So in the first part of this mini-series on how to be successful, we looked at why it’s important for you to know your strengths so that you can operate out of a place of confidence and assurance in what you’re doing. It’s so you can be the most productive and not worry about the things you don’t necessarily excel at.
In this part, we’re looking at another element of how to be successful. This one is about taking time for you! As someone who’s currently running a business as their “side hustle” (as Amy Porterfield calls it) in addition to a full-time day job, being a wife, and a human who desires to have friends, hobbies, and travel, I know how easy it is to let life carry you away. We get swept up in the daily grind and forget to even think about taking time for ourselves (forget about actually setting aside time for it!).
But guess what? We can’t keep running on empty. Every day we are slammed with a bazillion different stress factors, from responsibilities at our job to picking up kids from school to planning healthy meals to being inundated with too much technology (ahem, social media). There is just too much going on in our lives to not take the time to allow ourselves to breathe.
Inhale, exhale. Ahhh.
We do our most productive work when we’re coming from a place of excitement, passion, and enthusiasm. Let me tell you, we’re not operating from that place when we’re stressed the heck out and haven’t taken any time for ourselves lately. I’m definitely a person who likes to constantly be achieving or producing. I have to work very hard at relaxing, as dumb as that sounds. But guess what? Once I do, I see the value in it!
Let me also assure you that this is NOT selfish of you. You’re a motivated force to be reckoned with. Every day you give 110% to others in order to provide for your family. That very same family that you work so hard for also needs you to take time to chill. When you’re rejuvenated and refreshed, you are producing, loving, and nurturing at your highest capacity.
So with everything you have on your plate, how can you possibly pull more time out of your day to take some for yourself? Here are a few tips:
Method #1: Actually take your break during the day.
Honestly, I’m the worst at this. Most days I work right through lunch, either because there’s so much that needs to get done or because I’d rather just call it a day a little earlier. I get how hard it can be to step away when the pressure is high or you feel like you’re constantly needed. But let me assure you, when you actually take your lunch and fill that time with something that relaxes or replenishes you, it is ALWAYS worth it.
When I do take a break, I like to find a place where I won’t be bothered. Then I put on my headphones and daydream about my current or upcoming book projects. I dream of distant lands, adventures, and mysterious characters. That’s what brings down my stress levels, cheers me up, and makes me feel strong. When I go back to work, I’m happier and more productive. Even better, I’m not completely drained and out of steam by the end of the day, so I still have some energy to go home, see my family, make dinner, and then work on my business.
This is applicable whether you spend the day working at a job or on your dream business! Although doing the work we’re most passionate about doesn’t usually feel like work, stepping away every hour or so for a quick break (even if it’s just to get water or go visit with your pets) is valuable! Let your brain take a break.
Method #2: Delegate!
Oh my gosh, this word is magical. For so long, like so many of us, I was a control freak. I thought I could learn to do everything, excel at it, and then never have to ask for help. If I was busy and couldn’t possibly get all of my work done by its various deadlines, I just had to work harder. In my business, I didn’t think I needed to hire anyone for anything because I had learned all the major parts of my business.
Recently though, a mentor of mine really helped me see that there’s no shame in delegating. In fact, it’s a trademark of many people with high emotional intelligence. It takes a wise person to acknowledge that no, they can’t do everything, and yes, there are actually way better people out there to do some of these tasks. I’m so glad I finally saw the light and not only learned to ask for help when I got behind or hit a road block, but have also learned to spot the potential need for delegation ahead of time.
Now when I have a graphic design project coming up, I don’t spend hours pulling my hair out and trying to think of a cool design… I email my amazing designer and see if I can hire her for it. Writing is my strength, not graphic design. Can I do it? Sure. Did I solely design my first three book covers? Yes. Did they turn out ok? Yes. But was it worth the time and stress? Not so much. Not to mention, her designs are a thousand times better than mine, because guess what her strength is? Graphic design.
So whenever and wherever you can, delegate. It will allow you to focus on the items that you’re truly good at, and let somebody else cover your weak spots. It’s literally a win-win!
Method #3: Examine your current schedule.
Yeah, I know. We’ve all heard this one. It’s as obnoxious as the budget advice that says to skip your daily lattes. It annoys me to even mention it. However, when I really think about what it means, I know how absolutely invaluable it is and that’s why I’m recommending it to you.
Are you really maximizing every moment of your day? If not, then you have some room for improvement.
Let me give you some examples from my own life. Some days my day job requires me to be at an office, and others I can work from home. The time difference of when I absolutely have to wake up between those two schedules is about two hours. On my remote days I can wake up later by two hours and still start work on time. However, imagine if I woke up at the earlier time every day, regardless of whether I needed to be in the office or not. On the remote days, instead of sleeping in I could gain two more hours each morning to work on my business!
If you don’t have “extra” time in your schedule like that, you can still examine other time that might not currently be maximized. For example, I have about a 30-40 minute drive to work on the days I go in. I loooove me some good music and good speakers, so in the past I would just rock out to my favorite music that whole time. But when I really examined my schedule, I realized I could get some good learning time in there. Now I use the time to either listen to that day’s episode of the Daily Audio Bible, a business podcast, or even an audio book (because sitting down to read isn’t an option most days). I also do this while washing veggies or cooking.
This method is great for making use of otherwise wasted time!
Method #4: Batch, batch, batch!
You don’t make one cookie at a time do you? No, you make a batch! Do the same with your dreams! Whether you need to write blog posts, call some customers, or do research for your potential business idea, batch it!
When you make cookies, you don’t take the time to gather the ingredients, measure them out, make the mixture, whip it together, heat up the oven, and wait for the bake time… all for one cookie. Don’t do that with your other efforts either! Batching is so crazy efficient and can save you oodles and noodles of time.
For example, my hubby and I get our groceries on the weekend. Then we wash all the veggies that day and prep them for whatever meal we’ll be using them in that week. If possible, we also cook a few meals for the whole week right then and there. This saves us the time and effort of having to go into the kitchen each night, gathering ingredients, dirtying pots and pans, and cleaning up.
Why not do it in one shot instead? If you have 20 prospects to call, just blaze through them in one sitting if possible. Not only will it save you time, but you’ll feel insanely productive and proud of yourself when you’re done!
So remember, no matter how tempting it is to skip your lunch at either your day job or your own business, don’t do it! Take the time for a midday unplug and rejuvenation so that you can finish your day out refreshed and motivated (which always helps productivity!). Wherever it makes sense, I highly recommend delegating. Insisting on doing everything yourself is not something that makes you look good, and I know from personal experience that just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. There is a world full of professionals out there who can do your tasks better than you can. Trust them! This will help your stress and your schedule. You can also help your schedule by truly taking a close look at it and seeing where you might not be maximizing it (odds are good that you can squeeze more productive time out of it here and there!). Last but definitely not least, batch where you can! From writing rough outlines of newsletters to scheduling reoccurring meetings, batching is an incredible way to save time and mental energy.
Go through each step and ask if you’re already doing these things. If not, where can you implement each one? (hint: the possibilities are nearly endless!)
Join the convo! ;-)
Are you super excited about any of these methods and can’t wait to implement them? Have any questions? Comment below to join the conversation!