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The Invisible Workload

The Invisible Workload

I saw a post recently talking about this idea of the ‘invisible workload’ – the weight of having to think about & plan everything. This is referred to as the invisible workload because even if you’re not the one doing everything, you might be the one THINKING about all the things, and making all the decisions.

What are we having for dinner? What gift should we get for the birthday party this weekend? Suzy needs a dentist appointment. What are we going to do for [insert holiday]? I could go on.

And even if we have help in the household – a spouse, partner, or kids – we are still the ones having to ASK folks to do things. Sometimes more than once.

As I read this post it occurred to me – this happens in businesses as well!

How much of what you ‘do’ each day falls into the invisible workload category? Things that aren’t obvious and can’t necessarily be checked off a to-do list, but that can take up a surprising amount of time & energy.

Things like:

  • Thinking about what needs to be done – when, how and by who

  • Delegating what needs to be done – we may not be doing the work but having to ‘pass it along to someone else still takes time

  • Following up on tasks – checking in with folks re: “what is the status of this?” is work, in particular when things aren’t getting done or are falling behind

  • Making decisions – be it big or small decisions, there is the energy required to think through everything so we can decide (and decision fatigue is a very real thing)

  • Now to some degree, the invisible workload is just part of the gig – for business owners there will always be thinking & decision-making to be done.

But as your business grows you simply don’t have the capacity – or the desire! – to keep all of this invisible workload on your plate. And it can start to show over time through exhaustion, frustration, or a lack of progress as things sit waiting for your input & decisions.

There are a few things you can do when you find the invisible workload is becoming too much:

  • Hire a DOO to take some of the invisible workloads off your shoulders – once you hit the early to mid-6-figure range there is simply too much going on to keep it all on your own shoulders. An OBM’s expertise is taking your vision/goals and turning those into actionable plans, getting the right folks in place, and ensuring that the work is getting done correctly and on time.

  • Lead your team to take more ownership of their role – where is your team relying on you to make decisions or tell them what to do? Work together to clarify their role and lay out expectations of where they can take more ownership and make decisions on their own.

  • Look to simplify where possible – are you trying to do too many things at once? As a visionary, I can easily fall into the trap of “let’s do all these things and do them now!!” which of course means more thinking, decisions, and delegation. Instead of trying to do 3 things this month, what if you focused on doing only 1?

I’m curious – where/how do you feel like the invisible workload is showing up in your business?

What would be possible if you had someone to take more of the invisible workload off your plate?

This is how I help get results for my clients and what it means to work with a Certified DOO in your business.

If your workload, invisible or otherwise, is feeling like too much, let’s connect.

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