As entrepreneurs we all suffer from overwhelm, we are the only ones who truly know our business and what we want, so it is up to use to do it all ourselves……
Well that is what you think. But an entrepreneur who has been there and done it knows this is not the case at all. As entrepreneurs we want to do it all, we want control and we want to be superman/superwoman.
One of the most important parts of being successful is being productive. Here are my 3 tips to productivity.
I started doing this a while back. I use it be the queen of post-it notes…. No I mean a seriously crazy obsession! My car dashboard was even covered in them! Then I started keeping a list in a google doc. This was great…. for a while. But something still didn’t make it easy for me. Until one day when I found a suggestion about using a mindmap to show my daily and weekly tasks. It allows me to move things around, add sub tasks easily, colour code tasks, and much more.
I set this up with only the main tasks for the week. I have an urgent list, a today list, a future list, an other people list (eg, VA’s), and then I only allow 3 main tasks (with sub-tasks), and a “daily ritual” list and also a done section to remind me just how much I am achieving.
I keep this updated weekly and look at this list daily. Everything I need to know about my week is in front of me. I am able to quickly drag and drop the tasks into today’s list and work on them. As each task is completed I move it into the done list.
I find this has given me so much more efficiently and understanding to what I need to do each day.
2. Outsource ANYTHING you do regularly
As I sit here writing this my cleaning lady is keeping my house clean. I had a big argument with a friend calling me excessive as he has to spend every Saturday cleaning his house and so I can do it too. Yes, sure I could…. I could also grow all my own food, make my own clothes and make my own music round the campfire…. but I don’t. I choose to have a cleaner so I can spend my time doing what I want. What does $60 per week mean to you? What is your time valued at per hour? Mine is much more than $20 that’s for sure! I know that the 3 hours a week my cleaner is here I can either be working or exercising or spending time with friends. I value myself so much more than that $60 a week I can save.
This is also the same when it comes to anything in your business. ANYTHING you do regularly is something you can outsource. Of course it is hard to outsource one off tasks, as sometimes it takes longer to explain and teach it then to do it yourself. Most people get stuck in the mindset that trying to teach someone will take you longer than doing it yourself. THIS is where you become unstuck! If a task takes you 15 mins each week and it takes you let’s say even 2 hours to teach someone then after only 2 months you will be saving yourself time!
The trick to outsourcing tasks is to do it via video training. Use a screen recording video system (Quicktime on Mac does it) And talk it through, don’t worry about editing, just throw something together and pass it on to your VA. The reason this is the best way is that they can re-watch it AND if you ever need to give the task to another person you have already created the training! Then the only extra work for you is answering any questions they may have.
3. Walk away and take a break when it feels like it is all too much.
I have been in business over 15 years, and this is one piece of advice I can give you that will be your lifeline at some stage. I can honestly say that I have had some moments that I have wanted to give up and never ever try again. I will never forget my biggest meltdown to date…. Firstly I have to say I am a very passionate person. I hate the word fine… It is either excellent or not. I say that about everything, ok is just not good enough. So when I when things go wrong I have had to learn how to control that feeling of pain and trauma….
It was about 7 years ago. I had had 2 very successful businesses both of which I had sold by that stage. I was living with my then boyfriend and something went horribly wrong in my business. I can’t remember the exact problem but I remember how I felt that day, as if it was yesterday. My boyfriend came home to me on the floor crying like an absolute baby. I couldn’t even talk through the tears so I couldn’t even explain the problem to him. I had completely had enough. I was such a mess that he started freaking out asking who died. I was shaking my head and saying it was not that. After about 15 minutes I was able to talk and all I said was let’s go for a walk on the beach and I never want to deal with my business again. I thought I would walk, come back and pack up my entrepreneur life and look for a job. The beach is my safe place, I don’t sunbake, I just love to walk in the sand or sit on the sand, I walk on the beach even in the rain and wind. So that day I just needed to calm down and walk….
Off we went, we spent about 30mins walking and for the first 10 minutes I was crying and saying I had given up as an entrepreneur. I told him that I was never going to be the success I wanted to be and that I need to just give up and get a job. I remember that broken feeling in my heart, my dream was shattered and I could never have what I had always dreamt of and I was better off stopping at that time. I had borrowed $20,000 from my boyfriend and was really on the road to nowhere. That day yet another thing had gone horribly wrong and I was done this time for good. My boyfriend didn’t ask me a word, he just let me have my own thoughts and he just nooded and held my hand. Then I went silent, I had no more words to say… Just as we were nearing the carpark I turned to him and said “Ok, so when we get back I have to work out how to make this all work.” Richard just looked at me and smiled and said “I knew you wouldn’t give up”.
I just needed to walk away from that moment… Too many times we get to that point and think we can’t stop & take a break because we are wasting valuable time, trust me, when you are less productive, you are wasting time already. If your head is not in the right place then more time won’t fix the problem. You need to fix your headspace first.
Since that day I had a lightbulb moment and I have learnt that when I am not in the right head space I just stop working, I find something else to do. Get your mind clear and think about what you can do to fix it. This is not about procrastinating, this is about clearing your mind. The best way to do this is to meditate in which ever form suits you: music, yoga, the beach, running. We all have our safe place the place we can be in our own thoughts and not feel like we have the burden of the world on our shoulders. We all need this feeling. Make sure you notice when you need this time to yourself.