Feeling overwhelmed? Not enough time in the day?

feeling overwhelmedOwning your own business can be exciting but it can be equally frustrating. There are times when we all feel so overwhelmed that, like the ostrich,  we just want to go hide our heads in the sand.

Here are some strategies that may help.

Is Clutter taking over?
If your office and desk is knee deep in catalogs, invoices, receipts, and other piles of paper, here is a quick organizing tip.  Choose one small area to begin with.  If you try to do it all at once, that overwhelming feeling will blanket you once again.  If it is the top of your desk, start in the middle and work your way out to the edges.  Set a timer for 10-15 minutes and dig in.  You’ll be surprised how much you can get done in this short period of time.  If, after the timer goes off, you still have more to do, choose to either set it for another 10-15 minutes or go to other tasks and put it at the top of your “to do” list.

Spending too much reading and answering email?
If you have email alerts set to “on”, turn them to “off” and check your email only during certain times of the day. Perhaps in the morning, after lunch, and just before you chose for the day.  It’s amazing how much time is spent checking every time that alarm goes off.  When you do read them, scan through all of them quickly, checking off those to be deleted unopened and get rid of those first.  Then read and answer the most urgent ones.  And, if you still have time, go through the others quickly.  Instead of having one email address for everything, consider setting up a different address that you can use for non-urgent emails.  Having multiple email addresses for different activities can serve as a temporary file.  You can have one just for orders, another for questions, one for non-urgent contacts, and one for personal emails.

Is Social Media becoming a higher and higher priority?
Reading what others are doing can be fun but it can also be addictive.  I try to limit myself to a maximum of 15 minutes during the day and do the socializing with friends in the evening.  Social management tools, such as Hoot Suite, can help you manage multiple social media sites.

Are small orders with smaller profits taking too much time away from those larger ones?
This is a hard call because we tend to want all the business we can get.  But if you are feeling overwhelmed by those small orders, you might want to do a profitability analysis.  If you find that some customers’ orders aren’t worth the time they take, consider setting a minimum order size.  The same can be said for making deliveries if you’re doing them yourself.  Either set a minimum order size for delivery or increase your delivery fee so that you are making profit on the delivery time.

Is choosing suppliers eating up too much valuable time?
It sometimes pays to choose your best suppliers for the bulk of your supplies.  This can oftentimes save shipping costs as well.  Then fill in with those unique products that you can’t get from your main suppliers.  Keep a record of supplier contacts and what you order from each so that it’s easy to do a reorder without wasting time looking up information.

The one tip that can save the most time
Just as with anything, there are no real secrets to organizing your life and your time.  But the one thing to remember is that you are in business to make a profit.  Schedule a block of time each and every day for those activities that generate the most revenue.  Work only on these activities first during that block of time.  These can be things like marketing and servicing your current customers or anything else that actually makes money for you.

These are just a few simple tips that can make a big difference.  What tips can you add to the list that you use to prevent yourself from becoming overwhelmed and wanting to bury your head in the sand?   Share with us below.


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