If you are a woman entrepreneur you are probably very familiar with the feeling of being overwhelmed, especially if you also happen to be a mom. There are so many things to keep track of, sometimes it feels like your head is literally going to spin off. Not only are you in charge of your business, you are also the CEO of your house and family. You may be handling everything from doing the books for your business to trying to excavate your yard for rocks for your kid’s big penguin project. ( We got an “A” thank you very much.) How on earth can you stay focused and feel productive when you are being pulled in a hundred different directions?
Here are some suggestions I give to my clients and that I also follow to stay sane.
1. Know your priorities. It is easy to get distracted and feel resentful if you spend your precious time and energy on projects that are not truly meaningful to you. Of course, for this to be effective you must first know what your priorities actually are. Make a short list of what is most important to you right now.
2. Do the thing that will have the biggest impact first. If you are able to see some immediate results from your work, you are likely to feel a much greater sense of calm and accomplishment. I recently read a report that said contrary to popular belief dieters who lost a larger amount of weight at the beginning of their diet actually stuck with their diets longer than those who lost using the slower recommended method of of 1-2 pounds a week. It was that initial impact and excitement about their measurable progress that kept them going. This was, of course, recommended only for the beginning and then later suggested to get back to a slower rate of progress. The same can be true for you, however. If you can make some big strides right up front it can give you the push you need to keep going.
3. Ask for help and engage the troops. You do not have to do everything by yourself. If you have friends, kids, colleagues or a husband, there are people around you who can and should support and help you. However, you have to ask for help. You may be tempted to think that others should know you need help and volunteer that help without being asked, but if you have been doing everything up to this point your family is used to it by now. You are going to have to identify what you need help with and then ask for that help. Remember, you are working to help your family, so your family should help you work!
4. Go to bed 1/2 hour earlier. Nothing helps a frazzled mompreneur more than a good night’s rest. You think more clearly, you have more energy and your mood is better. You may be tempted to stay up late cramming to get every last little thing done, but you won’t. There is always more to do, so better to tackle it with a well rested mind and body.
5. Keep your desk organized. For some people organizing things is a chore and for others it can be fun. No matter where you fall on the spectrum you will probably work in a much more efficient manner if your work space is clear of clutter. Clean space=clear mind=more productivity=less overwhelm.
Finally, let go of your guilt. I know this is easier said than done, but you really must try. Feeling guilty doesn’t help you or anyone else. Believe it or not, you are only one person. There really are only 24 hours in the day and there really is only so much you can accomplish in that time. If you are already doing you best, that is enough.