It happens to us all. The month where everything happens at once, when someone quits without notice or family obligations keep you busy 24/7.
Most adults would consider taking extra vacation time from work in order to manage during the chaos.
Entrepreneurs remember with fondness that thing called “paid time off.” Sigh. “Wouldn’t it be nice?” you think as you send out another proposal, get that email copy finished, finalize a client meeting for tomorrow and wonder how you’re going to get it all done if you have just one more client or obligation added to the ever growing to do list.
While we can’t wave a magic wand in your direction here are 5 ways you can survive as an entrepreneur when life is just too busy.
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1. Say no
Instead of jumping on every business opportunity and every family obligation you’re presented with say no.
If it helps, practice by having your partner or assistant ask you ridiculous favors. Then say no and press an imaginary Staples button: “that was easy.”
You may be the most capable, responsible, giving person in the room but you can’t do it all, all the time. Saying no allows other people to step in and do their piece as well. Let them.
2. Ask for help
It could be as simple as recruiting a babysitter for the afternoons that you need to write or having someone proof your work while you work with clients.
In the business start by having a conversation with your team members. Let them know how this time is shaping up and get their support in new areas – even if it’s just for a short period of time.
At home you might just need to relax those standards. Unless you’re Martha Stewart few people will be judging how often you vacuum and if your garden is weed free. For those things you can’t set on the back burner (children, bill paying, grocery shopping), ask for help from your partner or older children or hire some temporary help in the form of a college student.
3. Create self care time
It’s a little counter intuitive but when you’re the busiest it’s even more important to take care of yourself. Becoming ill or worn down to the point of collapse will do nothing to help you through this chaotic time so remember to put your needs in priority.
This might mean having a cut off time at night so you’re able to get enough sleep or making sure you hit the gym every day for a workout or time in the jacuzzi.
When you’re busy it’s easy to go to convenience options like eating out. Remember that when you’re working harder than before your body will need proper fuel which includes water, sleep and healthy food. Remember that college student who needs cash even more than you need rest? Hire him or her to spend a few hours in your kitchen prepping snacks, meals for the freezer and cleaning so that you have healthy options without the stress.
4. Break it down
No, don’t have a breakdown, but when you’re staring at a mountain of work and responsibilities break it all down into smaller chunks.
You may have a big proposal that’s due in a few weeks. Outline it and devote time each day to finishing up the sections. Got a client whose workload is increasing? Set aside time during your week just for them.
And if you’re feeling the pressure to perform, remember that you’re human, not a machine and that quality work requires quality time.
5. Remember the outcome
Every week when I’m out and about I see the local football teams working out. I live near a high school so it’s not uncommon to see them in full gear doing 3 a day workouts. Coaches have an enormous job in keeping these teenage athletes motivated and one of the best weapons in their arsenal is talking about the end goal. Making the touchdown, going to regionals, winning the division. That’s motivating when it’s 100 degrees outside and you’d rather be at the movies than running drills.
Entrepreneurs are the same way. Sure you could be on Facebook right now watching buzzfeed videos but won’t it be amazingwhen you’re selected as a speaker and up on stage at that event? True, you could be spending your evening watching a movie instead of slaving over a manuscript but it’s all going to be worth it to see your book on the shelves.
When life requires hard work it’s easy to look for ways out. We’re great at avoidance techniques. But when the only way to the other side is getting through it, keep your eyes fixed on the result.
Action Step: Which tip do you need most when your business and life become chaotic? Do one thing this week to put this into action.
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5 Strategies to survive when life goes crazy
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