If you want to ramp up your productivity all you have to do is focus on your strengths, work with the things that come naturally to you, and delegate your weaknesses.
I had a soloist come to me recently, exhausted and on the edge of burnout. I’m convinced that it was only because she was following her life-long passion that she was managing – physically and emotionally – to keep going. Commitment and an unwavering desire to fulfil her life’s ambition kept her getting out of bed each day to put in yet another 16-hour day. Weekends too. She was under enormous pressure to stay on top of her workload, let alone do all of the other things that come with running your own show.
I mean, you know how it is, right? When you’re a soloist, you’re everything – from the receptionist to the accounts team, to the IT guy –and everything in between.
This is why a large percentage of start-ups, especially soloists, fail. The hours are demanding, the stresses are high and the rewards, even when you adore what you do can make it all seem pretty, well… unrewarding.
The only way to solve this is to make yourself a superhero.
A superhero who knows their own strengths and their weaknesses.
Like Superman and kryptonite.
So what are your strengths?
Strengths are superpowers – they’re the talents that make us great!
It would be fair to suggest that your particular superpower is what your core business is founded upon. But just to be sure, you might want to follow this checklist. When you’re using your superpower, you will feel:
- In flow (lose sense of time)
And this is where you should focus 90% of your time.
Want more articles like this? Check out the business productivity section.
Anything else – the peripheral stuff that you feel ambivalent about or actively dislike – you must delegate.
Delegation is a superhero skill. Why? Because it is not easy:
- Many soloists are perfectionists: They worry about losing ‘quality control’ if they hand over responsibility to someone else.
- A lot of soloists are time-poor: They don’t have time right now to do whatever is required to make things easier in the long run which, ultimately, only compounds the problem.
- Some soloists are such high achievers they won’t ‘admit’ they can’t possibly do everything, all of the time.
- And often, soloists believe they can’t afford help. Sure, sometimes, especially in the early days, cash flow is a real problem. But while it needs to be acknowledged, it should not be an inhibitor… Sometimes you ‘need to spend money to make money,’ as the old saying goes. Ask yourself if you can afford not to fix the problem. Examining outcomes can help to make the decision.
Because when your time, energy and personal resources are stretched, things start to fall apart and the consequences can be disastrous. Unhappy clients. Health problems. Relationship issues.
Besides, when you’re working in your business all the time, you don’t have time to work on it with freethinking and brainstorming and planning for the future. And you certainly don’t have time to create work/life balance, which is probably one of the key reasons you went out on your own in the first place.
So, ask yourself:
- Is there an app for that? (take time to find the right one)
- Can I outsource it?
- Is it a necessary job/task? Can it be re-shaped? Or completely removed?
- Who can help me? Look around you – networks like Flying Solo are perfect for seeking other resources. Consider ‘swapping’ services with a fellow soloist who is good at something you’re not.
- Can I up-skill? This is important in areas like ‘sales’ which very few people actually enjoy, but which is a fundamental part of soloist life – clients want YOU and YOUR talent. This means you have to show up for the pitch, so you might as well make the most of it. And don’t forget, courses and conferences are also a great way to get away from the desk and meet people, which is never bad for business.
Batman had Robin. What, or who, do you need?
Don’t ‘do’ …Lead.
Superheroes are just that … heroes. They’re inspirational characters and leaders. And leaders focus on their strengths – the things they love and which motivate them. The rest, (their weaknesses) they delegate. As a soloist, you are the leader of your business. It is your responsibility to behave like a leader. Otherwise, your business will flounder.
Focusing on your strengths and delegating your weaknesses will effectively optimise your time and utilise your best skills. Which will make you more positive, energetic, clearly focused and more fulfilled!
…And, believe it or not, these are the things that give you wings.
So you can fly. Just like the superhero you are.