Tips for Surviving the Chaos of Busy Times
You start to see a lot of life’s ironies when you are trying to manage a consulting business, care for two almost-three-years-old kids, and preparing for the arrival of another set of twins. One of those ironies, for me, is that my business has virtually quadrupled in the past month.
It’s almost as if someone sent out a memo to business owners saying, “Hey folks, if you need Kelly to do something for you, better get cracking because she’s gonna be taking some sort of maternity leave in the late winter. So...ready, set, CALL.”
What this means for me is a challenge with regard to managing my time. Bill and I have invested a lot of time and energy working on the issue of time management, and you can find more about that here.
To get you started, here are a few strategies that have helped me get through this chaotic, stressful and, yet, productive time:
1) Say NO. There just may come a time when something’s gotta give. Many of us have a hard time saying no to anything (especially Oreos, for me), but let’s face it, when we’re being spread thin, we have to protect the time we have and use it wisely.
So, when—at a time when you’re crazy busy—your neighbor asks you to walk his dog three times a day, that is the time to say, “Sorry, Sam. Maybe next time.”
2) Ask yourself CONSTANTLY, “Is this the best use of my time right now?” Folks, step away from Facebook, get off of Amazon.com, and walk away from the water cooler. When you are crazy busy, stay focused, be disciplined and make sure you are serving your greater purpose.
I assume that most of you are concerned with growing your sales, so if a given action doesn’t serve that purpose, either delegate, reprioritize, or decline to do it. It’s as simple as that.
3) Ask for help. I hope that you have a team—even if it’s only one person—that supports you. Now is the time to lean on your CSR, a colleague, estimating, or even your boss to help you get through this crazy time.
There is no shame in asking for help, and the sooner you realize that people naturally want to help you (unless they are experiencing a chaotic time of their own), the better off you’ll be. And think of the karma. You’ll be glad to pay someone back for their kindness when things cool down for you. Plus, bribes work.
4) Don’t go overboard. Please make sure that you still eat, sleep and have at least a short conversation with a loved one each day. Don’t let your personal life suffer.
5) Communicate. Let people know what is going on. Set expectations. Don’t skip events or disappoint people without letting them know what is happening with you. People will understand a missed dinner or a late-night trip to the mall. Just don’t go MIA.
Chaos is awesome, because it usually means that business is booming. But it can also inspire terror, not to mention heartburn. So relax for a moment and know that this, too, shall pass.
Blogger, author, consultant, coach and all around evangelist for the graphic arts industry, Kelly sold digital printing for 15 years so she understands the challenges, frustrations and pitfalls of building a successful sales practice. Her mission is to help printers of all sizes sell more stuff. Kelly's areas of focus include sales and marketing coaching, enabling clients to find engagement strategies that work for them and mentoring the next generation of sales superstars.
Kelly graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Political Science and, among other notable accomplishments, co-founded the Windy City Rollers, a professional women's roller derby league. She is also the mother of two sets of twins under the age of ten, so she fears nothing.