Background of a white board with lots of messy math on it and with text on top "WHY things don't get done: Making things too complicated"

WHY things don’t get done: Making things too complicated

Welcome to Part Five in the WHY things don’t get done series. (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4)

Last week we talked about constantly reworking.

This week we’re talking about a similar topic: Making things too complicated.

One way we make things too complicated is by putting overly complex solutions together. The question is: Do you really need it to be that complicated and elaborate? You can always add layers to it after you know the basics work.

An example of this is a very long sales pipeline (they by this, then I’ll sell them this, and then this and then this, and THEN they’ll become private clients). If each piece is tested and converts for you, great. The problem comes in when everything’s new. Then if anything goes wrong in the process, everything breaks down.

In this example, start with what you ultimately want to be selling and work out the messaging and marketing for it. After you have that down, you can begin adding other layers.

Or your solutions might be overly complicated because you don’t have enough of the pre-work done. For example, don’t create a system that relies on you having an appointment scheduler and prevents you from adding appointments to your calendar until you do. 

I’ve seen clients not set up 1-1’s or sales calls with people because they were researching scheduling tools. Or they’d picked one and were lost in the details of getting it set up. Their time would have better been spent reaching out personally to people to get appointments on their calendar and creating a simple system around doing it manually. There are two main benefits of this.

  1. They start getting appointments/meetings on their calendar
  2. They learn what’s important to them in this process which makes choosing and setting up a scheduling tool easier

When we overcomplicate things and spend too much time putting together the perfect system, it feels like we’re being proactive and productive in our business. But instead, we’re avoiding the things that move us closer to the results (aka clients and income) we want in our business. 

The last example of this is overthinking an email or conversation. Perhaps it’s a follow-up email or call. Or maybe it’s asking someone to have a 1-1 with you. Or something else. Whatever it is, we can get lost in trying to find the perfect wording or feel like we’re being a bother, or create any other story in our head that stops us from moving forward because we’re overthinking it. 

So, take a step back this week and do a quick review for where you’re making something too complicated instead of doing a more straightforward task and moving forward.

If you prefer listening/watching, you can catch this on YouTube or in my free FB group.

Background of coffee spilled on papers with text on top "WHY things don't get done: The unexpected"

WHY things don’t get done: The unexpected

Welcome to Part Three in the WHY things don’t get done series.

Today we’re talking about the unexpected.

Sometimes things happen that we can’t control. Sometimes they’re little blips (like unexpected phone calls or emails), sometimes they’re a series of little blips that add up quickly, and other times they’re things that shift our attention for a more extended period of time (like a day or several days).

Let’s talk about the little blips first.

Little blips might cause you to reprioritize your day. For example, I had a former client call me unexpectedly one day. So, of course, I answered the phone without hesitation! I hadn’t talked with her for months and wanted to know how she was and what was new.

The mistake most make here is then trying to cram everything on their to-do list for the day in the remaining time (and get frustrated) OR working later to make up for that unexpected call.

Instead, decide what you’re moving from today’s list to tomorrow’s list because this is all about intention. Your intention doesn’t need to be to follow the plan exactly as laid out. Instead, your intention can be to have a plan that you’re doing your best to follow. And when the unexpected happens (because we all know it does happen), you are allowed to rework your plan.

Just like your goals and intentions are not set in stone, neither is your to-do list for the day. You get to adjust it and decide, “Is this still something that I want or need to get done today based on all the other things that happened today?” Then make adjustments as needed.

The second part of this is the things that shift our attention for a day or more are what I sometimes call LIFE happening. These are the times when your top priorities (like family, your health, etc.) cause you to have very little, if any, time for your business.

In these times, it’s completely understandable that things in your business are a lower priority. So tell people who might expect things from you what’s going on. You don’t have to share all the details if you don’t want to, but you do need to let them know that you’re not going to be available. And this will free you up to take care of yourself or your family or whatever/whoever you need to.

If you’ve created checklists or plans for your projects or goals, then you’ll know where to pick up when you have a bit of time that you want to use to get something done in your business.

You’ll also know where to pick up when you’re ready to start back in your business. Know that it’s okay to tackle the easy things for the first few days.

I did this after my Grandfather passed last year. After having some time off, I got itchy for the structure I’ve built for myself around coming into my office to work. I wanted the comfort of that structure. But I also didn’t have the attention span or focus to do the tasks that required a lot of energy, creativity, or focus.

So, I gave myself permission to write down all the things I needed to do when I did have that focus and allowed myself to do the easy stuff first. Yes, those weren’t the highest priority tasks, but they allowed me to get back in my office and feel like I had that structure I needed.

Give yourself permission to be where you are and recognize that you’ll make the adjustments later. Do what’s best for you in these times and let go of the shoulds.

Next week, we’ll discuss reason #4 for WHY things don’t get done: constantly reworking.

If you prefer listening/watching, you can catch this on YouTube or in my free FB group.

background image of a lap-sized chalkboard with a question mark on it, over the image is the text "WHY things don't get done: Part 1 of 6"

WHY things don’t get done: Part 1

Sometimes things just don’t get done.

