The One Thing That’s Wrong With Your To-Do List

To Do ListI flopped into bed, exhausted and emotionally wiped out. It had been another one of those days that seemed to go in a wildly different direction than I had planned. A late school bus threw us off schedule and everything else followed suit – forgotten lunchboxes, car batteries that died, dinner that was overcooked, a troubling phone call from a friend and soccer practice that was moved to another location 30 minutes before it started.

As I melted into my cozy mattress, I began to mentally list the things I had not accomplished – the long list of To-Do’s that didn’t get done. There was a pile of dirty dishes still in the sink…a load of laundry that never made it into the dryer and would certainly need to be rewashed… a looming client deadline that would now require me to pull some late nights… and several errands that simply had to wait until tomorrow.

I felt like another day was lost. I was so discouraged that I was now “behind schedule” once again. Why do we do that to ourselves? Why do we obsess with tackling our LIST and feel like a failure when we don’t GET THINGS DONE?

We measure our success based on how much we accomplish. How many miles did we run this morning? How quickly did we shower, make lunch and get the kids off to school? How many tasks did we cross off the list at work? How many phone calls did we return? How many bills did we pay? How well did we get that orange juice stain out of the carpet? And how much did we save with coupons at the grocery story?

I don’t know about you, but when I rock these tasks (heck, even when I simply complete them haphazardly), I feel like a huge success! I go to bed at night feeling accomplished. Validated. Feeling like a GREAT mom! These are all good things to accomplish – as long as they don’t come at the expense of truly BEING a great mom (or wife…or friend…or sister…or daughter). [Read more...]

Keep Doing What You’re Doing

Smiling office worker showing thumb upDo you ever get bored with your business? If you’re like most moms you never really get bored – you don’t have time to get bored! But you may grow tired of doing things the same old way. You may no longer be thrilled by the challenge of your work. You might find yourself looking around at other businesses or new technologies or “fantastic” opportunities and wondering, “Hmmmm, maybe I should give that a try?”

If that sounds familiar, then you’re in good company. Most of us entrepreneurs are constantly exploring and learning new things. That’s why we are successful out on our own. Like flowers, we know there are only two choices – grow or die. And we prefer growing.

But sometimes we use growth as an excuse to avoid doing the work. I admit it – I catch myself doing this on occasion. I sit down to work on a project that I’ve been planning for a long time – something I know will be successful because I’ve done it before. And as soon as I start, I get distracted by an idea…something pops in my head or across my screen… and I get excited! So I start researching and brainstorming and dreaming… and the hours pass by quickly as I dive into my NEW, EXCITING IDEA! I’m convinced THIS is exactly what I need to make a change…to shake things up…to grow.

What I don’t realize is that my NEW, EXCITING IDEAS usually come at the expense of old and boring tasks. And those old and boring tasks might actually work well in my business. They might actually produce results…and generate leads…and earn revenue. But because I’m so attracted to the challenge of continuous change, I’m blind to the fact that I’m already doing exactly what I should be doing. While I might THINK I need a bright, shiny idea, what I actually need is the persistence to continue with something proven and familiar.

So how do you know when it’s time to try something new or if it’s best to keep doing what you’re doing? [Read more...]

Five Simple Ways to Keep Your Business Afloat This Summer

Five Simple Ways to Keep Your Business Afloat This SummerTravel, visitors and camp, oh my! I don’t know about you, but I’m finding it difficult to do anything more than absolutely necessary in the office these days. It seems there is always something more enticing than my computer. And the motivation I was filled with in January has fizzled to a desperate attempt to do as much work as possible before noon so I can hit the beach or the pool with the kids.

After I’m finished beating myself up for feeling like a slacker, I remind myself that this is what I signed up for. This is what I wanted when I decided to go into business for myself and work from home. I wanted the flexibility to work my schedule around other things in my life – like my family. I wanted to call my own shots and control my own workload. So instead of feeling guilty for not accomplishing extraordinary feats in my business this summer or crossing a thousand things off my “to do” list, I’ve decided to embrace the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of being a mompreneur.

But that doesn’t mean I’m putting business on hold until September. I’m just finding ways to be more efficient and prioritize better. Here are a few strategies I’m employing this summer to ensure smooth sailing for my business while I’m focusing on family a little bit more:

Five Simple Ways to Keep Your Business Afloat This Summer

1. Put first things first. I’m on a mission to become a Time Management Ninja! I ask myself, “What are the things I absolutely, positively have to keep doing in my business?” Then I carve out time – even if it’s early in the morning – to make sure those get done first. I feel a sense of relief once the necessities are finished and then I can decide to move on to additional work – or take the rest of the day off to play!   

2. Give each goal a deadline. It’s easy to put off larger projects in the summer when my calendar is a little more open and the temptations and distractions are a little more alluring. The only way I know to combat this situation is to give myself a specific deadline. If it’s a big enough project, I give myself smaller deadlines along the way. This helps me prevent procrastination and overwhelm. [Read more...]