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Posts Tagged ‘time out’

imageTime or should I say lack of time can be major issue for busy women who run a small business from home. No matter how good your intention to make time to improve or grow your business, it’s a sad truth that most of us are extremely busy already working on an ever-growing list of tasks.

Another sad truth is that no-one will achieve success in business simply by working hard on their actions and putting in long hours.

In any case, your own definition of working hard might not be the same as a successful entrepreneur’s idea of working hard. Her focus may be on making good strategic decisions whereas yours may be on juggling client work, marketing, finance and administrative tasks, looking after sick children, older relatives and supervising the builders.

All in a day’s work you may think. Many women accomplish such a lot, don’t they? But at what price?

What not to do

I once wrote a post about the importance of showing your business who is boss. A person in charge of their business will happily spend time managing and working ‘on’ the business, rather than ‘in’ the business.

The thing is, I didn’t always know that. A couple of years after starting my first business I found myself fire-fighting like crazy. I just couldn’t figure out what to do first – everything seemed equally important.

Why was that happening to me?

I had started my first training business because I loved my profession (teaching) and helping people to learn. And like many women I know, I wanted more time for my family and have a better quality of life too.

But somehow all this didn’t start to happen until I decided to take charge and stop letting the business run me.

Why effort alone doesn’t work

Having worked with lots of start-ups over the years I know that my own start-up story isn’t that unusual. Many people believe that sheer effort, persistence and hard work will lead to the results you dream of.

But sadly I have seen people work hard like this who experience a form of ‘burnout’. This can happen when the passion you may have had for your business has disappeared leaving you to feel drained disillusioned and stuck.

You may even believe that you’ve failed or that your business idea or model will never work.

Did you have any idea before you started how much goes on behind the scenes of a business that helps to make it successful (in whichever way you define success)?

Maybe you had an inkling but thought the only way is to push yourself harder to try and make sure it works?

Overworked people frequently find it difficult to see the ‘wood for the tress’ and make time for the things that matter.

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If you have a problem with taking time out whether for yourself or the business, please be careful.

It is not that difficult to get to the point where taking a complete break from the business seems like the only option.

How to take control and pave the way for success

All successful people invest time in themselves as well as in their business and this seems to be a key aspect that differentiates them from less successful people.

Of course it may seem completely counter-intuitive to spend time on you or your business particularly when you’re in the middle of a super busy period.

But I hope these amazing benefits will convince you:

  • You’ll know what REALLY matters in your business and can do more of what works – e.g. the high impact tasks – whilst also letting go of low impact, time wasting activities.
  • You’ll feel more focused and make fewer ad-hoc decisions in your business.
  • Taking time to think gives you time to plan. A clearer direction stops you from getting caught in the day-to-day stuff and keeps you in touch with the big picture.
  • You’ll unravel the causes of overwhelm,  take action accordingly and feel much calmer.
  • Finally, you’ll feel a lot less like an overworked employee and more like a business owner in charge.

Success!

So why not schedule two time slots in your diary right away? One for you and one for the business!

Just remember that if you are not making time for you or the business, then you won’t be making time for success…

IMG_6665Ute Wieczorek-King is an experienced trainer, mentor and business coach who specialises in helping busy women be focused, visible and profitable in business.  She blogs regularly here as well as at http://www.successnetwork.org.uk and http://www.attractreaders.com and has written hundreds of free articles for women in business.

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Copyright Sophia King 2012

Copyright Sophia King 2012

Running a solo-business isn’t always easy for busy women, especially when you’re working from home. Whether you have a heavy work load or don’t have enough work, both can be stressful. When adding a new work project or a domestic crisis into the equation, what do most of us do? We work all hours, doing whatever needs to be done and it is so easy to forget looking after No 1 … YOU!

But when you are juggling work with looking after sick children or older relatives, it can seem impossible to take even a couple of hours off! 

There are two key strategies that can make a huge difference to your sanity: Letting go of non-urgent tasks and asking for help. Both will help you to clear some important me-time in your hectic day and could even prevent long-term stress.

