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Steps for Auto Repair Shop Owners to Deal with Overwhelm


Dealing with Overwhelm by Rick White, President 180BIZ

One of the topics that I have been discussing frequently is this feeling of overwhelm.  A lot of people are feeling it right now. This overwhelm can be self-created. Let me explain to you why.

  1. You’re operating from a place of fear. You're afraid. You may have been slow in the beginning of the year, or you had a bad week or a couple of slow weeks last month. It wasn't quite what you wanted to be. Your answer is getting more work in to make up for it. And the reality is that it's not possible.  You only have a certain amount of time during the day. So, what ends up happening is your invoice count goes up. Your average RO drops. You end up making less money with more vehicles. In this example, you created the overwhelm.
  2. Another place overwhelm can come from is believing the myth of multitasking. If you remember anything, remember this. We do not multitask. We multi-switch. We are not capable of multitasking. I have found that women can be multi aware. I can be watching television and there's a loud noise in the other room.  I don't hear the noise, but my wife does. Multitasking creates a situation where you do a whole bunch of stuff, but nothing gets done to the quality and standard that you'd really like it to be done. In today’s world, good enough isn’t good enough.
  3. You have an expectation that you can do it all. And I don't really have a problem with that expectation. It's what you put on at the end of that statement. I have a problem with the expectation that you can do it all AT ONCE.  Why do you do that? Because for a lot of us, if you don't have a destination, then you don't have a direction. If you don't have a direction, you don't have a goal. If you don't know what's important to you, then urgent will fill that spot. And you're going to thrive on that, feeling the juice, the stress for a little while, you're going to thrive on that overwhelm. When that’s what makes you feel alive but at the end of the day you are tired, worn out, realize that you haven't moved one step toward where you want to go. That's a problem.

Recognize the signs of overwhelm. You start to get short-tempered and you feel scattered. You feel tense. You can feel yourself not breathing. And you just start to freak out a little bit on the inside. Because you're feeling overwhelmed all the time,  when you have a couple of minutes you shut down. You unplug. That's when you say to yourself, “I got all that done. I'm going to go watch a YouTube video.” This is where you become completely unproductive. Overwhelm robs your day of focus. It robs your day of action and results.

What do you do when you're really overwhelmed?

  1. The first thing you do STOP.
  2. Then BREATHE.  Take a couple of deep breaths.  Just standing up straight and taking a couple of deep breaths will make all the difference in the world.
  3. Say to yourself, “I GOT THIS!”  You’re now going to eat the elephant one bite at a time. Remember that you can do everything at once.  Try one thing at a time, one bite at a time.
  4. Quickly, write down all the things that you need to do right now.  MAKE A LIST.
  5. ASK FOR HELP.  What resources do you have? I was speaking with a service advisor last week and she mentioned how overwhelmed she was. She had people at the front counter, the phone was ringing, a vendor was waiting for payment, she was in the middle of writing an estimate, and so on. The other advisor was in the back room doing some filing. She didn’t ask him for help. Helping at the front counter was way more important than filing. Ask for help. When you spread out the tasks among more people, the overwhelm goes down. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign that you care.  It’s a sign that you want to do the best job that you possibly can do.
  6. The next thing you do is PRIORITIZE the items on your list. Prioritize the items by what's most important to you. Let's use the front counter as an example.

           a. The most important thing on that front counter is a customer standing in front of you.
           b. Second, the most important thing as a customer on the phone.
           c. The third most important thing is a team member.

If you understand the priority, then you know what to do first. And then you do it. And then you go to the next thing and you do it. And then you go to the next thing and you do that. Do one thing excellently and then go to the next one.  This works better than trying to do all four things at once. It doesn't work. Don’t do that anymore. You can't think of customers as tasks. See the person. You've must be able to take care of them.

Now the last thing I want to say is if you don't have a focus, if you don't know where you're going, if you don’t know your destination, if you don’t know what's important to you, everything will seem important. But when you have a destination, it creates focus. Then some of the stuff that's overwhelming you right now, won’t need to be on your list. You can delegate it or delete it.

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