So Much to Do . . . So Little Time

A thing I’ve noticed about entrepreneurs is how busy most of them are. They usually have a ton of things in their head. New ideas, current projects, you name it. I’ve been asked a few times how I manage lots of moving pieces. I’m human like everyone else and admittedly struggle with this sometimes, but here are a few things that work for me:

  • Park it – I put my ideas somewhere in writing—often, in the iPhone notes feature. Parking lots let me catch and release. They get things out of my head and I don’t have to fear forgetting them. This frees up mental bandwidth and reduces stress.
  • Visualize – When I get really busy or take on projects that involve lots of tasks and connected pieces, it helps me to visualize everything. Tools like Airtable are great for tracking and visualizing things in a variety of ways. Looking at something organized in a certain way makes it seem more manageable.  
  • Prioritize – I have only a finite amount of time and energy. I can’t accomplish an infinite number of things. I prioritize and try to work on the highest-priority tasks first.
  • Slippage – Things will occasionally fall through the cracks and that’s OK. Everyone is human. The trick is to make sure the things that slip aren’t mission critical. I try to identify things that can and can’t slip.
  • Think about it – I’ve been guilty of saying yes too often. Over time I would end up taking on way more than I could do. I now avoid giving an on-the-spot answer to big requests. I ask for time to think about it and then I figure out if it works with everything else on my plate. If it doesn’t, I politely decline.
  • Strengths – When I have a task in an area where I’m weak, I try to find a specialist and ask them for help. Sometimes they’re paid. I’ve learned that completing something I’m weak at takes me five or ten times as long as it does a specialist. And the end result is only half as good most times. It’s efficient to leverage the strengths of others.

What are your tricks for managing lots of moving pieces?