How To Rework Your Multitasking Habits into Business Strategies That Work

A day in the life of a small business owner or entrepreneur can be incredibly overwhelming. Between the work you love to do and the big list of “everything else that has to get done”, the biggest challenge you face is having to do it all. That includes all of the “must dos” that are not in your zone of excellence.

When important business chores like billing, sales calls, sending your newsletter, or social media marketing are not part of a daily flow, they tend to get allocated to a lower tier on the task list. The consequence of that can be dire.

All of this is the fertile ground for a “never-ending to-do list”. This list adds pressure and a sense that there is constantly “more work to do than there are hours in the day”.

So how do you manage it? You multitask.

  • You read your email while listening to a training.
  • You answer emails while making dinner.
  • You respond to phone messages while driving.
  • You check your Facebook or Twitter feeds while you’re writing your newsletter.
  • You bill clients while watching TV with your family.

All of this creates a demanding life that can feel anything but enjoyable.

The reality of this also creates two predictable challenges:

  1. A high probability that you spend too much time multitasking
  2. The need for clear process and strategy to eliminate your “wasted time”

Multitasking is the motto of many entrepreneurs, but very few are as good at it as they wish. One study showed that a mere 2.5% of people actually “multitask well”. So while you may take tremendous pride in seeing yourselves as multi-tasker to get everything done, the reality is that it’s interfering with your success.

Often people ask me about time management, and though there will never be enough hours in the day, I believe it is much less about time management and much more about self-management. When you self-manage, you eliminate behaviors like looking at the clock, and saying, “Wow, it’s 4 pm- what happened to my day?” or looking at your bank account and saying, “Where is my revenue?”

The solution is a solid plan every month for what you sold, developed, delivered, and collected.  This is the only way to truly deal with this issue.

A Recent Client Case Study With A Senior Management Team:  

Upon being hired, we entered a brainstorming session with the senior management team to explore the business development plans for the coming year.  As we mapped out the various revenue streams, it became evident that this company had a problem on its hands. 

In an effort to grow business, they had recently purchased new equipment and were trying to gain business using this equipment. This required developing a new strategy to grow customer interest, sales, and loyalty. The majority of their leadership team was devoted to making this happen, which meant limited resources for the rest of their product line.

The problem was, in their push to justify buying this new equipment, they had lost sight of their core revenue generation strategy. All their attention was on “making this new thing work”.

This oversight caused the company to take their eye off their core product and led to a decrease in revenue. An unfortunate circumstance for sure.

The challenges they faced were caused by many factors:

  • Senior leadership’s drive to reach break-even with the new equipment
  • Allocating resources in an inefficient way
  • Assumptions about the stability of their core sales drivers
  • Failure to accurately monitor sales so they could catch declines early on
  • A team that was spread too thin over too many tasks/projects

Because they had failed to solidify the plans for their primary revenue generator, they had to give immediate attention to it to avoid a bigger loss of revenue in both the short and long run.  

The Outcome:  

Many small business owners and entrepreneurs have multiple streams of revenue and an endless bank of great ideas. With the way technology works, there is little time to sit on these great ideas in today’s world. Unfortunately, what we see all too often is business owners trying to sell more things than their team can sustain.

There is nothing wrong with multiple revenue streams. In fact, it’s a very wise idea. The problem with pursuing each new idea is that you must have a plan for how to diversify your efforts so all required tasks are accomplished. If there is a loss of revenue, it ought to be a predictable loss for a period of time that is recovered over an equally predictable period of time. This ensures that paying the bills does not get overshadowed in the excitement of a new venture, product or opportunity.

Small businesses are particularly vulnerable to this kind of challenge because of smaller teams and less resources. To insulate your company from predictable downturns, think ahead. Growing pains are normal for entrepreneurs and business strategies are the key to minimizing their impact.

This is how we turned this company’s new equipment investment into a profitable venture. By reviewing the staff allocation, reducing the expectation that staff multitask to “get more done” and setting a marketing plan in motion, we were able to stave off the losses.

Everyone on the team took personal responsibility for self-management. By recognizing when they were distracted or pulled by too many “urgent” tasks, the team was able to address unnecessary stress and multitasking behaviors that led to less efficient work and drains on productivity.

This is what led to a successful outcome.

If your business is growing and wants to take the next leap – add a product line, add new staff, add a new partner or market, the first step is to strategize. Avoid the potential time and revenue losses by doing it now, not as an afterthought or as a recovery strategy as we saw in the case study.

We would love to help you. Whether you’re a small solopreneur, a fledgling team, or a midsize team ready to grow your wings, we can help. Please reach out today for a consultation to explore how Shelly Rubin and Small Business Results can help you.

Shelly is committed to teaching you exactly what to do or can alternatively execute on your behalf. As a serial entrepreneur, she has hands-on experience and wisdom to move you quickly towards your desired results. She is an inspiring strategist and brilliant wordsmith, believing that what we say and how we say it, ultimately compels others to engage with us. Shelly is considered one of the top business coaches in today’s business world.