It’s February, the month that supposedly symbolises love.
Regardless of whether you choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day or not, it’s hard to miss the cards with soppy verses, pink heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, fluffy toys with messages about hugs and the bunches of red roses that adorn the shop windows at the minute. Valentine’s Day, the day when couples all over the world are supposedly gazing into each other’s eyes declaring their undying love for one another is almost upon us.
All this talk about love has got me thinking… how many of us really love what we do for a living?
Especially business owners. Most people who become self-employed decide to do so to follow a life-long dream or a passion. But I know from working with a lot of my clients that once the honeymoon period is over and they realise just how much back-office work goes with running their business they can start to feel bogged down and maybe a little resentful that their business dream didn’t pan out just as they’d hoped.
So I thought I would share a few simple things that you could put in place to make life easier for yourself and that will hopefully have you falling in love with your business all over again.
1. Get Organised
Those of you who follow my pages will be aware that I’m always banging on about the importance of being organised. But seriously, stay with me. Organising your week ahead is the single most productive thing you can do to make your week run smoothly. Just taking a short amount of time before you finish up on a Friday evening or before you go to bed on a Sunday evening to plan your week will ensure that you start the following week on the right foot. You will not be spending your first hour or two on Monday morning trying remember where you finished off and making to-do lists. You’ll be good to go from the outset.
Have a look at what else is taking up lots of your time. Do you spend ages looking for contact details for that person who you met at that networking event last month? You know her business card is in here somewhere! Using a CRM to store all your contacts will mean that everything you need is available at the click of a button along with all the details on when you last contacted them and on their purchase history.
Maybe you spend ages inputting receipts at month end or, even worse, year end. With the various apps that are available with packages such as Quickbooks, there is no excuse for this as you can scan your receipts from your mobile phone as you go. Think of the hours of pain that you will save at year end!
Similarly, planning your content and scheduling your social media posts for the month/fortnight ahead will save you so much time and headache. Just taking a half day once a month to write your blogs and plan and schedule your content will pay off during the weeks ahead when you’ll not have to scramble the night before or morning you want to post something. It also means that if something unexpected happens you can rest assured that one aspect of your business is taken care of.
Planning ahead will free up an unbelievable amount of your time that you can put to better use working on your business and doing what you love to do!
2. Stop Procrastinating
As Mark Twain once said “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”
We all have those things that we don’t want to do – be it phoning that difficult customer, speaking to an employee about a performance issue or recording that Facebook Live that you know will get your message out there quicker than any written post.
The more that you delay your most dreaded task during the day, the less likely you are to just do it. You will continue to find ways to put it off as you pick up emails that need to be responded to or answer urgent calls, meaning that it will get put off until the following day again and maybe again. This can lead to you dreading the following day as the more you put the task off the bigger it starts to seem in your head.
If, however you eat your biggest frog as your first task, you will not only feel such a relief that it is off your desk but you will also feel a huge sense of achievement that you’ll believe you can conquer anything for the remainder of the day.
Stop procrastinating and just do it!
3. Learn to say “No”
How many times during the week do you agree to do something that you don’t want to do? Whether it’s agreeing to do another piece of work for that client who is never happy and who you know should have divorced long ago or whether it’s doing something yourself that your assistant really should’ve done when you asked, we have all been there.
You can say ‘No” though. You don’t HAVE to take on that piece of work (ok, if you’re self-employed you might find that one very difficult) and you CAN ask your assistant to please do the task that you have prioritised. However, sometimes either out of a sense of feeling obliged or thinking it is the easier option we just get on and do the things that we know we shouldn’t be doing.
This isn’t really doing you any favours long-term though, as you’ll continue to resent working with that awkward client or put off delegating tasks to your assistant making your own workload unbearable.
You are the boss and you can say no to the things that suck the life out of your day.
Remember: Your business. Your rules.
4. Practice Gratitude
Ok, so this might sound a bit woo woo but again, stay with me.
Being self-employed is like being on an emotional rollercoaster you can feel energised, deflated, excited, indifferent, fulfilled, disappointed… and that’s just in a morning!
My planner has a section at the end of each day titled “What made me smile today?” and I fill it in religiously because no matter now bad the day might have seemed, there is always something that made me smile. It might be a nice comment from a client, a new person that I’ve met at a networking event or a task conquered that I thought I would never achieve. Quite often though it’s not work related at all, it’s something funny that one of my children has said, a conversation with a friend or just getting 15 minutes in the day to sit and enjoy a coffee in peace with no distractions.
The point is that there is always something to be grateful for – family, health, friends, clients, your house, food on the table, the sun shining, your car starting, the problems that create your job, the setbacks that have made you stronger… the list is endless.
It really pays to take a few minutes either at the end of the day or first thing in the morning and remember what you are grateful for, especially within your business as it will help you remember why you love doing what you do and being your own boss.
I’d love to hear from you if you decide to implement any of these into your routine then please do leave a comment. Or, if you have any things that you would add to the list, I would love to hear them.
If you’d like any advice on how working with a VA could help you get more organised, please contact me.