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How are things going for you at work or in your business? Do you feel like you are on a hamster wheel chasing your tail and cannot get off? Are you running at high speed and using lots of energy, but feel that you are getting nowhere fast? You may think you are being ineffective in your role or that your business is running away from you. You may also feel out of control, stressed, anxious, uncertain, overwhelmed, tired, frustrated and much more.
Here are some ideas to try to get you off the work or business hamster wheel:
Admit you are on it. One of the hardest things is admitting to yourself where you actually are and how you are feeling. Accepting the situation you are in and recognising that is where you are is the first step to moving forward.
Commit to getting off. You may have admitted that you are on a hamster wheel but getting off it may feel very daunting. It is natural to resist change and do the same as you have always done. Remember in any situation you always have choices and options, you can choose to stay as you are or choose to do something different. Committing to getting off the hamster wheel will enable you to start to feel more in control.
Take stock of where you are. Be honest with yourself and take stock of where you are and where the business currently is. You will need to stop and take time out to do this. You may find this very difficult but it will pay dividends in the long run. Get accurate and up to date information, do some detailed analysis and gain feedback from your customers, suppliers, colleagues, family and friends.
Develop a strategy and plan. Consider with your team where you want the business to be and where you want to be in the short, medium and longer term. Contrast this to where you are now and understand what needs to be different and what changes you need to make. You can now plan out the key actions that you need to take. You may find it difficult to look longer term so if so just make a short term strategy and plan first. You can then move longer term later.
Focus and take one step at a time. To stop yourself getting distracted or dragged back on to the hamster wheel you will need to keep focused on implementing your plan. Focus on what you can control, don't try and do too much too soon and take one step at a time. It is normal to expect everything to go smoothly and in line with a plan but life and business are not like that. Be prepared for the unexpected and the ups and downs and be flexible with your plan.
Increase resources and efficiency. You are probably stuck on the hamster wheel because your business or department is under resourced or inefficient or you are trying to do too much yourself. Consider increasing resources (staff, equipment, funding etc.), delegation and outsourcing, as well as reviewing processes and procedures to make things more efficient.
Measure progress. Review where you are on a regular basis. Look at what has gone well, what has not gone so well and how you are getting on against the plan. It is easy to be over optimistic in your planning and the reality can be quite different. Stay positive, adapt your plan accordingly and don't get disillusioned.
Step back from the day to day. For the above to be effective you will need to make time each day to step back from the day to day and 'work on' your business, as well as well as to lead and manage your team. Even a small amount of time each day can make a big difference.
Ask for help and support. You may feel overwhelmed and not able to get off the hamster wheel. If so talk to someone or ask for help and support whether from a friend, colleague or someone outside your business.
Author: Liz Makin
Published: January 2016
Makin It Happen has a range of personal development online courses to purchase, created by Liz Makin, including communication, resilience, time management, stress management and coaching. Liz Makin also provides personalised business coaching, business mentoring and stress management services to business owners, directors, managers and professionals.
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