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You can prevent project fatigue with flexibility, priorities, and discernment.
jen mcfarland - founder
Consider the tasks that always get pushed down the field that might be things that you can take care of quickly or things that really support some of your bigger goals that maybe aren’t your favorite things to do.
And yet, those are the things that are foundational and pivotal and really important to helping you achieve all of the things that you would like to do in your life and in your business.
You are evolving. Take small steps every day. Those steps turn into big actions. And those big actions turn into huge results. And sometimes it just starts with the smallest step forward.
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Welcome to the Women Conquer Business podcast. I’m your host, Jen McFarland. The Third Paddle podcast is now the Women Conquer Business podcast. Since 2018, The Third Paddle served as the name of my podcast.
The name is clever, too clever, it turns out. After a year of explaining what “third paddle” means, I’ve decided to rename the show to make the audience and purpose clear. So welcome. This is the same show.
Like The Third Paddle, the content and values are the same, helping entrepreneurs get unstuck, evaluating the way things have always been so we can consider another approach, providing a safe space for women and people who identify as women, as well as our male allies, to discuss leadership, equity, strategies, and share stories to support each of our businesses. And lastly, creating a community of understanding that is impossible to conquer your business demons without also acknowledging the bigger world. Yeah, that’s right. Society, culture, and relationships really affect business, so it’s worthwhile to talk about those things too.
During the one-year anniversary show, I stated that there were some changes on the horizon. And rewriting the podcast is one of those things. So all of the things that I talked about on the show that were changing, they’re also just being rebranded as Women Conquer Business. So here’s some of the things that are currently in development. I’m developing regular segments about leadership, equity, and tech. I’m excited to have quick segments to give you a ton of value. I’m gathering an all-star lineup to make regular appearances during these segments.
I’ve created some merchandise to get you super pumped about conquering the world of business. I’ll share a link to the store in the show notes. I’ve also created a way for you to ask me questions so you can be featured in an episode. These are just quick snippet questions that will allow you to interact with me whether you live in Portland or not. This feature is currently available at jenmcfarland.com/podcast, and we’ll be slowly integrating it into all of the show notes so that if you’re listening, like, “Wait. I have a question,” then you can just ask it on the spot right from jenmcfarland.com.
I’m also developing a bunch of live podcast events in the Portland, Oregon, area. Also, workshops and speaking engagements that I guess will start off in Portland but could actually go anywhere.
And then, I’m putting together some online courses and communities so that I can share with you the hours of cool jams that never made into an episode and create a bunch of tools and courses to help you move your business forward. So as you can see, there’s just so many things going on over here, and it’s going to take us a little bit of time to catch up with all of the cool stuff that we have going on.
That’s why this show doesn’t have an intro or an outro because, sometimes, when you have to change things, the change happens so quickly that you have to either decide to act imperfectly or you have to think about waiting until everything is ready.
Spring Cleaning Your Business
For me, I have been going through a huge transformation where I’m actually just shedding and getting rid of a lot of things that aren’t in alignment with my business. And one of the things that I needed to do is move forward with the podcast in a direction that felt fully aligned for me. And that meant taking action without having an intro and an outro. I’m just waiting for things like that to catch up, doing things without having all of the artwork and all of the extras.
And, sometimes, that’s what you need to do in your business too. Sometimes we wait for everything to be totally perfect. It means that we lose steam or we lose focus. And so it’s good to have that to-do list that you’re constantly working on. And the truth is, we may not have a lot of people who go back in time and listen to old episodes.
A lot of times, people who listen to podcasts listen from the day they listen and move forward. They don’t always go back and listen to the first one and go all the way through. In fact, I’ve hidden the first few episodes simply because the podcast has changed so much in the last year, that if you listen to the first episode, you’ll be like, “Wait. That doesn’t make sense because I met Jen at a networking event.”
Or, “I saw a Facebook Live video, and this doesn’t sound like the same podcast.” And the truth is it isn’t. Because in the beginning, I had a partner. And now, it’s just me. And every once in a while, I bring people in to talk. But things have changed. My business has evolved. And I know that you are evolving too. And as you are evolving, it’s important to take steps because those steps turn into big actions. And those big actions turn into huge results. And sometimes it just starts with the smallest step forward.
In fact, earlier this week, I was in California working with a client, and she has so many different projects going at the same time. And I was thinking, it might just be in the air. It might just be that spring is the time when we’re not only cleaning our house, meaning, our home, our place at where we live, but I think sometimes that also means that we’re cleaning our business and we’re looking and evaluating all of the things and deciding what’s in and what’s out. And the important thing to do when you have all of those projects, when you’ve got, say, if you’re like me and you have a podcast, and you want to develop different supporting things to help, whether it’s a promoting and a marketing thing or just offering more value for the people that you’re interacting with, whether it’s podcast listeners or someone in your business. Sometimes, it’s important to plan those projects out but leave a lot of flexibility.
And when I help people with their project management or implementing something that’s a change with their business, the phrase that we learn to talk about this kind of thing is structured flexibility. And it means that you create yourself with a structure, meaning, goals. All of these projects that I said that are currently in development for the podcast, those are the structures that are in place, but notice, none of them were super specific. So when you listen to the list, you’re like, “Okay. I’ve a general sense of what Jen says is going on.” But the devil’s in the details. So the details are what I’m working on behind the scenes. But within those details, there are things that are in and definitive, and that’s the way it’s going to be, likely. And there are things that there’s a little more flexibility around. And so one of the ways that you can avoid something that I call project fatigue is that sometimes we decide that we know exactly how we want everything to be when the environment changed. We live in this really disruptive and uncertain society where so many things happen at a moment’s notice and, yet, sometimes we get our ideas and our projects, and we are standing there and saying that this is the way it has to be.
