How Do We End Up Trying to Control Everything
Life’s busy. Work, business, friends, family, life admin. Let alone time for ourselves. With so much to do, life can seem like an endless to-do list. Getting to the bottom of it every day is a challenge. We concentrate on ticking the boxes and stop investing. Stop investing in ourselves. In our business and our work. In our friends and family. More than that, in our lives. We feel frazzled at best. Often stressed. And burnout is a very real possibility
Why Our Need for Control?
As with many time management frailties, being a controller can be a multi-faceted problem. For those in the corporate world it may come down to how they feel they’re valued. If I’m not doing it all, will I be replaced? For freelancers and small business owners our business is our baby. Accepting that anyone knows better about any aspect of our business is hard. If we don’t know why we do what we do. If we’ve lost sight of what’s important. Then everything gets done in order of urgency
Lose Control, and Like It!
As with everything, breaking it down into smaller steps will helps us achieve success (how else do you eat an elephant?!). So, here’re some steps:
- Recognise your inner controller. Create a simplistic journal, digital or paper. At the end of the day write down the answers to these questions: ‘What did I do today that someone else could have done better, quicker, with less stress?’ and ‘What did I do today that wasn’t important?’
- The second question may be difficult to answer without a definition of importance. Our view of importance comes from knowing what we want from our business, our work, our lives. In short, we need goals (more on this in a future post)
- Be careful not fall into the trap of perfectionism (read my advice on the problem with being perfect)
- Concentrate on what you are good at, where you add value
For those in the corporate world look to your coworkers (and not just in those in your own team). Swap aspects of your job for aspects of their job where there is mutual benefit. Don’t do things for the sake of it. During my 22 years in the corporate world I stopped a lot of needless things being done. My strategy was to not tell people about it. And see who noticed. Nine times out of ten, no one noticed. To address, ‘If I don’t do it all, will I be replaced?’ Is this a fear that comes from you? If so, challenge yourself to overcome the fear. Is it a real reflection of how your organisation works; rewarding presenteeism and effort, not value brought? Is this a culture you want to spend 40 years of your life investing in?
Freelancers’ and small business owners’ first reaction is likely to be ‘I have no staff, and I can’t afford to outsource’. I emphasise; YourCoachApproach is a one-person business. There are still options: use your networks and see who’ll consider a service swap: what you’re good at, for what they’re good at. Making use of the tools you already have (but may not know the power of). Don’t worry if you’re not a technical person; there’s plenty of people you can turn to for advice. The Facebook group ‘Freelance Heroes‘ is my go-to
Stop Controlling, Start Investing
First and foremost, take a step back. Identify the areas you don’t need to control. Once you’ve done that, you’re on the right road. Developing time management skills is an investment, and with patience it will pay off. Running yourself to a standstill will never get you anywhere
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