Starting a new business (or two) is a real “feelings casserole” experience. One minute I’m convinced mogul-hood is eminent and the next I’m questioning every decision I’ve made. This is great, this is terrible, I’m a success, I’m a failure, I’m getting it, I’m clueless, this is fun, this was a waste, how much money have I made, how much money do I need, how much money do I have left, how much longer will it last…these little commercials cycle through my brain all day long. With all this chatter in the background, it’s easy to let fear dictate my actions keeping me completely unfocused or hyper-focused on the wrong things. Lucky me, I have people in my life that remind me that I serve a really big God and he takes very good care of me. That might sound silly to some, but it works for me.
The other thing that works for me is a list. When I can’t count on my brain to organize my day well, lists help me navigate all the little tasks in a simple and effective way. Here’s the method I have been using:
- Start the day with a list. My list includes everything I can think of that I might want or need to get done. This morning’s list included, mailing a package, ordering some products, repairing something, scheduling upcoming events, writing a menu, cooking, posting on my social media accounts, working on an ongoing project, researching travel options, checking email, and making a deposit.
- Figure out a timeline. I decided to knock out the smaller projects before noon so I put in the order, posted on social media, took and made phone calls (which was added as the morning unfolded), checked the email, and made my deposit. I decided to run my errand in the middle of the afternoon as I felt I might be able to miss the lunch and after work crowds. I left researching and working on bigger projects for late afternoon and evening so that if they take me down the rabbit hole a little bit, I won’t spend my whole day on something that isn’t time sensitive while neglecting something that must be done during business hours (like making calls and going to the post office).
- Take short breaks. One of the things that causes me problems is zoning out and losing track of time. If I will take a break to eat lunch or do a quick household chore between tasks (throwing a load of laundry in the washer or just cleaning the counter in the bathroom) I break things up a little and I make note of what time it is and how much time I have available before I need to leave the house, make dinner, go live on Facebook, or go to bed.
- Make notations on the list. I check off things that are completed, put a > beside things that are being scheduled for another time and day (and transfer those to my calendar with a reminder), and create additional tasks as I think of them.
- Migrate items from one list to another. Anything that isn’t completed goes on the calendar for another day or is transferred to the following day’s list. Using this method, I can also start to develop an idea on a way to structure my work week by planning times I will be at home working and times when I’ll be out and about. For example, I have a standing appointment on Thursday mornings at 10:30 a.m. I now follow that with other “out of the house” tasks and errands since I’ll already be presentable.
My “make a list” method takes my focus off of the fears and feelings and keeps me taking steps in the right direction. It also gives me a sense of accomplishment in that I am crossing things off my list while taking care of my home and family which leads to an overall sense of well-being. For more information on a better way to manage time check out bullet journaling (bujo for short).