Running your own business can be overwhelming when you wear all the hats; CEO, CFO, Head of Marketing, Customer Service Manager, Sales Manager, and Production person. Then tack on your client workload as well as the responsibilities outside of the office. It’s a lot for Wonder Woman or Superman.
Thoughts of where one even starts can cloud judgment and deceive you on what needs to get done over what you think should get done.
So how can you maintain productivity?
- Talk it out. Don’t dismiss your emotions and concerns. Be flexible with your schedule when you are working through moments of overwhelm. Who can you reach out to and vent your worries and frustrations? Whether it’s a phone call with a colleague or a zoom call with an accountability group — talking with other people can help. Writing a letter, in a journal, texting a friend, or making a date to meet — all can help. Your mental wellness should have priority in your schedule.
- Stay focused. Create structure into your week. I’m not saying go full hog wild and plan each and every moment of your life. It helps to create defined office hours at your desk. And when it comes to meetings, try to limit them to a few specific days/times a week. That will allow you a couple of solid days with no interruptions so you can focus on projects and have some flexibility when you need to squeeze in a “talk session.” Maybe even more important, define a set time of day when you read the news and social media feeds. The more you structure, the less you’ll find yourself down a rabbit hole of distraction.
- Start each day writing out a daily to-do list before you open your email. Doing this first will help you find clarity on your next steps, and you don’t let your day get sidelined by one ’emergency’ email. Create intention in your day. Whatever you choose to write or type into really doesn’t matter. It could be a sticky note, some random scrap of paper, a digital app, or a planner with space for your intention. Check out this one — a Creatives Roundtable member designs and publishes her own unique system and sells online. Whatever you use, just give yourself ten morning minutes to grasp what you have on your plate.
- Set timers. Use reminders to step away from your desk to stretch, or define a block of time to focus on one project at a time. Nancy Ruzow sets an alarm on her phone to run up and down the stairs — to give her mind a break.
- Habit stacking. Is there an element of your business, like prospecting or marketing, you’d like to incorporate into a daily habit? Think about something you already do, whether perusing emails while drinking coffee or a daily walk. Then think of a task that you could stack onto it — something you have been avoiding. Maybe you have an audio podcast you have meant to listen to, well, why not listen to it during a daily walk? Or perhaps you start your day checking your social media feed, why not be specific and pop into LinkedIn. Scroll through, commenting, and liking posts of people you would like to work with or have something that rings true with you and your own mission?
Each day is a new start
After a while, one or many of these suggestions will highlight what might matter in your short and long term. Each day is a new start, in fact, each breath of air is a fresh start. We have your back here at Creatives Roundtable, look and see if our accountability groups would be a good fit for you to help you manage feelings of overwhelm while you build your business.
Written by: Crystal Reynolds