Sunday, July 15, 2012

Are you at risk of over-extending yourself?

I love the summer because I get to take leisurely lunches with friends.  But the other week, as I chatted with and caught up with one of my girlfriends, I realized something really important - I was in danger of over-extending myself, again.

As we talked and I updated her on my plans for the fall, the penny dropped that

 a) I had taken on several new projects, which excited me; and
 b) none of them directly related to Company of Women, but were potential offshoots of  
     my business.

Given that in the fall I will be back to being a solopreneur, with no staff in the office, this could be a big problem as time will be precious.  Yet I don’t want to give up on these commitments as they offer a growth opportunity for me personally and professionally.

I am sure I am not alone as we juggle the demands on our time and the priorities for our business.   So what is the answer?

1.        Determine your priorities.  Know at the outset what you want to achieve in the year ahead. Set goals. When something new comes up, ask yourself if it fits your priorities, and if it doesn’t, perhaps the answer should be “no.”
2.        Be aware.  As you take on new work, check to be sure that there are not too many conflicting demands on your time.
3.        Do a schedule. When I scheduled out the timeframe for the projects, I was relieved to see that they are spaced out over several months, meaning that I am not going to be working on them all at the same time and there’s little overlap.  Whew!
4.        Determine when enough is enough.  It will take a very exciting project to persuade and entice me to take on anything else.  My plate is full.
5.        Automate.  Because I will be the only one in the office, we are automating our processes, so that my time is not taken up with routine, admin work. 
6.        Delegate.  I plan to build a team around me who will take on some of the tasks I used to undertake, thereby freeing up my time to get involved in the new projects and different revenue streams.
7.        Change is OK.   I have given myself permission to pursue new avenues that will enable me personally to gain some new skills sets and experiences.

Being more self-aware has helped me to step back and review what I have taken on.  Maybe I am getting wiser in my old age, because in the past, I would have just said “yes” to everything that came my way, without reflecting on the impact that response would have on the rest of my workload or the members of my team.

What about you?  Do you need to step back and double-check that what you are doing fits with your vision and mission in life?  Remember we can all shape our own destiny. You are the captain of your own ship, so make sure you are steering it in the direction that suits you. Don’t feel locked in to doing something because you always have, that is not a good enough reason to continue.

I am excited about the year ahead.  Yes, it will be busy but personally I do my best when I have a lot on the go.  What about you?

1 comment:

Trudy Van Buskirk said...

At my June networking event I hold every month in the Beach in Toronto, the topic was "What ONE project are you going to tackle for your business this summer". I agree with you we as women often take on too much.