It’s all quite overwhelming, don’t you think? Being an entrepreneur, having to do all the marketing, the sales, the administration, the delivery, doing everything by yourself, it’s all quite a lot and leads to overwhelm..
In fact, quite overwhelming is a bit of an understatement. So what can you do to combat the overwhelm? There are lots of strategies to help you cope with the overwhelming nature but, I think the most important thing to do is to make it so it’s not actually overwhelming. People will often talk about how to cope with the overwhelm and those strategies are really useful, really wonderful, and I will do another post about those at some point. In the meantime, we need to deal with the root of the problem. Why doing everything yourself is overwhelming.
We all get the same hours
There are only 24 hours in a day. We all spend six to eight hours asleep so that leaves, potentially, 16 hours in which you can get stuff done, you can’t devote all 16 hours to your business, and nor should you.
As a person with responsibilities you have a family to take care of, you have yourself to take care of, you have to eat, you have to exercise, you have to socialise, you have to do all those things. So, in reality, the time that you have available to work is more like six to eight hours. And that’s a good day. That’s a long and productive day. So what you do in those hours is important, because it’s not much time. And that doesn’t even account for breaks and the unexpected things that pop up and so on. So in reality you have even less time.
Are you taking your M.E.D?
There are a few things that you’ve got to do that are essential. You’ve got at the very least, make sure that you are administering your minimum effective dose, the minimum number of sales you need in order to pay the bills, the minimum amount of marketing, you need to do in order to actually generate enough leads to make those sales, the minimum amount of administration you need to do to make sure that you don’t end up in a pickle.
When you figure out your minimum effective dose, then you can start to figure out how to manage your time. Time management is actually my speciality. I have a wealth of knowledge and experience on the topic, I’ve helped hundreds of entrepreneurs with time management. I’ve helped people in the corporate environment, but time management, I’ve helped teams, solo entrepreneurs, and so on. I have helped many many people.
What works for one just overwhelms another
There is no one fixed system that works for everybody. There are lots of diaries and planners out there that supposedly ways for you to manage your time effectively systems and blah, but you can’t just buy a system and implement it because it doesn’t work that way. Your life is unique to you. The dynamic of your life, the things you have to do, the responsibilities that you have are all unique to you. With all of that taken into account, managing your time becomes much more complicated because we’ve got to figure it out on a case by case basis.
You have to think about what’s going to work for you. What you can manage, and when you can manage it. How much recovery time you need, how much break time you need, how much warmup time you need, and so on. Time is finite, and you have much less than you think. But the good thing is that you can get far more done in far less time than you think if you properly manage your time.
Understanding focus is a key component in your fight against overwhelm
Once you’ve figured out your minimum effective dose, you need to also figure out your optimal focus period. So your optimal focus period is the amount of time that you can sustain complete and total focus. People, generally speaking, overestimate massively over the optimal focus period. It is actually far less time than you think. So the average person is around 45 minutes, and then you need at least 15 minutes to recover.
Most people would estimate a couple of hours because they think, “yeah I can focus for a couple of hours, and then have a break”, but that’s not true. What actually happens in that time, is you have a certain amount of time where your brain is in the right state to really get cracking to really achieve something. And then, after that time period passes, your brain goes into recovery mode. It goes into almost like sleep mode for your PC.
Sleep mode activated, overwhelm is imminent
What happens when your brain is in sleep mode is your mind starts to wander, your brain starts to slow down a bit, and you disengage. And it’s a little bit harder to maintain that focus. In that time, you’re just winging it. And if you don’t allow yourself to actually recover in that time as you should, then it makes it really hard to jump into your next focus period. It makes it almost impossible. In fact, not only that, but it also reduces the amount of time that you can focus in your next focus period.
Your optimal focus period will change from day to day, but not massively. It changes depending on how you feel, how tired you are, and how energetic you are. There are environmental concerns too, things like distractions in your environment, how noisy is it, are there any weird smells, are somewhere quiet and comfortable, and so on. Those things all have an impact, they will create a reduction in your ability to focus.
Identifying your optimal focus period will free you from the clutches of overwhelm
Figuring out that period of time is something that will be massively beneficial. And it’s also not that hard. You just need to do something, read something is the ideal thing. Read something that is not easy to read, that is complicated, that is maybe even boring. So don’t get out your favourite book, get something that you really don’t like reading. How long can you sit and read that thing before you find yourself not taking in what you’re reading? And that right there is your optimal focus period. If you do that on a day when you are feeling good, you’re well-rested
and you’re in a quiet and comfortable environment that is relatively distraction-free, then you have a baseline to work from. That is the most amount of time that you’re going to be able to focus for.
On days where you’re tired or there are distractions and so on, your focus period will be even shorter. So figuring that period out is game-changing, it will help you to achieve more and get more done. Once you’ve figured out your optimal focus period, you can then start breaking down the hours that you actually have to devote to your business into focus time and recovery time. And you can then make sure that you are getting in enough focus time for each of your activities to conform to your minimum effective dose.
Overestimating what you can get done in any amount of time will lead to overwhelm
You then have a reasonable starting point to start planning and managing your time. You have a means of understanding how your time should be spent, and your ability to actually live up to it. So many people put too much in their diary. “I’ve got to do this, that, then the other on this day”, and then they get to that day and they can’t actually do it because it’s too much. They can’t finish those tasks and one spills into the next and into the next. It is far more effective to underestimate how much you can do in any given amount of time than it is to overestimate.
There really are enough hours in the day, it’s overwhelm that tells you otherwise
When you’re planning your time, take into account your minimum effective dose and your optimal focus period, and then plan your day around that. And that will chop and change from day to day, but use that as a starting point to plan your day. Then you will get more done, and you will actually do the things required to make sure that your business functions properly, and still be able to give the appropriate time and energy to other aspects of your life. And then you’re much less likely to find yourself saying things like, “there are not enough hours in the day.”
Most importantly of all, you free yourself from the likelihood of overwhelm. You make it much less likely that you’re going to become overwhelmed because you have more energy, you have more of you to give to everything because you’re more focused. You are allowing yourself plenty of recovery time, you’re doing all the things required to give yourself the best possible chance of life going as you plan it.
Time management is my speciality, I literally wrote the book on it.
Time management is a specialised activity that nobody teaches you growing up. Everyone has their own way that works for them and if you need some help finding yours then my book may well be just the ticket to help you with that. It has already helped lots of people and will continue on to help many more.
If you want to grab a copy then head over to amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B098P8TXFR
I also help people in my 1:1 work so if that sounds like it would be more beneficial to you then you can head over to my company website and send me a message on there. From there we can arrange a time and date to call and have a chat to figure out your time management issues and get you on the right track.https://mikethebizguy.co.uk/Contact
If you do nothing about your situation then you will burn out
Have you ever heard of burnout? It is a word that gets thrown around rather flippantly these days. So much so that it gets downplayed. Burnout is deadly, make to mistake about that. I myself have suffered the harsh realities of burnout. I did too much and rested too little and the result was that I had a stroke at 29 years old. That is not something I would wish upon anybody.
If you would like to find out more about burnout, to learn about spotting the signs of it creeping in, then head over to an article I wrote on the topic not that long ago. You can find that article here https://mybizacademy.co.uk/lets-talk-about-burnout