Being aware of your true, effective work capacity as an individual and as a company is an essential life skill. Most established business owners struggle with it. Overestimating what they can do & underestimating the effort required, is a surefire, one-two recipe for failure.  But, If you can accurately assess what you can do, and the effort required, you can plan effectively, sign up for less, perform better and achieve more than most of your competitors.

When you get this right, the rewards of assessing your capacity come in the form of achieving things you commit to. You actually get things done. You know precisely how much time, and likely the actions, attention, the energy required to make it happen.

Here are 8 more game-changing benefits of starting with an accurate estimate of your work capacity:

  1. You can focus on doing a better job because your resources aren’t constantly spread thin, and you’re not exhausted from a perpetual sprint.
  2. The quality of your work product is improved naturally by giving it the time it deserves.
  3. You feel satisfied with the work you put in – because you know what time well spent, and a full day’s work really means to you and your company.
  4. You know when and why to say “No” and “Not Right Now” to other things. It’s a lot easier to unapologetically maintain healthy boundaries to preserve your momentum, quality of work, and personal satisfaction in your current commitments when you know when and where they’re being threatened.
  5. You develop a habitual sense of pacing and timelines, an accurate gut instinct for the work ahead, which allows you to more accurately plan ahead.
  6. You outpace your competition in production and efficiency. Most of your competitors will likely overload their teams and systems with too much of everything; noise, hype, hopium, and expectations.
  7. You earn a reputation for a superior work product. You get more leads (or could if you got the rest of your shit together).
  8. Because of the increased demand, you can create a wait list and plan projects throughout the year. You can create plans and actually honor them. You can plan breaks, vacations, and strategic #OffModes, to refine, revamp, recharge and enjoy them.

Improve your work capacity by giving yourself ample breathing room, fudge factors, and white space.

People are reluctant to calculate grace into their workload because they often struggle to take care of themselves when they believe that doing so will do a disservice to others. This is the furthest thing from the truth, but it happens.

You will forego self-care in the name of caring for others, but not doing the self-care actually hinders your service for others. It’s a misnomer. Give yourself breaks – by estimating them into an error rate in your work capacity.

Give yourself whitespaces on your calendar, in your inbox and so on. If you already know your capacity estimates are significantly overestimated, start by adding 20-40% to your timelines. I’m not kidding. I see capacity issues that are way beyond 140% on a regular basis.

Yes at first, this will feel like you’re getting less done because it will force you to sign up and commit to less, but you will actually learn to do things well and re-establish a baseline capacity for quality work.

Your ability to calculate capacity with consistency, you can set reasonable expectations and pacing that will drive momentum, faith in your leadership, the cohesion of your team, and rapport among your customers and stakeholders. It requires a high degree of personal and company awareness, emotional intelligence to imposed disciplined limits and boundaries that protect the quality of your work and sustained performance.