Once you have a bit of breathing space, try the following tips which are based on a principle that is actually quite simple, if not obvious: Sometimes the quickest route to achieving time out is doing the opposite of what you normally do. Let me show you what I mean by that:

  • If work means being tuned in to email and phone calls, why not switch off your computer, tablet and mobile. Alternatively put your mobile on silent – if necessary prepare your work contacts or leave an appropriate voice mail. If you are in a position to delegate, this is the time to do it.
  • Have an early night instead of a late night, or vice versa, and then watch that DVD or read the book you’ve wanted to get into for some time. Likewise, you can get up early if you’re a late starter, or if your me-time is at the week-end, have a lie-in instead.
  • If you usually plan your activities, this time don’t plan your time off! Instead allow yourself to drift, day-dream, shop, sleep, exercise or do whatever you fancy. If you usually rush around all the time, even if it’s to the hairdresser or gym, then it helps to have a slow day every so often. On the other hand, if planning work and life is not something you enjoy, try to plan your down-time in advance for a change and see what it’s like!
  • Make time for friends, if you don’t see them much. But if you do see them regularly, make sure that this time, you have some time on your own.
  • If you usually cook, don’t. Instead involve your partner, or any older children in improving their own cooking skills! If you normally make do with fast food, ready-made meals or takeaways, try cooking something completely from scratch. Some of my own time-out activities involve baking or making jam and chutney, something I find very relaxing!

It is worth experimenting with a change of routine now and again, as you’ll be surprised how everyone around you can benefit, not just you!

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Similar posts:

Running a home-based business? Here are 5 ways to stop life getting in the way!

How to stop a personal crisis impacting a home-based business

Hurricanes and Storms- How is turbulence affecting your solo-business?

Ute2010Ute Wieczorek-King is an experienced trainer, mentor and business coach who specialises in helping busy women to be more visible, focused, effective and profitable in business. Ute also runs Success Network and the Inner Circle Mentoring Groups:   http://www.successnetwork.org.uk

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Last year I noticed a number of articles in the media warning about increasing numbers of people suffering from post-holiday depression. When you find yourself back at work- catching up, trailing through hundreds of emails, chasing more deadlines, rushing from meeting to meeting, working late, dealing with difficult people … then you know that the list can be endless at times. Is it any wonder that people get stressed and depressed?

Returning from a well-deserved holiday feeling refreshed and having more energy, perhaps even looking healthier tends to make people wish they could make these feelings last. They may have got a sense of what it would be like if they led a less hectic life, had less pressure, took more time out and felt more relaxed all year round.

I think that much of the work overload and the pressure people experience is due to this country’s work culture. British people are known to work some of the longest hours in Europe and everyone can feel the pressure, from corporate employees, to teachers and small business owners. In extreme cases the pressure people experience can be 24/7 and relentless.

A holiday is important not only as a time to rest and take time out, but it can be used to assess both where you are and where you are going, in life as well as work. Most people would love to make some changes if only they felt confident that they had a lasting and positive effect on their lives.

There is a lot that we can learn from cultures that have other concepts of time, allowing people to set different priorities. Therefore why not try to invite a few holiday inspired influences into your working day?

Here are my TOP FIVE TIPS on how to maintain a little of the holiday buzz at work and feel more in control of a busy life at the same time:

TIP 1
To avoid getting drawn back onto the same old treadmill, take a little time to think and make a mental note of how you would like to manage your workload or time differently. Better still write your plan down and keep it somewhere visible.

TIP 2
Take a holiday souvenir – a restaurant menu, a brochure, pebble, shell or a picture and place it on your desk, in your briefcase, or your bedside table as a visual reminder. Every day take a minute to look at or hold your item and put yourself back on the beach, the hillside, the restaurant or any place where you felt most relaxed.

TIP 3
Try to treat some of your lunch breaks like a short siesta. Sit in a quiet room (or your car if that’s the only quiet space you can find). Relaxing, meditating or power napping will de-stress you, recharge your batteries and may even enhance your performance in the afternoon. If you can’t manage a rest how about going for a short walk instead? Why not spend a few minutes on yourself every day?

TIP 4
Plan appropriate rewards for achieving your plans. They could range from treating yourself to an Italian ice cream, a special holiday inspired meal, time out with your favourite music or DVD, a walk, or even a visit to a spa …whatever takes your fancy.

TIP 5
Use the energy from your holiday high to make things happen. However, decide now what you would be happy to achieve … 80%, 70% or perhaps even less? Be realistic. If you opt for 100% you may find yourself getting frustrated and stressed-out.

Remember, as a famous sports company has been saying for years, just ‘DO IT’! You may find that preserving that holiday bounce in your step will help you feel more in control and deal with work pressure in a much calmer way… Enjoy!

Copyright  2010-11, Ute Wieczorek-King

Ute Wieczorek-King is an experienced trainer, mentor and business coach who specialises in helping busy women to be more more focused, efficient, productive and profitable in business.

Ute runs Success Network, a Thames Valley based business support organisation for women which currently offers affordable short term membership options at their popular Inner Circle Business Development Clubs.

http://www.successnetwork.org.uk

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