Kicking off another 3-part mini-series where we’re going deep into self-organisation and how to empower yourself and your business, especially if you’re feel so totally maxed out you just can’t focus on high level strategic leveraging stuff.
From self-management to self-care, over the three parts I’m going to be sharing 21 ways you can organise your life, home office and routines. We’ll look at how to set things up so you can really power through everything you need to get done, and want to get done, without burning yourself out, so that it’s sustainable.
Today, in part 1, we focus on ways to de-stress your personal life so your business life isn’t cluttered with distractions.
Who can relate to working from home and you suddenly remember the wet laundry is still in the washing machine?
Have you ever ended your day only to realise you never pulled anything out of the freezer for dinner.
What about when you’re so maxed out, you can’t focus properly?
Over three parts, I’m going to go through a set of practical tactics to get this organised, so you have space and focus for strategic planning as well as building more leverage for future growth. I want to look at how to handle that typical dilemma of working ON the business while still working IN the business, as well as everything else you have going on in your life.
Next time, in part 2, I want to share some simple routines to eliminate day-to-day stress. Then in part 3, we’ll finish up with eliminating stress in your day-to-day business.
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I’m often asked, and I mean I genuinely get asked this at least once a week by colleagues, family, clients … Jay you do Soooo much, how do you manage it all?
Well this is why I decided to do this three-part series, because the answer isn’t because I have one solution or some really cool piece of software, or even because I have a team, it’s because of a series of things I put in place that eliminates many of the constraints to productivity.
And this is also not to say I’m 100% down with this, I also have days or weeks when I feel overloaded – when I didn’t get things set out too well. But I always go back to my basics to get my ducks back in a row, so to speak.
And one thing that really helps is that I have a rhythm to my business.
Finding the Best Rhythm for Your Business
There’s a rhythm to your business you need to get to so you’re able to enjoy more fun, flow and freedom. Now doesn’t sound that good?!!
But listen, I totally get how frenetic running a business can feel. Right now, I’m crazy super busy – but I’m good with it, because I have a lot the processes, systems, team and tools to enable me to get a heck of a lot accomplished in any given week.
Does my ‘to-do’ list sometimes spill over into my non-work time, or into my weekend or days off? Sure, it’s not fail-proof, but mostly things right themselves so the boat never capsizes!
So today, I want to start by just painting the landscape a little bit, and to recognise that it’s quite normal to be busy, we like to be productive; we’re very creative so we have lots of ideas. But putting a plan in place and having boundaries is what keeps things moving forward and preventing burnout.
Part 1 gearing up to getting off that work-home-work-home treadmill.
Do you struggle to find the focused space to work on key growth work? You’ll often hear people distinguish between working ‘on’ the business and working ‘in’ the business. And it’s the latter that tends to max us out if we don’t have good self-organisation and we’re not thinking about the infrastructure to support getting more clients.
We touched last episode on tangible steps you can take to drive more referrals for your business so you can scale your business, but if you’re busy delivering to all those wonderful new clients, how can you work on the next level growth strategies?
The answer, of course, is LEVERAGE. Think about the key places you need to be building leverage – that is your key business operational processes, and the team to support them as you grow.
On the ground, there’s plenty we can personally do to set ourselves up for success as you start to implement those leveraging plans. However, the reality is most of us are now working from home – such that our home life and our business life, our personal space and our office space are mixed now.
So not only are we looking at self-organisation in our business activities, we have to carry that into our entire life activities.
Managing ourselves in time has become pretty important, right? And the practices and techniques that used to work maybe aren’t effective any more – do you feel that? I use the phrase ‘managing ourselves in time’ deliberately.
There’s a tonne of books and courses you can do all about ‘time management’, but honestly there’s no such thing as time management. Time is fixed, we all have 24 hours in each day, 7 days in each week, 365 days in every year.
What you can do is get better at managing YOURSELF in those time periods, with habits that create space, reduce stress and enable strategic thinking.
I’m writing this “in the office” in a real peak time in my calendar just before the dip coming through in. Actually, not just December – April, August, and December are months in the year when I lift off and get off the treadmill for a while. It suits the acceleration programs I run and coach on, which work in 90-day sprints. So that’s become my annual rhythm.
