Drowning In Information
Written by Laura Prather on January 31, 2018
“Ancora Imparo” is my life motto.
Spoken by Michelangelo in his later years, it means, “Yet, I am learning.” I love it. I believe that we should always maintain a posture of learning. However, in this age of new technologies and systems advancing at an alarming rate, it’s easy for me to feel like my head is going to explode with all the new information I’m taking in, yet it seems as if I’m still not catching up. Like I’m running on a treadmill at breakneck speed and still not getting anywhere.
There is so much information out there that it is hard to know what to focus on, or I’m wondering if I’m really absorbing any of it.
Maybe it is possible to learn too much resulting in stagnation and ineffectiveness.
One of the biggest obstacles to being a Microbusiness is that usually, you have to do it all. Bookkeeping, sales, CEO, product development, marketing and advertising, SEO, filing, social media, photos, and even janitorial. It is so easy to get overwhelmed trying to be a master in every aspect of your business. For me, I’m someone who loves to learn new skills, and while that seems like an admirable attribute, it is possible to learn too much. I say that in the sense of:
- We can always be learning and never applying, and…
- We’re pulled in so many different directions that we lose our focus and effectiveness.
For example, do you take that course on writing blogs, or the one on SEO tactics? How about the seminar on effectively marketing your business or maybe it is the paid group on social media management. All of these things are SO important! So the eager beaver that I am, I tend to try to swallow it all at once.
Then there’s the question of how much time and money do you invest in improving important business skills versus actually doing what you love. You know, what you set out to do in your business in the first place. It is easy to get caught up in learning how to market something and run out of time producing your product or service. Or you lose sight of your core purpose.
It’s enough to want to pull your hair out! (Am I reading anyone else’s mail beside my own?!)
JACK OF ALL TRADES, MASTER OF NONE
Years ago, I remember my father telling me that I was a “jack of all trades and master of none” and that I was trying to create a smorgasbord of life but not able to enjoy any of it. That still rings true. I can get excited about anything. Really. Which means I will enthusiastically chase after any moving object until another one distracts me. Pretty soon I’m like a Golden Retriever on a tennis court with an automatic ball launcher – constantly pitching tennis balls – and I can’t decide which ball to chase!
At least, when you are an employee, you have a specific job to do. Your focus and tasks are clear. As a microbusiness owner, you have to manage all those tasks yet keep the integrity of your business. It is a tenuous balancing act requiring constant recalibration.
A little to the left, a little to the right…now maybe a U-turn.
STOP AND RECALIBRATE
It’s impossible to do everything perfectly, so I have to remember that I’m always drifting a little bit in my focus. That means it is good to just STOP sometimes, take a deep breath and get my bearings.
- Where am I?
- Am I still headed in the right direction or drifting too much?
- What adjustments need to be made? What’s dragging me down?
- Does anything need to be eliminated?
These are hard questions. Everything out there seems good for business, but trying to learn and apply it all at once simply creates a big mess.
IMPORTANT VS CRITICAL
Everything I’m learning and doing is great for different reasons, but what do I REALLY need right now? Growth is always good – if you’re ready for it. Am I ready for growth or are there some basics that still need tending to?
It’s worth the time to review my business plan, write out everything I’m involved in and where my money is going, and then identify the critical areas that need my attention.
GET OUT THE PRUNING SHEARS
Here’s the painful part. Cutting out that which looks good and nice, but it’s really a drain on the business. As much as I love taking new seminars and increasing my skills, too much of it dilutes my time, energy, and focus, making me ineffective. Too much learning, in this case, is counter-productive.
For me, I’m having to do some serious pruning. As much as I hate doing it, and it’s rather painful, I know it is in the best interest of the overall and long-term health of my business.
What do you need to focus on in your microbusiness, and what needs to be given out to a VA (virtual assistant) or eliminated for the moment?