14 Critical Signs Your Business Has Too Many Projects

Before taking on any additional work, it's best to ensure you and your team have the capacity to complete the work.

Newsweek Expert Forum members share industry insights.
Newsweek Expert Forum members share industry insights. Newsweek Expert Forum

An increase in workload is one 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 business may end up with too much work and no ability to ensure it'll be done in a timely manner.

To help dial back and shift focus before efficiency decreases, 14 Newsweek Expert Forum members each share one critical sign that a leader or business has too many projects going on at once.

1. There's No Work Really Getting Done

When the workload feels like it's expanding yet nothing is getting done, look for areas where projects are intersecting and identify opportunities to consolidate tasks. Do you have multiple team members working on similar projects? How can you improve efficiency by streamlining assignments? Can data collection be done once to support several projects? Work smarter to improve results and morale. - Afira DeVries, Monarch School

2. Your Team Can't Focus on Tasks

One sign of too many projects is if team members are constantly being pulled in different directions and are unable to focus on any one task. This can result in poor-quality work and frustration among employees. Try dialing back or shifting focus to take inventory of all projects and prioritize those which are most important. Then delegate and outsource what you can to ensure employees aren't spread too thin. - Umang Modi, TIAG, Inc.

3. You're Experiencing Delays and Repeated Mistakes

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 business. The best way to address this is to check in with employees so that they can express concerns and reevaluate who has time. There is a need to manage expectations and create a timeline to shift focus. Confirm with your team what takes 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 the people involved in the venture or vision are not content and will most likely lose passion or jump ship. A successful leader remembers that without loyal consumers and employees, businesses are destined for chaos, disorganization and turnover. - Leah Marone, Corporate Wellness Consultant

5. Your Memories Are Foggy

Evidence of work overload can include a foggy memory and a struggle to recall information. This means human-first leadership best practices are deprioritized. Instead, take a break to reflect and redirect. Just like Disney's Frozen character Elsa says, "Let it go." - Sabina Pons, Growth Molecules

6. You're Not Present for Your Employees

One sign is leaders never having time for their employees. Outsourcing is a great resolution for leaders or business owners to take back control of their business and be more present. - Tammy Sons, Tn Nursery

7. You're Only Gleaning Surface-Level Insights

Being spread too thin often translates to surface-level insights rather than a leader having the ability to dive deep into individual projects. The ability to delegate is a critical characteristic of all leaders, as they must build trust and confidence in their teams to ensure there is a strong support bench beneath them to see projects through from start to finish. - Faisal Pandit, Panasonic Connect North America

8. There's Duplicate Work

Look out for duplicate work due to siloed efforts. Ensuring a horizontal view of all strategic imperatives and transformational efforts will enable an integrated strategy to ruthlessly prioritize and streamline efforts. - Britton Bloch, Navy Federal

9. Your Projects Have Become Too Stale to Finish

When the projects are no longer fun to finish, that is a clear sign of being overwhelmed. Surrounding yourself with the right people and empowering them by giving them more responsibilities 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 Calendar

Check the calendar. Is it overbooked several weeks out with no time for creative thinking and networking? Is there no time off to recharge? Are there meetings and projects scheduled that someone else can handle on their own? Create space for critical thinking and creative thought. - Margie Kiesel, Avaneer Health

11. There's No Time for Passion Projects

If a leader doesn't have time for the projects they care most about, it's a red flag. Enthusiasm and a sense of purpose are what makes a job feel meaningful, and it's crucial to carve out time for the work that matters to us personally. One solution is giving your people more autonomy and decision-making power. Let go of a little control to build trust with your team while also freeing up your time. - Paul Goydan, BCG

12. Your Project Manager Needs a Support Person

When your project manager asks for a support person, odds are that you may need to look at your current bandwidth. You don't want your main person in charge of keeping the checks and balances in place to be stressed. Keep in communication with them to make sure you have your finger on the pulse. - Chris Tompkins, The Go! Agency

13. You're Receiving Consistent Negative Feedback

Listen to your customers and encourage their positive and negative feedback. Negative customer feedback is a great indication that you need to reassess your workloads. To shift focus, prioritize your work projects, making your customers' and employees' needs your top priority. - Dr. Abraham Khoureis, DrAbeKhoureis.com

14. You're Lacking Resources to Execute Anything New

Many businesses take on too much because there are always new things to do, but we rarely have additional 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 can't be started unless something else is stopped. Rating every project using SSC adds discipline. - Krista Neher, Boot Camp Digital

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