By Holly Haynes
In today’s online world, entrepreneurs are seen as the hero’s of our time, but did you know that almost 80% suffer from some form of burnout, overwhelm or anxiety? In case you are curious, that means 3.4 million of us this year are trying to grow and scale in a way that is not sustainable with overbooked schedules and a whole lot of stress.
I know personally when I started my business I wasn’t prepared mentally for how to scale. I had 18 month year-old twins, was working full time and running a full-time business. I ended up working almost 5 years straight without putting my phone or laptop down with little downtime and was completely burnt out. Not to mention I did not see the results I wanted and my family despised my business plan.I also had a really negative relationship with social media. Maybe you can relate?
Lesson Learned. More work does not equal better results.
And in case you are having one of those “oh my gosh, how do I fit all this in kind of day”, let’s talk about how to scale and create that time freedom you crave which is probably why you started your business in the first place and to grow in a sustainable way long term. With the right focus. In a way that makes sense for your schedule.
Here are 3 steps you can take to take control of your schedule, beat the burnout, find your focus to actually see results in your business.
1) Prioritize first.
One of the biggest mistakes I see business owners make is to try to tackle everything at once and just “get it done”. The reality is it is impossible to get everything done and your to-do list will just keep growing. But it is NOT impossible to get done exactly what needs to be done. See the difference?
To tackle your priority list I recommend creating your “personal pillars” and then aligning them with your long term vision (that big 3-10 year goal). Personal pillars are categories of life that are important to you.
As an example, your “personal pillars” might look like: Self-Care / Personal Goals, Business, Family.
Take action: Each day as you look to set your goals, make sure that you are prioritizing something from each one of these “personal pillars” with an action that aligns with your vision. Here is a daily example.
• Yoga / Mediation – You want to work on that anxiety and take care of yourself.
• Update SEO on your Website – You have a big launch coming up and this is one of the steps in your long term strategic plan.
• Date Night – Relationships and down time are important to your long term goals
Everything else is not a priority for the day. This way your prioritization is focused on what is most important to you and you are not just hustling in your business 24/7.
Additionally, when you consistently create whitespace, time for yourself and creative time (doing the things that you love), it is typically when you see the most growth in your business. It makes sense to slow down to identify these to then speed up. Which will help you create the results you want to see.
2) Just say No.
If you are always saying yes, you are on a fast path to burnout. A good way to remember why it is important to say no is to pause before you say yes to something. Remember, everything you say yes to, means you are saying no to something else.
To better understand your capacity, you can ask yourself these questions.
• Do I have time in my schedule to accomplish this activity? (If not, can I make time?)
• If I say yes, what do I need to say no to to make it work?
• Does this fit into my personal pillars and vision? (Going back to step 1).
Sometimes, you don’t have to say “no”, but instead “not right now”.
Take Action: Do a quick time audit over the period of a week. What is working well? Do you have any downtime? Are there ways you can streamline more? What can you stop doing?
Better yet, make a list of all the IDEAL projects, clients etc. that fit into your YES bucket. And when it comes time to answer whether or not you can take something else on, revisit this list.
3) Set Boundaries.
How many times are you in the middle of writing an amazing piece of content only to be distracted by slack messages, email dings and text messages?
According to Stanford University, this inability to concentrate can impact your professional life but also has implications on personal experiences and relationships. Doing a few things at once, you never really focus on anything or deeply connect with others (customer, coworkers, friends, or family).
When we fail to live in the present, we are essentially only half-living.
90% of the time when we multitask we make mistakes. And those mistakes are not ones we can afford to make.
Take Action: Boost your creativity, eliminate anxiety and 10X your output but focusing on one task at a time. Set strict business hours and stick to them. This is more than “I am working from 8-10 am”. Instead think about how to timeblock smaller tasks over time and use timers and boundaries to keep you on task. Here are some examples:
• Example 1: Set a timer. As an example, check your email for 60 minutes. Close your email when you are complete. Don’t check it again until you get through the rest of your list.
• Example 2: Create “theme days”. As an example, only record podcasts on Tuesday’s (or your day of choice) so you can mentally prepare but also not have to switch between tasks wasting time setting up equipment, etc.
• Example 3: Batch everything. Content, client calls, strategy work.. Allow yourself larger blocks of time to be creative on tasks that are related.
• Example 4: Pick one path and stick to it. Having too many offers, 10 different products and multiple focuses is confusing for everyone. Create a streamlined customer journey that is easily executable by focusing on one step at a time.
• BONUS: Create time for whitespace. Only 1% of you will do this and it is the most important. Your best ideas will come when you have an hour of nothing to do but hang out with yourself.
Will there ever be enough time? No. As a mom of 7 year olds twins now, a full time corporate career and a growing 6-figure business, I get being busy.
What if you re-framed everything and focused on the fact that there is the perfect amount of time. And everything that needs getting accomplished will.
Use these steps to get there. That time freedom you have been dreaming of is waiting. Let’s stop the trend and injustice of burning out before we see the profitability of all our hard work. There is a better way.
Want to learn more productivity and strategy tips to scale without burnout on a schedule that works for you? Be sure to take the “Productivity Personality Quiz” for customized results, and a binge-worthy list of resources.
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