If you’re anything like me, some days have you feeling like superwoman as you run your business while others leave you to face doubt and overwhelm. Especially when you are juggling other responsibilities, like family activities and possibly even multiple careers, it’s easy to forget to take time out for yourself and address these problems when they arise.
Here are the top 3 most common problem areas I see female entrepreneurs and new business owners face and how you can tackle them with grace:
For most people, starting a business is totally scary! If this is something you’ve never done before, you may feel like an imposter or think you aren’t good enough, but don’t get down on yourself. Those negative nagging voices in your head are just that, and they can just as easily be replaced with some positive thoughts instead. Sometimes we all face doubt. It’s a natural part of life, but try reminding yourself:
- All businesses have to start somewhere. Look to your business role models and educate yourself on how they were able to grow their business. Use this information as guidance and make a plan for your own business.
- Failures are just an opportunity to learn how you can improve next time. If you messed something up the first time, it’s not the end of the world! Use the experience to make it better next time and feel accomplished for your growth.
- Get some outside perspective. When you’re super busy, it’s easy to get trapped in your own head and forget about your support system – your friends and your family. Sharing your thoughts with someone else can be if nothing else, a great release from keeping it all bottled up inside. Even if you’re at first reluctant to share these feelings, I bet you’ll be surprised at how good it feels to tell someone about it and what advice they may be able to offer once you do.
Stress is an inevitable part of running a business and comes in many forms – physical exhaustion, emotional exhaustion, and anxiety. However, with the right techniques, it can be managed and have minimal effect on your personal and business life. Don’t run into burnout before you decide to do something about it.
- Take responsibility for the things you can control. Stress often occurs when we feel we can’t meet all of our obligations. Some of those things are in control and others are not. Take action on the items you can control and accept that the other things are out of your hands.
- Start with a plan or goal in mind. Without a plan of action, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Create a path for yourself that leads you out of the woods and identify the important steps that need to happen along the way. Remind yourself that the completion of one thing gets you closer to your end goal. Small victories like these are just what you need to carry you to the finish line.
- Prioritize what is most important. You’ve got a lot on your plate and the best way to get it all done is to start with the most important tasks and delegate everything else. Organize your list of to-do’s into critical and non-critical items and discipline yourself to follow-through on critical items while passing the rest off to someone else.
Time management and stress go hand-in-hand. Most often we become stressed because we are not managing our time, or ourselves in a productive way. Time management is all about choice and how we choose to fill our days with activities. Here are some techniques to keep you focused and on-task when distractions creep in.
- Map out your daily activities. Create a time-table, schedule or Gantt chart to help you clearly see how many hours are actually available to you. How many of those hours are you really able to work each day and each week? Build in time for things you need like eating, sleeping, family, and breaks. (Hint: most of us tend to be over-optimistic when estimating how long it takes to get things done so build in some extra time as a buffer if you need to.) Allot your leftover time between your prioritized items. You can even use an online tool like Clickup or Trello to help you stay organized and on track.
- Distinguish between urgent and important items. The true nature of an urgent activity is that it expects to be addressed immediately, but may or not actually also be important. An unscheduled phone call, email, unexpected interruption or client meeting may demand your prompt attention as it waits for your response or engagement, but it’s OK to put these items on hold or reschedule them if you have higher priorities activities needing your attention. Of course, some things are both important and urgent such as meeting hard deadlines or resolving conflicts, however, being able to make these clear distinctions can help ensure you are focusing your energy on the right kinds of tasks.
What do you think? Do you have trouble trying to conquer doubt, stress or time management issues as you run your business? What techniques or tools have worked best for you?
Need more assistance on juggling your business? Reach out to K Design Co. for business, branding and design resources.
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Kristin Pruis • November 14, 2017