overwhelmed. You can read all about how multitasking leads to as much as a 40% drop in productivity, increased stress, and a 10% drop in one of my previous posts.
Do you want to stop overwhelm? If so, read on…
I am naturally one of those individuals who tend to process life in a more ADD manner. Many entrepreneurs can completely relate to me about this. I have never actually been diagnosed as having that disability, but it is sometimes very hard for me to remain focused and truly engaged in one task at a time for any length at a time. Although this can make it very hard to complete projects, I have developed skills that help me remain disciplined when needed and organized enough to ensure that I DO finish my projects and meet my deadlines as required.
So what is the problem you ask?
The problem is that while I have been busy patting myself on the back for being such a versatile business owner, I found that I was still getting distracted. I kept adding new projects to my agenda every time I was inspired to create or start something new; even when those projects did not directly support my vision for business growth. These are what I call my Squirrel Moments.
So how did I become more focused and remain dedicated to fulfilling my goals without allowing distractions to divert my attention?
I follow these three simple steps to Stop Overwhelm in my life:
Clearly Define Your Vision > First you must have a clearly defined vision of your business goals. Are you looking to increase revenue, improve customer service and enhance your visibility through social media or all of the above? Whatever your goals are at the current time, write them out in details and post them somewhere on your desk very visibly and very notable.
Question & Re-question > When that next distraction arises, ask yourself if working on it will directly support your efforts at accomplishing your above business goals? If not, don’t feel that you are obligated to continue. Push that project aside and don’t feel guilty about it. If you think it does, regardless of how amazing you think your idea is and how beneficial you think it will be to pursue, give yourself at least 24 hours to think about the overall impact it will have. Then, ask yourself again if working on this distraction will directly support your goals before you move on to the next step. I have a clarity journal that I jot all of my ideas on which works great.
Schedule It In > If you determine that working on the project does directly support your goals, you have to be disciplined to only engage in this activity when it logically fits into your schedule. Everyone should be time blocking their calendar and have a “to do” list that they are working from daily and/or weekly to stay on task. Your list should be divided by priority into different categories such as big projects, quick tasks and phone calls. Don’t squeeze anything in. Schedule things in logically with the big end result in mind.
Bill Gates has contributed his success to the fact that he focuses only on a few things. We sometimes feel that we have to be good at everything and meet the needs of everyone which goes along with the phrase, Jack of all Trades and Master of None. If you can objectively see yourself as a “Jack” you may want to join me in my new mission to be a “Master” of what I do by committing to following this plan and staying focused.