Overwhelm is a term that comes up a lot in the entrepreneurial community, especially for solopreneurs. As the boss you must always think about the big picture, keeping everything in mind all the time. Then you have to execute, doing the ground level tasks.
The great thing about being the boss is that everything is up to you.
The worst thing about being the boss is that everything is up to you.
The longer I work for myself, the more I laugh when someone tries to pitch some kind of opportunity by saying “you can be your own boss.” This is only appealing to people who have never actually done it.
This is where the overwhelm comes from. If you are trying to carry the entire plan for the great cathedral in your head while you lay every brick it becomes overwhelming. There are so many bricks to be laid! What is one is out of place? What if there is a mistake?
The architect on the cathedral building project may be quite stressed out. They think about every little thing that has to go right and could go wrong.
The bricklayer? As long as he’s laying his bricks where he’s told and he’s getting paid on the regular, overwhelm is not a word in his vocabulary.
What if you could be the bricklayer in your own business, only thinking about the next brick?
You can. You can separate yourself into two roles: the architect and the bricklayer.
The architect must think about the big picture but doesn’t lay the individual bricks. The bricklayer doesn’t know or want to know the big picture. They just lay the bricks where they’re told.
You can achieve this by dividing your time into planning time and executing time.
In the planning time, you are the architect. Think of it as if you were preparing detailed instructions for your employee who works in a different office and needs everything laid out for the day or week ahead of time.
This is when you think about the big picture. This is when you make the big decisions of how you will allocate resources. This is when you are the boss.
Then, it’s time to execute. You are now the bricklayer, following the architect’s plan. If there’s a minor error in the plan, you don’t worry about it. If the order isn’t entirely perfect, no big deal. The boss gets what the boss asks for.
In bricklaying time, you execute. You don’t think about the big picture. You don’t worry about the grand goals. You run the action item list in the order that the architect presented it to you.
The bricklayer is never overwhelmed because they lay one brick at a time, no matter how many are left to lay.
Try it. Set aside specific time to be the architect and plan your day or your week. Then, become the bricklayer. Follow the instructions and only think of what must be done next.
How can you be overwhelmed doing one thing at a time?
What do you think? Do you think this strategy can help you? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Click here to set up a free, no obligation half hour coaching session with Michael to talk about how you might better be your own employee.