by Linda Feinholz · 0 comments

© 2008 Linda Feinholz

When is ‘too much to do’ finally enough? I mean enough to have you reach out and slap your personal and business ‘reset’ button?

I was working with my client, Brenda, last month when she looked me dead in the eye and said “There’s no way to get out from under this list of what I need to get done.”

We could have gone on and on about prioritizing her lists, rank ordering them by fit with her strategy or sorting by the highest payoff at the bottom line. She could have found relief by delegating to her staff the 80 percent that really doesn’t need her involvement to get things accomplished. We could have spent a lovely hour talking about techniques to get over procrastination. And that would have missed the point entirely.

All the business management practices in the world won’t solve matters if the real issue is feeling stretched to the breaking point. She was feeling overwhelmed, worried and incompetent to run her own business.

Why? Well…

  • Doubling her staff in mere months meant she needed more time to train and manage those folks.
  • Adding more programs to her clients in past weeks meant more time designing, testing and adjusting the ones she was putting in place.
  • Increasing her financial demands on the business meant she needed to check all her operating expenses and receivables numbers on a daily basis.

And more. So many new ‘management muscles’ all being used at the same time, all of them aching at the intense activity.

Instead of looking at the tactical issues, rather than checking the action plans she had in front of her, I wanted her to gain distance and start over with the big picture. So, instead of staying in our seats, we got up and walked out of her office and into the fresh air of a sunny California afternoon, cars moving past us, our bodies in motion.

We shifted location physically and we shifted our perspective and changed the discussion from what wasn’t getting done, to refocus on her Vision – building a business serving service professionals who want to outsource part of their administrative needs.

At times, running a business is a lot like working out at the gym. Just as our muscles get fatigued when we work them out beyond their current capacity, so too, the rest of us gets exhausted when we’re stretched too far on too many fronts for too long.

We need to build in ‘recovery’ time for our muscles AND for our psyche, too!

Taking that walk gave Brenda a chance to walk ‘away’ and shift her point of view back to the big picture. From that ‘reset’ we were able to talk about the heart of the matter. Brenda has a clear vision both for her business AND for herself. Once her viewpoint was reset, she could see exactly what was stretching her.

Brenda saw that the tension she put herself under hadn’t left any area where she could just be Brenda – a competent professional, skilled at the services she’s provided for years, adept at directing the team she’s had on board, and comfortable with the money side of her company. She was being stretched beyond that in many directions all at once.

And just like working out our muscles in the gym need ‘recovery’ time, Brenda needs recovery time of her own. She now sees she’s got several choices for ‘recovery’ and these are some you’ll want to look at when you find yourself stretched, too.

Release the ‘muscle’
Sometimes you just need to put the barbell down for a while. That means Brenda is pausing the growth she’s piling on the company until the newest clients have been welcomed into the system and everyone feels they’re succeeding.

Reduce the effort
There are times when projects need to be put on the back burner for a while. Times when you, or your staff, need to just have lazy summer days handling ‘normal’ work instead of challenges. Brenda’s taking items off everyone’s To Do lists, some of them permanently.

Reward the’ body’
My favorite one of all. After weeks of 60 and 80 hour schedules, Brenda had her team turn off their computers, grab their wallet and purses. She then sent them off on a scavenger hunt ending at a great restaurant.

Appreciation and a break from the relentless effort. Fun and acknowledgement. Brenda’s monitoring her stress and building in relief and recovery on an ongoing basis.

Your turn to hit ‘reset’!

Previous post:

Next post: