You’re juggling ten different projects in your business. You’re frustrated that things are not happening fast enough. And you have no idea how long you can keep up this pace without burning out.
Most days you end up mentally (and physically) drained from spinning your wheels all day long. And all you really want is to have a successful business without losing your sanity and at the end of the day to also have time and energy for what’s important to you outside of work.
I get it. I used to love juggling a few different projects on the go. But then I hit this moment when I could feel the strain it was putting on me and the relationship with my husband.
Before I left the corporate world, I loved getting involved in projects off the side of my desk in addition to my full-time job at the bank. In the evenings and weekends, I was not only studying for my coaching diploma but also had another big project on the go.
When I left the bank to set up my coaching practice, I carried on with my other project. The coaching business and this other project had no common grounds. I couldn’t leverage the effort I put into one to help me with the other.
What I noticed was that some weeks I’d focus more on the other project and I’d advance with it. Other weeks, I’d focus on the coaching and I’d gain traction with the business. When I split my time between the two, I’d see minor progress on both.
I was at a point where I wanted my coaching practice to take off properly. I realised something had to change to get the desired result; I started to look for a mentor.
My mentor’s condition for working with me
I approached someone I had known for a few months. He didn’t know that I had another project on the go. Before I hired him, he said to me “If we’re to start working together, I want you to be solely focused on your coaching business.”
Technically, I knew that the coaching and the other project were full-time jobs in their own right.
So, when I made a three-figure investment in working with my mentor, I also decided to pause the other project until I was happy with how my coaching practice was going.
‘Not now’ rather than ‘Stopping it forever’
I admit, this wasn’t an easy decision to make and it was hard letting it go because, over the previous four years, I not only made a significant financial investment into this project but I had also dedicated countless hours in my evenings and weekends. Moreover, I was beginning to see my investment pay off.
So, I told myself: “I’m pausing this project for now. I’ll review it again further down the line and decide if I want to resume it.” Mentally, this made it easier to let go of the project because I was pressing the pause button and saying ‘not now’ rather than ‘stopping it forever’.
The results of streamlining my business activities
Narrowing down my focus and concentrating my time and efforts helped me gain traction quickly in my coaching practice over the following months and years.
For starters, I had more headspace to learn and develop new skills essential to take my business to the next level.
Equally importantly, it freed up invaluable time, allowing me to take better care of myself again, to go on more breaks away with my husband and to spend more quality time with the people I love.
It’s easy to slip back and to bite off more than I can (or should) chew. So, since then I regularly review my business activities to ensure that I’m using my time most effectively in a way that supports my career and personal goals and aspirations.
One of the things I love doing with my clients is to help them streamline and simplify what they’re working on so that they can achieve more in their business while having more time and energy for themselves and what’s important to them outside of work.
A client’s tale
Today, I want to share with you the critical steps that I went through with one of my clients who was in a similar situation recently.
She hired me because she wanted to progress with her business and a major, important project that she was working on and wanted to keep on track and follow a specific timeline.
As we started working together, I tried to understand everything that my client was involved in. I found it hard to keep track of all the projects that she was engaged with. It wasn’t easy to see how all the different strands fitted in with each other.
Why did I care so much about being able to piece all of this together?
I want my clients to achieve the results that they hire me for. For our work together to be truly effective and for my client to be able to progress faster in the projects she hired me to help her with, she had to focus on what would make the most significant impact.
What I noticed was that she was spreading herself very thinly across many different areas, leaving her frustrated with her progress, exhausted and stressed out. She realised that this had to change, even though she didn’t know how to do it.
The 7 Essential Steps to Streamlining Your Business Activities
Here are the key steps that I went through with this client. These are the exact same steps that I go through myself on a regular basis.
By following this process, I help my clients to reduce overwhelm, see tangible results faster in their business, keep their sanity and get to enjoy more of their life outside of work.
Step 1. What’s your primary business priority right now?
Step 2. Get clear on how much time you have for your business. How many hours per week do you have to work on and in your business? If you’re feeling the brunt of working long hours, then ask yourself: “How many hours you do I actually want to work per week, allowing for what’s important to me outside of work?”
Step 3. List out all the projects you’re working on. You can do this on your own by writing them down or explaining them to someone else you trust to openly talk about your business e.g. a fellow entrepreneur, a friend, family member. (You’re not necessarily seeking their opinion on whether you should do something or not but rather verbalising what you’re doing to help you see if things aren’t adding up or making sense.)
Step 4. Review if and how each of the activities fits in with your business and where you want to take it. Are all projects and activities contributing towards the same objective? If they are, to what extent? Which ones are the most impactful ones?
Step 5. Now you know how much time you have and want to spend on your business, what your key priority is, plus you’re clear on what you’re doing and why. It’s time to ask these two important questions: “How is this activity/project helping you achieve your ultimate goal?” “Is it in alignment with your values and other priorities?”
Step 6. Next, it’s time to begin to streamline objectively. Which projects or activities can you pause for now? Which ones can you stop altogether? Do you need to outsource or delegate something that has to be done but is taking your attention and energy away from the core of what you want to achieve?
Step 7. What do you need to focus on first? What is the first step you’re going to take in this direction?
Need help with a specific challenge, or have questions about this process? Ask them in the comments below. I’m here to help!
I can’t wait to see you power through, achieve those results in your business and free up more time for your personal life. You’ve got this!
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(Photo credit: Befunky)