Too Many Hats

Business owners don’t realize that wearing too many hats, or taking on too many roles for their business, can really affect their performance.


Sometimes we become accustomed to juggling several hats to keep the company on track. Although multi-tasking is helpful in working toward achieving more, the truth is that wearing multiple hats can actually cause a 40 percent drop in productivity. Every time you switch tasks, your IQ level is dropping up to 15 points, which is three times more than the effects of smoking. Multitasking makes people less productive, less creative, and more likely to get thrown off task by distractions thus making you more prone to burn outs. The key is you should be working on your business, but not in your business. Here are some tips and tricks that can help you detach from multitasking and simply wear the favorite hat that reads: Business Owner.

Multitasking is a Distraction!

Many business owners spend half of their time at the office recruiting functional workers and leaders; the other half is preparing for the future of the business. If you’re too busy running around being  head of sales, the head of projects, and the head of product, you might miss the pivot or chance for great opportunity, which is how Netflix was able to take down Blockbuster. In 2000, former Blockbuster CEO John Antioco declined to acquire the DVD mailing service that a little known CEO named Reed Hastings was peddling for $50 million. That DVD mailing service turned out to be Netflix. Evidently, Antioco missed the pivot- he hadn’t realized just how fast technology was transitioning to digital. You can’t help but wonder what this CEO was thinking when they missed this great opportunity, but it is assumed that it was because they were working in the business and not on it. This illustrates that Business owners need to be in tune to their industry to catch on as soon as there’s a pivot or shift in demand.


Total focus is needed to complete a task in any given area. While some have reduced the number of hats they currently wear down to three, fulfilling more than two leadership roles still remains a distraction. The average time you spend on a task is only 11 minutes before interruption, but takes about 25 minutes to continue working on a task after being interrupted. This means you’re spending more time regrouping than working when you wear multiple hats. The mere act of switching between tasks eats up a significant share of your time.

Take off Hats & Delegate Tasks 

As you have grown the business, you may have noticed that when the department gets too big for you to manage, you may put it in the hands of another that is experienced and happy to help in that area. You decide it’s time to hire another worker when the flow of information becomes difficult to maintain and keep track of- which is a huge pain point – it all adds up quickly. Based on my research, it is best to never have more than eight different leaders reporting to you because each one takes about an hour of your time, more or less, which is one full eight hour work day, out of a five day work week. The fact of the matter is you need that full hour with each leader to stay connected, to ask what they need help with and keep up with what they are working on.

Meeting one of your team leaders once a week within a department takes up less time than being in touch with five employees throughout the work week that don’t report to a functional team leader. Whichever hats any given CEO/Business Owner passes on to someone is entirely dependent on the relative strengths within that person for the job and within the Company. Finding the person is not the hard part. If you don’t have someone to delegate to and cannot afford to pay, there are interns that need the work hours to graduate. Seek out local colleges or check out LinkedIn, where a lot of people are searching for jobs and internships. The bigger challenge is learning to let someone else manage the store, correspondence, reports, marketing or whatever parts you are willing to take off of your own plate. This is where it all becomes an exercise of will. Yours. Are you willing to take an hour or two to prepare instructions or examples of what you do, so that someone else can do it for you? This is the big hurdle. “I can’t have someone else do it, I’m the only one that knows how.” Immediately followed by, “I don’t have time to teach someone else how to do it, I have too much on my plate.” It’s a catch 22 and it’s yours to clean up. You can make time to explain one task or two and add that time back in multiples of weeks to come. You may even find alternative solutions.

Recruiting & Promoting from within the Company

CEOs are talented, but they can’t possibly be the most qualified person for every single position in the business. Realizing that someone else is more capable than you to handle a team, certain tasks, or run a department, is an important part of ensuring  your company moves forward constantly. So, when you hire an awesome team player to run a specific functional group, allow that person to be better than you. All they do every day is think about finance, or product or sales, while you as CEO are thinking about the business as a whole- looking at the bigger picture while they can focus on just that one aspect that needs attention.

