Trust your intuition when there’s too much to do and no time
I became interested in the whole concept of time management because I was desperate to get off the hamster wheel. I always had way too much to do and no time to do it all – it literally felt like I was running round in circles, especially in the early days of my business.
Having started my business to have more flexibility, the reality was different.
I found myself juggling my thriving business with a busy home life, a husband who travelled all the time and three teenagers who wanted my time too, quite rightly.
All I wanted was to slow down but instead I felt constantly distracted whilst fire-fighting and multitasking. If I dropped things, my stress levels would decrease a little but my productivity and motivation would disappear – and I could never understand why.
Why you have too much to do and no time
We have a great noun in the German language, ‘die Hektik’, which describes the often ‘excessive feverish busyness’ many women fall prey to.
It’s important to remember that we all have 24 hours at our disposal every day. As solo business owners it’s up to us how we manage that time.
The only trouble is, ‘managing time’ is a rather unfortunate choice of words! It implies that you can actually manage time (which strictly speaking isn’t possible).
So why do we get ourselves into situations where we have too have too much to do and no time to do it in?
Here are four possible causes:
- Starting with the obvious – you’ve got far too much on your plate (if only life was simpler!). Maybe there’s been a change in your circumstances or your business that has made your life stressful?
- A subconscious need to be busy. Busyness is so common in our work culture, that sometimes you can feel guilty when you’re not busy. Or, do you like keeping busy because it helps you feel valued and important, perhaps even indispensable?
- A fear of losing spontaneity and not having a sense of freedom. Artists and creative business owners frequently experience this.
- The inability to say ‘no’ to people, projects and tasks. Although you may not want to say ‘yes’, you feel you must. You may even suffer from ‘FOMO’, the fear of missing out! A very common feeling these days, especially where social media is concerned.
Do any of these feel familiar?
I certainly recognise all of them. As do many of the solo business clients I’ve worked with over the years.
Some women need lots of structure but for many creative or heart-centred business owners life can be a constant battle between freedom and structure.
Perhaps you thrive on adrenaline too? If you’re a creative person you may benefit from an element of chaos to thrive. You don’t want to stifle your creativity and feel that being creative AND organised won’t work for you.
And anyway, you may want to smell the roses when you want to – not when the diary tells you!
But if you’ve ever missed a deadline or an appointment, misjudged the length and workload of a project or worse, lost a client because you didn’t have time to make them feel valued enough, then someone somewhere is trying to tell you something.
Just remember that having to make any overdue changes during or after an emergency can be even more stressful (it’s what happened to me once).
Traditional techniques may not work for you
If you are creative and spontaneous, you may also believe in the ‘experience’ more than the outcome and probably don’t enjoy traditional approaches like goal setting and planning very much.
Goal setting seems to be more readily embraced by women who enjoy structure and making measurable progress. Of course, goal setting can be very helpful if you want to sharpen your focus and feel less stressed too.
But at the end of the day, everyone is different. A prescriptive time management system may not work for you as I don’t believe that one size fits all!
It is always worth finding strategies that are tailored to your very own personality, circumstances and needs.
Let your intuition help you focus
To get you started, I would like you to consider this: being in control of your time is usually not about what you do, but about what you choose NOT to do!
It often means letting go of things or activities that are not really that important in the bigger scheme of things. It is vital that you stop worrying about the wrong things – or get someone else to do them for you (I appreciate this may take some planning so may not be practical right now. But please don’t dismiss the idea completely!).
The minute you let go of something, there is less inner conflict and you will find it easier to make more effective decisions about how to use your remaining time.
However, please don’t kid yourself, you’ll probably always have a lot of things on your to-do-list, and not enough time to do everything. It is important to be accept your situation and understand your personal reason(s) why you’re always so busy.
Once you have a better awareness of what’s driving you, you will probably stop fighting so much (and perhaps even let go of the unrealistic ideal in your head where you can do it all).
The thing is, we don’t always need our head to help us focus, listening to your heart can be quite effective too – if not more! By listening to your intuition you are more likely to work with your existing values and belief about time, rather than against it.
Feeling ready to have a go?
Please find a quiet place to minimise distractions (put your phone on silent too, or even switch if off):
- Try to sit comfortably and relax your neck, shoulders and back
- Next, focus a few minutes on your breathing
- Listen to your intuition and what your heart is trying to tell you
And if you’d rather approach this from a more intellectual angle, just ask yourself these questions:
What will I give myself permission to ignore?
What will I focus on instead?
Now you’re effectively coaching yourself and, if you want to, you can write down your answers so you have a daily reminder and don’t forget your intentions.
And there you go, before you know it, you will have pressed pause on your life and caught your breath. And then you will slow down and feel calmer and more focused every day.