There are no two ways about it: business gets hectic.
Whether yours is brand new or you’ve been chugging along for years, overwhelm, crammed to-do lists, and stress still find their way in. When you’re at the helm, it can be hard to manage everything at once.
A simple google search reveals thousands of resources regarding the best ways to do business and streamline everyday tasks. Then there are friends and collaborators who are always willing dish out their best advice when you’re in a bind.
But as we all know by now, you can’t believe everything you hear. There are some widely-circulated ideas out there that are actually time-wasters in disguise.
Could one of these productivity killers be at work in your business? Read on, and let’s find out.
Myth #1: “Chaos is totally normal.”
Growing pains are a standard challenge in business. When we’re making shifts or trying to create new systems, things get a little busy. There’s always some forgotten detail that needs ironing out or a glitch that refuses to fix itself. I’ve been there, too.
When we find ourselves in a situation like this, people like to remind us: “It’s ok, business gets chaotic. It’s normal.”
There is some truth to that statement, but only to an extent. And it becomes a serious problem when a business owner gets comfortable with chaos ruling their day-to-day experience.
If you believe your business will always be chaotic, then it’s going to be. It’s a choice you have to make: either stay comfortable with chaos and hope for the best (bad idea), or deliberately choose to repair the aspects of your business you scramble to complete.
Want ease? Set your intentions, decide that chaos won’t run the show. Tweet that!
Myth #2: “Once you create systems, try not to mess with them.”
I see this all the time with my clients. They’ve had systems in place for a long time, but haven’t given them a second thought since they first created them. The problem is their systems are ineffective.
Outdated systems don’t just affect the inside of your business. When they’re no longer working, you start to see symptoms as well: dissatisfied clients, incomplete tasks, or forgotten meetings.
If you’re running into consistent problems, it’s time to review your systems. Where are most of your problems stemming from? What needs to be updated? What should be done away with?
Effective systems can supercharge your business. They leave you assured everything will be done effectively, efficiently, and on time.
Myth #3: “Don’t make that new hire unless you absolutely have to.”
A lot of entrepreneurs tend to wait until the last possible second to hire help, and then start looking for help in an act of desperation.
Hiring assistance before you get to that point is crucial. Not just because you want your hiring process to be unhurried, but because it takes time for even the most skilled assistant to learn how your business runs.
If you’re thinking “I can’t afford an assistant,” think again. Sit down and map out some simple tasks that take up a lot of time. Then, consider how much more you could do to further your business if someone else was handling those day-to-day things.
For example, do you need to be the one to schedule your tweets in HootSuite? Even if it saves an hour a month, it’s a weight off your mind and a chance to free up space to create more for your business. And hiring some help also helps get rid of boring tasks once and for all.
Myth #4: “It’s ok to keep everything in your head.”
Sure, when your business is just budding, it’s easy to remember you have a meeting with a client at 3 pm on Thursday and that you need to send out that email blast on Friday morning. But as your business gets bigger and there’s more to think about, your brain becomes a less and less effective calendar.
When you have fewer details swimming around in your mind, you create more space for creativity, innovation, and grasping the bigger picture. Instead of waiting to realize you’ve forgotten a client meeting (worst feeling ever), start collecting your tasks, appointments and details in an effective system you can trust – starting NOW.
I use the Calendar application on my Mac for tracking appointments and Things for my task list. The moment something pops into my head, it gets put in one of those two places. That way I know I won’t forget anything, and my brain isn’t wasting space trying to remember everything.
Myth #5: “You can just wing it when you delegate. After all, you’re busy!”
You’re an entrepreneur. That means you don’t have a lot of time to spare on any given day, so delegating tasks for the week can become a rushed mess very quickly.
One example would be sending un-proofed, stream-of-consciousness emails or chat messages asking for tasks to be completed. Believe it or not, this is a risky move. It wastes time and money, and results in surmounting frustration on both sides because you’re not communicating effectively.
You might have the best assistant in the world, but she’s still not a mind reader. Take the time to intentionally and clearly describe your desired outcome, the necessary action steps, and the details that are important to you. It will save you far more time than it takes, because it prevents back-and-forth clarifying emails, and ensures tasks get done correctly the first time.
Learning to delegate effectively could mean your assistant could practically run your business for you (yes, it’s true!).
The Bottom Line
You’ve got an amazing business that’s meant to do equally amazing things in this world. Don’t let these time-wasting myths become obstacles on your journey to greatness.
While getting real about these myths might mean you spend a few more minutes on emails or scheduling, trust me on this one: the payoff will be huge.
Now I want to hear from you!
Are any of these time-wasting myths at work in your business?
What steps will you take today to start changing them?
Are there any other pieces of advice you’ve realized are time-wasters in disguise?
Tell me all about them in the comments below!