Are you feeling constantly busy, but not getting anywhere? You’re not alone. In this article, we’ll go over three ways to lighten the invisible workload that’s keeping you from achieving your goals.
What Is the Invisible Workload?
You’re about to add another item to your already-packed to-do list. Maybe you’re beginning a business, or it’s time for that big presentation at work or maybe, the housework and kids’ never-ending homework seem to be swallowing hours of your day.
Most people know the familiar feeling of being completely overwhelmed with everything they need to do, and how much is expected of them by their friends and family, and themselves.
There’s one type of stress nobody talks about: The Invisible Workload.
Even Thinking About Work can be Exhausting
We call it the invisible workload because even if you’re not the one actually, physically, doing the tasks, you are still THINKING about all the things that need to be done, and all the decisions that need to be made. You may have the help of a spouse or an employee, but you are the one who needs to give out the instructions, which means at some point, you need to consider all that needs to be done.
The invisible workload leads to the burden you feel when you don’t have enough hours in the day to take the time that’s needed to plan and make decisions about things so that you can delegate tasks.
How The Invisible Workload Affects You
The anxiety may start slow, usually just a nagging sense that you aren’t keeping up with life. You go to bed late because there just wasn’t enough time earlier in the day to get through everything on your list, let alone plan future lists.
In today’s fast-paced world, time management skills are vital to maintaining work-life balance, but entrepreneurs get stuck when they get too busy to get out from under their pile of responsibilities.
The invisible workload may feel like a constant pressure to keep your head above water. To keep your commitments organized, your deadlines straight and your own to-do list manageable. This burden can increase exponentially when you take on something new or start a business, or life throws a curveball that you had not planned for.
It’s easy for this burden to feel like too much, but there are simple ways to combat it.
Examples of The Invisible Workload
Much of what we do every day, may fall into the invisible workload category, without us even realizing it. It’s little things that can’t necessarily be checked off a to-do list, but that often requires our limited time and energy.
Examples of the invisible workload include:
- Planning: Considering what needs to be done. It’s your responsibility to decide how, by whom, and when a task needs to be completed.
- Delegating: Once you have outlined a plan, you need to delegate the work to someone else. This requires explanation and sometimes coaching or training.
- Follow Up: After all, it’s your head on the block, which means you need to chase for updates, status checks, and the occasional reminder.
- Decisions: You’re the boss which means everyone looks to you to decide. This can be a blessing and a curse. Even small decisions require energy to think through properly, and decision fatigue may creep up unexpectedly.
Part of the Job
For business owners, the invisible workload is part and parcel of being the boss. It’s something you signed up for because in a business, there will always be things that need to be delegated and decided.
As your business grows and develops, your time constraints are pulled tighter and tighter. You may not have the capacity you once did, or your energy may be pulled in other directions.
The effects of too much work and an ‘invisible workload’ that is too heavy to bear, may lead to exhaustion, frustration or even a lack of progress. Your in-tray may be completely overloaded and things can begin to through the cracks as people wait for your input and decisions.
What Can Be Done?
When the invisible workload feels overwhelming, consider these three things:
1. Simplify. Simplify. Simplify.
It pays to simplify complex to-do lists. You may think you want to do everything yourself and do it NOW! This type of thinking doesn’t serve you. If you are overwhelmed and have too much on your plate, you will not be able to accomplish goals at the highest level of success.
There’s only so much time in one day. There (hopefully) will always be more work than hours available. By prioritizing and simplifying your to-do list, you can really set your focus on high-value activities with the most potential for growth. This includes completing tasks that create differentiation for your business or generating new products and services.
2. Encourage Leadership
Instead of having a staff full of people waiting for direction, encourage them to take more ownership of their own roles. Empower them so they don’t feel as though they have to run everything by you or wait for your decisions.
You can do this by working with them to clarify their roles and clearly define your expectations. This way, they will be able to take ownership of their work and feel empowered to make decisions without having to check in with you every time.
3. Hire a Virtual Assistant or Online Business Manager
A Virtual Assistant (VA) or Online Business Manager (OBM), can help to lighten your invisible workload considerably. In fact, as your business grows and you achieve a certain level of success, it may be fool-hardy to even expect to do it all yourself.
A Virtual Assistant can support you with the adhoc and repetitive administrative tasks that are a must-do, yet, you don’t need to be doing them. Your time is worth more than spending time on those tasks.
Once your revenue is over 1.5million HKD per month, an OBM can work with you to take your vision for your business and your future goals, and turn them into a plan with actionable steps. They will be able to delegate to or recruit the right people for the tasks that are needed, and they will follow up to ensure all deadlines are being met.
This can take a world of weight off your shoulders and free up your brain space to allow for creativity and inspiration to take root once more.
If you are trying to do everything yourself, you need to make time to plan, and decide on everything too. This is not always possible which just leads to frustration and a feeling of failure.
Remember, quality is always better than quantity. Focus on a few important tasks per day and do them properly. For the rest, either delegate them out or schedule them in to focus on another day.
Who Do You Call When You’re Overwhelmed?
If you feel like the invisible workload is stealing focus from your business goals, why not get someone to alleviate some of the stress?
Nicole Graham from Bauhinia Solutions is the only Certified Online Business Manager® in Hong Kong and an expert in virtual support. Nicole is able to work with business owners to improve work efficiency and establish processes that maximize efficiency and time economy.
Nicole understands what it’s like to be stuck in the day-to-day of running a business because she’s been there herself. This empathy combined with her can-do attitude makes for a powerful combination.
Nicole offers experience, professionalism, and a natural ability to conceptualize the bigger picture while sorting out operational details. This allows her to lead business owners through all stages of their business growth without the stress and anxiety that comes with an overflowing workload.
Nicole has been studying with established, and successful business and digital marketing experts since 2008 to ensure she stays abreast of the current market trends and the best ways to assist business owners in achieving their goals.
Set Up a Discovery Call
Nicole understands these challenges better than most.
She knows what it means to be an entrepreneur and how it can feel like a very lonely job. It is her goal to make the process of business ownership as easy as possible by alleviating some of the pressures that come with owning your own company.
If you are interested in finding out more about how Nicole can clear your workload, go ahead and book your discovery call now!
We hope you find these tips helpful in reducing your invisible workload. The bottom line is this: You don’t have to do it all alone. There are people and tools available to help lighten the load. By taking a step back, delegating tasks where possible, and using outsourced help as necessary, you can reduce the amount of invisible work in your life and reclaim some much-needed time and energy.
What strategies will you put into place today?
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