As a Business Growth Coach, I often hear from new clients that they feel like a “hamster spinning in a wheel” — their business being the wheel and themselves being the hamster stuck in it.
It’s a funny metaphor, but how true to reality it is for the majority of Entrepreneurs who run solo.
Some of us are super organized, clear, focused, detail-oriented, and manage our time well, but let’s face it, some of us just aren’t.
For those of you who aren’t — this article is for you. For those of you who are, there’s something in it for you too.
As business owners, we wear many hats don’t we.
And entrepreneurship seems like a never-ending list of to-do’s, from administration to finances, from marketing to sales, from people management to service delivery — and everything in between.
Early on in my business, I attended dozens of networking events each year, and there was a particular phrase that kept coming up in conversations time and again.
Whenever I asked business owners how they were doing in their business, the stock answer I got was, “I’m super busy!”
I used to think that being super busy was a good thing.
In fact, I wore busy like a badge of honor for decades until I realized that my need to be super busy all the time was really just an addiction to the feeling of being busy.
It was about the rush that I got when I had places to go, people to see, and things to do.
I felt important.
I thought that being super busy and always getting stuff done was the way to move forward in life and in business.
I thought that always being super busy was a requirement for success.
I adopted the hustling mentality that has been so prevalent in North American business culture.
Always on the go. Always doing. Always working on something.
I used to fill my schedule to the brim, with hardly any time to eat, exercise or do extracurricular activities.
And I always felt like I was behind the eight ball with my business. With not enough time or mental bandwidth to deal with everything that was on my plate.
It was only when I heard my mother say that the only way she could see me was if she made an appointment, that I fully realized that perhaps my busyness habit wasn’t necessarily a good thing.
It’s as if being busy is a badge of honor that we brand ourselves with.
It’s a self-image that we choose to personify, which turns into a never ending hamster wheel cycle of being busy, in order to live up to the persona that we’ve subconsciously chosen to be.
We wear busy like a badge of honor in order to feel worthy. To feel like we matter.
Don’t get me wrong, a good dose of busy keeps us on our toes and helps us make progress in the world.
Being busy in itself is not the issue.
It’s when we make busy the object of the exercise versus the means to an end, that we cross over the line into busy being not so good.
So, are you good busy or not so good busy?
Are you busy running like a hamster in a wheel or are you busy on boarding clients who are lining up out the door waiting to work with you?
Are you busy working on activities that are moving you toward your goals or are you busy with the latest great idea you have which isn’t really part of the overall business strategy?
Are you busy developing your marketing and sales plan or are you busy doing all sorts of things and hoping one of those activities will be the magic bullet that gets you noticed in the marketplace?
If you feel like you’ve been held hostage in the land of unproductive busyness, here are 5 tips to get off the hamster wheel:
1. Mindset Shift.
Change your perspective of how you’ve always done things and recognize the limiting beliefs that aren’t serving you. Do you have unhelpful expectations about how you should be or where you should be? Dump the ‘shoulds’. Expectations lead to disappointment. Take the time to honor where you are now and cast a new vision for who you are in the world when you take off your busy badge.
2. Get Off Autopilot.
Understand where you are headed and what you have to do to get yourself there. Get off autopilot and get intentional. Remember to set yourself some realistic targets in terms of timeline and practicality and create milestone markers along the way that will force you to stop, check in with yourself and the plan to determine if anything needs tweaking before continuing.
3. Map It Out.
Chart a course of right actions to get you where you want to go and park other ideas that will just get in the way. Prioritize based on impact on your short- and long-term goals. Park all ideas that don’t fall within the realm of the current plan, you can always revisit them later.
4. Gather Your Resources.
Create a plan that is achievable and get help and enlist support from people who can help you execute it. You don’t need to do everything yourself, you are not super(wo)man. Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.
5. Ebb and Flow.
Give yourself the time and space to work the plan with ease, measure and reflect on results, change what doesn’t work well and learn about what does. Celebrate the milestones and successes along the way. And remember to breathe.
I’m curious to know what tools or techniques you use to get off the hamster wheel of busyness in your business. Let me know with a comment.
To your success,
This article was originally published on Medium: The StartUp Publication