Too Many Hats

No, I’m not talking about too many hats in the literal sense, i.e.: we’ve got 3 days to embroider 10,000 caps with only 12 embroidery heads to work with.  Been there, done that.

Here I am talking figuratively about wearing too many hats and if you are anything like me you are in fact wearing too many hats as you try to keep the ship afloat, gears turning, plates spinning, etc., etc. The results of wearing too many hats can be both good and bad:

On the good side, you are acutely aware of all that is happening in your business, whatever you’re working on is probably being done better and more efficiently than if someone else was doing it, your employees might actually be motivated by seeing that the “boss man” is “in the shit” with them.  I know that seeing inspired team members inspires me in return.  This is a good cycle.

On the bad side however, you can really overwork and over stress yourself.  Fatigue, anxiety, frustration, anger set in and no matter how hard you try to hide it, you can’t.  Your employees, your customers, your vendors, and worst of all, your family, can all see it and feel it.  I’ve come to learn that my personal response to working with or for people in this situation is somewhat unique in that I will work harder, longer, more efficiently, more proactively and take on more responsibility in an attempt to help the individual and quell their anxieties.  That’s me and maybe it’s you too, however most people will respond in a negative fashion.  They will resent you, hate you, or just simply buckle under the pressure.  This is a bad cycle.

These cycle’s seem to alternate daily. The end result is a roller coaster effect that we all hate.  So what to do about it?

I think it’s most important for all of us to evaluate every single responsibility and task that we are taking on and figure out what we can delegate out and to whom.  Okay, you’ve heard this before and yes, you are right, it is relatively easy to pinpoint a number of items which could be removed from your plate.  The hard part is figuring out to whom you will delegate and how you will teach them to do it.  That takes a lot of time and effort… better just do it myself, right?  Of course not…

So as I sit here at work on (yet another) Saturday morning, trying to catch up on all the work that I (or others) just couldn’t get done during the week, this thought pops in my head, kind of an LPT to myself:

If the best way to achieve my business goals is to work on my business rather than in my business (sounds cliche, but it’s true), I’d better be prepared to work more Saturdays (huh?).

Yes, more Saturdays, but with one very important rule:

Weekend work must be reserved for working on my business, rather than in my business and day-to-day work will only be performed from Mon-Fri, period.

It may be painful for a while, sacrificing even more valuable time with family and friends, but eventually the weekend time investment (for me this includes steps to improve operations such as defining/re-defining process, procedure and terms, creating/updating training documents, etc.) will yield returns in the day-to-day operation and will eventually result in fewer/less stressful hours at and in work.

In other words, if I am going to make the sacrifice and investment, what can I do with this uninterrupted time that will forever save me time, (even if it’s only going to save minutes per day/week those minutes add up over time), will help declutter the dustbin in my head (remember that old Donald Duck cartoon?), will empower my employees, and will ultimately augment the operation.

Looking forward to next Saturday…

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