Now, how about you look at your own annual calendar, what’s your cycle? Is it the same week on week, head down until your next vacation? Or do you have intense peaks and more relaxed dips, according to times where you’ll be setting up or actively promoting something and onboarding clients, versus when you’ve just delivered a program?
If so, then you’ll know there are times when you’re leaning and being hyper-productive. But it’s not sustainable. You have to balance it daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly – with times where you lean back, rest, relax, reflect, recharge. That time when you’re leaning in with high-productivity should be in spurts not a constant treadmill.
When do you take space across the year to lean back for more creative, restful or strategic space?
Last couple of couple of years, in August, I’ve had the nicest “leaning back” time. I did an amazing staycation dog sitting the most loveable and easy little dog called Buttons.
If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you’ll have seen a few photos of our walks and time together in the beautiful countryside in England, in the Surrey Hills. This is a special time and place where I get out of my ‘bus-i-ness’ and declutter my head. I decompress with a big inhale of nature, fresh air and fun, and time to see friends.
I do love my work, and it’s really easy for me to just work, work, work. But I recognise also the power of the recharge. It’s amazing to be away from all things ‘work’ for a while, but I do find it hard to step away. It takes me a few days, sometimes a week even.
And once I do, then it’s equally hard to get back into my normal routine. So I created some smaller ways to relax, particularly when the weather’s not so great.
As well as being an avid reader, I’m a huge fan of jigsaw puzzles. It’s the most unproductive thing to do, in the sense that you painstakingly put all these little pieces together, look at it for a few days and then scrunch it all up again and put them back in the box.
However, there’s something innately relaxing and rewarding about pointless work – it stops my mind racing around, no wandering to productive thoughts when you’re look for that one piece that’s red with a big of tree or skirt or fur and has three outies and one innie (that’s what I call the tabs and blanks on puzzle pieces – apparently each type of piece has a name. Just google: basic parts of a jigsaw puzzle piece – male knobs and female holes – who knew!)
Anyway, I know it can be a bit of slow engine when you’re getting back to it after the holidays, or if you can feel yourself slowing down as you approach ‘the holidays’ – thanksgiving, Christmas – you start believing you’ll pick up momentum again in the new year when it’s not so busy.
Next thing you know, you lost not just a couple of weeks but two months!
So, I have a little surprise to get you fired up and ready to show up with amazing energy and focus in January. I’m opening up spots again for my 90-day Leveraged Business Accelerator program. I could even fit a few early access Strategy Discovery calls in over December if you’re raring to go – so you’re ready to rev things up going into the new year.
I’ll share the what, why and how details in an email, so make sure you’re on my mailing list – either opt into my iNSIGHTS newsletter or any of the ‘free stuff’.
Right so now let’s dive into some specifics for today’s part 1, Decluttering Distractions.
Why Time Management is a Pointless Pursuit
When you’re working from home, those little chores like hanging out washing, planning your dinner, and dashing out for milk, they may seem insignificant little chores and we’re all used to having to do them.
When these distractions continually interfere with your workday, your productivity can suffer, particularly if you’re dashing around between calls to fit in what you need to get done.
When you succumb to these tensions, if you’re not fully focused or you’re feeling pulled in different directions, it’s hard to bring your A-game to your business, your clients or projects.
Certainly, distractions have the potential to impact more than just one day, they can ruin a whole week. And that’s going to have a knock-on effect on your revenue too.
But, here’s the good news. I’ve some advice for you today on how to get organised so you can start your workdays without stress and feeling empowered.
Let me share here’s where I’m coming from on this. Although everyone who knows me, personally and professionally knows I’m a process-girl, super organised and always finding ways to do things more efficiently, effectively, economically. But I am definitely not little miss perfect in the area of self-management! Because I’m a little OCD – ok so I’m a lot OCD on certain things.
