In the last 18 months I’ve got married, brought up a little human, began large renovations on an old run down house, re-launched my consultancy business, started a training company and invested in an online course to advance my digital skills.
Quite a few people have asked me how on earth I have done it and at the time I didn’t think it was a big deal.
Now when I look back and see the look of shock on their faces, I realise it’s actually been quite an achievement not to let one area of my life slip.
With that in mind, I thought I would share my tips that have kept me sane over the last year, and if you’re a little bonkers about your career and home life like me, then hopefully it will help.
Let go of perfection
I’m a control freak as my husband likes to remind me.
Not in the structured excel spreadsheet way, but I like to plan and know exactly what is happening and when.
When you have a little human that decides she doesn’t want to sleep, then this type of planning can be a little tricky to say the least, so I’ve just started going with the flow.
Before having a child, I wouldn’t exit the house without makeup on, nails done and my hair nicely straightened. Now I think I scare the neighbours on a regular basis with a frizzy mop and bare face, but I’m human and those extra moments of not applying the last touches of make-up means I can attack a whole chunk of work.
The worst days are the days you have stayed indoors.
We had very little help when our little girl came along, and we went down to one car (yes, I was horrified too!) so that we could spend pennies on things like over-expensive car seats, sleepyheads and on the other extremes, like extra bricks for the house…
When you are needing to focus, don’t force yourself to sit there all day, there’s nothing wrong with getting up and out to shift your mood and attack with a fresh head.
Most of my work needs my creative juices to flow to help me think outside the box, so when I’ve got a mental block, I go for a quick walk, take in the sunshine and come back to my desk armed with new ideas.
I now work in very focused 30 minute slots. Each day is like a small military routine when I work from home, but it works for me.
If you give yourself a whole day to do a task, your brain will naturally let you drift off onto other less important things, but if you only have a small-time slot, I can promise your focus will make you get it done and more efficiently.
I break down every task into urgent, important, not important and can wait, (thank you, Stephen Covey, for this ingenious idea!) and then I attack all the urgent tasks first, starting with the biggest and ugliest one that I really would have wanted to put off.
If you have not heard of ‘Eat that Frog’ by Brian Tracy then that’s a definite one to read when you are feeling the to do list overwhelm.
Sounds harsh doesn’t it, but I have.
I no longer work with clients that I don’t like or that don’t ‘get it’.
Don’t get it in the sense that they either don’t see the value that I do for them, or aren’t prepared to put in the hard-work to move their business forward.
I’m really keen to vet people before I start working with them to make sure they meet my values and that I will be able to deliver to them exactly what they expect.
This is the joy of working for myself for the last 5 years, but now I’m really confident to be able to say no to people that I don’t think I will quite gel with. In doing so, my days are a whole lot more enjoyable and I do a much better job.
Evaluate and re-focus
Each day I look back and evaluate what has worked, and what hasn’t. If I’m in a crappy mood then something hasn’t gone right, and I need to start eliminating those bits out in the future.
This could be anything as simple as not exercising that day, not allowing myself enough time to get things done that are on my urgent list or just not looking after myself and eating a decent diet.
A positive mindset can do amazing things for a productive day, so I make sure I take the time out for me, even if it’s ten minutes to do a short meditation or breathing technique (queue the hippy comments that I always get!) Seriously, if you haven’t tried mindfulness meditation practices yet though, you should, it will help you reclaim your mind and put you in a better, more focused state.
Share your thoughts
I hope my tools and tips have helped a little. If you have a gem to share that stops you from feeling the overwhelm then please get in touch.