It can be because we’ve decided to focus on something else.

But typically, that’s not the case.

Something else is going on.

We don’t like to talk about it.

We try to ignore it.

But it’s there, causing us problems and holding us back from the progress we want and the success we know is on the other side of it.

Today is the start of a 6 part series where we’ll talk about WHY things don’t get done.

The first reason we’re going over is having so much to do you don’t know what to do next.

This is one way that overwhelm manifests itself.

There’s so much going on in your head, so many priorities, that you just don’t know what to focus on first.

To solve this, write everything down.

“Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them.” – David Allen

Release your mind from holding your ideas and tasks by writing them down.

If you need help with this, read last week’s post called Making “writing it down” work for you or read this post on doing the next three things.

Next week, we’ll discuss reason #2 for WHY things don’t get done.

If you prefer listening/watching, you can catch this on YouTube or in my free FB group.

background picture of child holding head in hand with text over top "How to quickly get started when you're feeling completely overwhelmed"

How to quickly get started when you’re feeling completely overwhelmed

Does this sound familiar: 

I have NO idea where to start, I never feel like I’m making progress, and I don’t know what to do next!

One of the Merriam-Webster definitions of overwhelm is “to cause (someone) to have too many things to deal with.”

And all of those things are living in your head. So, you start on one thing, then remember a couple of other things. They’re all important, but where do you start?!

So, how do you quickly get started when you’re feeling completely overwhelmed?

The quickest way to move out of this feeling is to write down everything that needs to happen in the next few days. 

Then put a mark next to 3 things that need to be done today. Yes, there is a lot that you want to accomplish, but pick only three right now. You can’t finish everything today. So, you’re choosing the next three things you want to do. 

When you complete those three tasks, pick three more. You might not finish all three today, but you’ll know what you’re starting with tomorrow.

Also, new things are going to pop up throughout the day. So instead of trying to do them, add them to the bottom of your list.

When you feel less overwhelmed, you can do more planning and organizing around your tasks and schedule.

For some of you, this is all you need. You might create a new list every week, and you’re good to go.

For others, this is a good start but a temporary fix. Reach out, and we can have a quick conversation. 

If you prefer listening/watching, you can catch this on Facebook or YouTube.

Productivity for Solopreneurs: Insights to getting things done #120 / How do you prioritize the importance of doing in contrast to strategizing?

How do you prioritize the importance of doing in contrast to strategizing?

Someone recently asked me how I prioritize the importance of doing in contract to strategizing (or planning).

She said that she finds DOING is 10x’s better than having a perfect strategy.

But it can be a whole bunch of work in the wrong direction, which isn’t great either.

So what do you do?

I want to start by saying that there is no perfect strategy.

In our desire to have the impact and results that we want we can get caught up in doing things the “right” way.

And a lot of us can get so caught up in creating and executing that perfect strategy that we keep putting off the thing we’re actually trying to accomplish.

We plan and plan and plan and plan.

When we start the work, we want it to be done so very well, that the end date keeps getting pushed back and we don’t end up with the results or the impact that we wanted.

Basically, you can end up procrastinating something important through a desire to do it perfectly.

You might forget that it’s important to make progress, and not wait for perfection.

It’s a whole lot better to get something out there that’s imperfect, unfinished, or unnamed (as the case may be) than to wait for things to be *just* right or perfect.

And you also need to balance that with planning.

You don’t want the only thing you’re consistent about to be that you’re throwing undercooked spaghetti at the wall and wondering why NOTHING ever sticks.

Meaning, if you do that once, fine. Learn from it and maybe cook the spaghetti a bit more next time.

In other words, do it badly first, then look at what worked and what didn’t.

You have a start.

No one else is going to think you did it badly because they didn’t go into with the HUGE expectations that you did, they’re ONLY seeing what happened.

Let’s take it into more personal terms.

A week from today I’m hosting a 1/2 day workshop.

It’s the first time I’ve hosted a workshop in over 3 years and the content is completely different.

But it is material I’ve taught before, so I don’t have to completely write new content.

When I started planning it I thought I should host it in a hotel, have tables with white table cloths that hit the floor, have a microphone, maybe be recorded, and have the perfect powerpoint presentation (or slide deck).

And I thought that before I started marketing it I should have all the marketing planned out, the fliers created, the social media posts and images created, all emails written, and a list of everyone that I wanted to call and personally invite written.

And that FREAKED me out. Because it meant I needed about 2 1/2 months of lead time and for the timing with some other things I wanted to happen to work I needed the workshop to happen in about 6 weeks.

So, I reset my expectations.

What absolutely needed to be done now so that I could start sharing this workshop 3-4 weeks out from it happening?

What could I work on and figure out during that 3-4 weeks before the event?

And what expectations can I let go of this time around to have more time for some other more important things?

It was more important for me to get it out there for the first time and have some experience with it than to try to get everything perfect the first time.

Sometimes it’s about doing enough planning so you can start moving in the right direction.

Again, it’s about making progress and not waiting for perfection.