I was teaching a class the other day and one of the participants said … it’s like brain hoarding.
You’ve got so many amazing ideas, so many cool things you want to do. So many opportunities you want to take advantage of. You don’t want to let them go.
The problem… like hoarding, is that you end up with too much. It gets to the point that you no longer know what you have, or where you have it. You lose all sense of priority and don’t know what’s really important. You stop considering what will you have the most fun doing or what will give you the best return on your investment of time and energy. You lose sight of what will bring you closest to your goal.
Entrepreneurs are really creative. In fact, it’s your ideas that got you into business in the first place. The trouble comes in when you try to do all of your ideas. It’s confusing AND overwhelming to you and your customers.
When I sat down at my computer I was instantly overwhelmed. I opened my email and it was overflowing. I knew there were messages in there that needed my attention. There were emails from current clients, prospective clients, and colleagues looking for information. There were opportunities that I neededto decide whether or not to take advantage of. And that was only some of it.
I had a choice. I could either, shut my email and let it wait until later (very tempting!), OR I could set my timer for thirty-seven minutes.
I set my timer and here’s what I did.
- I changed the order of my emails from date order (most recent on top) to “from”. This way everything from one person was together. This made it easier for me to make sure that I would be able to respond to everything that someone needed at one time and not have to send multiple emails.
- I did a quick scan and deleted the majority of the ezines I receive. I’m pretty good about unsubscribing to ezines that don’t add consistent quality; however, when I’m feeling overwhelmed by what’s coming in and really want to focus the less that I have in my inbox the better.
- I scanned through everything and responded to CURRENT clients. My clients are my number one priority. They deserve my time more than anyone else.
- I did a second scan and responded to PROSPECT clients. My reasoning for this is because it’s important to me to make sure that they receive a quick response from me and if appropriate a link to my calendar to schedule a time to speak with me.
- I resorted my email to date order with the oldest emails first and dealt with them all. When I say dealt I mean just that. I did not leave things in my inbox for later. I made decisions. If something needed filing I filed it. If something needed a response I responded. If something needed a decision (most of these things did) I decided. If there was something that I wanted to read I read it. If I did not want to deal with it I deleted it or created a plan to deal with it at a specific time.
When thirty-seven minutes passed I reset the timer for another thirty-seven minutes. When the timer went off the second time I was done. I was also incredibly relieved.
Sure I deleted emails that were “important”. I know, however, that the burden I was feeling by the unanswered emails in my inbox was distracting me and costing me my focus and energy. I kept thinking that something that I should have known about was going to jump up and surprise me. I also know that the decisions I made and acted on during that time will grow my business and have a positive impact on my clients. When my mind is pre-occupied by what I’m missing, it’s impossible for me to think about being proactive and thinking about business growth.
You might be wondering, why thirty-seven? Simple, it’s not too long and it’s not too short. You can get a lot done in thirty-seven minutes and not get burnt out. And besides, it’s a fun number.
What’s lurking in your inbox that you can act on? What is it time to delete? Share it on my blog.
At times I feel like I’ve got the attention span of a flea. I can be busily at work on something and then “poof”. Sometimes I’m distracted by email, other times I may be interrupted by a phone call, or it can be an idea that crosses my mind.
The thing about these distractions and interruptions is that, either the work you were doing before the interruption takes longer to complete, or worse, you may never get back to what you were doing.
“The average person spends just eleven minutes working on a single project before they are interrupted, and after being interrupted, it takes that same person 25 minutes to get back to what they were doing. *
Avoid disruptions and interruptions.”
What distractions can you eliminate from your surroundings? What frequently interrupts you? What can you do to prevent these interruptions?
*Source: Gloria Mark, Professor in the Department of Informatics at the University of California, Irvine.
I took a look at my to-do list and realized I had become a victim of “one of these days”. My list was a dumping ground. It was full of great ideas that had passed through my mind at some point. The majority of the ideas had no action plan associated with them and my list was so overwhelming that I didn’t want to look at it so nothing was getting done.
Chaos to Cash Strategy
Take control of your to-do list. Before you add anything to the list, ask yourself, “What’s the worst thing that could happen if this doesn’t ever get done?”
Here’s my challenge to you…take a look at your to-do list. What things do you need to remove and which do you need to highlight and start taking action on now? Let me know.
I had a conversation with a friend of mine who is also a client. She confessed to me that she unsubscribed from my ezine and everything else coming into her inbox. It’s not that she doesn’t like me it’s that she’s totally overwhelmed. I know, I feel it too. In fact, the other day I was reading an article about “spam management” and keeping your inbox clear by using a service to consolidate and sift through all the emails coming in from retailers as we approach the holiday season. Here’s a link to the article in case you’re interested.
I generally keep my inbox pretty empty. Things come in, I do them or not. I read through ezines that interest me or delete them. Lately, however, I’ve noticed the number of emails in my inbox creeping up. I kept telling myself “today is email day.” I would decide that I would get through them, deal with it and be done. Somehow it wouldn’t get done.
