Being a small business owner, we are often pulled in every direction, from new business meetings and proposals, meeting clients, meeting journalists, running events, accounting, you name it. Small business owners often wear many hats. Therefore, over the years I have developed a few habits that help me stay productive, focused and engaged.
Here they are:
Meeting Days and Power Days
I try to schedule all meetings, including phone calls onto one day. I find that if I am heading out to meetings all the time randomly, I struggle to do my work when I get back as there are too many disruptions. Additionally, I may not be as engaged in the meeting as I should be as I am thinking of the tasks I need to do next.
Scheduling them this way means I can be completely engaged in what I am doing, be it a meeting day, a pitching day, a writing day or an event day.
Obviously, you can’t always get away with this, but it is really great when you can.
A power day is when I spend the entire day at my laptop working with no meetings, phone calls or people around. I try to have one of these a week at least.
Forward planning to do lists
Due to the way my business is structured, in that we have KPIs to meet each week for our clients, I usually start my to do list for the next week on the Monday the week before.
My list is on a simple email (because I can easily move things around on an email, add and delete items) and I have it broken into days with the clients I will be working on under the days in the order I will work on them. Under each client is a list of things I need to complete for them. When a task is done it is deleted.
Each week I copy and paste the list into a new email so I have my “To Do List” and my “Next Week To Do List” going. It’s great as every Monday there is no guess work. I know exactly what I will be doing. While plans can change, it is good having things pencilled in so you don’t miss anything
Sometimes you get tired and struggle to focus. Now instead of pushing through the day and doing an average and slow job, I have a coffee, go to bed for 30 minutes and wake up as good as new. I’ve been doing this for around 7 years. It’s the best.
No matter how busy you get, exercise
I went through two very damaging times due to being busy with my business. The first one was that I over exercised while also extremely stressed and my cortisol went through the roof. I put on a lot of fluid and got very sick.
The second time I got busy and did no exercise, resulting in slight weight gain but mostly stress, a low mood and not feeling very happy.
Always make time to exercise, even if you are too busy, for the sake of your mental health, but be mindful of the exercise you are doing. If you are stressed for a prolonged period of time, a walk, swim, yoga or Pilates is likely to be better for you than a cortisol inducing HIIT session. Listen to your body and do what works for you on the day
I do Soul Alive live meditation sessions 2 nights a week as I find it really helps me wind down at the end of a day. Being able to clear my mind and sleep well means the next day will be nice and productive. I am new to meditation, but I like it.