THE BLOG
09/15/2014 06:50 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Does Your Small Business Suffer from E.O.?

2014-09-15-small_business_overwhelm.JPG

Most people have heard of B.O. That's shorthand for "body odor" that the urban dictionary defines as "a nice smelling smell that you get if you don't shower regularly and sweat a lot." Nice spin! Although few have heard of E.O., many entrepreneurs are plagued with it... and its damaging effects.

E.O., better known as Entrepreneurial Overwhelm, is the overpowering sensation that you're in over your head. You feel pulled down by a myriad of things to do. You're over committed and don't know which way to turn first. Frankly, you're overwhelmed by all you have to do as a small business entrepreneur.

Everyone knows that growing a business can be overwhelming. However, if you want to rid your business of overwhelm and achieve long-term results against E.O., apply the treatment to the underlying causes.

Too Much On Your Plate

Many small business owners experience this phenomenon. It occurs when you have more "things" on your to-do list than you have hours in a day, week, or month.

It reminds me a conversation with a client suffering from E.O. While documenting all she had to accomplish in a day -- personally and professionally -- she discovered she needed a 33-hour day!

Over commitment is an underlying reason for E.O. when there is too much on your plate. The best place to start is to review your personal and professional goals, eliminate activities unrelated to your goals, and say "no" frequently.

Overcapacity

Overcapacity differs from having too much on your plate, although it feels the same -- overwhelming!

Overcapacity is a result of more business -- and what's required to deliver on that business successfully -- than one's current capacity. It's one of the most common causes of growing pains for small business.

When your business nears standing room only, it's time to automate and systematize to reduce inefficiencies and time wasters. And, if that's not enough, you may need to expand your business capacity by engaging strategic service providers and hire employees that fit.

Disorganization

Running a disorganized business is not only overwhelming -- it's stressful! Projects get lost in the shuffle of day-to-day life, deadlines are missed, critical pieces of information are lost -- you get the picture.

If disorganization is triggering E.O., have a professional organizer help you develop the systems that fit your style. Set up systems and processes that are simple and sustainable. Digitize what you can and keep clutter to a minimum.

Missing Prioritization

Metamonks frames missing prioritization as "the missing link between idea and success." When electrifying business ideas begin to replicate like rabbits, rest assured that E.O. is just around the corner.

With a clearly outlined goal and plan of action, lay out your day's activities in order of importance to your goals. This methodology feels odd at first, but once you get the hang of it, you'll wonder how email became the most important activity of your day.

Feel free to download our Daily Goal Planner. We designed it especially for circumstances like these.

Fatigue

Whether caused by poor sleep, lack of exercise, stress, unhealthy eating or all of the above, exhaustion clearly sparks E.O. You can't think straight. Even the simplest tasks seem enormous. And, all you can think of is, "I need a nap!"

Certainly, a 20-30 minute power nap does wonders for temporarily sidetracking fatigue-related E.O. The most viable method for treating fatigue, however, is to correct underlying causes.

Get eight hours of sleep. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Drink more water. Breathe and move more every day.

Lack of Planning

Small business owners -- minus a plan -- quickly find themselves plagued with E.O. A well-known saying, "If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there," sums it up perfectly. With so many options available for today's entrepreneur, one can rapidly end up on the wrong track.

Planning helps to sift and sort through the countless choices available to you. Start with your strategic plan and integrate a systematic approach to planning to rise above your circumstance and achieve.

When E.O. gets the best of you, the best plan is to come out fighting!

Let's connect: LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Google+