Doing your best work means that you must have a clear head, the energy and the passion for what you are about to do. Here are some ideas for clearing the decks so that creative ideas and clear decision making can blossom.
Today life and work seem so complicated – so much information – so many demands! As solopreneurs, we wear so many hats and have so many learning curves. How can we simplify things so that life and work feel like a smooth flow? Well, first we must step back and take a critical look at the current situation. Do any of these feelings resonate?
disengaged distracted pressured
stressed panic fragmented
exhausted grouchy overwhelmed
If so, then you need to decide how to make it better right now, before your business, your life and health begin to deteriorate. There are three things to focus on:
- Energy Management
- Time Management
- Most important is the amount and quality of sleep. This means going to bed earlier and getting the full number of hours suitable to your own body rhythms. Then take care of the quality. Eliminate booze and caffeine – one prevents you from getting to sleep and the other makes you wake when you shouldn’t. Eliminate disturbing newscasts and violent programs and games – these impact your dreams negatively. Eliminate screen time prior to sleep time – the light makes your brain want to stay awake. Try some therapeutic music such as brain.fm or other relaxing music of your choice.
- Moderate exercise enhances your energy levels. Walk the dog and/or take a walk with an enjoyable friend in the early morning. Decide to go regardless of the weather. Don’t rely on your life partner – external social obligation works better.
- Have a leisurely, healthy, protein-rich breakfast with the family or a friend. Avoid high sugar content that only gives a buzz and then drops your energy.
- At work, leave your desk periodically and take a walk outside.
- Leave your office for a break at noon.
- Alternately sit and stand throughout the day. Stand when you need to focus or read. Sit when you have creative work to do.
- Hydrate with water, not caffeine or soda drinks during the day.
- Use positive visualization to chart your future and your day. Take reflective time alone sometime during the day or evening. This could be journaling, meditating, walking the beach or forest/park trials.
- Take note of what time of day your energy is at its peak. When do you do your best work? Often it’s when interruptions are less likely.
- Avoid multitasking. Focus on one thing at a time.
- Schedule creative work for high energy time periods. Schedule mindless work for when you “have no brain left”
- Allow ample time for completion of each task. Always build in more than you think it will take.
- Use a timer to help stay on track.
- Theme your schedule. Group similar tasks and errands together. Group all your meetings on one day if possible. Allocate large chunks of uninterrupted time for creative work such as blog writing or course development. If you work with clients chunk out the time that works for both you and them and then build the rest of your schedule around that.
Leave enough room in your schedule for spontaneous activity. This helps avoid those feelings of being trapped.
- Block out time to do nothing or leisure activities. Respect your weekends – or the do-nothing days.
- Eliminate distractions. Silence all sound and screen notifications from e-mail and social media until you have all high energy tasks complete.
- At the end of each day close all browser tabs and during the day keep the number open at a minimum.
- Eliminate clutter. Keep your computer desktop organized and relatively empty. Tidy your work area – no Post-It Notes, phone messages, piles of paper. Use a computer application to organize these in a paperless way.
- Keep all your to-do lists in one place. A moleskin book feels very luxurious and tidy. Or use a computer application.
It’s true that you can’t control all your time and energy, but when those big projects go sideways and you need to put in extra time and energy, you must take the time to rejuvenate and recharge when it’s over. Your business depends on it!
Mindset Monday Challenge
Decide if any of the above feelings describe how you feel and give yourself the gift of rearranging your time and energy management. What is one thing that would have the most impact RIGHT NOW?