Beth Johnson, CEO of Johnson, Richards & Associates LLC in Brighton, Mich., went into high gear when a clients patients needed attention.
I found myself back in scrubs, she says, working with patients in inner-city homes. Not something I would ever have predicted Id be doing as a consultant to health care organizations, but patients needed care. That led to 16 consecutive 18-hour days, minus one two-hour break.
Business owners, busy enough during the normal course of their work, can become overextended by simultaneous, competing demands. Licensed professional counselor Michael Salas of Vantage Point Counseling in Dallas, Tex., cites some specific warning signs of feeling out of control: snapping with people at home, being a little more impatient or not getting things done there you normally do.
Robert Preziosi, professor at Huizenga School of Business, Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., shows how, from a business standpoint, to make practical changes.
Weve all had periods in our work lives where we work incessantly and begin to wonder about the purpose of it all, Preziosi remarks. During these times weve stretched ourselves so thin that a strong wind would blow us away. He maintains that its possible to keep working while restoring your energy if you use his pull-back method.
Two quick tips will help you begin to pull back immediately. When youre feeling absolutely overwhelmed, identify the three most important actions my business needs me to take right now, Preziosi says. Follow through. Bring telephone conversations to a timely conclusion by asking customers or vendors if theres anything else you need to discuss.
Preziosi indicates that putting some thought into how youre spending your time can reap dividends. Almost 100 percent of it should relate to the productivity of tasks, quality of the end result or service continuity/excellence, he explains. He suggests developing a grid with four columns productivity, quality, service and other with relevant tasks listed under each. Dont leave a single one out.
When you review your grid, youll see that other is filled with tasks you can reorganize or assign to another person. A few reasonable adjustments will have a solid impact on you while not overwhelming others, he points out. You might even have to drop some old behaviors, such as multitasking, in favor of more efficient ones. For example, whether you have employees or not, look for tasks you could drop altogether without harming the business.
He says its the rare business owner who gets everything done. You might remember a task you didnt do a month later, only to discover that the time to do the task has passed and it obviously didnt need to be done, because nothing happened, he notes.
The bottom-line suggestion for the business owner is to look at the to-do list and ask about each one what would happen if it werent done, he advises. Restore yourself by making a pact with yourself and sticking to it not to do things that no one will notice. Youll regain time you uncovered.
Although you might be a one-person business, people around you can help. Encourage them to be involved and comment when youre not setting good boundaries, Salas says. Make sure you keep getting feedback so you dont get too (overwhelmed). If you become defensive, look for the kernel of truth in what theyre saying.
Many of his clients install separations in their day to assure boundaries, such as marking the end of the work day by going to the gym or taking a walk. Otherwise, he believes, Its hard to know where the work day ends and the personal day begins.
Dr. Mildred L. Culp welcomes your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. © 2012 Passage Media.