Whether it’s the holiday season, a big transition, an illness, or a new routine, staying productive when life changes happen is always a topic of conversation with entrepreneurs.
As we shift from one season to the next, I thought I’d share some thoughts about how I monitor my productivity and stay sane during the inevitable changes of life.
Be patient with yourself
Entrepreneurs are used to being the ones who get things done. And since we bear the responsibility of guiding our businesses solely on our shoulders, the pressure we put on ourselves to stay productive can be massive.
So it should come as no surprise that the first tip of navigating change is to be patient. It’s unlikely you are going to come flying out of the gate and have everything figured out the first day (or even the first week). So stop. Breathe. Take some time to evaluate the new situation and make a plan. Despite the external change, it may work out that your business can basically stay the same—or it could end up being even better!
Work backward to move forward
After finally getting into a really good working routine when my kids were home this summer, a family trip and school starting was a good opportunity to look at my systems and make a plan for the new season.
First, I figured out how many hours I would need to work in my business. This meant that I took my client retainers and added that time in with the hours needed to work on my own business and roughly calculated how many hours per week I needed to have set aside to work.
Then I created a new Google calendar and blocked off the time I knew I wanted to spend deeply focused on work, the time I would be running kids to and from school, family and free time, and personal development/morning alignment time. I even blocked in working out and eating lunch!
Once I had those blocks of time on the screen, I could see where I was spending time and what could use some adjustments. By doing this exercise, I realized I needed to make a small adjustment to an afterschool activity for my youngest, and I added six extra hours to my work schedule EACH WEEK! Not only was my son super excited, but I can be extra focused when he gets home because I’m not distracted by being behind with my daily work.
Once I had the weekly schedule figured out, I was able to look at my days and think about how I wanted to structure them. Some things to consider are if you want to block off chunks of time for deep work, content creation, meetings, discovery calls, administrative tasks or anything else you do on a regular basis to run your business.
And now that I know what I’m doing each day, I can plug things into my week using my Artful Agenda planner on Sunday (connected to my Google Calendar and my Plan to Eat accounts), and I can sit down to work on Monday with my Be Focused Pro Pomodoro timer app on Monday and be ready to go!
A last thought
Most importantly, give yourself some grace during any kind of transition—big or small. We are not machines meant to “be productive” every minute of the day. I strongly believe building in time for rest, self-care, exercise, and fun is the key to avoiding burnout and ultimately growing and scaling your business.
And now, I would love to hear from you! What is the most challenging thing for you when transition hits? Do you have any great tips you want to share? Leave a comment below!
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