Drop, Defer, Delegate, or Do? How to Know Which Tasks to Focus on in Your Coaching Business.
Overwhelmed. Frustrated. Burned out. Does this sound like you? Are you trying to do everything in your business and running yourself ragged in the process? If so, you’re not alone!
Most business owners face this problem at one time or another. We may be taught how to coach, attract clients and grow our business, but I don’t think many of us are taught how to balance life as an entrepreneur. For most of the coaches I talk to, it’s quite a juggling act. I face the same challenges at times, so I know how it is. It can be hard to turn off ‘work mode.’
After I hit a time of burnout last year, it forced me to look at what changes I needed to make if I wanted to continue to have a thriving business, while still taking care of myself. The best lessons are always the hardest, right? I’m sure you have a lot on your plate right now too.
As you start out with your coaching business, you want to have systems in place so that when your practice starts to gain momentum, you’ll know where most of your focus, time and effort should be spent.
One thing that is important to realize as a business owner is that you should not be doing it all on your own. This is a recipe for burnout, and it happens to a lot of people.
So what do you do?
It’s important to evaluate your tasks and projects, and decide what can be handled by others, or possibly skipped altogether.
For me, the first step with this is to know my vision, and then set goals for the year (if a year is too much, start with a quarter). What are the most important things to focus on, that will get you the results you want?
Here are a few project ideas to consider:
- Create an awesome freebie to grow your email list
- Get your articles published online (MindBodyGreen, Elephant Journal, etc.)
- Focus on providing amazing, value-packed content (blog posts, videos, etc.)
- Launch an online coaching program
- Host workshops or webinars
- Guest speaking opportunities (in person, online, summits or podcasts)
- Network with other professionals for referral partners
Looking at this list, which options will help you the most right now? Perhaps there’s something that isn’t even on this list that you’ve been thinking about doing. Don’t get overwhelmed, just pick one or two at a time, and do them to completion before you start something else.
Once you decide on your goals and your plan of action, then you can figure out the pieces of the puzzle and how you will get it done (without feeling frazzled).
Start by making a list of the tasks that you currently handle (or will need to handle) and add any additional tasks that would improve the functionality of your business. From there, prioritize which tasks are the most important to keeping your business running and which ones do not have much of a long-term impact. You will use this list to further evaluate your tasks and decide which category they fall into: Drop, Defer, Delegate, or Do.
Take a look at the tasks toward the bottom of the priority list you just made. Which tasks are low on your list and also have a low return on investment (ROI)? These are likely time drains that do not make a dramatic long-term impact on your business.
Perhaps you have been spending tons of time promoting your services on a certain social media site, but your ideal client isn’t active on that platform. Or maybe you are wasting time doing something else because it’s “comfortable,” but it’s not producing any results. Here’s one example – Have you ever found yourself scrolling through your Pinterest feed only to realize an hour has gone by? You started out pinning an awesome recipe, only to find out you just created 3 new boards to decorate your house! Whoops!
One of the biggest mistakes that health coaches make in their businesses is being afraid to cut things that they have been told are important. Just because an expert recommends something or you know someone that a certain tactic has worked well for, does not mean that the same thing will necessarily work well for you.
Take a hard look at the items on the bottom of your list. What kind of time are you spending there, and what are the results you are seeing? If your answer is “little or NO results,” it’s time to consider dropping that item completely. Once you have eliminated unnecessary distractions and time drains from your business, your time will be freed up for more important tasks.
Next, take a look at your list and decide what items may be of value but maybe the timing isn’t quite right. It can be easy to slip into the trap of trying to jump ahead in your business, even when the necessary foundation is not yet complete. I have to remind myself of this on a regular basis!
Try to stay focused on one project at a time, and take it to completion so you can start making progress. Monitor your results. There are tasks that may come your way that could benefit your business, but you may not be ready to see that particular project to completion yet. Avoid those tasks. Distractions are always going to pull at you, so you need to be able to put our blinders on when necessary.
A good strategy for tasks that can be deferred is creating a “projects for later” document for your business goals (I currently use Evernote for this). These are goals that will help you meet your long-term objectives, but you may not have the time or resources to tackle them immediately. Put all these tasks down on one document, so you have a clear vision of what you would like to work toward in the future. Once a quarter, reevaluate the items in this document and decide if you are ready to move forward with any of them. This way, you can stay focused on your long-term goals but you won’t be distracted by trying to take on too many projects at once. Just be sure to write them down when you think of them, or if you’re like most people, you’ll forget.
Once you have decided what tasks to drop and defer, look at the remaining tasks on your list and decide what can be delegated. Don’t be afraid to hire help, especially if it is an area you are weak in.
Hiring a professional not only frees up your time, it can also lead to improved effectiveness (and a lot less stress for you) and more profit. By outsourcing tasks to people who are strong in that area, you can ensure that the end result will represent your business well.
Take a look at tasks that you either don’t enjoy, or you are not particularly skilled in. Those should be the first tasks you delegate. Once you have delegated those tasks, take a look at what you do enjoy, but may not have a high ROI in your business. These tasks should also be considered for outsourcing. These may be things like creating your own graphics, motivational quotes, web design, SEO, etc.).
Delegating does not have to be expensive. If you are just starting out and your budget is low, check out sites like Fiverr, or Upwork. You can find freelance help for all areas of your business – from graphic design and web design to virtual assistants and more. You can also ask for recommendations from friends and colleagues.
For ideas on some of the best tasks to outsource, along with six signs that it’s time to start outsourcing, check out this post HERE.
The remaining tasks on your list should be the most important, with the highest ROI. These are the items that are critical that you handle personally. Now that you have dropped, deferred, and/or delegated the other tasks on your list, you can put your full energy into tackling the most vital tasks within your business.
These are the tasks that will help you grow your business, and increase your profitability. By becoming laser focused on these tasks, your business will be stronger than ever before.
If you aren’t sure, it’s helpful to ask yourself “Will this help me move my business forward right now or help me reach my goals?” or “Is this the most important thing I can be doing right now?” I have found that answering these questions helps me get perspective when I need it.
Take Control of Your Business
You don’t have to do it all, no should you do it all. Evaluate and categorize your tasks to take back control of your business (and your life). By only focusing on the most crucial tasks within your business you can reduce your stress levels while still growing your business.
So, how did I come back from my episode of burnout? I recognized what I was doing wrong, and I took some time off to recharge and reprioritize. I didn’t completely unplug or go off the grid (ha, but the thought did cross my mind) – instead I put a hold on any new projects for a few weeks so I could slow down, reprioritize and outsource more things. I felt a sense of relief and renewed energy, and came back stronger. I’m sharing my lesson with you in hopes that it helps if you are facing (or will face) the same thing.
“The strong individual is the one who asks for help when he needs it.” Rona Barrett
Maybe I can help you check one thing off of your to-do list!
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