As small business owners, we face challenges everyday -- some come from the outside world while others come from inside us. Today, I want to focus on one of those internal challenges, entrepreneurial guilt. Entrepreneurial guilt comes in several forms, and we can all experience it differently. But no matter what it looks like, it has a tendency to stop our forward progress. It can make us avoid tasks and it can wear down our social bandwidth to the point where we can’t be productive. Which is usually when the guilt amplifies, takes over, and we start reacting without thinking things through. Let me give you an example of what entrepreneurial guilt can look like. For most of us working from home, our morning commute isn’t what it used to be. We walk to the kitchen table or the coffee table in the living room or, if we’re lucky, the desk in our home office.  And what is the first thing we do when we get to our makeshift office?  The dreaded to-do list. The long list of things we need to get done that day (or, in a lot of cases, the intimidating pile of post-its with reminders of what we didn’t get done the day before or the day before that). It looms large and can feel pretty unachievable. When this is the first thing we focus on, it’s not a very inspiring start to the day. Our reminders and lists should be tools of productivity, but they can feel incredibly overwhelming. Entrepreneurial guilt is the weight of all the things we want and need to do that remain undone. All the lists, the contacts yet to be made, the dreaded follow-up emails we need to get to. That weight can steal our bandwidth and leave us functioning with limited resources.  So what can we do about it? We can think instead of react. Take the to-do list dilemma. Having a daily plan that works for you is a key element of success. Instead of waiting until the morning to take on the task of scheduling your day, take some time at the end of one workday to plan out the next.  Sitting down to prioritize your next day can help you game plan and strategize how to get things done in a manner that makes sense for you. Forethought and planning will win over bouncing from one bullet point to another every day.  Another key to success: allow for flex. If you try to plan out every 15-minute block of your day, it’s not going to work well. Give yourself the ability to adjust if circumstances change or opportunities arise.  And finally, plan your day with some goals in mind, but allow time for thought and reflection. Ask yourself, “Am I doing this just to get it done or will it lead to something good?”  Entrepreneurial guilt is something we all wrestle with as business owners. Taking the time to plan out our day and make actionable and achievable goals for ourselves can help to keep it at bay. Stay tuned for more blog posts about the entrepreneurial experience and mindset, the technical aspects of running your own business, and the financial challenges we all face. We hope you’ll come along on this journey with us, we have a lot to talk about! How do you work through your entrepreneurial guilt? Share your strategies in the comments -- your technique may help someone else! Terry Doloughty is the Founder of B.O.S.S. Consulting with thirty years of experience in both the for profit and nonprofit sectors. Terry believes that leadership is the most valuable renewable resource. He’s passionate about sharing his skills and life experiences with the next generation of leaders so they can grow their organizations and support their communities. Be the first to read our next post -- sign up for our blog below!

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