Climb that overwhelming mountain

by | May 3, 2024

How many small business owners wake up each and every day with an overwhelming to-do list that never gets shorter? It’s like setting out to climb a mountain, walking all day and into the night only to wake up the next morning no closer to the summit.

To get to the top you do need to take a step, and follow it with another step, and another, until you’re there. Each step forward is a task completed, an item checked off. But those steps need to be deliberate and directional. If I opened my front door and just started walking I would not end up at the top of a mountain. I would walk into some bushes, then if I managed to get through them I would wander out into the street. Merely moving isn’t enough. You need to know which path will take you there, and at times you need to know when you have to forge your own path.

So how do you assess and prioritize everything you need to do? You’re already focused. Everything you need to do is important. If that’s true, then I’ve got bad news for you: if everything is important, nothing is important.

To make headway here you’ll need two tools: strategy and prioritization. Strategy helps answer the question of what you should focus on (and what you shouldn’t), and prioritization puts that into action. So if you don’t already have a strategy, or some highest priority goal or target you’re working towards (improving your profits, or your quality, reducing your costs, or your churn, etc.) your number one task is to come up with a plan.

What is causing you the most pain? What would reduce that overwhelming feeling and allow you to breathe? What needs to be fixed first? Which of these important items is more important than the others? Which path do you take?

Strategy and prioritization. There’s a baseline of what has to get done or the business doesn’t run. By all means do what you need to do. At work. At home. Then comes the prioritization.

Be ruthless about it.

Time management is its own topic and I’ll cover that next week but that’s a critical element here. Shift your actions and your time to align with your priorities. Always have an eye on that strategy and keep moving forward, up the mountain.

This is not easy, and it’s okay to want or need help with feeling overwhelmed. At the end of most coaching sessions I end by asking what support my client needs, to conquer the next week or two, to hold themselves accountable. The same applies here. What support do you need? Reach out and let me know.