Friday, 15 June 2012

Take Back Some of Your Time

Take Back Some of Your Time

Do you find that most of your life is spent doing things for your business, someone else, your family or something that’s not just for you? If you’re like most business owners, you spend the majority of your time taking care of your business—if it’s not the day-to-day running of the business, it’s the time spent worrying about how to find clients, keep yourself afloat financially or networking. Most people these days are overworked and overly stressed. If you’re not careful, these overworked and overly stressed feelings can lead to burnout. Symptoms of burnout include: depleted energy, emotional exhaustion, lowered immunity to illnesses, less investment into interpersonal relationships, and an increasingly pessimistic outlook.

As a way to stave off burnout and make life more enjoyable, it’s time to par down your schedule, cut out the unnecessary items and make life more enjoyable and meaningful. As a business owner, you’re probably saying “there’s no way–I can’t take on more,” but for the sake of your growing business you really must do things that energize you physically and mentally. It’s really imperative for the growth of your business.

As you take closer look at your schedule, you might find that you have time drains, like you might be spending time watching TV instead of spending that time exercising. You might spend an inordinate amount of time doing things for your business that you really don’t like doing–it might be time to hire an assistant. Sometimes it could be that you just need to be more efficient at multi-tasking. Other times, difficult decisions must be made and certain activities must be dropped to make enough space for you to have a life-affirming hobby or to maintain a healthy habit–ingredients for a stress relieving lifestyle. It’s really important to realize that when you don’t make time for self-nurturing you’re really trading away the enjoyable life you could have for a life that drains you.

As you start to par down your schedule, keep these concepts in mind:

Get back in touch with your values–make a list of your core values, the top few things that are most important to you. Then when you look closely at your schedule how many of those values are included. Then consider any activities that don’t relate to those values and remove them.

Visualize the Life You Want—imagine it in detail, not how hard it will be to make it happen. Looking at your schedule again, what things are you doing to create that life and eliminate those activities that aren’t helping manifest that life.

List Your Trade-Offs—When you’re saying “yes” to an activity, think about the things you’re saying “no” to. Are you choosing to spend your time cleaning up the clutter, when you could hire someone to organize so you could spend time exercising? Would you rather be spending time with your family instead of attending another networking event? Once you’ve cultivated the ability to say “no” to become the healthy narcissist, keeping your focus on what keeps you happy and healthy, you’ll have more energy and focus for business growing activities.

Consolidate Activities—When you’re going through your schedule, make sure you’re batching like activities. If you’re writing a blog post, you can also post that to facebook, or as an article. Answer emails at the same time during the week and only for a set amount of time. One key to successful activity consolidation is to pair a thought-intensive activity with one that’s more physical, or one that you can do on “auto-pilot.”

Take Shortcuts—If cooking for your fa
mily just doesn’t seem to fit into your schedule, try preparing a week’s worth of meals on the weekends. Or you could buy healthy prepared foods such as a large salad and add chicken breast or salmon. Trader Joe’s has great frozen organic vegetables and fruits along with entrees that are inexpensive and healthy. Organize your schedule by setting time limits on activities and don’t let the activities overlap. When you’re spending time with your family during family time, and your office phone rings, let it go to voice mail and answer the message during the work time within your schedule.

Use Stress Management Strategies–When we’re too stressed, we don’t always think clearly; sometimes we feel trapped and overwhelmed. If you’re chronically stressed, your emotional and physical health is effected. It’s imperative that you incorporate stress management techniques and healthy lifestyle choices. Schedule time for things like yoga, meditation, journaling, physical exercise, and of course healthy eating.

As you’re going through this paring down of your schedule, think back to the reasons why you started your business. To keep that passion and drive alive, it’s imperative that you take care of your body so you can take care of your business. Cleaning up your schedule, including things that feed your soul will sharpen your business growing tools and make you a healthier, happier energized and focused person and business owner.

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