There’s a lot to do on any given day for a founder, and not nearly enough time to do everything with the undivided attention it deserves. The option of pushing stuff off isn’t viable, and there’s only so much that can be delegated; ultimately, there’s a core set of tasks and responsibilities that fall on your shoulders that often exceeds what anyone’s ideal workload might be. And so you have to try to juggle the work at hand as best you are able.
Some people thrive in that world, the fast-moving pace and jumping around from disparate tasks aligning with their particular mindset and energy. But for others, those more attuned to linear, orderly work life, it’s a difficult adjustment to try and make.
Managing a hectic schedule is perhaps not ideal for you, but for the life you’ve chosen as a leader in charge of your own company, it’s a necessary evil that must make your peace with. That doesn’t mean that chaos has to consume your day or diminish your ability to do good work, provided that you’re able to work within that disarray to do what needs to be done. Here are some things to keep in mind for your own multitasking.
Know what needs to be done, and when. Perhaps the biggest fear or concern for those averse to trying to do multiple things at once is that things will get lost in the shuffle, and important items will fall between the cracks until it’s too late. Maybe it’s not the big projects that are always front of mind, but the small things that are no less important in the big scheme. We’re particularly susceptible when we’re overconfident in our mastery over our schedule and our mental acuity, thinking that it’s all right there in that iron trap of a mind we have.
If the order of the day is disorder, it’s even more important for us to keep all of our projects, tasks, and responsibilities complied somewhere we can reference them easily when we’re feeling unmoored. Even if they’re not ordered chronologically, or we can’t tackle them in sequence, we can run through to make a mental checklist of what we’ve done and what we need to do in the near term. It’s a good thing to have regardless, and absolutely essential when you’re feeling overwhelmed by what you have to do.
Focus on the task at hand. We’re probably all guilty of letting our minds wander to thinking about what else we need to do while in the midst of working on a task, even if it’s a task demanding all of our attention. We’re all so busy all the time that none of us are ever in the moment, but rather thinking of the next moments and what we need to accomplish later in the day, or the next day or week. And while it’s good to maintain a wider view and a greater concern for the big picture, it deprives us of the ability to offer what is our best effort to what we’re working on in the immediate.
We have to be willing and able to put out of our minds everything but the task at hand because our concern for the future will neither subside nor speed up our work at present. Give your full effort and concentration to what you’re doing, for as long as you can do it, before moving on to the next thing and repeating.
Lean on others. We may not be able to get others to do our work for us, but we can share the burden elsewhere. Having a good team means having reliable people that you can trust to handle their tasks and step up when asked to. Whether it’s work to aid the project you’re doing or simply reminding you of things that may have slipped your mind, having a collective to help juggle all of the different assignments helps ensure that you’re not solely responsible for keeping things straight in your mind.
With any luck, as you develop your business and get more successful there will be less you’re expected to juggle personally, or at least you might get better at the juggling. But for now, doing what you can to better manage the chaos in your office will hopefully help you to get more done and be more effective, without the benefit of more hours in the day. #onwards.