Thursday, July 12, 2012

Are You Spreading Yourself Too Thin?

For resume writers, this is probably a blog post I should have written in January ... or May ... or even a few months from now, in September. Summer tends to be a bit slower time for resume writers. But while you have some time right now, you can implement some of the tools I mention below ... that way, when the normal "hectic" time comes around again, you'll be ready.

Sometimes the signs that you're doing too much are subtle. Other times there is absolutely no doubt in your mind that you have too much on your plate. Here are a few signs that you're spreading yourself too thin:

  • Insomnia — you go to bed and can't get tomorrow's to-do list off of your mind
  • Fear and doubt — fears and doubts start sneaking in. You doubt your skills, direction, and purpose.
  • Moody — you feel tired, irritable, and frustrated. You may find yourself snapping at your children or family members and then of course feeling guilty about it. 
  • Exhausted — everyone gets exhausted from time to time. However, the exhaustion that comes from being overwhelmed doesn't "go away."
  • Family members — when your family members start acting out or complaining that they don't see enough of you, then you know you've tipped the scales of balance in the wrong direction. 
  • Negative thoughts — when you start thinking, "I'm doing too much," "I can't do this anymore," "I'll never get this done," or "I'm not going to make it," then you're likely spreading yourself too thin.

What Can You Do about It?
Spreading yourself too thin isn't all doom and gloom. It is a very useful sign that things need to change for you. And sitting down and assessing what isn't working is a great way to improve and grow — both professionally and personally. Truth be told, spreading yourself a bit thin can also be invigorating and fun — it's certainly better than being bored.

However, to be productive and to get where you want your resume writing business to be, it's important to regularly assess if your energy is being put into the most productive tasks. For example, if you spend an hour filing and shredding every day, that isn't productive. You ideally want to spend your time on high priority tasks — tasks that make you money — like writing and client consultations.

Tools to Overcome Overwhelm
When you feel overwhelmed or that you're spreading yourself too thin, there are some very effective solutions.

  1. Create a schedule. Schedule your day. Put your high priority tasks first. Schedule time with your family and friends. And schedule downtime for yourself. If you cannot take care of yourself, then you can't take care of everyone else.
  2. Create a business plan. If you don't have a business plan for your resume writing business, create one. If you do have one, then use it. Set aside time each week, or month, and review where you are and where you want to be. Use your plan to help you stay on track. 
  3. Outsource. You don't have to do it all yourself, and — to be honest — you probably shouldn't. Outsource those tasks that you dislike, that take you tons of valuable time or that don't make it to your top priority list. These tasks can include personal tasks like house cleaning or business tasks like social networking. You decide what gets taken off of your "to do" list. (There are an increasing number of resume writers who are using the services of a virtual assistant — like Christine Edick, who calls herself a "Careers Industry Support Specialist".)

Finally, be confident in your decisions and use the word "No" whenever you need to. Don't be afraid to turn down opportunities, requests, and other things that take up time (time that you don't want to spend). This is your life. You're the boss of it and your business — take back your time and regain control!

And if you're looking for ways to improve your efficiency in the actual resume writing process, check out "Write Great Resumes Faster."

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