Have you ever heard of Entrepreneur's Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)? IBN member Jim DeBetta mentioned it to me a few months ago. I had never heard the term before, but I immediately realized that it perfectly describes a lot of people I know, me included from time to time. The Urban Dictionary defines Entrepreneurial ADD as having so many things to do that you don't get anything done (my paraphrase). I like the way my friend Brian Hamlett (@mpoweringu) described it when I posed the question on Twitter this morning:
I couldn't have summed it up better myself, Brian!! Do you see any of yourself there, especially number one? After my talk with Jim a while back, I began to ponder how much of myself I saw and I didn't like it, so I decided to take action. Here's how I began to cure myself immediately of Entrepreneur's ADD.
Create and Maintain Organized Online Activity Streams. Earlier this month, I created a new organizational structure for my FaceBook activities by changing the way I connect with 1,000 people. The numerous enthusiastic comments received on that post highlight how important this issue is for small business owners. By creating my own structure within FaceBook's structure, I am able to participate on FaceBook on my terms and in a more organized way.
To me, few things are worse than being connected to people I cannot respond to. Before I took action, my FaceBook email box was overflowing with people who expected answers from me. As the box grew in size, I became more and more overwhelmed, not realizing that I had the power to solve my own problem.
Because I organized my contacts, I am now able to respond to everyone in an appropriate fashion. And the best part is that I'm better connected to my family members and close friends, who use FaceBook as a virtual ongoing family reunion.
The same logic can be applied to all walks of life, online and offline. Identify the thing that seems overwhelming and then assess the options you have to streamline, manage and then minimize the overwhelm. Immediately after implementing my life-changing FaceBook change, I felt better. My FaceBook inbox is empty, and I remain closely connected to business colleagues through multiple business related tools.
This has freed my newly organized brain cells to address each type of connection with the proper mindset, which ultimately means that I accomplish more of my goals. And when that happens, I can help my clients and customers accomplish more of theirs. It's a beautiful thing.
Think. Do you ever stop to consider how seldom you take the time to simply think about what may be the most efficient and cost effective way to accomplish a particular task? By that, I mean thinking about a single goal long enough to actually plan what you must do to achieve it and create a schedule to implement the plan.
I retrained myself to do this over the past several months, and until I did, I didn't realize how important it was or how seldom I did it.
When I was an attorney at a law firm, the partners used to tell a joke about how new lawyers don't like to bill clients for their thinking time. They are perfectly happy to bill by the hour for writing a brief, conducting legal research or showing up in court to argue a case. But just thinking? Without writing anything down and without having anything to immediately show for it?
The partners drilled into us the notion that, not only did we get paid to stand on our feet in open court, but we were also paid for our ideas. Our brilliant creative legal strategies, they told us, were a direct result of our thinking!
As small business owners, we should give thinking the same credit. Consider what you need to accomplish and then think deliberately and wholeheartedly about the best way to accomplish it. Thinking helps you lay out a plan that is focused and specific rather than haphazard and diffused.
If You Can't Delegate, Liberate. I often hear people remind small and independent business owners to just say “no” sometimes. After all, we can't do everything, so why even try? As true as that is, the reality is that, saying “no” by itself is not always a satisfactory solution. If something is important enough, we either must do it ourselves or we must delegate the task to someone else. But if neither is possible, what do you do?
You liberate yourself, that's what!
What's the point in continuing to pursue something that you cannot bring to fruition at this time? If you can't do it yourself and you can't delegate, then liberate! Liberate yourself, at least temporarily, from the task you cannot complete and focus on what you can accomplish. After achieving things within your grasp, you can go back and reassess whether you can accomplish the other tasks. By then, you may have the resources you need, or you may discover that it's not something you want to do anyway. (Funny how that works!)
Over the past several months, I have liberated myself from several worthwhile tasks that I simply do not have the resources to tackle at this time. This has freed me to accomplish goals that are within my reach. And this had made a huge difference, not only in my business but also in my life.
Question: Streamline. Think. Liberate. What do you think of my action plan? It's working for me. What's working for you?