Proper planning and prioritization keep new businesses from dropping like malnourished flies. As a freelancer or small-business owner, you know you need to fuel your venture with time, energy, and steadfast focus to be successful. But pour too much of these elements into your business instead of your personal life, and you risk burnout.
To avoid burnout, it’s important to consider how you can be more efficient moving forward and whether you’re pushing yourself too hard. Finding the balance between productivity and overworking yourself is tricky, but with some careful planning it’s an attainable goal. Read on for more about recharging, refocusing, and remembering that your time matters the most.
Quit running in circles
The word “quit” should rarely leave your lips — unless you’re encouraging yourself to quit wasting time. Start by evaluating how many mundane, zero-income duties you perform each day, week, or month. Maybe you’re the owner of a brick-and-mortar flower shop and you spend more time using the internet to read gardening blogs instead of using it to attract new shoppers. Or perhaps you’re a freelance writer with a bad habit of constantly checking your email instead of enhancing your blog.
If you discover that some of the more time-consuming, routine work is absolutely critical for your business to succeed, it may be time to consider asking for help. Do the math: would you do better financially by hiring someone to handle your business’s paperwork, or answer calls and emails? If your answer is “absolutely,” consider creating a help wanted ad, or ask someone trustworthy to pitch in for a few hours each week.
Prioritize for productivity
Becoming a productivity powerhouse doesn’t happen overnight, but careful planning can help you become a more efficient worker.
Begin by listing everything that goes into running a successful business. Write it all down — from the bookkeeping duties, to sweeping your shop floor. Once you have a list, prioritize each item from most to least important. You can use the prioritized list to plan out your days. This way, you’ll spend more time on the things that really impact your business.
Take breaks to stay on track
Chances are that if you’re feeling drained, losing your motivation, or letting your planning and prioritization skills slip, it’s because you’re overworking yourself. Be sure to take a few quick breaks every day. You can spend these doing something as simple as taking a few deep breaths, stretching, or stepping away from your computer screen to clear your head.
Delegate a few hours every week to doing something or going somewhere enjoyable with family or friends (or a faithful “fur baby”) — maybe the park, the beach, or your favorite coffee shop. Just remember to limit your “shop talk.” Both you and your business will benefit when you occasionally escape to recharge your mental batteries.
Need ongoing encouragement? Now and then, revisit the day that you decided to start a business. What motivated you? How did it feel? Write down what you remember and use the resulting energy from that day to jumpstart your proverbial engine.
Keep your goals in sight
Small-business owners have big goals. Are your progressing? Take stock of your goals and write down any specific actions that you can take to reach them faster. If you can’t remember your initial goals, take a look at your business plan. It’s also not too late if you never made a plan. A business plan is comprised of your target audience, strategies, objectives, goals, and financial projections. It’s a helpful tool to have before starting a business, but can help grow an existing one, too. Business plans keep your planning and prioritization on track.
Planning for increased productivity requires a little more work up front, but it ultimately pays off with more efficient workdays and reduced stress. Make today the day to start mastering your plans, rethinking your priorities, and spending time on what matters to your life outside of your job.