Do you feel like you are ALWAYS WORKING? Read more about how common this feeling is and one suggestion I have in moving towards a more balanced schedule…
I love what I do! But I find myself feeling like I’m ALWAYS working. I want to do things with my friends and family but I feel like I “should” be working instead since I’m a solopreneur and there’s so much to do.
First, please hear me when I tell you that you are not alone with this sense of ALWAYS working! I’ve heard from many solopreneurs who think being a successful business owner means they have to ‘work the grind’ and ‘give it their all’ and ‘make sacrifices’ and ‘work hard’ to be successful.
Second, I’m not hearing that you want to decrease your effort – what you want is to have some boundaries around your work…create a schedule that feels like you have time allocated to working your business AND you have time allocated to NOT working your business (social time with friends and family, exercise time, time to read a book, attend a soccer game, etc, etc).
What I have found that allows a shift to begin in feeling like you CAN have time to yourself (time where you aren’t always working) is to give yourself permission to establish a start and end time to your work day. Again, your effort will not decrease. What I suspect will happen is your effort will become more focused because you don’t have all day to spend working. I find this true for myself – when I have say a doctor’s appointment, I find myself more focused and intentional in what I’m working on during the day since I know I have a cut-off time. Make sense?
To start, I would suggest you create a work schedule for yourself for 1 week – and see how it goes. Create your own work day cut-off time. And if you find it challenging to honor your new work cut-off time, plan a non-work activity that you’ll be going to; set a coffee date with a friend, sign up for a yoga class, something that will support you with the “What needs to get done before the end of my work day so I can do that other thing that I want to do?”
Where to next?
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We can overthink and therefore “overwork” in areas of our business and on client work than is necessary. We play what’s on our to-do list over and over in our minds – even if we’ve scheduled it on our calendars. I’ve done this many times before. How about you?
Replaying and overthinking can happen with tasks that are time on our business (creating/modifying programs, scheduling social media posts, blogging/article creation, networking) or time in our business (billable client work).
Do you bill a client for a tasks that you estimated would take 2 hours yet you spend an additional 4 hours or more procrastinating or “thinking about working” on it? At the end of the day you feel like you were “busy” but was it really productive work and was the task efficiently executed?
Let’s just call it what it is…Overthinking and overworking are time and energy not well spent!
Spending more time and energy thinking about your tasks can create thoughts and illusions that you don’t have room for more paying client work or no available time for networking and expanding your community.
Being busy does NOT always mean being productive!
I believe that you want to be more productive and do things more efficiently – gaining more energy and time in your business and in your life!
Here are 4 simple steps to support you in becoming more efficient and more productive:
Step 1) Declare that you want more time and energy
Ask yourself how you feel about your business life. Is this what you signed up for? Is this how you thought it would go? Do you think it’s possible for things to be done differently but you just don’t see how or don’t know where to start?
If you have a sense that things need to change, then declare it! Decide. Declare that you want more time and energy in your business and in your life and decide that NOW is the time to start making changes!
Step 2) Stay mindful / Be intentional
With your current declaration and decision from step 1, keep this thought and energy with you at the beginning of every day. You are a powerful entrepreneur. You created your business with a specific mission in mind.
Creating helpful reminders on your phone or making sticky notes on your bathroom mirror are great ways to remind you of your intention/decision to move forward with this process.
I am a successful entrepreneur.
I operate an efficient and productive business.
I work flexible hours that support my lifestyle.
Step 3) Gather information on your current situation
Gathering information and collecting data is one of my favorite things to do. You can’t make changes to things that you don’t know about. While you can start at any moment doing things differently, if you don’t take a look at your current situation and your patterns, you won’t be able to determine your next step or truly assess your progress.
When I set out on a mission to make changes in any area of my life, I first devote some amount of time to collecting data. For example, to change my eating habits and what I’m eating, I’ll start by logging what I eat for a week. I don’t need to analyze or fix or assess anything. It’s just logging what I am currently doing – with curiosity and no judgment. My task is to log information – that’s it. Depending on what you want to change will determine how long to collect details of your current activity.
To get a sense of where you are truly spending your time in your business, you can create a simple time tracker on paper.
To support you in logging this time throughout the day, maybe you set a reminder on your phone or computer for every 1 hour that reminds you to log your activity for the past hour.
Step 4) Making intentional adjustments to your tasks
In support of increasing your efficiency, here is a good definition: Efficiency is performing or functioning in the best possible manner with the least waste of time and effort.
With this as your goal, after you have collected a fair amount of data from step 3, make intentional adjustments to areas you can focus on first. By increasing your intention to working more efficiently, where can you begin? As an example, if you start your day checking personal email and Facebook, set a timer. If from your information gathering from step 3, you had been spending 2 hours at the start of your day on personal emails and Facebook (getting caught up), allow yourself 30 minutes.
Now, there may be some mind chatter coming up by your initial intention of 30 minutes for emails and Facebook in the morning. You may be thinking that would be impossible to commit to this on a regular basis! If that’s the case, I’d challenge you to do it for a week. And every morning that the timer goes off after 30 minutes, write down how you’re feeling. Are you angry? Had you not realized you already spent 30 minutes? Perhaps you’re feeling that 30 minutes IS all it really takes to catch up on email and Facebook.
For some, this will be easy to implement. For others, intellectually it’s a yes but when it comes to staying with it you could benefit from support. That’s where I come in. When we work together, I will be here to support you in your process and hold you accountable to your goal of being more efficiently productive – taking a look behind the curtain with you without judgment and creating a plan of implementing changes with where you could be working more efficiently for gaining more time and energy in your business and in your life.
Consider your next step...
I identify with entrepreneurs and have personally experienced the ability to breathe easier knowing a strong foundation with great documentation is in place. A scheduled plan with gentle reminders will quiet down that monkey-mind and allow more peace and calm. With your tasks and goals planned out on a calendar and processes in place, the mind is freer to generate inspired ideas, have the space to develop and modify programs and workshops all so you can be of higher service in your business with more ease and joy.
If this sounds like you or the support you need, it's time we talked. Schedule your complimentary 30-Minute Strategy Session and take your first step toward getting the support needed to grow your business, calm your mind, and live a life of more abundance!
Janina Goldberg has been a Process Management Master and Coaching expert for over 25 years! Over the past 5 years, she has refocused her expertise in helping entrepreneurs who want to up-level themselves personally and their business. She really listens to your big goal ideas and helps you distill them into achievable plans with inspired actionable next steps. She also co-creates the (behind-the-scenes) foundational documents for everything business owners do so they feel more empowered as a business owner. Janina transforms the “It’s all in my head” activities that business owners do week after week into organized, centrally accessible documents with step-by-step details and templates for ease in consistent execution.