A Daily Struggle: Getting it All Done Without Losing Your Mind or Yourself.
Remember the last time you woke up before the alarm feeling energized, enjoyed your coffee in peace, had the most productive day ever, worked out, had dinner with friends, and spent quality time with your husband and kids (if you have them), all while your house was spotless?
Yeah, me neither.
Being a female entrepreneur is hard. If you’re like me and you struggle with thinking things need to be perfect, it’s hard to fit it all in. It’s especially hard to not compare and wonder how other people seem to have it together. I’d be lying to you if I told you that every day could be perfect, but I’m here to tell you how you can make it just a little more streamlined.
I’m a wife, mama, dog mom, entrepreneur, and author. I own one businessthatoperatesin4marketsacross3states(a5th marketina4th state is most likely on the way). I am in the process of launching a second business, and through coercion, am considering a third. In addition, I just completed my first children’s book which is currently being illustrated. If that weren’t enough, I have 3 volunteer positions and try my best to have a social life and stay in shape. I do all of this while working from home with a part-time nanny. All this to say, I get what it’s like to have days where you feel like you’re going to lose your mind and you’ll never get ahead. I get what it’s like to have an ever-growing to-do list. I get what it’s like to wonder if your house will ever be clean again.
The biggest shift in productivity for me has been my mindset. Insert eye roll; I know. You’re probably thinking, “Seriously, lady? How does that change the number of hours in a day?” Well, just hear me out.
First and foremost, I’ve shifted my mindset from always multi-tasking to simply being present to the task at hand. I am now able to get MORE done in LESS time. Instead of holding a baby while doing an interview and responding to an email, I focus on one task at a time. I complete that
task to the best of my ability (and much faster than completing 3 tasks simultaneously). I used to have all of this guilt about not working, so I’d be playing with my son while typing up a procedure document. It didn’t work. Both weren’t getting my best.
In order to do this, it takes a lot of organization and planning. This is something I struggle with, believe me, not one of my strong suits. I’m more the: “book a trip to India by myself and try to find a hotel once I get there” types. However, when I do plan ahead, it makes my life so much easier.
Now I take it week-by-week. Anything more can be a bit overwhelming. I do have goals. I may not always meet those goals, but I’m doing pretty darn good if I complete most.
I begin each week with coffee and weekly planning. I plan out my meetings, daily tasks, marketing, etc. ahead of time so that I can figure out my plan of attack for the week. I have recently adapted an Editorial Calendar for the quarter, which is then broken down weekly. On Monday morning of each week, I do all of my social media posts and schedule them for the week. By batching and doing it all at once, I save time. It is so refreshing to not have to sit down each day and get in a groove to get the daily post out.
My first piece of advice is to get some sort of system going. I’ve recently started using an online tool, Notion.so (http://www.notion.so). Others swear by Trello, Asana (I use it for personal projects), Basecamp, etc. Whatever your need, find something that works for you and your business, even if it’s a good old-fashioned calendar/planner.
Which brings me to my next point, one of which I’ve already stated, be present! Truly only do one task at a time. How many of you have been in the middle of a task and an email pops up? You decide to respond to that email immediately. However while doing so, you remember another email you need to send. So you send that email. After sending the email, a text message comes in from a friend and you start a brief chat. While you are texting with your friend, you decide to simultaneously check Facebook. Next thing you know, you’ve lost 45 minutes of productivity. And you literally have nothing to show for it except maybe that cute puppy video you just shared.
Context switching is detrimental to success. On average, multitasking costs the global economy more than $400 billion annually, according to Entrepreneur.com. Imagine how much more you could accomplish as a female entrepreneur if you didn’t lose that time!
Stop. The. Multi-tasking. Seriously! As ladies, we like to say that we’re good at it. I’m guilty of saying that men (more specifically, my husband) can’t multi-task like I can. While that may be true, science has proven that no one can multitask effectively. Not even you, fancy pants. Our brains are physically incapable. My mind is blown because I’ve depended on this for years and years and years.
I’ve recently started a new program to help the busy professional in this realm. I’m not deep enough into truly say my life has changed, but applying these basic principles certainly, has made a difference. I can’t wait to see how my productivity has improved over the coming months.
I’d be lying to you if I told you that I completely had my crap together. I don’t. It is what it is. But I can say that every day I wake up, I give it my all and get it done. By implementing these small tweaks, I have seen an improvement in my day-to-day productivity. I have more quality time with my family while working less.
I may never have that day where I wake up refreshed, workout, enjoy my coffee in peace, tackle every item on my to-do list and have friends over to a sparkly clean house, but I’m okay with that. My life is enriched with things I never imagined…and as long as I keep waking up, being present, and knocking things off this to-do list, I know that I can conquer the world (or at least my corner of it).
As long as you recognize the same, you can conquer your corner of the world as well. Now get out there, stay present, and get it done like a boss!
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