Manar Al Hinai: make your workload manageable to stay in control

Our columnist Manar Al Hinai urges entrepreneurs to learn when to say no to ensure they stay on top of their workload.

“I’m swamped with work.” “I barely have time to do anything.” “I can’t take any more.” Sounds familiar? As an entrepreneur you have probably been in such a situation, or know someone who has or still is.

Ambitious business people often face such scenarios. They are so hungry for more that they sometimes lose control, or forget when to say no and have things under control.

A young entrepreneur friend of mine is a textbook example of this. She is driven, ambitious and at one point handled several small ventures at a time. She barely had any time for herself, until she admitted one day that she could not take on extra projects unless she received some major assistance with her workload.

If you are managing your business but feel things are getting out of control because you have taken on too much, then it is probably time to stop and reset your working life back to a normal pace.

Things do not usually spin out of control overnight. There are always signs that indicate you have too much on, such as sleeping less, feeling reluctant to check your email, go to the office or being in a permanent cranky mood.

But because I have personally been through this situation a few times, here is the thing. When your workload gets out of hand, it is important to remember you always have a choice. You could choose to wind a few things down, change your way of managing a situation or simply take a break.

First things first, if you are facing such a situation you need to acknowledge that you are not alone and that all entrepreneurs must have been through this at one point. It happened to me when I was expanding my small business, and when I started contributing to various publications at the same time.

Also, always keep in mind that no matter how stressful handling multiple jobs at the same time can be, be grateful for it. For instance, I would rather be overwhelmed than have nothing at all to occupy my mind. Being overwhelmed means that things are going well for me, and that I am achieving my goals.

Moreover, keep in mind that the power is in your hands, and you have the control to change the situation you are facing. The reason you are facing challenges as you are now is because you have allowed them to enter your life and take a space. If a certain project is consuming more time and does not result in equal returns, let it go. If you have too much administrative work to keep up with, hire an assistant, or a virtual assistant if you do not have space in the office. Say no to that free seminar you offered to give if you do not have time for it. You can always say no and not sound rude. People will understand.

Aside from managing her business, my friend had different social media platforms to manage and update for her business. With time she felt that she became overwhelmed and decided to deactivate a couple that were not benefiting her as much, and focus on two instead. That extra focus dedicated to two social media channels instead of four actually rewarded her in the long run. She became more targeted and focused instead of having her attention scattered.

Remember, no matter how smart, productive, and creative you are, you will need some help when it comes to certain tasks, especially when your business is expanding and growing. No one expects you to be Superman and it is OK to ask for help when required. A good support system is needed, and with the variety of services provided at competitive prices, you could get help on almost everything from managing a blog, replying to emails, to having someone run your errands. This will not only relive your stress, but free up your time to focus on things essential to your business growth and development.

When managing a business, it is normal at some points to feel that you are on a roller coaster ride. But keep in mind that matters are in your hands and you get to choose how to manage your business and life.

Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati writer based in Abu Dhabi. Follow her on Twitter: @manar_alhinai

Follow us on Twitter @Ind_Insights

Published: May 3, 2014 04:00 AM


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