These 7 Tips come from the article titled “I’m most effective when I’m swamped” by Ernestina Hall, head of Campaigns at Virgin (2016). The article identified 7 tips for thriving in business when you’re busy and are worth sharing here. These are my excerpts from her article from the original that appeared on Virgin.com … although it no longer appears there. And, you don’t need to feel or be swamped for these tips to be valuable.

Here are Ernestina’s tips, including a quote from her original article:

1. Think In The Medium Term

” . . . have your next milestone in sight, rather than the potentially daunting end goal.”

This doesn’t mean you haven’t got a long term plan that you regularly check to see how you’re progressing. It does mean you’re living in the present and working toward goals that are shorter range and are part of helping you achieve your long term goal. Ernestina notes, this “will allow you to have perspective when challenges come up and be flexible and solutions-focused so you can stay on track.”

2. Make Decisions

“It’s important to trust your gut when you don’t have time to weigh up every option.”

Sometimes we can have analysis paralysis. While getting input from others may be a valuable part of the process, sometimes we can use this as an excuse to procrastinate on making a decision. Making decisions is an important part of running your own business, and this means knowing what decisions need more analysis and input from others, and what decisions we need to trust our gut on, and that can/should be made on the fly.

3. Ignore People

“When you start your own business everyone will have an opinion. You would go mad if you took every comment seriously, so as much as you should appreciate and value advice, you need to know when to listen and when to nod and say thank you. Think about who’s insight is relevant to what you’re doing.” 

While advice is important, knowing whose advice is relevant and important for the project you are working on is, well, important! As Ernestina points out in her article, asking your granny for her opinion when your target audience is millennials, probably doesn’t make sense. A website or social media campaign that appeals to your parents or your granny may be more likely to turn millennials off.

That said, don’t ignore your customers! Ultimately, they are the ones who count when it comes to opinions. So know when to ask for their input, and listen to it.

4. Trust People

“When you run a team you need to empower people. Understand what’s in your control and what isn’t. Even with micro-management (which I wouldn’t recommend!) people will still make their own choices. That can be a really positive thing, but even when it isn’t or they fail, who’s to say your rushed job would have been any better?” 

This can be a tough one for many solo entrepreneurs. “No one can do it better than me” thinking … (and I confess this is one I can struggle with) …. will limit your growth and your creativity. Seriously, if you hope to grow your business, you can’t do it alone. You have to trust people. And in truth, the best people won’t want to work with you if you need to control everything you’ve asked them to do!

5. Work In Secret

“Whether you’re a night owl or an early riser, two hours of work before anyone gets into the office or after your house has gone to bed, can often be more efficient than a whole day’s work.”

The key here is to find a block of time. when you’re least likely to be distracted by anyone, so you can focus on getting to stuff done that will allow you to stay ahead of the game. Each of us is different and so what works for you may not work for others. Some of us work better with a few hours of uninterrupted time late at night, others work better when this is early in the morning.The key here is to find a block of time. when you’re least likely to be distracted by anyone or anything, so you can focus on stuff that will allow you to stay ahead of the game.

6. Focus On The Top

“When you’re multi-tasking it’s essential to constantly reassess and be clear on your priorities. When not everything will get done, you need to decide what will, what’s first and what it’s okay to sack off.”

Essentially, understand what is important and what your priorities are/should be, review them regularly and stay focused on your top priorities. Don’t let the unimportant and sometimes interesting (or not) stuff sidetrack you and cause you to be less effective. In fact, there is a good deal of research that indicates multi-tasking  makes us less effective, not more effective. For more on that read my article “To Become More Effective, Say ‘No’ To Multitasking.”

7. Take Yourself Seriously

“Don’t let your personal wellbeing be the first plate to drop … Stay sane and make sure you have some fun and/or relaxation in your week.”

When we’re running our own business, especially when we’re starting out or in a serious growth spurt, it can be easy to ignore our own needs. Don’t! It’s important we take time for ourselves and enjoy life outside of work. This will mean different things for each of us, but the more we take care of ourselves the healthier we will be (mind, body and emotions) when we are running our business.