Do you often feel like you have bitten off more than you can chew? Do you find yourself rushing from project to project with barely enough time in between to eat or shower? If you are like many entrepreneurs, you may have a tendency to over-commit yourself. People overextend themselves for various reasons; perhaps you just get caught up in the moment and agree to something before you check your schedule, or maybe you find it difficult to say no to people.
Whatever your motivation, it leaves you feeling frustrated and frazzled, and it could potentially damage your reputation if you’re not able to honour all of the commitments that you’ve made. Here are some tips to help you take control and stop over-committing:
- Acknowledge that it’s a problem: While it’s normal to be busy, if your hectic pace causes you to be stressed out most of the time, then it is something that you need to address. Being constantly on the run is bad for your health, puts a strain on your relationships with your friends and family, and can cause you to lose focus of your goals. You can work on your business for twenty hours a day and still find that success slips through your fingers. Being busy is productive; frantically scrambling around is not. If you think that you may currently be overextended, then it is time to step back and re-evaluate.
- Listen to your body: Your body is great at telling you when you’re going too fast, provided that you take the time to listen. How do you feel? Do you have trouble sleeping? Are you tired all of the time? Do you suffer from headaches? Are you having digestive problems? Do you have acne or eczema or any other skin conditions that flare up when you’re stressed? If your body is displaying symptoms of stress then it means that your activities are physically straining you. Don’t take these symptoms lightly; while you may only be able to detect a headache and a rash, that same stress could be causing much more serious damage to your body.
- Pause before you commit to anything: When somebody asks you to do something, your first inclination is probably to say yes. Most of us are people-pleasers, and while it may have seemed like a good idea at first, if you really stopped to think about it, you would realize that you just don’t have the time. For this reason, it is best to hold off before you make any commitments. Allow yourself time to sleep on it and determine if you actually can make it work with your schedule. If a project doesn’t fit in with your priorities, or you are simply just too busy right now, be ready to say no.
- Be clear (and ruthless) about your priorities: In order to make good decisions about how you spend your time, you must have a very clear picture of your priorities. Know what you need to do in order to be successful in your business and at home, and make these tasks priority number one. Don’t let anything get in the way of your top priorities. If you know what is important and you are willing to be firm on those priorities, you will automatically make better decisions about which projects to take on, and which projects to decline.
- Schedule time for yourself: Whenever you are making plans, be sure to leave some “me” time. Everybody needs a little time to read a book, watch trashy television, go jogging, go out with friends, do yoga, or do whatever it is that helps you unwind. This time is important as it allows you to relax, rest, and have fun. You may find that it is your favourite part of the day. Unfortunately, when we are busy, this special time is usually the fist to go. Consider the life that you want to live; do you really want a life where you never have a chance to do the things that you most enjoy?
We all have times when our business and our lives are particularly busy, and we have to put certain things on hold. However, if your busy period lasts for months or years, then you need to take action. What are you really achieving by keeping such a fast pace? What are you giving up? If you take some time to reflect, you may find that some of the tasks that are occupying most of your time are not that important. When you make an effort not to overextend yourself, perhaps you’ll discover that you are able to achieve the same level of success without running yourself ragged. Never forget that this is your life and you have to decide how you’re going to live it.
Written by Karen Bivand
Featured image via shutterstock.com