As someone who works with the clients on productivity and managing things like email I know a couple of things about it. For the most part your inbox is full of other people’s priorities. Sure you may get value out of the ezines you receive (including this one) and apply the concepts you read about to your business and your life, however the truth is an ezine is a way for the sender to stay in your mind. I don’t send out a weekly ezine because it’s fun (although I do like writing them), I send it out to give you ideas that will help you in your business and life. I send it out so that you get to know me and that if you need help in the areas of growing your business and productivity you think of me and the programs I offer. Read more
He was feeling overwhelmed and unfocused. There were so many things he wanted to do. So many events he wanted to go to. So many classes he wanted to take. So many opportunities he wanted to take advantage of.
I asked him what his overall goal was and he told me simply…he needed to communicate with his clients and prospects regularly. I asked him what additional information or skills he needed to do that. His response, “None.” I said, “It sounds like you are trying to fill gaps that are already full.” His response…laughter.
My comment hit home. He was being drawn like a bee towards honey. There was more to know, more to do, more, more, more. However, every time he added more knowledge he grew his to-do list with another bunch of items that seemed to never get done.
Sure we can all do more and we can all learn more; however, first we need to do what we already have OR decide not to do it.
So what did he end up doing? Read more
Chaos to Cash Strategy:
Have you ever put something super easy on your to-do list? It seemed straightforward when you wrote it yet sits on your list forever.
This happened to a client of mine. She put “Call dermatologist.” on her list. She needed to make an appointment for her daughter. It sat on her list for three weeks. I asked her to pick up the phone and just call. She told me she couldn’t. Turns out that before she could call she needed to find out her daughter’s class schedule so the appointment would not conflict with her advanced chemistry or calculus class. What my client needed to put on her to-do list was to find out her daughter’s schedule.
Chaos to Cash Strategy:
“To stop procrastinating, make sure you understand the exact steps a project requires. The more specific you are, the more likely you’ll be able to accomplish the task.”
~Chaos to Cash: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Eliminating Chaos, Overwhelm and Procrastination So You Can Create Ultimate Profit! Chapter 2, Page 188
What projects on your “to-do” list could use a bit of clarification? Let me know by sharing them with me.
This is just one simple strategy out of more than 250 in my book Chaos to Cash. To see more Chaos to Cash strategies go to www.ChaosToCashBook.com/excerpt.
I was speaking with a client earlier today. She was feeling overwhelmed. She was getting ready to go on vacation for a week. Had tons of follow up to do. Had tons of new work to do AND was seriously behind on just about everything because her internet connection had been down most of the week.
We talked about a lot of things during our call and about half way through our conversation I asked her if she was still feeling overwhelmed. Her answer “YES!” I asked her a single question. “Do you know WHAT work needs to be done before you leave?“ She said she did not. AHA…we found the problem! I had her get out a piece of paper and pen and write down everything that was spinning around in her brain. She spent the next minute or two writing. We reviewed what she had written down, added a few things (it’s always that way, isn’t it?) and took a few things off. Finally I asked her what she thought. Her response, “Wow, it’s not as bad as I thought. I can do this. I’m feeling much better.”
Here’s what happened. She had so much going on in her mind and was working really hard to keep track of it all. She even told me that she had planned to write it all down but didn’t have a chance; it would take too long. By writing it down and gathering all of the information in one place it became visible. Her mind could no longer make it worse than it was. The unknown became known.
Laser Coaching Opportunity!
International Coach Week is February 5 – 11.
To celebrate I’m hosting a live 90-minute group coaching experience for just $7!
For just $7 you get to join me LIVE and get the personalized help you need to take your business to the next level!
This call is ideal for you if you are an entrepreneur who is:
- Feeling stuck or overwhelmed;
- Wondering how to bring in income quickly;
- Having trouble deciding between the many marketing strategies available;
- Missing deadlines;
I will be coaching participants on a first come, first serve basis and each person will be limited to 7 minutes. I encourage you to get on the line early and come prepared to answer the following two questions so we can create solutions!
- What is the biggest obstacle you currently face in your business?
- What one thing have you been putting off that would help your business move forward?
Something to keep in mind…
Even if I don’t get to you during the call (or you don’t want to be coached) remember this session will be extremely valuable because you will be able to put the strategies I will be sharing in place in your own business and life.
One last thing…I will be recording the call and all registrants will get the recording but that takes all the fun out of it so do try to join me live!
Looking forward to speaking with you on Wednesday during “coach week”!
Click on the “Sign Up Now” button below to sign up for this call!.
P.S. Do you know anyone else who might benefit from being coached? Send them the link to this page and have them join us!
Do you do this too? You put in the work. You have a success. You cross something big (or small) off your list. You make the call you’ve wanted to make. You finish a project. You launch a program. You enroll a client. Then the next thing you do is see what’s next. What else do you have to do? What else has been sitting around for what seems like forever waiting to be done? Or maybe you think…great one client, I NEED five more.
Chaos to Cash Strategy:
Our tendency is to look at what there is left to do instead of what we have done.
When you finish a task, no matter how big or how small, take a moment to celebrate.
Recognize yourself and the work that you have put in to accomplish it.
~ Chaos to Cash: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Eliminating Chaos, Overwhelm and Procrastination So You Can Create Ultimate Profit! By Carrie Greene, Chapter 3, Page 231
What if this strategy could come to life for you? What if together we put this and many other strategies to work for you immediately? Join me and stop spinning, get out of overwhelm, stop procrastinating and start growing your business and life.
Click here to learn more and reserve your seat.