In business, we often hear the usual response of “I’m sooo busy”. Yes, there are positives of being busy – having lots of business is great, of course, and most likely means you’re not desperate for work to keep the doors open. However, there are absolutely negatives of being too busy. In this article, I’m going to talk about those 9 negatives of being too busy, plus my experience as a business coach on how to still have lots of work without being too busy.
9 Negatives of being too busy
Being too busy means you can’t take on more work
When you go around telling all and sundry “I’m just sooo busy” then people start to think, oh, s/he is at capacity, I won’t refer work to that business; they have more than enough. Or they might have been considering you, but they don’t want to burden you with even more work or think perhaps if you are so busy you won’t provide a good service. Some people who actually are desperate for work put on a brave face and say they are busy, when in fact they are deadly quiet. I am in no way saying it’s good to say you’re deadly quiet, but tone down the “I’m so busy”. Be clear you’re doing well and have a good workload, but there is room for a couple more clients.
Corners get cut and quality can often drop
When people are busy, the first thing they often do is cut corners. They look for easier or quicker ways of doing things, and these easier/quicker methods are not always the best. Sometimes we think no one will notice (and sometimes that’s true) but generally speaking, the long-term effect is that standards drop and we are just not delivering that high-quality service our customers love to receive. This is personally one reason why I cap my services when I reach capacity and don’t take on more business coaching clients than I can look after very well.
I can remember when a team member came to me a few years back and said something had gone wrong. I recalled we had a process to prevent this, which was in fact a checklist. I asked her if she had used the checklist and her response was “No, I was too busy, so skipped it”. Thing is that now there was a mistake that would take longer to fix than if she had just followed the process. When we get busy, we do often cut corners and the quality definitely will diminish.
Mistakes start to occur and you potentially lose clients
When you are constantly busy, or there is a last-minute panic on something and everyone needs to work overtime, we become tired. When we are tired we make mistakes. We don’t mean to, but the pressure is on and we feel we need to deliver, so we ‘suck it up’ and work those longer hours. The problem is that when we do make mistakes because we are tired or worn out, clients don’t understand that. They just know a mistake was made or a deadline wasn’t met and that affects them in a negative way and they are unhappy.
You get into reactive mode rather than proactive mode
When you are in ‘reactive’ mode rather than ‘proactive’ mode, you are not focused on creating systems or building in processes which will reduce or certainly substantially reduce the problems, errors, mistakes, inefficiencies or other aspects of a business which don’t allow it to run smoothly. We should be looking to solve problems before they occur, but if you are flat out and don’t have time to be in that proactive mode, then you are most likely constantly in ‘firefighting mode’ and always putting out fires.
You often skip the not urgent but important administrative tasks
Not so long ago a client was struggling financially. Serious cash flow issues and then we discovered he hadn’t invoiced for six weeks. He was incredibly busy and he didn’t see invoicing as an urgent or even that important task. He’d get around to it eventually. The Thursday night he was due to pay his wages became that very urgent time to invoice. Another task which often gets left behind is debt collecting or staff training or setting up and refining systems. All are very important tasks, but if they are not seen as urgent, and you are soooo busy, then they are the types of things getting left behind. My client could have avoided the disaster of not being able to pay his staff and keep jobs running if he’d only kept on those somewhat boring, non-urgent but important administrative tasks.
You stop marketing!
This is a huge mistake that usually creates a roller-coast effect. Business owners get busy, so stop or slow down their marketing, then work starts to dry up, they panic, go into marketing mode and have to wait the time for the inevitable lapse in time that occurs between marketing starting and it reaping results. Instead, be smart about marketing and do it all the time, whether you are busy or quiet – and what will happen is that if you’re doing things right, you won’t actually have those quiet spells (or few) and you can get off that roller-coaster ride.
You stop looking after yourself
“I’m tired and don’t have time to eat well or exercise”. We’ve all heard this and probably even said it from time to time. We get busy and we neglect our own wellbeing. Back in the day it was a common notion that Uni students at exam time lived on coffee and Tim Tams. Now I love Tim Tams but they are not loaded with nutrition and don’t make for a good long-term life choice. We need time to switch off, we need time to exercise, relax and, of course, to prepare and eat nutritious meals. Sure supplements help, but I’ll bet if you’re too busy to make yourself a healthy dinner, you probably forgot to take your vitamins too!
You (and your staff) burn out – or leave
When your staff burn out, they will invariably start looking for another job which is less stressful. They might be amazing team and maybe they enjoy (mostly) working for you and in your business, but the stress becomes too much for them or they begin to hate all the late nights. The same can occur for business owners. I know a good number of business owners in a particular franchise who are all leaving because they are burnt out. I’d love to business coach the franchise owners, because they could prevent the franchisee turnover.
You don’t have time to create, grow, expand or invent something great
Previously, I talked about having time to switch off and this is important. We need ‘time out’ to think, to create, to expand or invent. We need time to learn and self-educate ourselves. We need time just to process ideas and thoughts and concepts. Then, if we do get a great idea, we need time to investigate it, plan its creation and ultimately build that concept. That all takes time and often ‘time out’ of the business where we can actually work on growing and improving our businesses, not just being caught on the hamster wheel – going round and round, day after day.
If you’d like some help in getting more time in your business, or improving business efficiencies or brainstorming some great ideas – give me a call on 0411 622 666.