Exhausted, Overworked, Questioned to Death and Burned Out…What Would You Do?

July 19, 2012 | Business | Beth Schneider

My grandma is turning 89 tomorrow! We've got a big family dinner planned to celebrate. She loves lobster so we're heading to Gladstones, which is right on the water.

This week I wanted to do something a bit different. We get questions all the time. Most of them during our Success Sessions when we're talking to small business owners about their everyday challenges. While every business is unique there are some recurring challenges we see over and over. So a little while back I was emailed a very specific question that we ended up posting in one of our paid programs.

It was so powerful and hit home for so many people that Jami and I wanted to share it with you this week.


Beth Rock
A business with no systems is like trying to carry around a giant boulder.

My husband, his family and I went to see this art installation. Basically it's a giant boulder sitting on some shelves that you can walk under. I don't know, maybe the art gene skipped over me, but if your business makes you feel like you're dragging around a bunch of extra weight, then that's a huge flashing sign that you are missing some core systems.

If you're ready to release the stress, work less, make more money and have a business that you run rather than it running you, then I invite you to join my senior consulting Jami McKinney, my systems coach Sandye Linnetz and I LIVE at the Double Your Profits, Double Your Time Off Intensive .



By Beth Schneider, Process Prodigy

We're doing something a little different this week. This is a question we received that I think hits home. Can you relate?

I think I'm the only one out there who is experiencing this so I am looking to you for some help. I'm so tired of working six or seven days a week. And it's not that it's just so many days a week it's that I'm often working from early in the morning to late into the evening.

My family is mad because they never see me. I know it's time to bring in some help, but my fear is that I won't know what to tell them to do. Even if I do give them something to do, how do I know they'll do it right, or even actually do it!?

I know I'm the bottleneck. It's like there is a big clog in the sink and I know I'm the clog. But I can't get out from under this pile of projects and email. I know I need help, but I don't see what the answer could possibly be.

Just when I think I have a moment, the client calls and then I have to figure out where their stuff is, what's going on with their project. After I've spent at least an hour figuring out what's going on, it never fails, something is always wrong. Which is really frustrating because it seems like all I ever do is spend time on my cell phone, instant message and email answering questions! So why bother giving things away when I'm just going to have to do it all again.

I do want to expand. I know I could easily double or triple my business, but the way it's working now I'm working until 3am. It's a terrible cycle and I just don't know how to get out from under it. There is business waiting in the wings that I keep "putting off" because I can't bare the thought of adding anything else to my plate.

Something is really not working here and I need answers and I need them fast.

If you were exhausted, overworked, questioned to death and burned out, what would you do?


Desperately Seeking a Nap


Dear Desperately Seeking -

First of all you are not the only one in this position. You've fallen into a really common trap that is a combination of two things.

First, you are working off of intuition. My guess is you've been doing what you do for a long time and are quite the expert. So you can talk to a client for 10 minutes and have the perfect answer, right? At times, it probably feels really good that you are the only one who can swoop in and save the day. Unfortunately, that great feeling wears off when you become the bottleneck and are trying to problem solve on a Friday night when you'd rather be at the movies.

The second issue is that it sounds like you are letting your clients run the show. Instead of having a specific process or project flow that you take your clients through, they are controlling the process by imposing deadlines, asking questions and checking in when they feel like it. This often happens in creative businesses like designers, writers, wedding plan ­ners, etc. but it's certainly not exclusive to those fields.

To get yourself out of the way and free up time to live and take that nap you are so desperate for, I recommend you lay out the full process you want your clients to go through. For example, first we need to have a meeting and I'll be collecting this, that and the other information. Then we go into phase 2, where we will be doing xyz, you Joe Customer will need to abc. Then we will go into phase 3 where we will yada, yada, yada. Get it? It's laying out specifically how you will work with your client.

Then you need to look at the parts that "only you know". After years of experience there are those things you just do without thinking. It's kind of like driving. You don't think about pressing on the gas and turning the wheel or shifting. You just do it. But when it's time to start teaching your kid how to drive all of a sudden you are paying attention differ ­ently. It's the same thing here. Pretend you were teaching your kid. What are those little details you would need to tell her? What are the triggers you are looking for? Record a series of conversations with leads or clients and notice what questions you ask. Then write that stuff down. Once you can document those intuitive steps you go through, it's not intuitive and you can confidently get some help.

It will take a little work and some diligence on your part, but the results will be extraordinary.


© 2012 Beth Schneider, Process Prodigy, Inc.

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