When I left my office manager job last year, it was a MAJOR adjustment for me.
I went on a 2.5-week trip 2 days after I left my job and when I returned, I was not living in my apartment because it was getting remodeled.
Suddenly, I was living in a different town I wasn’t familiar with. I was living in a different home. And I was unemployed.
I seriously didn’t know what to do with myself.
I felt stressed and overwhelmed because it was a lot of change all at once.
I had no schedule, I had no routine, I had no sense of familiarity … it was HARD.
So I had to learn to create a structure for myself because otherwise I was totally lost and stressed.
Since then, my routines, schedules, and how I manage my time has changed a lot.
So if you’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or disorganized right now because of trying to get prepped for the holidays, I got you!!
Here are some tools and practices that help me stay focused, productive, and keep myself in check.
I use the Pomodoro timer from time to time when I’m struggling to focus to finish a task. The idea is you work in 25-minute time blocks. Then when the timer goes off, you get a 5-minute break and then begin your next 25-minute block. It makes focusing much easier and I’m able to get more done. But if you want a shorter or longer work block or longer breaks, you can customize the timer. It’s a super great tool to use, especially if you’re working on something that requires some serious concentration.
Creating a daily schedule
I started doing this a few weeks ago. Before, I’d rarely write out what I was doing each hour of the day. That seemed excessive. Sure I’d write out my top 3 priorities of the day, but that was it. But I still wasn’t always able to get as much done as I wanted to. It was too easy to get distracted. So the night before each workday, I write out a daily schedule for the next day. And to my surprise, it’s been really helpful. I schedule in my lunches, calls, workouts, and when I focus on certain aspects of my business and so on. Now I don’t always follow it 100%, however, it’s helpful for me to see my workday planned out so I remind myself what I want to focus on.
So you may or may not know, but I do monthly reflections (or reviews) and planning of how things are going both in my business and in my personal life. While I like taking a moment to pause and reflect, sometimes it can be hard to remember what happened in the previous 4 weeks.
So I came across a YouTube video where someone was talking about how they do a weekly reset, mostly on Sundays. In addition to cleaning up around the house, doing laundry, and planning meals for the week, they look back and review how the previous week went.
They break things down into 3 general areas:
- Wins – the positive stuff, accomplishments, feel-good moments, etc.
- What’s not working – what didn’t get done, obstacles, etc.
- What can I do about it – ask for help, manage time better, etc
It’s like a lightbulb came on when I saw this. Taking the time to review how the previous week went I think is super helpful, especially when it comes to your business. If you’re not regularly checking in with yourself on how things are going or not going, then how will you know what needs to change? Plus, reflecting on your wins and what is going well is just as important.
Limit or block social media or other time wasters
Seriously, every minute adds up that you check your Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok, Twitter, etc, channel. Schedule your time in or reserve it for your break time. Remove any distractions if possible from your space so you can focus on what you need to do.
What time of day is best for the task
Do you feel more creative in the morning? If so, use the morning time to work on your inventory or new product lines. Some people feel more focused in the morning while others focus better in the afternoon or at night. Find what works for you and move specific tasks to the time of day that makes the most sense for you. There’s no sense in crunching numbers in the morning when you feel like playing and being creative with your work.
I think the pandemic has taught us a lot about boundaries and having personal space. If you’re lucky enough to have a dedicated workspace where you can shut the door and work, big props to you.
If you don’t, it can be a bit more challenging, especially if you have kids or other family members living with you. Make sure you notify others when you can or can’t be interrupted to help minimize hurt feelings if you’re unable to give someone your undivided attention any time of the day.
If you need to take over a common area to work, make sure you notify others. You don’t want to be competing with your roommate or partner who wants to do a home workout in the living room at the same time you want to take over the living room floor to layout and organize all your inventory.
So, leave me a comment and let me know how do you stay organized (and sane) for the holiday season for your business?