Do you tend to get easily distracted, overwhelmed and snowed under with a never-ending to-do list? Does business sometimes feel like a marathon where somebody’s forgotten to tell you the route - so you don’t know which direction to turn next and end up running round in circles, going nowhere?
In this episode I look at how I beat overwhelm, burnout and shiny object syndrome in my business, why done ISN’T always better than perfect and how you can instantly take control.
Join the A List here to hear exactly how I set long-term goals and make sure I show up for them!
Hi there! After last week’s exploration of all things mystical and manifest-y, I thought this week I’d bring things back to earth with some practical tips around how I stay on track in my business and avoid distractions, shiny objects and generally getting lost along the way!
Now I am NOT a natural planner and I’m NOT good at sticking to one thing. In fact I’m incredibly good at getting distracted - thank you ADHD - and I’m SO good at having all the ideas and never following through.
As you can imagine, that isn’t a great recipe for success in business and it’s something that really, really got in my way at the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey and for quite some time afterwards.
I would jump from one idea to the next, and I would take on far too many projects in one go, leaving me putting in loads of energy but doing things in a very half-baked way, cutting my deadlines too fine and creating a lot of stress - then wondering why these frenzied little launch loops weren’t resulting in sales and lots of clients.
And one day something clicked. I got to the end of a launch period and I realised - this has GOT to change. It isn’t working, you’re exhausted, it’s not sustainable. And the penny dropped - you know what? You don’t have to do ALL the things, and you certainly don’t have to do them all NOW.
So I took a big step back and started to get strategic. For somebody who doesn’t do structure, this was massive! But it changed everything.
Because the thing is, when you’re trying to achieve 5 or 6 different things at once, you just can’t keep track and you can’t do them justice. Your anxiety will tell you that you can! Your mind will convince you you’re on top of it all and juggling beautifully! It’s only when your energy levels crash and you end up burnt out and you can barely find the energy to get up in the mornings that you realise something’s out of whack. So inevitably, here’s what would happen for me: I’d launch in to something straight away, fuelled by excitement and impatience to see my end goal materialise. And THEN I would realise the work involved and how long it would realistically take, by which time I was committed - to that - and to the several other irons in the fire.
It was the entrepreneurial equivalent of hedging your bets - if I do all these things, one of them might pay off! But actually none of them were paying off because they weren’t getting anywhere near the full attention they needed to create that success.
I’ve realised that slowing down actually helps you speed up.
Many times in the entrepreneurial space, I’ve heard people talking about ‘done being better than perfect’ - and that’s true IF you’re a perfectionist and you’re stopping yourself getting something out there that really doesn’t need any more polishing. I completely agree.
But for me and many other entrepreneurs, who are by default excitable, ADHD or just in a rush to see results… actually we’re in the habit of cutting corners because we’re in such a hurry to get to that end goal. And that state of done isn’t going to help us at all!
For me, done wasn’t enough - because it was done superficially. And actually slowing down, forcing myself to think through every step and making sure it WAS done properly was totally gamechanging.
Now I don’t know which one you resonate with - maybe you do overplan and overanalyse things and your brain goes into freeze mode rather than getting things out there! Or maybe like me, you go into flight mode - too excited, rushing to the finish line and not watching where your feet are going. It could even be both - it is absolutely possible to be in fight, flight and freeze ALL at the same time! What you need, really is the absence of any of the above, and that’s only possible when you are completely in conscious control or you’ve done the work to overcome your default panic response.
So what did slowing down look like for me?
I decided to make sure I was only working on a maximum of 2 or 3 big projects at once, and to give them my full time and attention. I took a long look at my long-term plans and goals and broke down where I wanted to be and what I needed to put in place to get me there. And then I prioritised just 2 or 3 big things to focus on for that quarter - the things that were going to shift the needle the most for me and get me making LONG TERM progress rather than focusing on the short-term wins. That included things like doing courses and programmes that would require my attention. It included things like the launch I’ve just done with Lisa Johnson - and boy was I glad I didn’t stack up my diary with heaps of other stuff when I needed to focus on that! It was far more involved than I’d planned for but I’d given myself that cushion so I could afford to take the time… or if I didn’t need it, I could take time out or start to bring in some other, smaller projects too.
It’s also involved things like reviewing my content and remembering what I’ve written, rather than just churning out more and more new stuff all the time - so I can actually repurpose some of it and reshare it, to make sure it gets the airtime it deserves! I have to say, it’s worked SO well for me. And what I find is that if I work in 90 day cycles, quarterly cycles, that keeps me on track with those long-term goals really well. 90 days is enough time to really get stuck into things, complete them and start seeing results.
Any longer and I start to lose focus, get distracted and wander off track onto things that don’t really serve me again. Any shorter and it’s just not enough time - 12 weeks really isn’t that long, in the grand scheme of things! So I love to have a big session every quarter where I check in with what I’ve achieved, what’s been effective, review what I want to achieve going forward and what the next pieces of the puzzle are to help me do that. And I think that’s so effective because confusion, overwhelm and that feeling of having to do all the things usually comes from allowing them to build up in our mind. We keep a mental checklist as we go along of all the jobs we ‘need’ to do - and you probably find yourself checking in with that pretty regularly! Now that mental checklist can start to get very jumbled and confused in our subconscious brain, because it doesn’t do priority or planning and it just sees everything on that to do list as incredibly urgent.
So if we don’t have some way of sitting down, unjumbling it all and checking in with what really IS important right now, it’s just all sitting on our shoulders as though it needs to be done this very moment. And it triggers that fight or flight response that I mentioned earlier!
So planning really does help reduce the anxiety in the equation, it soothes your subconscious and it helps you to see what really matters right now. So I would love to know how you plan in your business - or maybe if you haven’t done so far but this episode has inspired you to give it a go? And if you’d like to learn exactly how I go about breaking down those goals and create my plan for the next 3 months, I’m going to be sharing the exact process with my email community later this week! So to join us and learn all about that AND get access to tons more helpful info and advice from me on all things mindset and business just join us here on the A List.
Can’t wait to see you there!
And of course, if I can help with anything else then just reach out: firstname.lastname@example.org