Are You Trapped by Your Business?
If the answer is yes, I am trapped by my business, be careful because it leads to burnout and ultimate disaster. This is the third article in a series of articles that will introduce three dozen (plus) strategies that can keep your small business on track and help you find the free time you need to lead a more balanced life.
If You Are Not Being Productive – Turn-off the Computer
If you are trying to work, but feel too distracted, overly tired, or are simply spinning your wheels – turn off the computer. It makes no sense to continue pushing and risk becoming more and more frustrated. Even if you have a long “to do” list, forcing yourself to finish everything under any of those conditions is counter-productive.
Take a break, go for a walk, take a short nap, do something fun, and come back when you are feeling better. A little break can do wonders and will increase your productivity.
Use a Paper and Pen More Often
Use a pen and paper to write down your ideas, outlines, and to-do lists. It is a way of giving your mind, your eyes and your fingers a nice change of pace and can stimulate your thinking. You will be surprised at how productive you can be when working the “old-fashioned way.”
I am not sure why this is true, but it is. It could result from the relief of rnot having to look at the computer screen for a little while, the avoidance of online distractions, or both. So… get a BIG notebook and start using it.
Things to do on paper:
- Plan monthly goals and daily/weekly schedules (this is an excellent way to wind down the day).
- Plan blog posts, ideas for saving money for your business and maximizing your income opportunities.
- Chart the course of a project: What needs to be done, resources needed, individual responsibilities, etc.
- Make a running list of ideas (titles) for books and articles to research and write.
- Edit and expand on reports, articles, e-books and sales pages. It is much easier to see mistakes when reading hard copies than when reading on a computer screen. Creativity seems to expand when writing on paper.
Be a Supportive Boss
You have probably had at least one boss from hell in the past – the slave driver, the irrational nut job, and/or the ever-present workaholic that nearly drove you crazy. Unfortunately, becoming an entrepreneur can turn anyone into a horrid boss. Do not become the boss who is so hard on you that nothing is ever good enough or never quite finished.
Avoid creating extremely long lists of what must be accomplished each and every day, and I promise the quality of your work will improve. Remember that quality is what matters. Make shorter and more realistic “to do” lists that can actually be finished in one day.
I have found through experience that everything always takes longer than you think it will. Take that into consideration when planning your day. Allow enough time to do things right – and do not allow yourself to be trapped by your business by always thinking, “It must be finished before I end my day! I can’t leave until it’s done.”