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The overwhelmed entrepreneur: stop taking on too much and learn to prioritize

Are you trying to run your creative empire and constantly feel like you are going in circles?

Do you start your days feeling overwhelmed and end them feeling frustrated because of what wasn’t accomplished?

Does your to-do list continue to grow and grow and you feel like it isn’t getting any shorter?

I get it! Welcome to the creative entrepreneur life!

Here is a secret for you: It doesn’t have to be this way. You can make progress daily. You can move your business forward daily. You can start your day feeling in control and end your day with peace. And you don’t have to stay up all night either.

Photos in this post by Marcus D Porter Studios

So, how is this possible? Planning.

Yep, if you are struggling with getting everything done in your business then it means you need to spend a little more time planning well so that you can have more time to create. Because having time to create is what we really want, right?

Creative entrepreneurs start their business because they love to create and they want to make money doing it. And most of them realize very quickly that running a business takes so much time that they have very little time left to actually create.

Enter planning.

I know that word can sound really restrictive to a creative but it is actually the opposite. Planning well is freeing. And it is likely what you are missing.

Here are 4 ways to start planning better so that you can get things done AND have more time to create.

1. Plan your schedule

The number one problem entrepreneurs have is trying to cram too many things into their week. You need to sit down and actually evaluate what you are responsible for. Make a list of all the “Must Do’s” in your life. These are things like driving carpool and doctor appointments. Slide those into a blank weekly calendar. Then look at the “Want to’s” but try to keep it to 3. This would be things like yoga and lunch with a friend. Slide those into your weekly schedule next. Now what you have left is your available work time. I bet you already have less than you realize. Before you fill in your work hours and business tasks, make a list of them first. After you have listed them all, note which ones are musts (versus wants) and how much time the task takes. Take all the musts and plug them into your calendar. I recommend doing this by batching similar tasks on the same day for the most efficiency. IF you still have room on your weekly schedule at this point, then you can prioritize a few of the want to items for that week.

2. Only 3 tasks per day

We do a lot more than 3 tasks per day. But when you are looking at your list of business tasks to accomplish per workday, there should not be more than 3 big items. When you give yourself a giant list every day, you end the day defeated and frustrated each time because you didn’t check everything off. BUT, on a great day when you are rocking and rolling and you DO get those 3 tasks done, you might be energized enough to get one more thing done (or at least started). It is funny how the psychology works there. Starting your day with 3 main tasks and then being able to get to 5 is WAY different than starting the day with 5 big tasks looming. Productivity, like many things, is like a snowball and when you set your goals to be more achievable, you often gain steam to actually get more done.

3. Schedule your creative time

You are so overwhelmed with too many responsibilities in your business and you are frustrated that because of the never-ending list, you don’t have time to actually create. I have been there and I know how horrible that feels. Here is the thing I wish I would have learned in the beginning: You have to actually schedule time to be creative and work on the art. And you have to stick to it. Even if there are other tasks looming. You have to give yourself that time and stick to it. Maybe it is every Monday. Maybe it is Tuesdays and Thursdays after lunch. Whatever it looks like to you, schedule the time. Block it off on your weekly schedule and don’t let anything distract you from that time.

4. Clock out

You deserve work hours and the good news is, You are the Boss! That means that you get to set them. Being an entrepreneur is hard. And it is SO easy to work all the time because we are passionate about growing our business. But if you aren’t careful, you will be setting yourself up for major burnout down the road. Trust me, this is a huge killer of small businesses. Even when you love what you are doing. Even when you don’t feel like stopping. You need to. You need to force yourself to stop and walk away. Stop writing. Stop invoicing. Stop scheduling social media. Stop responding to comments. Just stop. Clock out and do what regular people do- watch a movie, have family game night, go on a date, go to the gym, read a book, go on vacation or go shopping. Or any of the other million things you can do. But the point is, don’t work. And don’t do anything related to work. And don’t get sucked back in because someone sent you a DM on Instagram. When the office is closed, you are off duty.

I hope you found this helpful. I know how intense the overwhelm is. I know what it feels like to hate the business I created out of passion. I know what it feels like to run away from it all and just walk away from all my hard work.

I don’t want that for you. I want you to thrive. I want you to experience the freedom and joy that comes along with owning and running your own business WELL. Trust me, a little planning makes a WORLD of difference.

If you are a female creative entrepreneur, I have a free Facebook group that you might enjoy. Pop on over and click “request to join”. I go live in the group every week to answer questions and give business tips. It is a safe space for like-minded women to create community and I would love to have you.

If you have newly setup or are preparing to setup your photography business, I have a freebie that you might enjoy. You can grab my FREE Photography Business Blueprint through the box below.

Original post by Sabrina Gebhardt, a 2022 Reset presenter!

Sabrina is a lifestyle photographer of more than 10 years in Fort Worth, Texas. She loves emojis, color and as a Mom of 3, prides herself on capturing joyful chaos for her clients. The one thing Sabrina loves more than photographing incredible families is teaching other photographers how to build the business of their dreams. She is a self-proclaimed open book, caffeine addict, and strong enneagram 3 who is completely pumped to teach at Reset 2021!

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