7 Ways to Use Less Time to Get More Done in Your Business (Read Time: 5 min.)

dear 3 amThere’s never enough time.  I know no other way to say it.

I get the Ford mantra, “If you think it’s hard, you’re right…” and the Wayne Dyer philosophy of “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change” but here’s the deal:

If you have major life commitments outside of your business (i.e. a family, going to school full time, a day job, a part time job, etc.), building your business means that you have less time to become MORE productive.

So how do you leverage what little time you have to get A TON of stuff done in your biz?

Here are 10 Time Hacks you can use to create entrepreneurial momentum and SERIOUS productivity:

Hack #1: Stop multi-tasking.  Multi-tasking is highly overrated.  #1- Studies now show that human beings don’t multi-task,  #2- Multi-tasking results in less done well.  Total waste of time.  Stop doing it.  Instead,  put WHOLE mind into PRESENT action.  In other words, whatever you’re working on, give it all you’ve got for the entire time you’re working on it.  Set a timer if you have to but be PRESENT.

Hack #2: Create a triggering ritual that starts your day off right.  What is one thing that you could do that would start your entire day off on the right foot?  For some, it’s exercise.  For others, it’s Starbucks.  Find that one ritual that wakes you up, gets you excited for the day and do it CONSISTENTLY.  Some-timing things doesn’t produce long term results.  It needs to be something that will become what Twyla Tharp, in a book she wrote called The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life,calls a “triggering ritual.”  It signals to your mind and body, “On your mark, get set, go!!!!!!!!!!!” and you’re off and running. Do it daily.

Hack #3: Sleep less.  Yes, I’m the big bad wolf here.  Yes, I know sleep is critical (books like Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder
and The Art of Extreme Self-Care: Transform Your Life One Month at a Time are champions of this and I agree with them).  However, when you are launching a business, when you are growing a business, and when you have many other priorities pulling for your time, guess what?  Sleep becomes a luxury.  I’m not saying sleep 2 hours a night.  Be smart about your sleep requirements.  Everyone has a sleep threshold (the minimum number of hours of sleep they can operate well on).  Whatever that threshhold is, apply it to a MINIMUM of 4 nights a week.  Try to get good sleep (7-8 hours) 2-3 nights a week.  Will your body’s sleep clock be off?  Yes.  Will your body basal thermometer readings look coo coo for cocoa puffs?  Yes.  Will this be short term if you do it right?  Absolutely!  Do what you HAVE to do now so you can do what you WANT to do later.

Hack #4: Hire help.  I’m bad at this one.  In fact, I’m trying to hire my first assistant right now.  The reality is: no woman is an island.  At some point, if you want to get to the next level, you have to DELEGATE.  For most of us starting out, the sentiment is “I can’t afford an assistant.”  What I’m quickly learning is that you can’t afford to NOT have one.  Go to Task Rabbit or post on a job board or get a referral from a friend but hire help.  And, yes, you will have bad hires the first few times you do it (all of my women entrepreneur friends who’ve been there and done that have told me MANY horror stories) but you’ve got to get up that learning curve.  Start hiring and decide to fail forward.  Eventually, you’ll get the process down and you’ll find the right people to be on your team.

Hack #5: Slash half of your To-Do list.  Ooooh… I know… Tough stuff.  Far too many of us love the feeling of a checked off looooooooong To-Do list but do we ask ourselves, “How important is each of these things to the overall success of my business?”  I don’t think so… Be super-vigilant about your To-Do list and keep it small (like 3 items a day).  What are the 3 MOST important moves you’ll need to make today?  Get those done and then figure out your next 3 steps…

Hack #6: Get a massage.  Weird, right?  Massage?  Business?  Massages relieve tension.  Relieved tension makes way for creativity.  Creativity fosters innovation and innovation produces results.  Use Groupon to find cheap massages or go to the local massage therapy school in your area and have massage students give you a one hour massage for cheap.  Either way, make this a once-a-week to once every two week REQUIREMENT.  Ease your mind, restore your life!

Hack #7: Keep family time CENTRAL and work time PERIPHERAL.  One of the most profound things I’ve ever read on this issue came from Jon Acuff’s book,Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average and Do Work that Matters.  In the book, he says, “Be selfish at 5:00 am… When you’re a spouse, parent, or caregiver, your time doesn’t just belong to you.  It’s in large part communal property, shared by the entire house.  But that doesn’t mean you can’t be selfish with some of that time.  You just have to know when you can be, which is why I mention 5:00 am.”

None of these hacks are “secrets.”  They’re timeless strategies that work.  The key to making the most of them is CONSISTENCY.

Pick one of the above hacks and commit to implementing it for the next 30 days.

I’d love to know which one you pick.

Leave a comment letting me know which Hack you’ll be working on the for month of December.

