Feeling the overwhelm? This post is for you.
When we know how to prioritize tasks, and which projects to focus on for both profitability and sanity, everything becomes more sustainable, efficient, and focussed.
And I don’t know about you, but sustainability and sanity are two of my favourite things.
(Alongside a good whisky and a charcuterie board, that is. #sundayswithTeamNewman).
Before we dive in, let’s check in with some definitions.
What do I actually mean by efficiency?
Well, “efficiency” is all about reaching an optimal level of performance that uses the least amount of inputs (time, energy, money) to achieve the highest amount of output.
In human terms, it’s doing the most with the least, knowing how to manage time to make that happen, and not burning out while we do it.
Because here’s something I do know about women like you (and me):
When overwhelm kicks in (and it’s not just business overwhelm, it’s LIFE overwhelm), it’s so hard to know what to do to stop your brain spinning.
This is why we need to know how to prioritize tasks, and how to get used to making efficiency a core part of how you live and work.
Listen, I am dealing with a recent adult ADHD diagnosis (hear more on that in this excellent podcast with Rebecca Ching), so I TOTALLY get overwhelm. I have been chronically overwhelmed for most of my life.
In this post, I will be sharing:
Here at the Bold Leadership Revolution, we are all about SLOWING down to speed up, and doing less if you want more.
Yes, we do things a little differently around here.
So, before we understand how to triage and rank tasks for ease and efficiency, getting a handle on why women business owners are so burned out and frazzled is key.
Whenever I chat with women business owners in the Bold Profit Academy, the thing that always jams them up is time.
We’re time-starved – or at least, we experience a scarcity of time that can lead to overwhelm.
So many service providers are balancing all of the parts of their business, from selling to delivering and everything in between.
Fun fact: Self-employed women are at higher risk of mental illness and stress than men.
A report by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2018/2019 Report on Women’s Entrepreneurship showed that as of 2019 there were an estimated 252 million women globally who are entrepreneurs and another 153 million who own or operate small businesses.
Often, we come into owning our own business to create the freedom that we think will help to alleviate stress, but replace corporate stress with the pitfalls of making a business work.
Maybe you can relate?
Here’s what I discover in my conversations with my clients: most of their time is spent over-delivering, over-worrying, over-stressing, and undercharging.
That’s a perfect storm for feelings of resentment, anger, and burnout that affect your business, your personal life, and your wellbeing.
We want to create businesses that allow us to have a level of financial freedom, independence, and personal freedom.
We don’t want our business robbing us of our personal freedom – or else there’s really no point in having the business., right?
I listen to women talk all the time and yes, financial freedom is important to them, but a lot of the reasons why they left their job or decided to be a freelancer or decided to grow their business was for their personal freedom.
So, it’s hard when that financial pressure starts to really impinge on those personal freedoms.
When we get clear on what truly matters, it becomes easier to know how to prioritize tasks for ease and efficiency (and it saves your sanity, too!).
The Issue With Glamorising Entrepreneurship
Recently, I did a poll over on my Instagram.
91% of my IG community said they feel social media over glamorizes small business ownership.
Let’s read that again:
Now, I’m all for optimism and hope, but sometimes the high vibe newsfeed can make you feel like you’re doing something wrong.
Most of us KNOW what we are reading and seeing is over glamorized, but it can still impact how you feel about your own business.
Here’s the truth:
Business has cycles, it’s not all up or all down.
Like nature, your business has a rhythm that ebbs and flows.
Acknowledging that these cycles exist help you create predictability.
Knowing how to make the best use out of each cycle is what creates sustainability.
We need to zoom out, focus on your personal goals, and keep your eyes on your own P&L so you protect your mental and emotional health.
When you zoom out, you know how to prioritize tasks.
When we are stuck in the weeds or sucked into an Instagram scroll, it’s harder.
No matter where you are in the season of business, here’s what always works:
- Stick to the basics.
- Focus on your existing customers.
- Build relationships.
- Solve problems.
- Your price is your price.
- Know how to sell.
- Know how to profit (and what Profit First is).
- Know how to utilize your cash.
- Stay focused.
- Be patient.
- Prioritize having fun and the things that matter most.
- Stay away from fads and gimmicks.
- Treat everyone else’s revenue claims as vanity metrics.
- Set a Revenue Goal that’s aligned with your own values and goals (not those of the person in the. next Instagram box to you).
What matters is…
- Are you able to pay yourself?
- Do you have profit that you can use to position yourself for growth?
- In achieving those two things do you have the personal freedom you desire?
Knowing how to prioritize tasks meaning getting real with yourself and your business, and looking at what truly matters.
How to Slow Down and How to Prioritize Tasks
At The Bold Leadership Revolution, we use the acronym S.L.O.W. to remind our high performers that they can move much faster if they SLOW down.
