Are you making the most of your business growth hours?
I’m guessing you feel like you could be doing better.
I have a confession to make.
Task lists are my jam.
I know, it’s not sexy. But, I do. I love having a list of things-to-do and just barreling right through that list.
In fact, if I don’t have a list, it’s much easier for me to get overwhelmed and completely shut down.
Before I was a solopreneur and I worked for someone else, my boss gave me my task list. Not in the sense that he dictated specific tasks for me to do.
But, more in the sense that I had a singular job description and the responsibilities of that role were very clear. My task list supported those responsibilities.
Being a solopreneur is completely different.
Now I work for myself growing this business and running my ‘day job’ business. Plus, I homeschool my three kids and am responsible for the home management and parenting tasks that we all are. So, I have like thirty job descriptions and my responsibilities are all over the map!
How do I create a single task list from thirty job descriptions?
How do I know which tasks are going to make the most impact?
Where do I freakin’ start!?!
Forget it. I’ll just do the bare minimum of everything and spend the rest of my time streaming Netflix.
Well, guess what? You’re not alone.
I really want you to hear that. Really feel it.
You are not alone.
We all have those days where the shit hits the fan and it just feels like we need a do-over.
We all have days when we wake up feeling motivated, inspired, and empowered … only to have a bad day at work or a flat tire.
The trick is, to always remember … “You can’t be behind on anything if you are never comparing yourself to something”.
This whole grow a solopreneur business gig isn’t a one and done kind of thing. It’s not like having an interview, getting a job, and showing up every day to get your paycheck.
Those days are over.
Being a successful solopreneur means taking each day as it comes.
Celebrating the wins.
Learning from the losses.
Making the effort daily.
Focusing on progress … not perfection.
And, following these tips for how to dominate your business growth hours:
Start a Journal
When you first start to grow your business, there is going to be a learning curve.
You’re going to be learning how to find clients, set your prices, do the work that you say you can do, etc.
Having a journal is a great way to record your process and help you to work through all of the thoughts, emotions, and challenges that you are going through.
It’s also a great motivator because you can look back to the previous entries and be reminded of what you’ve already been through and accomplished.
I suggest starting your journal with a brief story or description of why you have decided to start your business.
Was it because you wanted to be there when your kids get home from school?
Or, was it because you know you have more to offer and you want to share your talents with the world?
Maybe it was because you love yoga pants and you never want to wear business-casual again?
As you are trudging through the challenges of actually doing the work and adjusting to the new dynamic, there will be days when you want to quit. And, just accept the mediocrity of your day job.
But, if you have a journal that tracks why you started this journey and how far you have come, that will help you tremendously in getting centered and back on task.
Starting a business can be challenging because it means blending so many different aspects of your life into one glorious ball of chaos.
But, if you take some time to really think about your priorities and what is most important to you, it’s easier to stay on task because those priorities will drive the things that you get done that day.
Think of your priorities as plants and water the ones that are your favorite. For instance, if your priorities are to grow your business, spend quality time with your children doing something they enjoy, and have 30-minutes to exercise daily, then don’t spend 3-hours cleaning out your pantry.
While that might be a task that really needs to get done – it doesn’t support your priorities and won’t help you further your goals.
Write down your top five priorities and keep that list near your workstation or somewhere that you can see it every day.
When you feel yourself getting overwhelmed and unsure what to work on – take a look at that list and do something that will help you support the items on that list.
The amount of time that you spend on a task should directly correlate to how important the priority is that the task supports.
Set a daily schedule for the tasks that you want to get done and keep track of how much time you spend on those tasks. I started using Toggl.com for all of my work and it made such a huge difference in how productive I felt each day.
If I have 20-minutes of writing on my calendar for that day then I start my Toggl timer and I don’t stop writing until the 20-minutes is over.
You can also use a kitchen timer or even the timer on your microwave. And, always build 5 to 7-minute breaks between time blocks so you can get a quick break.
In a “normal” 9 to 5, you don’t think about how much time you spend not working because you get paid for all of it. But, when you are working in your business growth hours, every single minute is valuable. So, make sure you are tracking them.
Set Your Alarm
I can’t stress enough how important it is for you to set an alarm in the morning. You need to wake-up at the same time every day. These are prime business growth hours. So, the earlier you can wake up the better.
Once your household comes alive for the day, there will be precious few minutes that are just yours. So, give that to yourself in the early morning hours.
Have a cup of coffee or tea. Drink a protein smoothie. Do some yoga. Any little routine that signals it’s time to make progress.
And, for Pete’s sake, change the sound on your alarm to be one of your favorite songs! No one hears that annoying beep of the alarm and wants to get out of bed. Seriously. Change the sound so a favorite song that makes you want to get up and dance starts playing.
No one can just lay in bed and fall back to sleep when Salt n Peppa’s Push It starts playing. I don’t care what time it is!
Just keep setting that alarm and making your best effort to make your mornings more productive.
Set Goals The Night Before
I don’t know about you but, I have a hard time starting my day off with sitting down to make a list of everything that I need to do that day.
It works so much better for me if I can just wake up, have my coffee, make my smoothie, sit down at my desk and see a ready-made task list that will guide me through my day.
Unfortunately, your task list doesn’t make itself.
Instead, I take 5-minutes before I go to bed to sit down and think about what I want or need to get done the next day.
Some of my tasks are easy because I am a virtual assistant and I know that I need to “work 2-hours for client X”.
But, I am also growing this blog and I want it to reach more people. For that to happen, I have to be very thoughtful about what I’m going to spend my time on for it to have the most impact.
So, I think about it the night before and get really clear about which tasks I will work on during my business growth hours the next day.
Yes, there are times when my task list is longer than the time that I have available. But, that just means that those tasks get rolled over into the next day. Simple!
Let Your Family & Friends Help
I get it.
Only you can do the housework just the way that you like it. And, you’re the only one who knows which groceries to buy. No one else can take care of your responsibilities the right way.
Well, guess what. You don’t have the time to do everything anymore.
You don’t have weekends off anymore. No paid holidays. No call-in-sick so you can spring clean and get paid.
Every single extra minute must be leveraged into growing your business.
So, you must enlist the help of everyone in your family.
Plus, asking them to help you will really make them feel important and that’s a gift that you get to give them!
It’s a win-win!
Turn On Some Music
It is crazy to me how much quicker I get things done if I’ve got some music on.
When I’m writing I listen to classical music.
But, when I’m answering emails I listen to country music.
And, when I’m cleaning the house I listen to hip-hop music.
My productivity soars when I have a little bit of rhythm pushing me along.
But, when the television is on … so. many. nopes.
I get nothing done. I get sucked into the latest Chip and Joanna Gaines reveal and my productivity goes right out the window.
Even something as innocent as folding a quick load of bath towels can take me an entire episode!
Gotta keep those electronics turned off and get the boogie!
Be kind to yourself
Growing a business alongside your day job is hard. It’s not the “oh, I’ll do a little work that I’m passionate about and then spend the rest of the day on the beach” kind of dream that some people think it will be.
Not at first.
But, once you learn how to dominate your business growth hours all kinds of amazing things can happen! Just remember that every minute is valuable so don’t waste any of them on things that don’t support your priorities or further your goals!