Remember that feeling when you first decided to become an independent entrepreneur? If you are like most people you probably experienced a healthy amount of both fear and excitement.

Some of the key reasons why people go out on their own are to:

Control their time
Create a healthy work/life balance
Make decisions without having to consult a boss or committee
Spend more time doing what they love and less time doing what they don’t enjoy
Gain financial independence
And many more…
It doesn’t take too long before entrepreneurs feel overworked and sometimes overwhelmed with all of the roles and responsibilities they must accomplish day in and day out. When this happens, they feel trapped and exhausted. They feel that they are no longer running their business, but that that their business is running them.

Staying in this state of stress for too long is unhealthy both for you and your business.

So, what are some common symptoms that you are being run by your business?

Your to-do list only gets longer and longer
You and/or your team solve the same problem multiple times
You continually miss important family functions
You don’t, can’t or won’t delegate
You’ve lost sight of your vision
You are constantly interrupted
You’ve stopped learning and growing
Can you relate to any of the above? Is so, don’t lose heart. There are solutions available to you. Once you have recognized and admitted that there is a problem, you’re on your way to make the necessary improvements. Here are some suggestions:

Revisit or create your personal Vision Statement of what you want your business and personal life to look like. It is important to be able to articulate and envision the life you want. This is a powerful tool that will keep you on track by providing a way to evaluate what is a mission critical task vs distraction.
Delegate, Delegate, Delegate – In the short run, it may be more efficient and time effective to just do it yourself, however, it will hurt you in the long run. Continually ask yourself this question, “What is the highest and best use of my time”. If you are spending too much time outside of those functions and tasks, you’re adding to the problem.
Technology – Is your technology up to date and are you and/or your team taking full advantage of its capabilities? Improvement in this one area could free up a significant amount of time that could be put to better use.
F.O.M.O. – Fear of Missed Opportunities. Are you a slave to your email and phone? Do you constantly monitor both? There’s no need to do that. All those self-imposed interruptions are cutting into your efficiency. Create a schedule to check on both voice mail and email messages.
Outsource – Now that you’re thinking about what your time is worth and what the highest and best use of your time really is, it’s time to consider outsourcing those tasks that represent too much of a drain on your time.
Playbook – Are all your processes documented? If not, it’s time to get started. Whatever can be reduced to writing and tracked can be improved.
To feel like you’re running your business like a business, spend a few hours each week evaluating, planning, and strategizing what’s working and where improvements are needed. Be sure to keep your vision in mind as you gage the success and effectiveness of each operation.

Good luck on your journey to success.