Is My Small Business Suffering From ADD?

Business woman at desk multitasking

You’re probably an accountant, marketer, purchaser, HR director, salesman, maintenance worker, CEO and every other possible role in between. It’s true: every small business owner wears too many hats.

Full email inboxes taunt you, phone calls pull at you, customers glare at you. As much as you want to do it all, chances are some things will get neglected, so use these tips to focus on what’s important.

Don’t multitask: Ever notice how lion tamers protect themselves with a chair, waving the legs at the animal? Lions will try to watch all four legs at once, and this multitasking paralyzes them. The same is true of people. Research performed by the University of London suggests multitasking reduces IQ, and a Stanford study found that people who think they are excellent multitaskers perform worse than those who don’t multitask often. The best way to tame your small business is to eliminate distractions, so turn off your email and delegate your phone or customer duties whenever you have an important task to complete.

Prioritize: When I was getting my MBA, I had a leadership professor whose catchphrase was, “Don’t major in minor things.” By establishing firm business priorities, you’ll focus on what matters most and not get caught up in the small stuff.

Delegate: Identify your strengths and don’t be afraid to hire out everything else. Even though your business requires bookkeeping, equipment maintenance, scheduling, procurement, and a thousand other daily tasks, these things are not why you’re in business, and they will not directly lead to growth.

Embrace your coffee addiction: So long as you don’t overdo it, studies performed by the European Food Safety Authority concluded that caffeine can boost focus. Perhaps that espresso machine is actually a worthwhile business expense.

Take breaks: A study performed by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that even short breaks of as little as 30 seconds can increase productivity. Make a habit of stepping outside or refreshing your drink any time you find yourself losing focus. Just steer clear of addicting time wasters like social media.


Adam Lucas holds a Finance degree and an MBA from the University of Kentucky. His work has appeared in many major outlets including and