If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your workload and don’t do something to address it, there’s only one way it’s going to end, and that’s with the ‘s’ word…stress. Now we’ve all felt a bit stressed from time to time, but left unchecked, chronic stress will have a knock on effect on everything else in your life. You’ll become less productive and your home life and even your health can suffer. Here are our Hey Tuesday tips for getting on top of your workload before it gets on top of you…
It sounds simple enough – prioritise the tasks that are most important, but if you’re juggling a lot of balls at once, even doing this can be difficult. If you’re constantly fire fighting, you’re probably spending too much time on tasks that seem urgent, but aren’t actually driving your business forward. Take a step back and start to organise your day around tasks that are actually vital to your business – the ones that are going to get you new clients and improve your bottom line. Turn off your phone and don’t answer any emails until you’re done.
Delegate and outsource
Part of prioritising what you need to work on involves working out what you can get others to do for you. If you’re running a startup it can seem a bit extravagant to outsource your marketing, or your business admin for example. But if you work out how much time that’ll actually free up for you to win more clients, you might find it’s cost effective. If you already have a team around you, make sure you’re delegating tasks effectively and everyone is pulling their weight.
Work ‘on’ your business, not ‘in’ your business
This is a crucial one for entrepreneurs and startups to crack, but it’s easier said than done. If you’re spending all your time making sure your business runs smoothly, taking care of admin and looking after the accounts, then you have no time to work on your business strategy. You need to be able to stand back, take a bird’s eye view and drive your strategic vision forward. Again, delegation, outsourcing and prioritising crucial tasks play a key role in being able to do this successfully.
Increase your prices
If you find that you’re working flat out and are still struggling to make ends meet, it could be time to look at your pricing strategy. This is especially true for freelancers who sell their time, such as marketing consultants, proofreaders and bloggers. There are only so many hours in the day you can sell, so the only control you have is your price. If you can work fewer hours for a greater return, you may find you don’t need to take on as many clients. And paradoxically, you’ll find that you attract more business as your service is perceived as higher quality.
Ditch the budget customers
As freelancers, we all have those annoying customers who take up loads of our time but actually aren’t worth that much to our business. They don’t pay much, but they expect a lot of attention and extra work. Well it’s worth remembering that you don’t have to take on every single customer and sometimes it’s better to say no. If a client just isn’t working out for you, it’s ok to politely part company with them and move on.
Download some apps
We’re not suggesting that a few apps are going to solve all your business problems, but perhaps they will help you organise your time, take some pressure off or make your day just that little bit easier. Take a look at our recent blog post about apps that will help you at work.
Take time off
If you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed, we can bet that the last thing you’re thinking of doing is taking some time off. The work will just pile up and it’ll be even worse, right? Well, working until you’re frazzled and burnt out isn’t doing you or your business any favours either. In the long term, if you’ve had plenty of rest, decent downtime at the weekend to do the things you love and a holiday now and then, you’ll be more productive, able to produce better quality work and happier into the bargain.
Words by Lauren. Photos by Saskia