Running a small business can be intense. Keeping on top of the daily admin and running of operations whilst also managing top-level stuff like marketing, growth and strategy. It is easy to become overwhelmed and paralysed. There is never one golden solution to this, so I have made a list of strategies that have worked for us here at Orderspace:
'Make lists' sounds so obvious and overly simple, but lists are so powerful. It doesn't matter whether you use scraps of paper, a bullet journal, diary or an app - find what works for you and keep making and reviewing your lists! Here is what works for us:
- Categorise projects into themes (e.g. marketing, infrastructure, customer priorities etc.).
- Break projects down into bitesize chunks that can be checked off (with great satisfaction) as they're completed.
- De-mystify any grey areas on your task list. If you don't know how you are going to complete a task, it is likely you will avoid it, and it will linger there for months, which will only de-motivate you and hold you back.
- Share your list with others and make yourself accountable. Have regular catch-ups where you review what you have achieved, any new tasks and invite feedback from other people to get an objective viewpoint.
Take a look at The Eisenhower Box, a familiar concept to anybody who has ever attended any management course. It can be very enlightening to categorise your task list into this framework.
"What is important is seldom urgent, and what is urgent is seldom important." - Dwight Eisenhower, 34th President of the United States.
Focus on what you can control and make peace with what you can't.
Don't waste time worrying about anything that is beyond your control. Be laser-focused on what you can. I use this every single day to filter my worries (personal and professional), and it is amazing how many unwanted thoughts can be thrown over my shoulder using this technique. It is a game-changer because, no matter how huge the concern may be, it allows you to identify whether you have any influence or control in the matter. If you do, you can hone in on that in a healthy way, instead of stressing out over a perceived nightmarish disaster!
I hope these 3 strategies help in the fight against overwhelm and stress. If you have any other tips or advice, I would love to hear from you.
Disclaimer: I am not a qualified mental health professional; I am a small business founder offering my experience and thoughts on some of the challenges others face. If you need medical advice, visit your GP. If you are having any thoughts of suicide or self-harm, call the Samaritans on 116123. If you are concerned about debt, call the business debt line on 0800 197 6026.