I’m really good at coming up with new ideas (and this is one of the things I most love helping clients with – seeing different ways of doing things). But I’m not so good at the execution.

Have you ever done the Belbin Team Roles assessment? It looks at the nine role behaviours that successful teams have. I’ve done it a couple of times now and completer-finisher is always the one I score lowest on. Since I know this is not my strong point, I’m quite aware of it when doing client work. But my own work, not so much!

I have a good idea, get started on it and then get distracted with the next idea. Which is not ideal when you are running a business. I’ve found it gets worse when I’m heading towards burning out or have already gotten there. In these circumstances, I don’t have the capacity to manage this tendency as well as I can when I’m feeling rested and relaxed.

Since coming back from burning out last year, I’ve been working to put in place structures and systems to encourage me to finish things.

If you find this is happening to you too then the following has helped me to curb this tendency:

01. Committing to a plan. At the moment I’m using a 90 day plan and focussing on activities that are associated with the projects/goals/commitments I’ve got in that plan. By project I usually mean creating something new – though the actual project could be a carryover that I’ve not finished from a previous period. A goal would be something like growing my email list by 100 people a month. A commitment would be something like writing 5 days a week. Big visions for my business feel too much at the moment. Projects etc are working much better.

I don’t plan on finishing all projects in 90 days but I at least try and set out steps to move the project forward within the next 90 days. An example of this might be developing a new program. The first 90 days might be doing audience research, outlining the program, working out who it helps and how it helps them. The next 90 days might be developing the material for the program, setting up the sales page and developing a launch plan. Then the next 90 days is launching the program.

This might feel slow (and it is compared to what I’ve done in the past) but if you are feeling overwhelmed then smaller steps are good and you can always go faster if you find you are getting work done quicker.

02. Completing reviews. I’m currently reviewing my business each month, journalling how I’m feeling and looking at my numbers. While I’ve got journalling questions that look at what isn’t working, I also have questions about what is going right. I find this helps with the negativity bias most of us have. I think I would benefit from a weekly review where I just note what has gone well. This helps encourage me to keep going on that project.

03. Taking a break. I often make less than ideal decisions when I’m feeling overwhelmed. Taking a break and going for a walk is one of the best things I can do to slow my brain and stop it thinking all the things.

And of course not working all hours of the day. Making sure I log off at the end of my workday and having a set time and routine for that as well as taking whole days off. The exception I have here is I often do client calls in the evening because of time zones. But if I have a call scheduled in the evening I log off earlier and have a break before that call.

04. Allowing myself to experiment. I don’t want to be experimenting with every aspect of my business all the time. But allowing myself to try out something new can be freeing. If you want to experiment more make sure you set a long enough timeline to see the results of your experiment and commit to only doing one each 90 day period. This is especially the case with trying out new marketing ideas. These can often take time to build momentum and for you to see results.

04. Having an ideas list. Keeping a list of ideas to help my brain realize that an idea is not the right idea for now. It may be the right idea for the future.

At the end of the 90 days, if I’ve gotten projects finished I can review this list to see if there is anything I would love to work on next. But I’m also working on recognising that at certain points I need to consolidate what I’ve done. I’m working now on a new offer in my business and I know when I get that sales page up then my focus for the next 90 days will be about being more visible and marketing what I do. I think its easy to get caught in cycle of thinking we always need to be creating something new. When in reality we need to focus on what is already there and getting the word out to the world.

Sometimes an idea will pop up that feels so right that I want to start working on it immediately. If this does happen then I’ll look at my current plans and cut something. If I’ve learnt nothing else while being in business its that I’m overambitious in what I think I can get done. Often when I look at having to cut something the new thing doesn’t feel quite so urgent.

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