You know what I love? Slime and play-dough, going to the park with my daughter and dog and not having to worry about anything. I love being able to enjoy the sun; throwing the ball 348 times and staying at the park when Nina says “Mummy, I want to stay longer”.
I love when I don’t need to rush back, stuff her with lunch and then throw her into her cot, hoping for the longest nap possible so that I can work… only to find myself staring at my screen, not knowing where to start.
Fridays are one of my “mummy time” days and until last month, every Friday, the mountain of work that I had in my mind was chipping away my “mummy time” enjoyment.
Last month, I provided training for EMPOWER Tribe members on planning. I shared my secret planning weapon (that I haven’t used for a while… as you know, I know it all and I don’t need it… right!?)
“On the highest throne in the world, we still sit only on our own bottom.”Montaigne
The same week, on Friday, Nina decided not to take a nap and of course my “overwhelmed-self” almost lost it. I was behind, so behind; I had to do this and that and worked every evening of that weekend to come to the conclusion that “Hell yeah woman, you need to practice what you preach, print the planner and fill it!”
That kick in the butt transformed my month of May. Now, not only we are totally on target, much more productive and organised (which gives me the luxury to step back and analyse the results), but also, I am calmer and more confident. Moreover, I can enjoy the chocolate- making, slime-squishing, playdough-smearing child of mine with no guilt.
There are a few more secrets in gaining entrepreneurial confidence and calm in the planning process that I will go through this week during our monthly planning session.
1. The practice of “Brain Dumping”
“Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them.”David Allen
The “overwhelming” feeling doesn’t happen because we have much to do, it happens because what needs to be done is hidden in the winding paths of our brain and pokes us at the most inconvenient times. You get me, right?
You know that moment when you are about to start cooking and all of a sudden you remember: “Oh man, I forgot to send that email, oh and call him, and send that picture to her…” and then a few more things add up to the list, but, you can’t do anything about it. That’s when you begin to feel overwhelmed, and it starts to weigh on your chest.
What I do when I start to get poked and pulled by thoughts is the following: when I find time and space for focus, I sit and write down everything that I need to do, in no order of priority or sequencing. Just write all the to dos, whether that’s taking the dog to the vet or sending a mail to investors. That is called brain-dump. When you write things, you send a signal to your brain that it doesn’t have to keep them because, they are now all stored somewhere safe and accessible.
2. Colour code or boxes
“If it’s important you’ll find a way. If it’s not, you’ll find an excuse.”Ryan Blair
It is possible that the first step will throw you into panic mode: Now that it is all there – where to start? How? Which one is more important? Better to go under the bed to hide and pray for it to be just a bad dream. Alas, they will not disappear, so let’s do something about it. It’s all about colour coding and putting them into boxes of different priorities:
- Place them on your emergency / priority matrix (you can check the business priorities during Covid-19 period on this article-[link]) https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-plan-act-strategically-now-ensure-rapid-growth-post-ceylan-boyce
- Select the ones that need to be, or could be delegated: action them first as someone else can make progress on them while you are completing the priority list
- Make sure to dedicate focused time to your top priorities
- Use the default calendar technique to plan (book the task in your calendar and obey yourself)
3. And start
“Eat the elephant one bite at a time”
At some point and as soon as possible, you have to stop planning and start actioning. Do not look at the mountain of things to be completed and goals to be achieved, but look at that first thing that you need to do.
And do it. Simple, no fuss.
After that first thing is finished, pass to the next little bit and do it… with doing comes the flow of actions.
4. Trust the process
“Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.”A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
It took me years to get this one and I still sometimes find myself down the rabbit hole of doubt. Trusting the process means being patient, which is the opposite of our society’s lifestyle.
We want information, we google it in seconds.
We want to talk to someone, we FaceTime them in seconds.
We want to buy something, we order it on Amazon in seconds.
We can even read “War and Peace” in minutes thanks to app-based book summaries.
We are all used to getting results for what we want almost immediately. We do not experience the “process” anymore. But I guess I have not yet found the quick delivery button for business.
However, I have met multibillionaire entrepreneurs who have all told me that following the steps and focusing on the process is the quickest way to get results. So, on your monthly planning and evolution especially, do not focus on the outcome, focus on the process and optimise action taking.
5. Relax and celebrate
“Your ability to generate power is directly proportional to your ability to relax.”David Allen
Entrepreneurs (I include myself in this) are passionate, obsessive, stubborn creatures. Do you recognise yourself?
Mostly perfectionist, control freak… no? Not you? The Female of this species also believe in their superhuman capacities: survival on lack of sleep, down time or break. There is evidence proving enhanced brain activity, improvement in the serotonin and neurotransmitter levels, when breaks and total “off” time are regular and integrated in your lifestyle, thus your performance increases.
With this my friends, I have to finish this blog and go to bed as, it seems like even I am not superhuman 😉 Unbelievable!
Join me on Wednesday the 27th at 1pm for a kickass monthly planning session, which will aim to give you clarity, focus and momentum for the month of June to start your business growth activities.
To attend this event sign up for our FREE EMPOWER Tribe Programme.