Small businesses often run on limited resources, which don’t always leave available funds for hiring an ideal number of employees to cover all the work that needs to be done. Most small business leaders are required to wear multiple hats to cut costs.
While this is a cost-effective strategy, it requires a lot of energy and time on the leaders’ part, which can lead to leaders becoming overwhelmed and eventually burning out. Below, 12 professionals from Business Journals Leadership Trust offer advice on how a leader can manage to handle multiple jobs without burning out.
1. Break tasks down by dividing them into two buckets.
As a solopreneur responsible for everything, I break out tasks into two buckets. Administrative functions ensure the smooth functioning of my business, and these non-critical tasks can be delegated. High ROI functions, like client coaching and business development, directly impact the bottom line and are too important to delegate. I focus on only those tasks that bring the greatest value to me and my clients. – Faizun Kamal, The Franchise Pros
2. Seek guidance and counsel when necessary.
Small business leaders manage to wear various hats within their organizations by possessing the following qualities of being open-minded, positive, hard-working, humble, disciplined and consistent. They must also be willing to seek guidance and counsel when necessary. Additionally, a leader must learn to trust and delegate tasks as needed in order for the organization to reach its optimal potential. – Robert McCray, Vantage Realty Capital
3. Write tasks down to conquer them one at a time.
As a business leader, you must always be ready to do whatever is necessary to keep the business running efficiently. To prevent burnout and feeling overwhelmed when you have to wear multiple hats, write all open tasks down and conquer them one at a time, checking them off the list as you go. Seeing the tasks written down in an organized format helps bring a sense of organization to the chaos. – Donna Stockham, Stockham Law Group, P.A
4. Map out your day before you start.
Map out your day before you start your day. Whether you do it at the end of a workday or at the beginning, look at your schedule and create blocks on your calendar as to when you will complete each task or group of tasks. And then stick to it! If you can get yourself in tune with this discipline, it will be easier to take on more with less stress. – Christopher Tompkins, The Go! Agency
5. Utilize as much technology as possible.
Make sure you utilize as much technology as possible. Focus on “human tasks” for humans and allow automation to do the rest. There are many inexpensive ways to automate, even with limited resources. Take the time to lead by creating silos of tasks and making the most of human talent. – Rachel Namoff, Arapaho Asset Management
6. Be methodical in your approach to the day.
One can manage burnout by being methodical in the way they approach the workday. A well-disciplined approach includes taking care of key initiatives early in the day, leaving the remainder of the day to handle various tasks and ending each day with handling any emails. Setting boundaries will ensure that you start the day fresh, and you’ll be able to handle three times the work with this steady approach. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne Advertising
7. Use automation to lighten loads when possible.
I am of the opinion that you shouldn’t do a job that you are not passionate about. Use automation wherever possible to reduce workloads. Prioritize tasks, train your team and delegate. Hire a skilled workforce, create a collaborative environment, inspire and empower your team. Manage your time and build next-generation leaders. – Samy Muthusamy, reliableparts.com
8. Prioritize the work that brings the most value.
Prioritizing that which will bring the organization the most value, even if it isn’t perfect, is essential. Imperfect action yields better results than inaction. – Justin Livingston, Reflektions Ltd
9. Set aside one day a week to tackle strategy.
I like setting aside one day a week to tackle strategy and work on gnarly problems without interruption. This answers two important pieces of business ownership by allowing for visioning, strategy and deep thinking with focus and helping you spend the rest of your week mentally present with your customers and your team. Everyone wins! – Kimberly Lucas, Goldstone Partners
10. Delegate to grow with every initial hire.
Delegate to grow. When I started my firm, I did sales, recruiting, operations, accounting, IT, etc. With every initial hire, I looked for leaders who could take on these responsibilities. This freed me up to do the things I do best and allowed others to shine in areas of my weakness. Know that others may not do things the same way as you, so set goals for them and get out of their way. – Matt Rosen, Allata
11. Have clear business goals and objectives.
Having clear business goals and objectives is critical to determining which tasks and activities are most important and impactful. Chasing shiny objects and going down unnecessary rabbit holes can easily create overwhelm and burnout. Knowing exactly what needs to be accomplished to get the business where you want to take it streamlines decision making and reduces the risk of overwhelm and burnout. – Laura Doehle, Elevation Business Consulting
12. Organize and prioritize well in advance.
I’ve found the best way to effectively manage multiple roles and responsibilities in an organization is to organize and prioritize. I manage my calendar to the minute, a week or two in advance, including time-blocking for non-interrupted work sessions. I also prioritize my tasks on a daily and weekly level based on what’s important, not just urgent. – Kent Lewis, Anvil Media, Inc.