Taking the time to step back and debrief yields huge results for your business and well-being, and is key in helping to know how to prioritize tasks for ease and efficiency.
It can often feel counterintuitive to make space in a rammed calendar to think and reflect.
In truth, 30 minutes of smart reflection pays back richly in performance, durability, and profitability.
Because here’s what you need to consider: what’s the cost of your overwhelm?
Overwhelm is costing you.
Not only are there lost opportunities, lack of presence, chronic exhaustion, it erodes your confidence.
That dizzy spinning feeling just feels awful, and it just takes your confidence out when you get into that state.
Overwhelm stands in the way of your quality of living, and hurts your ability to think.
When we are spinning our wheels and not sure where to focus, everything feels overwhelming and out of control.
Getting everything out of your head and creating clarity on what to do next helps you to lower the pressure so you can breathe.
Here’s a run down of the SLOW Method so you can act right now, reduce overwhelm and get an instant handle on how to prioritize tasks:
Bold take-away: Wanna know how to prioritize tasks? Go SLOW. Breathe.
How to Identify if Something is a Distraction.
The more successful you become, the more opportunities pop up.
Have you noticed this?
With more opportunity comes more responsibility, and:
More projects vying for your attention.
If not managed well, it can all lead to a lot of distraction, making it difficult to know how to prioritize tasks and what to focus on next.
I want you to know that it’s normal – in fact, it’s the same problem leaders have faced for eternity.
Another incredibly normal distraction happens when you’re avoiding your revenue-generating tasks, and opting for tasks that add little to no value or are sexy, shiny objects that you put in your way to block your next level of growth.
That’s also nothing new.
Business owners do that ALL the time.
The CEO I worked with decades ago with strategic tasks a mile long would hide from me in the shipping department and pack boxes.
Digital entrepreneurs procrastinate on copy, graphics, the right time to post on social media.
Opportunities come along all the time, and before you add them to your task list, we need to know if it’s a distraction or a really worthwhile endeavour.
Your time is at a premium.
So, you need to make decisions.
I’m going to give you 3 simple steps to assess if something is a distraction or worth putting on your goal sheet or project list; my 3 P Process.
Purpose. Process. Payoff.
I first started using the 3 Ps over 20 years ago when creating learning content for leadership development; every training program we created had to have a clear purpose, process, and payoff.
We utilize that quick framework in a myriad of ways with our clients and inside our tools.
When you’re faced with a choice, ask yourself the following questions:
What’s the purpose?
Why do you want to take this on?
What’s important to note here is your energy.
How do you feel about your reasons?
Energized, electrified, excited? Or put upon, meh, overwhelmed?
What’s the process?
List all of the steps you would need to take to achieve this purpose.
Is it simple, or is it involved and time-consuming?
What’s the Payoff?
What’s the result you hope to achieve?
Is the result achievable in the timeframe you’re looking at or is there a quicker path to that goal?
What’s all of this going to cost you?
Is the payoff enough of an ROI?
How much energy will this consume and is there a good return on your energy?
If you revise the process, does it enhance the payoff?
Now that you ‘ve answered these questions, is it worth the time, energy, and effort to take you away from your original plan, goal, and actions?
If not, it’s most likely a distraction from you getting the actual results you want.
(Love to listen? The podcast episode on How to Identify if something is a distraction is here).
Bold Takeaway: Check in with the 3 P’s to identify if something is a distraction, and to know how to prioritize tasks.
Now that you have some tools in your hands to reduce overwhelm and to know how to prioritize tasks, here are some extra resources that will help you further:
The CEO Debrief
The CEO Debrief is one of the pillar tools we use inside the Bold Profit Academy.
Building a regular reflection habit in your business is a foundational piece that helps you to know how to prioritize tasks and what is happening in your business on a regular basis.
Knowing how to prioritize tasks is easier when you can buy back more time.
This podcast episode with Stacey Harris on How to Productize Your Services And Buy Back Time will support you here.
Knowing how to prioritise tasks is also about knowing how to look after your own energy efficiently.
This podcast episode with Erin O’Malley breaks down why managing your energy makes it easier to implement.
The Bold Profit Academy:
The Bold Profit Academy is our business building incubator and group coaching experience for service-based business owners who are ready to prioritize profit and pay themselves 6-figures consistently, without complicated tactics
Our program is designed to help service providers streamline the way they work so they gain back valuable time and energy while generating their dream income.
We know how important it is for you to do your most important work in the world AND be well paid doing it — all while being able to spend quality time with your family, enjoy your fur babies, find a hobby, and cultivate a life well-lived.
That’s why we teach you how to sell premium services without emotionally draining launches, stressing about ads, overwhelming social strategies or complex funnels.