We live in a high-speed, digital world. There is no denying that.
Unfortunately, this can make the life of a small business owner extremely complicated with the need for one or more email accounts, social media accounts, texting, websites, blogs, and many other needed software and programs. Not to mention that you may have multiples as you have them for your business and your personal use. Aaargh!
The technology age has definitely laid out a great map for information overload. Especially with its enticing thoughts of accomplishing something. It’s easy to believe you’re being productive – after all, you are learning. Or networking.
Even with all that learning, you will put yourself in a paralysis of sorts because you become inactive. If you are constantly learning new things without taking action and implementing what you have learned, you are not really being productive.
That is just the knowledge information available to you. What about all the email, social media, and YouTube videos?
These can cause you to easily lose time as you are sucked into reading, responding, listening, and repeating. You enter a zone of information paralysis.
There is also such a thing as “too much information.” If you have too much information, you may begin making more errors and bad decisions. Especially when you hear (or read) that lists of things that you should be doing in your business, yet they are not all the same.
The best thing you can do for yourself and your business is learn how to manage information overload.
1. Unless you are in a customer support role or otherwise need to do so more often, only check your email at one or two scheduled times throughout your day. One way to avoid becoming sucked into the email trap is to schedule when you check and send your email.
Also, there are many new software programs that allow you to manipulate your email. You can write it ahead of time and schedule it to be delivered at a certain time, have it leave your inbox and comeback at a better time, and set up automatic responses.
If someone needs an immediate response they will find another way to contact you. The more you practice this habit, the more people will begin to expect your responses only when you send them.
You can also set up an auto-reply to your emails, if necessary, advising that you respond to emails each morning or evening … or whatever time-frame is appropriate for your new routine.
2. Place emails in folders immediately. Many email clients offer the ability to automatically send them to various folders before they even hit your inbox. If they go to your inbox, during your allotted time, place them into folders such as reply, read, take action.
I have my email program set up with many folders and sub-folders and sub-sub-folders to file completed emails in. This also makes it easier to refer back to later. My goal is to have my Inbox at (or close to) “0”.
“One of the best things you can do for yourself and your business is learn how to manage information overload.”
1. How many accounts do you really need? Where are your customers hanging out?
Take a bit of time to do the research for your specific business and determine how many social accounts you need.
Unless you have a social media business, you most likely only need 2-3 to have a successful business.
2. Use a social media dashboard to manage your accounts. Having your accounts all in one place will help save time. Plus, many of them allow you to post to several of your accounts at once and schedule them to go out later.
3. Schedule time to manage social media. Although it may seem as though you need to be connected to social media at all times, you actually don’t.
Using one of the many tools available to you, you can make it appear as though you are always online, even when you are not. This will allow you to dedicate one chunk of time to social media while having a consistent presence.
1. Turn off all electronic devices you don’t need for your current activity. Yes, this includes your phone.
You get used to not having it on with practice.
2. Turn off all notification pop-ups. These can interrupt your workflow, causing you to get distracted and possibly be pulled back into the information paralysis.
1. Use the many online project management tools to help keep you on task and organized. You can avoid much of this information overload when you know what must be done and are organized.
2. Use a calendar. You can use a desk calendar, planner, or online calendar. It will help you stay organized and see next projects and actions steps so that you remain focused.
If you’re addicted to your devices and accounts, and to always being reachable, it may take a little time to implement all of these suggestions.
That’s okay. Just start with one thing at a time. As you see the positive difference it makes, you’ll no doubt be more motivated to make more changes. Before long, you’ll be reaping the rewards of having more time available and getting more results from your productivity, rather than your constant busy-ness.
Do you ever hold back for fear of what others think of you? If so, you’re not alone. This fear stops many people from going after their dreams.
Allowing your fear to take over can hold you back personally and in business. When you live in fear, you constantly feel as though you are on your own trying to make sure people like what you must offer and that those around you are not going to laugh at you as you struggle to start your own business.
It is common to see everyone else as confident while you feel as though you are trudging through the mud keeping your business from getting stuck. However, the truth is that most people are struggling just as much as you are.
Everyone has their own fears.
Will my business succeed?
Are people going to buy from me?
What if people don’t like my marketing?
What if people laugh at me for making mistakes?
Others are not thinking what you think they are.
You may be wondering what those other business owners are saying about you, thinking about you, or how they are judging you. In reality, they are not doing any of those things. They do not have the time.
They are too busy worrying about what you and others are saying about them, thinking about them, or how you are and others are judging them.
When it comes to running a business, and marketing your services or products, there are so many things that can keep you from being successful. Fear of what others think of you is simply the biggest fear that many new (and some not-so-new) business owners face.
There are many things you can do each day to help you manage your fear. Here are some strategies that can help you:
The lack of a plan can cause chaos and uncertainty in your marketing and selling. When you are organized, you will feel more confident and can worry less about what others think of you. You do not have to go through the process of creating a new plan each time, but at least once you need to write one down. The next time you want to sell and market a product you will have the steps laid out already. Then you will simply need to make a few adjustments. Having a plan allows you to see what needs to be done and how you can achieve your goal while keeping you accountable.
As a business owner, you most likely have a long list of things that need to be done to reach your next business goal. You may even have several goals. Knowing that you have a lot of things that need to be accomplished can leave you wondering if you will be able to successfully complete it all. Instead of looking at everything you need to do, pick the one thing that you need to complete right now to take you closer to your goal and only focus on that action until it is complete.
Most of the time, the person who is judging you the most is yourself. Once you begin judging yourself, you feel that everyone else is judging you as well. Begin focusing on your successes and what you do well. Focusing on the good will block your inner critic, allowing you to complete your projects without judgement.
When you allow yourself to become clear about your business values and priorities, then you will not have to worry about what others are thinking. Everyone has their own set of values and priorities; your business is your own and only you know what is right for your business.
Figure out what it is that you fear. Take time to write it down and determine what you can do to overcome it. Then, begin taking action to manage that fear. You may find that you need to create a marketing plan, overcome your own judgements, or become more clear about your values. Whatever it is, the more you practice, the easier it will become to manage the fear of what others think.
Most importantly, don’t let this fear win. Don’t let it stop you from achieving the greatness that you are truly capable of.
One of the questions I get asked a lot from small business owners is, “What tasks can I outsource?”
Without a doubt, there’s a LOT of things to do when you are a small business owner – whether you’re a solo-preneur or run a micro or small business. However often smaller business owners don’t have the budget to be able to employ help on a full-time or even part-time basis.
This is where “outsourcing” can be so helpful. Outsourcing simply means that you hire freelancers, contractors or other business owners to do certain tasks for you. This could be anything from hiring a graphic designer for a one-off design project to hiring a Virtual Assistant (VA) who helps with your admin assistance on a weekly basis, as needed.
In answer to that often-asked question of “What tasks can I outsource?” I’ve created a video for you. It’s called 101 Tasks You Can Outsource and – not surprisingly – I talk you through 101 tasks that many business can be, and should be, outsourcing.
I know this sort of “list” in a video can be handy to have as a text document too. So if you would prefer a summary of these 101 tasks you can download, click the link below to download the PDF summary:
I sincerely hope you find this helpful and that it helps you to develop and grow your business.