There are a thousand small details involved in the day-to-day operations of a small business. Sometimes those small details become so overwhelming, that it's easy to lose site of your business strategies and goals. Here are four steps to overcome that "drowning" feeling, and to gain a better perspective of your business.
1. Get a change of scenery. One of the benefits of being self-employed is being able to work from home. However, there are times that home is the very last place you need to be. If you've got a laptop, pack it up, and head for your local library or park; many municipalities offer free wi-fi in these areas, and sometimes that's just the sort of jogging your mind needs to clear out the cobwebs. If you don't have a laptop, that's OK; make a list of things you need to do some in-person research on, or if it's feasible, go to an industry-related event, to get information on what's new in your industry.
2. Brainstorm. Whether it's a mentor, a really savvy friend, or a network of other small business owners, talking about what you're doing can really remind you of all the things you are accomplishing. It can also help you see solutions that are otherwise obscured by your own internal mental processes. If you don't really have someone to turn to, consider finding a mentor through SCORE or look for a MeetUp for small businesses in your area.
3. Get organized. Keeping a tasklist is great, but if all you ever do is add more things to the list to replace the things you've done, that sense of accomplishment can be drowned by sheer numbers. An endless list of tasks can also be overwhelming, as it gives an unconscious need to do it all "right now". Google Calendar is a free service that allows you to create multiple calendars for various projects and tasks, all visible "at a glance". Setting your "to-do" items on specific dates can allow you to more evenly distribute tasks, reducing that overwhelming feeling. Bonus: you can share calendars with other users, so keeping track of joint projects is a lot easier.
4. Keep track of your achievements. If you've decided to implement Google Calendar, one of the nice features available is "View Completed Tasks". Seeing that list can remind you that you really are doing an amazing job, and each of those things is one more step on your path to success!