Think just because you run a business that it’s got to be all work and no play? Don’t remember the last time you took a vacation? Do you regularly put in 80-hour weeks? If you answered yes to any, or all of these questions you may be headed for burnout; an all too common side effect of the ultra busy work life we’ve programmed ourselves to believe is necessary to succeed. But is it? Here are a few tactics I use to work smarter, not harder that you can try for yourself.
Get Rid of Time-Wasters
Do you really need that meeting or can you just walk over to someone and get to the bottom of an issue?
Do you really need to “take it offline” in a meeting? To me that means another meeting.
Do you check your e-mail all day long? Cut the cord and start checking it only a few times a day. Trust me, you can do it. And if something is so urgent, it can’t wait a few hours for a reply, the sender will find another way to ask you such as in-person (fathom the thought!), via text, phone call or IM.
Are you trying to do everything yourself? You.must.stop.now. As the leader of a company, you’ve got to delegate and delegate well. Sure delegating means giving up control, but when you’ve got talented people, this is no big deal. And if you don’t delegate and allow others to be part of the decision and execution of projects, you’ll start losing people pretty quickly, resulting in more work for you to hire new ones.
Categorize Then Prioritize
For instance, if you’ve got to pay your vendors and return a few phone calls, paying your vendors might take priority. Put the phone down and give yourself a half-hour to write checks.
Block your calendar out for specific things, then check them off the list - If you’ve got a ton of e-mail to read, shut your door and pound through a day of e-mails.
Work at home (if you can) one day per week. Many times if you remove yourself from the day-to-day you’ll be surprised how you can be creative about your business, as well as plow through some things that have been on your to-do list. I’ve made Sunday a day of work, not rest, but that may not be the right fit for everyone. The point is, take some time that you can be away from distractions and get laser-focused on what needs to be done, or take a different look at your business. You’ll be amazed at what you might think of when you clear some time for it.
I’m a huge fan of Evernote. It keeps me sane. Seriously, I keep all my notes, and follow up organized with Evernote. If I didn’t have it, I may have forgotten that I needed to contribute to Inc. twice a week. And clearly, I’m not the only one who’s a fan. Evernote says it has 50 million users around the world (a third in the U.S.) and is adding 100,000 a day.
What are some other ways you work smarter not harder and avoid burnout? Share away in the details.