Let the accountability begin!

Time flies

Is Your Pride Hijacking Your Health? Why Women Breadwinners Need to Stop, Look, & Listen… (Read Time: 4 min.)

School 8I used to insist upon doing it all: myself, right, and perfect the FIRST time.

I used to expect, on the rare occasion that I asked for help, that people did it just like me, right, and perfect the FIRST time.

I used to shake my head in absolute knowing when people let me down, didn’t show up or didn’t do what I wanted to my super high standards.

And then I experienced serious, prolonged, and seemingly never-ending burnout… and I was left with no other choice but to ask AND accept help… REAL help.

Women breadwinners know what I’m talking about.  99.9% of all moms know what I’m talking about.

You want help.  You desperately wish people would psychically know that you need help… but you refuse to bow to the level of needing to ASK for help.

It’s this kind of pride that winds you up in one of three states:

1) Crazy

2) Sick

3) Mega-resentful

And, very often, in all three at the same time.

So here’s the question:

Is your pride hijacking your health?

Is your wanting to do it right, do it perfect, and do it yourself the FIRST time exactly the thing that is keeping you annoyed, frustrated, exhausted, overworked, and overwhelmed ALL of the time?

It might be… and if you are the woman who’s bringing home the bacon, the financial provider of your household with all of the responsibilities that this role entails, what will it take for you to release, relax, and replenish so you have the health you need to keep bringing home the bread?

Here’s what it will take:

  1. Honesty.  Pull out a calendar and see how far your 24 hour day will take you.  When you’ve got 50 things on your plate, guess what?  It won’t take you that far.  In fact, you’ll be lucky if you get 3 MAJOR things done in one day.  When you get honest with how little time you actually have in a given day (yes, subtract out bathroom time, commuting time, and all the other 5-20 minute tasks we love to forget we actually have to do throughout the day), you start to realize that, no, it won’t all get done today but at least two or three big things will get done.  When you get real about your time, you begin to use it better (and criticize yourself less about all the things you didn’t have the time to do).
  2. Vulnerability.  I don’t like this word.  It sounds fragile, weak and painfully open but it’s clearly the thing you need when you have to open up your heart and ask people to REALLY help you.  I don’t mean the “let-me-give-you-the-small-tasks-that-you-couldn’t-really-mess-up-if-you-tried” kind of help.  I mean, “Can you watch the kids all day Saturday?” or “Can you cook all the meals this week?” or “Can you stay with the kids while I take a weekend away?” kind of help that requires the vulnerability it takes to say, “As much as I’d like to do this all on my own, I’m not an island.  I’m tired and I need help and your help is absolutely necessary to my success.”  That kind of vulnerability is scary but VERY necessary if you’re going to stay healthy and sane.
  3. Vigilance.  There comes a point where you have to become a master of two words: Yes and No.  Creating and keeping healthy boundaries are critical to keeping your life in harmony.  Forget about having balance.  The problem with balance is that it can never be maintained.  The moment you add one thing to one scale, you throw the other scale out of whack.  What we’re going for is harmony, different things taking a different level of priority at different times but all of it blending together to make beautiful music.  Sometimes, work will take 70% of you and family 30%.  At other times, family will be the 80% and work the 20%.  Be okay with harmony and forget about balance.  The best way to do that comes in being vigilant about creating and keeping your healthy boundaries.

Having all three is a work-in-progress lifetime process.  Don’t worry about getting it perfect.  Just get it going.

Here’s your first step:

Delegate a major responsibility that annoys and frustrates you to someone who you know can and will handle it…

and then don’t micromanage how they handle it…

for the next 14 days.

Yeah… not easy but oh so worth it…

What in your life needs organizing? (Read Time: 2 min.)

woman cleaningEver work on a messy desk?  How does it feel?  Ever climb over exercise equipment to get to a bookshelf or a file cabinet?  How well is that working for you?

Clutter can be a frustrating and disruptive extra guest in your home and life… and it’s one that we spend way too much time ignoring.  So often, women breadwinners come to a place where it feels like there’s never enough time to do EVERYTHING that has to be done in a day…

Would you like to get more time in your day and more energy in your life?  

Here’s the answer: Get more organized.

So… for the next 4-6 weeks, I’m going to devote She Runs the Show to blogging about simple, strategic, super-effective ways to clear clutter, usher in new energy, and get organized… all in less than 20 minutes a day.

I’d love to say that every woman breadwinner has an hour or two a day or an entire weekend to clutter clear and organize but let’s be real: we already have no time and many of us really aren’t that enthused about engaging in a DIY project anyway.

So… in the next post, I’m going to cover The top 10 Things you need From the Dollar Store to Clear Your Bedroom & Free up Space (Yes, the Dollar Store).  Join me later this week…