Congratulations! You’re a business owner! You are a part of the beautiful tapestry of entrepreneurship that makes our economies and societies thrive. You are also a combination of two or more of the following: a parent, a spouse, a sibling, a son, a daughter, a friend, a volunteer, a fitness enthusiast, a yogi, an artist, a cook, a reader, a musician, a music lover…you get the idea.
Your business is one of many hats you wear in your life – yet it can more often than not feel like it is EVERYTHING – an all-consuming hijacker of your time, your mind, and your energy. How do we break the bad habits and stop being so busy being busy?
There are ups and downs in every business. When you are in a dip, you must pour extra focus and energy into the business to come out of the dip and regain stability. However, habits are often formed in the dips that stay with us in the upswing and we start carrying extra loads that weigh us down.
Where can you delegate?
Do a “brain dump” and list out all of the tasks, responsibilities, to-dos and extras that you do throughout the day. Where, from a work, or even a personal standpoint, can you delegate? How far into your organization do people have permission to make decisions, to take initiative and to carry the baton? I would recommend if you are keeping more responsibilities close to your chest than you can carry in a healthy way that you start looking for those that can carry the load with you. When you see those projects being done without you, it will feel a bit strange but you will also feel a remarkable sense of relief! Take a deep breath! That item is no longer yours to carry alone and you now have added a few minutes of precious time to your days!
Where are you wasting?
As I took the time to look introspectivelyat my own behaviors throughout the day, I found embarrassing time wasters over the course of the hours. These distractors were cannibalizing the time I was yearning to spend with my family, exercising, reading, or working on important projects to further grow and develop my businesses! Identify and make a list of all of the ways you are wasting time. If you are a hard-core procrastinator like I am, you may find you have a long list!
I’m just going to throw this out there – your phone is the biggest distraction accomplice you have in your life! Social media, 24/7 access to email, news apps, etc. This stuff sucks you in, drags you down and takes ALL the time away!
If you are yearning for an extra hour a day to do something you want or need to do or to be with people important to you, I challenge you to lose your phone for a few hours and see just how productive those hours can be. If social media is a scandalous thief of your time and attention, remove the apps from your phone. Allow yourself to only check in from a desktop during a natural and purposeful break in your day. Try it for two or three weeks and let me know much your time, mental focus and well-being shift in those days away from the continuous news feed.
Procrastination is a big waster. This looks like thumbing through a publication or magazine while that big report is open on your computer, going to everyone’s office to “visit” for a few minutes, instant messaging, checking your phone 50 times in an hour, and so on. It’s time for all of my fellow procrastinators to unite and say we will push through and break the habit!
Where are you wanting?
Make a list of where you desire to invest more time, energy and focus. Now, compare the “wasting” list and the “wanting” list and see where you can replace one with the other. Make a commitment to yourself to make that switch. Delete Facebook. Keep your phone in your bag or in another room for an hour or two at the same time every day. Do what it takes to give the “wanting” list a chance to become a reality.
PRIORITIZE YOUR DAY. Make a list at the end of your day of the top three work items you need to accomplish in the next day. Start your day with a baseline routine that gets you focused as a leader and helps you get moving on your Big Three the moment you sit down at your desk in the morning! Do not let yourself get pulled into emails and distractions first thing – you will never step away from that tyranny. Shut the door, put on your headphones, and cross at least one thing off of your Big Three list first thing. Trust me. It will feel so good.
PRIORITIZE YOUR DOWN TIME. We as business owners are notorious for bringing work home. There is no work/life balance – there is only work/life integration, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a life outside of business! Commit to yourself and state to your accountability partners what you need and what you will be pursuing as your new habits and make it happen. Leave the phone in the kitchen, be present with your people, do that much-needed exercise for your stress relief and well-being, cook a great meal with your spouse, listen to some great music and sit outside with your pets, whatever is important to you – break away and make it happen! Your work and your performance at work will be better because of it. Giving yourself and your mind an outlet outside of work sparks creative energy, healing, and clears the mind. It builds up your physical energy, fills your tank and helps you to continue to bring your A-Game to your business day after day.
There is so much more to your identity than your work. Don’t forget the great outlets that allow you to have balance and a healthy perspective. When you make this effort to end the victim mindset of being so busy being busy, your loved ones will thank you, your team will thank you, your business will thrive and you will be experiencing a life that is healthier and happier.
If you are so busy being busy, now is the time to take a break, sit down and figure out how to calm the chaos, today.