Once upon time, there was this talented, fierce + amazing girl who felt like it was time for her to act on those aspirations she had to start her own business.
She knew she was awesome + she figured if she did her homework, hustled hard + put herself out there, other people would be able to see that, too. Soon enough, she too would be posing in front of the Eiffel Tower with all the other 6-figure success stories.
And that’s what she did :: she researched all the right things, she worked her tail off + she put herself in front of as many eyes as she could. Except there were no champagne-worthy income reports or Louis Vuitton luggage sets.
Nope. The only bags this princess had her under her eyes + a serious case of “WTF am I doing wrong here?”.
Here’s the good news, boss :: every success story has a chapter (or four!) on feeling overwhelmed. This means you’re on the right track!
The bad news :: overwhelm is a symptom that something you’re doing isn’t working + you need to identify what that is + the necessary changes you have to implement before you move forward.
But here’s more good news :: I happen to have a black-belt in kicking overwhelm to the curb + I’ve dedicated this post to sharing that with you. #haYAH
You’re an amazing boss lady so Imma start this conversation like I do with any other amazing boss ladies I work with + ask you…. “So what’s the plan here?”. Then it’s your turn to rhyme off your top 3 to 5 priorities + the strategy you have in place to see those through.
Wait, what was that? You don’t have a plan? Sooooo, that’s a problem!
Going about your day-to-day operations without a plan is the equivalent of running a marathon without a map or a route; you’re just expending a whole bunch of extra energy + exhausting yourself in the hopes that you’ll reach your finish line when it’s pretty unlikely that you’ll even get there without at least having some sense of established direction.
1) Your OFFERS – we’re talking about the actual thing(s) you sell, genius you do, brilliance people pay you for; or
2) Your MARKETING + PROMOTIONS – putting yourself out there to be seen + heard as an online authority in your field; or
3) Your GROWTH + BOTTOM LINE – getting your numbers up like your sales made, subscriber count, income reports; or
4) Your BRANDING + ONLINE PRESENCE – meaning your website, your social media, your overall image on the interwebs.
Having said that, there tends to be a lot of overlap between these key areas. If you don’t have a solid plan in place for where your priorities lie within each of these areas, this is typically where the overwhelm starts to creep in.
Which brings us to our next source of self-sabotage…
YOU ARE NOT A CHARCUTERIE PLATE
What’s not to love about charcuteries plates? They have a lot going on with the pickled things + the exotic cheeses + the cured meats + those creamy patés with all the fancy crostinis + crackers + breads. Not to mention how well they go with 1 or 2 (or 3 or 4!) glasses of wine – which basically makes for the perfect things to choose from on a Thursday night of catching up with your BFFs.
Meanwhile, this “choose your adventure” approach does exactly the opposite when it comes to catching up on all your biz-related stuff on Friday morning. Having a selection of things on your To Do list is bad because it means your focus is, well, unfocused.
When you have a plan with a defined area of focus, your To Do list should be easy to reign in. The idea is that every day, you’re doing work that gets you closer to achieving whatever goal or progress you have established for yourself.
How – exactly! – does this happen? Simple! Get your plan, get your To Do list + put them side-by-side. Then ask yourself ::
- Are the things I have to do today directly in line with my goals?
- Will I be able to say “I’ve made progress!” after I’ve completed each of these action items?
- Am I dedicating time + energy to new ideas + passions that I should be putting off to my future self to see through?
- Can I look at my To Do list + easily identify which key areas they are contributing to for me + my business?
- Does all of this work have to be done by me? Is any of this repetitive work that could be outsourced?
The point of your To Do list is not to fill all of the hours in your day, nor is it to spread yourself thin across the whole board trying to do “all the things”.
Your To Do list should be created from the point of view that 1) you see where you’re going + 2) you’re taking the steps to get you there. Anything that doesn’t bring you from point A to point B shouldn’t make the list.
ON WEDNESDAYS WE WEAR PINK
“But Lanie!”, you’re saying. “There’s a bunch of maintenance stuff I have to do. These emails won’t reply themselves.” True dat, boss!
Fashion-conscious “Plastics” know that Wednesdays are dedicated exclusively to pink attire – it takes the guesswork out of making a decision – while you, my success-conscious boss, can dedicate your Wednesdays to maintenance mode for your business, like catching up on emails or scheduling next week’s social content or whatever other things you have to do to sustain “business as usual”.
This is commonly referred to as “batching” or “time blocking” + the idea is that you’re putting all the gotta-do-it stuff into one time slot. Not only does this mean you do better, more focused work, but it also helps you pump the brakes on replying to that email on Tuesday when you really should be working on something else. You know that it’ll get handled on Wednesday + you can put it out of your brain for now.
How do you do it right?
As usual, I’m going to tell you that it all starts for a – wait for it! – a plan, of course!
Map out all of the things you have to do in your business to maintain the status quo. If you’re at a loss, that outsourcing checklist I mentioned earlier is a great starting point to cover the most common things bosses like you do + need help with doing in their businesses.
Once you have a list of all the maintenance tasks on your plate, figure out how long you would have to spend on each of these + then dedicate an appropriate time period to getting that shiz done. On that day, there is no To Do list; it’s just all the stuff that keeps you rolling out your “business as usual” workload.
So what happens when, like, awwlllllllll your time is dedicated to just maintaining your operations.
As in, after you’ve done the emails + the follow-ups + the quality control + “all the things” you need to do to keep your business running smoooooth as melty peanut butter… there’s no time for you to tackle that To Do list + move towards making progress on those goals.
Guess what time that is, boss? It’s time to get real!
I’m not going to tell you that you have as many hours in the day as Beyoncé (even though I kinda just did + hey! it’s true, she does soooo…). What I will tell you is that your most valuable resource isn’t money, it isn’t energy + it’s not even the 1st page of Google (as sweet as all those things are) – it’s TIME, girl!
While you can make + create all those other things, the amount of time you have will always be limited. That’s why as your workload grows, having the right systems + processes in place will become your holy-mother-savior.
Still dealing with the back-and-forth of contracts + invoices + other client onboarding things? There’s a system for that!
Find yourself answering the same old questions over + over again? There’s a way for you to, like, not do that anymore.
Speaking of questions, does your inbox feel like a morning-after on spring break? Here are some tools to make your life easier.
Are you still explaining to potential clients what goes into working with you? Automate that shiz, boss!
Got specific needs that you need some 1:1 help to unclusterf*ck your biz shiz? It’s what I do!
Because the feeling of overwhelm is a symptom, just like a case of the sniffles or putting on weight – it means something else is going on + this is your sign to get it under control.
Having a plan that has purpose + that you follow-through on is the kryptonite to that overwhelm, it’s the Namaste to feeling busy, tired + broke.
And if you’re struggling with making that happen? You know where to reach me!