By Beth Stratman
The world moves so quickly these days, it feels hard to keep up. With the proliferation of available information, you can trick yourself into believing that you need to keep up with all the information and happenings. However, it isn’t simply paying attention to everything that’s going on that makes you productive and valuable and keeps you on track with your business; it’s staying attuned to the things you’ve identified as important and relevant to your business that keeps you productive and on target.
Here are some tips for reducing feelings of overwhelm and keeping yourself on track with the things you’ve identified as important:
- Get comfortable with the fact that most information is just noise. Just because information is accessible doesn’t mean it’s relevant to you.
- Determine what’s fundamentally important to maximize your business and yourself. The really important things for business tend to be the basics: mission, vision, values, current goals, key performance indicators (KPIs), key relationships, and professional development for you and your staff.
- Base your everyday tasks and activities what’s fundamentally important. Look at your calendar. Do your day-to-day appointments and scheduled blocks for projects etc. reflect the fundamentals as they relate to your position? Whether you’re the CEO or the VP of Human Resources, there are things you ought to be doing to further the company’s current goals. Are you? If you find items that have low value related to the company’s goals, figure out what to do about them, including delegating them to others who have the capability and could grow from the opportunity.
- Reduce your connection to irrelevant information. Doing simple things to decrease distraction can reduce feelings of overwhelm, like turning off pop-up email notifications, creating email rules that dispense with low priority email messages, and unsubscribing from email lists that you rarely find helpful.
- Train your staff about your response priorities. Which topics are front-burner for you? What counts as an “emergency” when they should definitely interrupt you? What’s your response time for texts versus email versus phone calls and when should they use each method of communication?
- Build time into your schedule when you are intentionally available for drop-in conversations. This presumes that you set aside “do not disturb” time when you are focused on strategic and project work. Having “office hours” when you’re readily available encourages others to access you on your terms, not theirs.
- Find root causes to other disruptions or time wasters. “Fires” usually occur when they wasn’t a good process in place for handling a situation. Look at ways to create or refine processes for handling most things that are likely to challenge your staff, so they learn to do things without you.
- Question whether you really need to have or attend the meetings on your calendar. Maybe you do, but it’s good to review whether meetings are really a good use of your time.
Practice seeing through the “charms’ and “alarms” of life to keep your center. Knowing what’s important and saying “no” to the rest is the key to reducing feelings of overwhelm.
By Annette Pieper
I was riding on the back of an all-terrain vehicle through a forest of quaking aspen in central Utah a while back, enjoying life in the outdoors, kicking back and taking in the scenery. As we drove along through the quaking trees, I noticed how the knot holes in the aspen trees look like eyes. Suddenly, it felt as if a million eyes were watching me. It was kind of eerie.
It dawned on me that in business, as you put yourself out there and market yourself; a million eyes are watching you. You have much greater influence than you realize, especially with social media and web based presence. As your exposure grows, so does the amount of eyes watching you. Even if people are not in direct contact with you, as in signing up for your newsletter or becoming a client or customer, they are still watching. They may be spreading the word about you and your business as well in either a positive or negative manner.
Is that a spooky thought for you? Exciting? Here are a few tips to make sure that you stay on the exciting side of the equation and not the spooky side.
Do not air personal family, friend or business conflicts on twitter or Facebook. There are approximately 350 million users on Facebook and even if you have only 30 friends, your posts show up with those friends, they have the opportunity to share your post on their wall so your post may end up being viewed by thousands of people. Furthermore, anyone that you have unfriended can still see your posts and anyone who has sent you a friend request, even if you have not accepted it can see your posts. And what about twitter threads. Whew…that could add up to a lot of people.
Keep your complaining to a minimum if at all. It’s ok to write about a frustration but add the upside or silver lining at the end. What did you learn? What’s good about it? Inspire people rather than expire them. There’s enough negativity out there, do not feed that fire.
Make most of your posts value added or as a positive connection point. Social media is about connection. It gives us an opportunity to add value and support to others and to receive it in return. It gives us the opportunity to connect with people outside of our local community so keep it on the positive side.
How you show up at a networking event has a great effect on how you are perceived. I was on a tele-class for professional speakers the other day and the teacher said that people make 11 assumptions about you in the first 11 seconds of seeing you. WOW! Eleven assumptions, probably before you even blurt out a word. Be sure to dress how you want to be viewed. If you are a plumber and you want your potential market to view you as a hard working individual, then nice jeans and a polo shirt with your company logo on it may be the right combo. If you are a Real Estate professional or accountant, probably office/casual would suffice. Watch the shoes, people notice worn out shoes. Sure, they may be comfortable but seriously, make sure they send the right message.
Grooming is important. Hair, nails, teeth, breath, body odor, they are all important. Many times we don’t think people will notice the small details. Wrong! Sometimes the small stuff stands out like a big sore thumb.
How you speak is important too. Speak with confidence and passion about your business. Focus more on the other person rather than throwing up all over them about your business. Have you ever experienced that? The person you are talking to is not really interested at all in creating business relationships, they are just interested in letting you know about their business and not interested in yours at all. It’s all about them and they just throw up all over you. Gross! Let that not be you.
Be sure that your videos are relevant to your business. Don’t post your personal family videos to your business channel unless you are tying it into your business.
Make sure that your videos portray the image of you and your business that you want people to perceive. Remember the eleven assumptions in eleven minutes can happen on video too.
Don’t film in a disorganized environment such as a messy office. Clean it up or find a better spot to film, unless it is relevant to the message being shared.
These are just a few ways that we show up in front of people. If you have a website, eyes are watching you there too. Pictures that you are tagged in may just show up in Google images. When was the last time you Googled yourself? Just for fun, Google your name or go to Google images and type in your name and see what shows up. It may be eye opening.
As you market your business online and off, keep in mind the people who are watching you and the assumptions they may be creating about you. Set your intention to show up as positive and inspiring others. To quote from the Spiderman movie “With great exposure comes great responsibility”…oops that’s my quote.
Check Annette Pieper’s training at Curious Mondo