Five Tips to Manage Overwhelm by Marie Gibson

People are often amazed at how much I can accomplish during a short period of time…I’ve been blessed with a keen sense of organization, but I’ve also had to learn to shape my schedule and manage my time more wisely. Even now, FaceBook lures me with a big hook on a daily basis. So many toys…so little time.

And yes, we need to accomplish more than ever before -or so it seems. Just about every small business owner I know is overwhelmed with everything they need to do. Many factors are contributing to this feeling: new technologies, new software, increased government regulation, and a need to become part of social marketing and connect more often.

Is there truly a way to find an extra hour each day? Yes, there is! Here are five tips you can put in place to reduce the feeling of overwhelm, free up time, and feel more in control of your business.

1. Watch prime time commuting and other crowds that waste time.

Most people drive to work between 7 and 9 and come home between 4 and 6. Save yourself 15-30 minutes per day and a boatload of frustration by commuting before or after the rush.

Apply this same idea to your weekly errands or times when you need to stand in line. Go to a restaurant a little early (or late) to avoid the busiest times. Go to the grocery store during the week or evenings instead of on Saturday.

Doing this for 10-12 errands per week will save an hour a week or more. Combine that with the time you’ll save in rush hour traffic, and you could save as much as seven hours a week using this idea. Even if you can apply this idea to only one or two days a week, you’ll still be ahead of the game.

2. Delegate clerical or personal tasks.

Make a list of all the tasks you are doing that a minimum wage earner could do (including those errands that we just discussed); hire a college student or an assistant to take care of your errands for a few hours a week. You’ll benefit from systematizing the tasks that you need to delegate as your business grows; they will get done more efficiently; and you will have freed up hours of your time each week once your worker is trained. Remember, you should only be performing activities that bring revenues into your company.

3. Practice Power Hour.

Carve out one hour to 90 minutes each morning to complete the most profitable task for your business. This might be making sales calls, meeting with a power partner, or designing a new service or product to offer clients. It’s best if it’s the first hour in your day. In any case, the time should be sacred, with no checking email, no answering the phone, and no texting. When you arrive at your desk, ask yourself “if nothing else gets done today, what am I going to spend the next 90 minutes doing.”

Your business will really accelerate when you make Power Hour a regular practice.

4. Check email and social media less often.

Turn off automatic send and receive in your Outlook or email application. Or instead, close (yes, close!) your email application for part of the day. Check it only at 8 am, noon, and 4 pm and only allow a specific amount of time to respond to the most important items. Organize your emails so that they automatically move to specific files…you can review them when you have more time. When you can break the addictive cycle, you will have fewer interruptions, be able to focus, and perform higher quality work.

Likewise, if you need to spend time on social media, set a timer before you start. When the bell rings, that’s it! Get back to work.

5. Nail your time wasters.

The only real way to determine where your primary time drains are is to track your time, in detail for a couple of days. When you keep the log, you’ll be able to see what’s going on and what you can do to prevent time from slipping through your fingers. It will also show if you are not batching items that could be taken care of at one time. For instance, I now create appointments with clients on specific days and usually back-to-back to make the most efficient use of my time.

When you learn to use your time wisely, you’ll not only get more done, you’ll get the things done that matter to you the most.  Warm wishes for organized days ahead for the holidays.

Marie Gibson is devoted to helping business owners make wise business decisions by taking charge of their accounting and running their business profitably! Register for her free weekly guide or her “7 Key Steps to Your Business Profitably” at

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