To help employees step into leadership roles, you should be able to train mentors that will guide them along the right path. For example, you can relinquish your position as the head of any important role by promoting a junior worker from within. With a little coaching and guidance, that junior worker, who happens to be in the right place at the right time, has the opportunity to become the perfect functional leader for the department, and essentially take a lot off of your hands that you don’t have time for. As time passes,  you should be able to take off extra hats one by one, and as you will have done so, you’ll see that your company has grown in size and in revenue!

If you’re reviewing a new team player’s work, you’ll put on your “manager hat,” and if you switch gears to talking through a problem with a client, you’ll put on your “customer service hat.” Depending on your roles within the company, you might wear a dozen or more of these hats throughout any given day.

Our professional lives are never as simple as fulfilling just one set of responsibilities, so it helps us to compartmentalize and make sense of more complex tasks throughout the day.

The question is-is this really the best way to work?

Creeping Responsibilities

When you start a role within a company, it’s usually for a defined set of responsibilities related to your core area of expertise. As you spend more time in that role, you may be asked to take on new responsibilities, cover for someone who has since left the company, and expand your current workload to other areas. Eager to get that next raise or promotion, you might take these new responsibilities on, without realizing what they’re doing to your work schedule. These responsibilities ultimately creeps up on you and increases your workload. If you’re spending more hours on work, and are forced to confront challenges outside your realm of expertise, you’re going to accumulate excess stress; stress changes your mind and body, making you more susceptible to illness, compromising your mental health, and even lowering your productivity. If sustained, it can even lead you to burnout.

Specialization and Generalization

In any professional area, it’s better to specialize than it is to generalize. Picking a single strategy and following through is essential if you want to pinpoint your mistakes and be consistent in development. Spending more time on your area of expertise allows you to be extremely competitive in one area, rather than blending into a mass of people who share your skill-sets. And of course, if you’re exceptionally skilled in one area (such as finance), you’ll naturally be more productive and make more money handling tasks related to that area, as opposed to an area you know nothing about (such as IT, also known as Information Technology). In this example, any time you spend trying to fix IT related issues will make you less productive immediately, will dampen your skills development, and will make it harder to gauge your progression.

4 Step Plan to Avoid Total Burnout

Running your own company or working as part of a team, can be the result of taking on too much. You were hesitant to say no and failed to delegate. Now you’re on the verge of burnout. Own the moment, take a deep breath and grab the horns on your situation by following this 4 step plan; It’s about balance.


  • Look at the Big Picture: Take out a piece of paper and make two columns. On the left, list out your areas of responsibility. Not the tasks you manage — like create invitations, send invitations, tally RSVPs. Instead, lump those together and write “Manage Events.” Now, down the right side, write the amount of time you spend each week doing the things listed on the left. Add up the hours you spend at the bottom. When you do this, you list of responsibilities and the amount of time each would take will force you to realize how many hours a week it would take you to get everything done. 
  • Evaluate Priorities: Take your list and rank each item by importance to your overall goals and objectives. Here’s a sad truth: most of us will find that after ranking everything from most important to least, the ones that take the most time are often the least important when compared to other tasks on the list. Now, it’s time for you to find a solution to these bottleneck issues.


Automate What You Can: With your list in hand, are there some items that could be automated? What bottle-necks are you experiencing? Don’t skip this step. GCS IT can help you with IT Business Solutions that can automate processes and ensure your business is running smoothly and efficiently. By providing IT solutions, as a result, workflow and productivity are increased and you’ll have an entire IT company at your disposal should you need help with any and all issues such as computer slowness, undetectable Wi-fi, protection from cyber security threats such as ransomware hacks, or even just dealing with pesky Vendor management, and so much more; this especially comes in handy when you don’t have the time or the know-how. Our goal is to ensure you’re getting your money’s worth and we strive to reduce your IT costs as a whole. We also specialize in working with Medical offices and can ensure your business is HIPAA Compliant! We Manage your Technology, so you can Manage your Business!