By Shannon Baker, Business Systems Strategist, theshannonbaker.com
There is a big difference between being busy and being productive. It seems that people wear business as a badge of honor and that means you are important and successful. The truth is you don’t have to be busy all the time. And truly successful people aren’t always busy. At the end of the day, you aren’t getting things done that will help your business grow so you’re frustrated. Therefore, you’re not getting any results from all of the energy you are using.
It’s time for women to make a mindset shift. We need to talk about being more productive and getting things done. My mission is to influence as many women as possible and get them out of the “hustle hard” mentality and help them adapt to a more balanced way of living.
Following are three steps to help you shift so that you can be more intentional with your time and see results.
Step 1: Put Boundaries Around Your Schedule
- Plan your week. I highly recommend time-blocking your schedule. Time blocking forces you to limit the number of tasks you work on in a day as well as the amount of time you will give to the task at hand.
- There are only 24 hours in a day. So you have to limit your priorities and plan accordingly. And since your priorities are constantly changing, this method will help you keep up with things, so they don’t fall through the cracks. Before time-blocking my schedule, I wore busy as a badge of honor. But at the end of the day, I felt like I had accomplished nothing, and I was always wondering where my day went. Time blocking has changed that and I get much more accomplished without having a never-ending to-do list. Check out this blog post to see my process in detail. https://theshannonbaker.com/use-time-blocking-to-boost-productivity
- Here’s how you frame your week so you can be more productive.
- Write down the time you get up in the morning and the time you go to bed
- Identify non-negotiables like working hours for your day job, picking up or dropping off kids, doctor appointments or meetings
- Assign other bite-sized tasks based on your goal for the week (limit your priorities)
- Create a detailed plan each week. Be sure to use a paper planner, a digital planner, or a hybrid method using both, like me. This is a visual point of reference that helps you stay focused, AND you can track and check off tasks as you complete them…meaning you are productive, not busy. I describe my hybrid method in this blog post.
- Use a digital calendar either way because you need to use an online scheduler. A scheduling system is one of every entrepreneur’s six core systems to implement in their business. When you combine this with your planned schedule, it keeps you from being overbooked. It’s also the best way to train your clients to respect your time so you can keep work from taking over your life. Now let’s talk about picking your priorities.
Step 2: Make Time for More Important Things
- As yourself: Why did I start my business? I’m sure it wasn’t, so you would have little to no time for yourself or your family. I know it wasn’t so you would work so much that you feel burned out, but your business would still be in the same place. More than likely it was to work less and live more.
- Look closely at where you spend your time. One of my favorite quotes by Jim Rohn is, “Either you run the day, or the day runs you.” So I am giving you permission to decide where you want to spend your time. Some automatic priorities are set for us, like when you have to take your kids to school and pick them up, gymnastics, piano lessons, or whatever extra activities they participate in, doctor’s appointments, etc. Where you spend the time that is left is up to you. We make time for what is important to us. So arrange your days to focus on what is important to you. You have to maintain a holistic view when it comes to what you are going to spend your time on. That is what creating an intentional business is all about. The key is to figure out what balance is specifically for you based on your lifestyle and goals and then work toward them. No one else can tell you how to manage your time because no one else lives your life. And honestly, I don’t know one single person that doesn’t struggle with this. Life is constantly changing, and so are our priorities.
- Embrace the season of life you are in. Create goals that complement that, then determine what you will have time to focus on in your business. If achieved, this is one thing that will make everything easier. Ignore what is going on in everyone else’s life. And create a plan that allows you to take small steps that have an impact.
Step 3: Create Routines In Your Life
It’s a struggle to prioritize your health, routinely spend quality time with your family and friends, spend time on personal and professional growth and grow a business.
- In the morning: One routine that sets the tone for me every day is my morning routine. Starting the day with intention puts us in a state of mental peace, and I’m ready to take on whatever lies ahead in the day with fewer side effects. A lot of what we do daily is automatic and helps us conserve energy. So why not create a process that helps you connect more deeply with yourself and your purpose?
- In the evening: I also recommend creating an evening routine. A routine before you go to bed at night will help you unwind and prepare mentally for the next day. It will also help you disconnect from work and get a good night’s rest. Our laptops, tablets, and smartphones generate a lot of light that stimulates our brains and makes it difficult for us to relax when it’s time to go to sleep.
- Pick a time to shut down your technology in the evenings. I try to put my phone down 30 min to an hour before bedtime. Most of the time, it works.
- When it doesn’t, I give myself some grace. I also use the DND feature on my iPhone so it automatically hides all notifications and phone calls from 10:00 pm to 8:00 am except for my closest family members.
- This allows me to sleep through the night and wake up refreshed in the morning to start my morning routine! And because my day is planned out, I can hit the ground running because I know what to focus on to be productive.
The bottom line: Get honest with yourself
If you’re truly happy with being so busy, forget everything I’ve said. But you need to be honest with yourself about the lifestyle you want. Either way, be realistic about how much you take on at once. I want you to ditch the hustle mentality. Be intentional about how you spend your time and work smarter so you can live your legacy, build a thriving business AND create success on your terms.
Learn more at theshannonbaker.com.