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Three Signs You Are Addicted to Chaos

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on March 18, 2011

Entrepreneurs are frequently so devoted to the business that they persist in the state of chaos, accepting it as a way of life, without ever trying to identify or solve the root of the problem. From my experiences and observations working with thousands and thousands of entrepreneurs over the years, here are the top three signs I see of entrepreneurs who are addicted to chaos:

3. Their business life revolves around the in-box. They are constantly in reaction mode, always pouncing on the hot fire that pops up, the request for information, or the opportunity that just presented itself. They don’t have an overarching, long-term strategy that ties back to their daily activities. So they spend most of their time responding to the flavor of the day, hoping this will lead them to their goals, which are—ironically enough—more time, money, and control.

2. They can’t step away from the business without feeling like it will crumble while they’re gone. They have a particular anxiety that sets in when they think about taking a day off or going on vacation. If they have employees, the employees assure them everything will be fine, but they worry nonetheless. Part of their concern is real: They have a bunch of proprietary information locked up in their head instead of in a central database; therefore, certain things may indeed stall while they are out of the office. But part of their concern is likely moot. Chances are, all will not collapse in the small amount of time they are away from the office.

1. They are strangely proud they have so little free time. That’s right. As if symptom No. 2 weren’t cruel enough, the worst symptom is that entrepreneurs sometimes treat their stressed-out routines as a badge of honor. They tout to friends and family how long it’s been since they’ve taken a vacation, how many hours they work, and how little they sleep. That sounds like owning a job, not a business.

If you find yourself experiencing these symptoms, you are probably addicted to chaos. Get help. Business ownership should bring you more time, money, and control. If you’re not getting that, make some changes to your mindset and your business systems so you can find the freedom you were looking for when you started your business in the first place.

Clate Mask
Co-founder and CEO
Gilbert, Ariz.

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