Have you ever started your day with this thought: “Lots to do today. I’m going to knock these things out and blow through my long to-do list! I feel organized and ready to take on my tasks. I got this!”

How long does that enthusiasm last in your normal work day? When you look at your project list, do you have much flexibility in your plan? How do you react when you need to adapt on the fly as the day unfolds?

I ask these questions because I see so many small business owners treat themselves harshly when tasks are left undone. 

There are so many scenarios where this happens. You procrastinate so you don’t have to take on that difficult task or project. You multitask, trying to get two or three things done at a time and not really completing any of them. You find yourself stuck in traffic or in a mile-long line at the post office. Any way it goes, your project to-do list has gone down in flames.

Entrepreneurs’ lives are so intertwined in their businesses that there can be harmful fall-out from something as simple as an unfinished task. In our modern business world, being busy is commonly equated with success. But as a small business owner, you need to think both short-term and long-term, constantly monitoring your finances, wellbeing, and bandwidth. When you take all of those factors into consideration, being overwhelmed and constantly busy never equals a successfully healthy person.

So how do you create a better relationship with your project lists? 

Set clear, achievable expectations. Small steps can get you the big results you’re looking for and patience can help you get there. It’s not easy, but the return on investment never stops paying out. 

Space and grace are undervalued concepts in the process of achieving success. Let’s look at an example that came up in a conversation that I had this week.

Terry Doloughty (TD): You’re not the best at getting out of the house in the morning, are you?

Client: No! I’m constantly forgetting things, backtracking to find something I’ve lost, and then I’m behind for the whole day. I can never catch up! It’s so frustrating!

TD: What makes it feel that frustrating to you?

Client: I feel like an idiot all day. I’m mad and it makes everything else go wrong. I never get my stuff done and it all piles up!

TD: Why do you try to leave the house so early every morning?

Client: I want to get stuff done.

TD: Ok. Let’s make an adjustment to your schedule. You’re in charge of your time as well as how and when your morning starts. Let’s build in some space to find things and get organized before you leave. Can you allow a little extra driving time between stops? Would that reduce the stress?

Client: I could try changing the time I leave the house, but more time between stops means I won’t get everything done.

TD: Are you getting everything done now?

Client: I hate when you do that -- stop being reasonable! And thank you. 🙂

We all push the limits of our capacity as we grow, thrive, and succeed. If you want to enjoy your success, allow yourself the space to do so.

What small change can you make to give yourself some space and grace? Leave a comment below! 

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