When I see a job that needs doing or a notification from a team member or client pops up, once I’ve noticed it, personally, I find it really hard to let it “just wait” even when I’m already super busy with something important that I want to focus on. I tend to bounce up and do it right away. Or I’ll whizz back a reply so it’s dealt with promptly. For the beneficiary, they love that I’m so responsive of course. But for the focused work, it’s a really bad habit.
Like many of us, I also can quite readily use distractions to procrastinate on doing something that’s either hard or I don’t really relish doing.
Nonetheless, with a bit of regular mindset retraining, what I have been able to do for myself, and my sanity, is create some boundaries. And when I make enforcing them into somewhat of a fun game, I find I do stick to my self-imposed rules.
Just like with our limiting self-talk – when ‘little me’ pipes up loud saying what I can’t do or will be rubbish at, or what I ought to do when I get a Whatsapp message from a family member or close friend, I go find big me to shut that voice down and stay on track.
With improved boundaries and self-accountability, you can overcome poor self-organisation, aka self-sabotage. And nowadays I can spot it easily. I see what I’m doing. I also can no longer fool myself when I’m passing off procrastination as perfectionism, and I recognise the distraction triggers that screw up my focus.
Nowadays, I laugh about how I would have flitted around in the past doing bits and bobs and not getting to the important stuff that really moves the needle in a business, and helps me get stuff done.
A colleague of mine just recently had a baby, and remarked: ‘I always thought I was pretty busy, but NOW…. I’m really really busy and have less sleep!!!’ Bless 🙂 I’m sure they’ll adjust their rhythm, routines and find new ways to recharge.
As I’ve heard said: done is better than perfect, or put another: taking imperfect action keeps you moving forward.
Jumping off the Home-Work-Home Treadmill
Let me know if you can relate to this scenario…
Your alarm goes off in the morning and you grunt while turning over to find the snooze button. You allow yourself a quick snooze because you know the kids have to get up and ready for school and they need their turn in the bathroom to get ready too.
This was me a few years ago. My kids aren’t in school anymore, but that’s how things ran.
You go about your regular routine of rousing kids, getting them dressed, feeding them breakfast, and reminding them to brush their teeth and hair. Inevitably somebody gets distracted by a phone and you feel your blood pressure rising as you scurry to get them out the door.
Once you get home, it’s time to prepare for YOUR day – sorting, planning, client calls, client reports – your brain runs down your to-do list. Depending on the length of your list, you might ask yourself why you’re working so hard on this business and even wonder if it’d be less stressful if you found a “regular” job.
Is this a picture of your life right now? Even if you’re single and don’t have kids, can you relate to wanting to sleep more or have more down-time and “fun”? What happened to that innate excitement you used to have about building a business so you could live the life you dreamed on your own terms?
If you feel like you’re on the eternal treadmill that just keeps speeding along in one direction, let me reassure you that you CAN stop it, jump off and create an organised life that isn’t so stressful.
Only YOU can decide which clients you want to work with and which programs you want to run. YOU are in control of your pricing and how much time you take off. If you dream of having a virtual team, only YOU can make those hiring decisions and let go of some control so you can delegate work to this team.
My point is that every one of us experiences peaks of work, lows in your energy, motivation and mood, and stresses in your business. It’s a fact of life.
Recognising our reactions to these ups and downs is what will ensure we keep things in a positive frame and allow us to shift our mindset so we can find peace and joy.
Do you have these kinds of challenges with self-organisation? We just touched the surface in part 1 today. We’ve looked at ways in which your home life and working from home can wreck your creativity and your productivity.
In part 2, I’ll take you through a whole list of practical ways you can turn it around. And then in part 3, we’ll look more towards de-stressing your actual business.
If you keep putting important but non-urgent things on the back burner until a time you get some clear space in your day or week, then you definitely need to tune in to all three parts, all together you’ll be getting 21 Ways to Organise Your ‘Work from Home’ Business for More Fun, Flow and Freedom.
And as we wrap up, I’ll be sharing a great checklist on the Leveraged Business Podcast which you can use to hold yourself accountability to the rules and boundaries you put in place – it may take a bit of time to adjust, but it’s also a huge game-changer.
So make sure you subscribe to iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts, so you get an alert when the next article and podcast episode is out!
Ciao ciao for now!