And I want to challenge that. I want to challenge that with myself. And I want to challenge that with you because when you find yourself saying, “Well, it should be this way,” or, “It has to be that way,” it might be a time to take a step back and consider why. Why are you standing so firm?
And if the reason you’re standing so firm is that you have a business value or something is a pillar of the product that you do or the people you serve, then, absolutely, those things are to remain static and things that you need to really look to before you make a huge shift or a huge decision. But if it’s really something that’s nice to have or maybe a long-term aspirational goal, it’s important to be flexible around those things because sometimes there’s a workaround that leads to better way that’ll still allow you to have what you need and what you want, but it may be that it takes a little bit more time for you to get there.
And so one of the ways that you can prevent project fatigue and actually get projects done quicker, is to have a lot of flexibility built into those projects. Another way that you can do that is by establishing pads of least resistance is what I call them. So what that means is you want to knock out some of the things that will give you these quick wins, right? You want to look at things that will be small wins that will lead to big results. And sometimes that means doing some of the little stuff that will lead to something big. But there has to be some discernment around that because some of the things we’ve talked about before are how we can spend a lot of time on things like social media or [inaudible] about something like, say, a Facebook chatbot or something like that. And those may not be the quickest wins that will help you realize revenue or make a big change. Sometimes it’s things like following up with clients [laughter], maybe something like that or something in your sales pipeline always ends up at the bottom of your list when those are the things that can generate the biggest results and can give you the biggest quick wins that will help you afford the things that are some of your bigger goals.
And so I just want you to consider some of those tasks that always get pushed down the field that might be things that you can take care of quickly or things that really support some of your bigger goals that maybe aren’t your favorite things to do. And yet, those are the things that are foundational and pivotal and really important to helping you achieve all of the things that you would like to do in your life and in your business. And then the other thing is to go in and say, okay, what things are taking too long, right? These are some of the things that you can do in the spring cleaning of your business, right? So if you’re working on a lot of projects, it’s also important to let a few things go. Don’t implement six really key goals all at the same time. And there are a couple of reasons for that.
One, you’ll wear yourself out, and you’re not going to attract the people that you really need, the clients that you want, the people that you want to surround yourself with if you’re so run down and so tired that you can’t engage with people. Because people actually see your energy before they see you. People actually see what you’re like before you even open your mouth. So the important thing is to make sure that you’re getting enough rest and that you’re able to focus on the key tasks. And sometimes, even if you have a team and you have so many different balls in the air or you’re spinning plates kind of like they do in the circus. Sometimes, we have way too many of those things going on, then you wear yourself out and you can’t get the client attraction or some of the cooler things done because you’re running out of steam, right? So there’s that.
But there’s also, if you’re working on six things at the same time and each of these things are really important, I would say that probably those six things are, in some way, interrelated. And if you’re working on all of them at the same time and you find one thing that disrupts the other five projects, if you’re tired and you’re working on six projects at the same time, you are less likely to identify all of the interdependencies, meaning if I change this, it’s going to affect that. And also, you are much less likely to be willing to roll with it and make the changes necessary that will affect those other things, meaning, if you’re fatigued and you find something that affects everything else, you might just be like, “Ugh, to heck with the whole thing. I’m not even going to mess with it,” because you’re worn out and you don’t want to deal with it, and it becomes much more complicated to handle all of these interdependencies to identify when the right hand is affecting the left hand in a project. And that’s also why as much as it makes– as much as people talk about not needing to plan, there does need to be somewhat of a plan so that you can at least high-level identify some of the really big things that are interrelated. Because no matter what, you’re always going to find something new that you hadn’t considered and it’s why they have something called unintended consequences.
We don’t always know how one thing is going to affect the other. And that’s one of the key reasons that if you are a solopreneur or a small business owner running six projects at the same time or five, or three, depending on your resources, can be a very dangerous thing because it takes you away from other tasks and you may not be able to manage all of it. So I just want to encourage you, yes, go through. Get rid of the things that don’t make sense, but maybe don’t get rid of all the things that don’t make sense at the same time. Or, yes, work on some projects but space them out over the course of the year or over the course of the quarter so that you have enough time and energy to take care of the daily things that you need in order to keep that revenue flowing, in order to keep that energy up, and, also, to be able to just spend more time with your family because that’s really the most important thing, isn’t it?
So with that, I’m going to close out on the Women Conquer Business podcast.
This episode is sponsored by Jen McFarland Consulting.
And you can find more episodes to the Women Conquer Business podcast at jenmcfarland.com/podcast. We’re also on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify…. I mean, just about any place that you can imagine. And we are working on getting more services as we speak.
And once again, the Third Paddle podcast is now the Women Conquer Business podcast. And we’ll talk to you next week.
In addition to solving hairy marketing operations problems, I host one of the best business podcasts for women, the Women Conquer Business podcast, which provides actionable strategies, business how-to’s, and real-world advice from subject matter experts and entrepreneurs to help you grow, nurture, and sustain your business. But if you want the REAL story, I am an uber-nerd who loves dad jokes, building seamless systems, and helping leaders find more joy in their work.