You cannot do it all. What does this mean to an entrepreneur? It means you need to set boundaries (and likely learn to delegate) but in order to truly get anything done, you need to set boundaries with colleagues and even family in order to get to the tasks at hand.
We know it’s tempting to work all day, every day, especially when you’re in growth or start up mode, but doing that means you leave yourself at risk of illness and honestly the more you work, the less productive you become.
What can you do to set boundaries and remain productive? Here are three suggestions:
- Social media and anything online can take away valuable time from the tasks at hand. Turn off your email and social media notifications and set your mind to a particular task. Once that task is complete, treat yourself to a little online interaction.
- Is there a task you’re procrastinating? Did you know that procrastination takes more mental energy and saps your reserves than simply jumping into a task you’re dreading? It does. Give yourself a time limit — 15- or 30-minutes — and delve into a task you’re dreading. Anyone can work on any objectionable task in small chunks.
- Be deliberate in your plans. If you make a goal concrete rather than vague you are more likely to complete it. For example, saying, “I will make client follow up calls Wednesday” instead of, “On Wednesday from 10 am until noon I will make client follow up calls.” Even better would be to attach a number to that, “I will make 10 client follow up calls between 10 am and noon on Wednesday.” If you don’t set a time frame to it, the day will come and go and that item will remain undone.
Set limits. Write your goals down. Note if your productivity increases.
How productive are you? When is your most productive day of the week and when is your least productive day? The answers might surprise you and you should compare your results to these:
- It’s been shown that Tuesday is the most productive day of the week; Friday is the least.
- The most productive time of the day is 10:26 am and the lest productive is 2:55 pm.
Do you agree with these? While it might be difficult to pinpoint the exact moment when you’re the most, or the least, productive, we’re certain you’ve heard of the “three o’clock slump” so we think that’s where the 2:55 pm comes from.
What does all this mean to the business owner? It means you should take time to determine when you, personally, are most and least productive and then arrange your work tasks around those times. Tackle the hardest tasks when you’re most productive aka attentive and menial tasks during your own slump-time.
Do you know your personal productivity times?
As every person knows, it’s easy to stay within your comfort zone. In many instances, though entrepreneurs are willing to move out of the comfortable space and take a chance on a new endeavor. I
Entrepreneurs know that if they don’t move outside of their comfort zone they won’t be able to grow or change and they — and in turn, their business — will become stagnant.
Here are three ways you can step outside of your comfort zone:
- Have big plans. Do you have a vision for your life? For your work? If you don’t then you aren’t dreaming big or planning big.
- Your attitude and perspective will help you to move out of that place in which you are comfortable. You need courage to grow your business.
- Having a “can do” attitude will help you go far. You must also be willing to fail — many entrepreneurs do and they get up, brush themselves off, and try again. Don’t be self defeating in your desire to grow and move outside of where you’re comfortable.
Are there any steps you can take today in your life and in your business that will push you outside of that comfortable place?
Let’s be honest. Being an entrepreneur isn’t always the easiest option for making a living. Along with being your own boss and perhaps being the boss of others, you may carry a lot of weight of responsibility on your shoulders, right?
What can you do when you’re feeling stressed out? Here are a few tips that we have found works for the business owners we deal with:
- Take a break. Step away from the computer, the office, the overflowing inbox and go outside. Taking a few breaths of fresh air or walking around for ten or fifteen minutes, while breathing deeply, can relieve stress and built up tension.
- Find a hobby. Remember hobbies? You had them before you became too busy with growing your business. Take time now to rediscover a lost hobby. Take time to do that at least fifteen minutes a day. Whether it’s knitting or baking or bike riding or woodworking, immersing yourself in something you love will help clear your mind and make you more effective.
- Stay connected with those outside of your business. You need to have connections, friends, networking colleagues outside of your area of expertise with whom you can connect.
Eating healthy meals and keeping a positive attitude will both go a long way in helping you deal with the stresses you may face on a regular basis.
As an entrepreneur it’s go-go-go from morning until night and even when you fall, exhausted, into bed you still have a to-do list that is a mile long, right? As a business owners you’re not punching a time clock and getting paid for simply showing up. As a business owner you reap what you sow — work hard get rewarded, don’t work hard and your bottom line suffers.
If you’re burning the candle at both ends here are three stress-reducing steps you can consider:
- Take care of yourself physically and mentally. Eat a healthy diet. Get up and move around. Get in the habit of standing and walking around when you’re taking a phone call. Start your day with a healthy breakfast. Take a walk. Step away from work and enjoy a healthy lunch. Self-care can help you deal with the stress.
- Attitude matters. If you pop out of bed in the morning thinking, “This is going to be a fantastic day” chances are it will! If you find yourself getting burdened with stressful situations, step away, take a deep breath and start over.
- Take a break. If there are days when it all seems too much you may need to step completely away for an hour or so. Call a friend. Take a walk. Meditate. Pick up a book and read five or ten pages.
What do you when you the stress of running your business gets to be overwhelming?
So many people have an office in their home now; it’s a major trend. You might work at home all the time or just occasionally. Either way, working effectively from home requires a specific skill set that may not apply to those who work in an office building.
Here are some of the tips we share with our clients to make working from home effective and efficient (as well as productive!)
- If you think you’re going off to work, you will be productive. If you think you’re home for the day, your productivity will suffer.
- Don’t work at the kitchen table or on the sofa.
- Make certain you have set office hours. Just because you’re not punching a clock doesn’t mean you don’t have to choose office hours and stick with them. Pick what works for you.
- Establish a productive routine while you’re in your office. Have a daily plan of action.
- Avoid environmental distractions. Don’t leave the TV or talk radio on for noise. Close the blinds if your office looks out at the street.
To work efficiently and effectively from home you need to apply the same dedication you would use going to a “real” office. If you work virtually or telecommute for an employer, you need to show you can remain productive even when you’re out of the office.
Work/Life Balance Is Crucial To Success
When you’re just starting a business you will put in more hours than you had likely even imagined. If, however, your business has been up and running for a while and you still find yourself working an inordinate amount of hours including nights, holidays and weekends, it’s time to step back and reprioritize.
As an entrepreneur it is important that you’re involved in your business but you don’t have to be busy 24/7. You need to separate yourself from your business endeavors and get back in touch with your life outside of the office. If that means you need to look at the tasks you’re doing that are outside of your core competency you may need to hire or outsource those tasks.
Remember that just because you’re constantly busy doesn’t mean you’re continually productive. In fact, if you’re always in “business mode” you will burn out.
How can you retake control of your business and get back to having a life? Here are our suggestions:
• Clearly defined business goals will help you keep on the path toward success. If you don’t know what needs to be done daily, weekly or monthly to achieve success (whatever that means for you) you will never know if you’ve arrived.
• Set personal goals for yourself. These goals could be as simple as “step away from the computer for lunch,” “go for a walk every evening,” “visit with friends,” etc. Setting personal goals and putting them in your calendar just as you would any appointment will help improve your work/life balance.
• Make a to-do list daily. At the end of each business day, write a list for the following day. Your to-do list will keep you focused and keep your eyes on your goals.
Because you are the heart of the business, you need to incorporate a healthy lifestyle so you can perform at your peak.