14 Critical Signs Your Business Has Too Many Projects

An increase in workload is an indication that a business is doing well in a market. However, if the capacity of the current team is not considered alongside growing responsibilities, a company may end up with too much work and not be able to ensure that it will be done in a timely manner.

To help recall and focus before efficiency wanes, 14 members of Newsweek’s Expert Forum each share a critical sign that an executive or company has too many projects going on at once.

1. Not much work to do

When the workload seems to be increasing but nothing is being done, look for areas where projects overlap and identify opportunities to consolidate tasks. Do you have multiple team members working on similar projects? How can you gain efficiency by streamlining assignments? Can data collection be done once to support multiple projects? Work smarter to improve your results and your morale. – Afira DeVries, Monarch School

2. Your team can’t focus on tasks

One of the signs of too many projects is that team members are constantly being pulled in different directions and unable to focus on a single task. This can lead to poor quality work and employee frustration. Try going back or changing focus to take inventory of all the projects and prioritize the most important ones. Next, delegate and outsource what you can to ensure employees aren’t spread too thinly. -Umang Modi, TIAG, Inc.

3. You experience repeated delays and errors

When projects are delayed or simple mistakes are made, it is likely due to a lack of resources and the plethora of work in a company. The best way to resolve this issue is to check in with employees so they can voice their concerns and reevaluate who has the time. It is necessary to manage expectations and create a timeline for changing direction. Confirm with your team what is a priority and create a plan to accomplish those tasks. – Paul Miller, Miller & Company LLP

4. You have unhappy customers and staff

Unhappy customers and staff are great indicators that those involved in the business or vision are unhappy and will most likely lose their passion or jump ship. A successful leader remembers that without loyal consumers and employees, businesses are doomed to chaos, disorganization and turnover. – Leah Marone, Corporate Wellness Consultant

5. Your memories are hazy

Signs of work overload can include fuzzy memory and difficulty remembering information. This means that human-centered leadership best practices are deprioritized. Instead, pause to reflect and redirect yourself. Just like Elsa, the character from Disney’s Frozen, says, “Forget it.” – Sabina Pons, Growth Molecules

6. You’re not there for your employees

One sign is that leaders never have time for their employees. Outsourcing is a great resolution for managers or business leaders to regain control of their business and be more present. – Tammy Sons, Tennessee Nursery

7. You only glean information at the surface level

Being too spread out often results in superficial information rather than a leader able to dive deep into individual projects. The ability to delegate is an essential characteristic of all leaders, as they must build trust in their teams to ensure that there is a solid support bench beneath them to see projects through from start to finish. – Faisal Pandit, Panasonic Connect North America

8. There is duplicate work

Beware of duplicate work due to siled efforts. Ensuring a horizontal view of all strategic imperatives and transformation efforts will enable an integrated strategy to ruthlessly prioritize and streamline efforts. – Britton Bloch, Federal Navy

9. Your projects have become too stale to complete

When projects are no longer fun to complete, it’s a clear sign of being overwhelmed. Surrounding yourself with the right people and empowering them by giving them more responsibility can go a long way. All parties involved will grow and find excitement in new things they enjoy. – Krisztina Veres, Veres Career Consulting

10. You have an overbooked schedule.

Check the calendar. Overbooked for several weeks with no time to think creatively and network? Is there no free time to recharge? Are there meetings and projects scheduled that someone else can handle on their own? Create space for critical thinking and creative thinking. – Margie Kiesel, Avaneer Health

11. There is no time for passion projects

If a leader doesn’t have time for the projects that matter most to them, that’s a red flag. Enthusiasm and a sense of purpose are what give a job meaning, and setting aside time for the work that matters to you personally is crucial. One solution is to give your employees more autonomy and decision-making power. Let go of some control to build trust with your team while freeing up your time. – Paul Goydan, BCG

12. Your project manager needs a support person

When your project manager asks for a support person, chances are you need to review your current bandwidth. You don’t want your primary person responsible for keeping the checks and balances in place stressed. Stay in communication with them to make sure you have your finger on the pulse. – Chris Tompkins, The Go! Agency

13. You get constant negative feedback

Listen to your customers and encourage their positive and negative feedback. Negative customer reviews are a great indication that you need to reevaluate your workloads. To shift focus, prioritize your work projects, making the needs of your customers and employees your top priority. – Dr. Abraham Khoureis, DrAbeKhoureis.com

14. You lack the resources to run something new

Many companies take on too much because there are always new things to do, but we rarely have the extra resources to execute them. Use the start, stop, and continue (SSC) approach to become more disciplined. SSC is an approach to managing your projects where a new project cannot be started unless something else is stopped. Assessing each project using SSC adds discipline. – Krista Neher, Digital Boot Camp


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