Are you going a million miles a minute as an entrepreneur? Drink so much coffee that you’ve considered an IV drip? You aren’t alone! I promise!
There’s always a ton of things to do, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Today, I want to talk about seven ways you can cut down on the anxiety, overwhelm, and stress to really enjoy being an entrepreneur and living the life you dreamed of. Slow down, and put some of these tricks to work to take care of yourself.
1. Brain dump! Often.
Being creatives, we often have a ton of ideas and so little time to develop them. Plus, all of the tasks that our businesses require us to handle! That always means our heads are swimming. More like drowning, am I right?
Once a week, I like to sit down with Wunderlist and create a Brain Dump list. Every thought that enters my head gets added to the list until my head is totally clear. And then I sort all the tasks into existing lists for specific projects, or two other lists I have stuck in my Wunderlist for In Six Months and In a Year.
This allows me to focus on the tasks that need me RIGHT NOW, and revisit the tasks that were previously occupying my head later without forgetting. Because I can add notes to each task on a list, I won’t forget any brilliant ideas or plans.
If I’m particularly overwhelmed and stressed, I’ll create a brain dump list by hand of all the things that are stressing me out. When I’m done, I’ll throw it away. Or burn it. It’s a cathartic way to clear your head and metaphorically ditch stress.
2. Keep it clean.
A cluttered space leads to a cluttered mind! I know that when I’m busy, I get lazy about putting things back in an orderly fashion. So, I make an effort to clean up my work spaces (both my office and my soapmaking studio) often.
Every item has a place, and I infuse items that inspire and motivate me into my organizing – like a brightly colored box of neon post-it notes and “designer” notebooks, binder covers, and folders. If I start to feel overwhelmed and have already done my brain dump, I turn on a fun and bouncy playlist on Songza and clean up my work space.
3. Streamline everything.
The number one aspect to skipping stress for me has always been streamlining my processes and being as efficient as possible. In soapmaking, that was masterbatching my oils, lye solution, color mixes, essential oil blends, and liner paper when I used wood molds. But that applies to all the other biz tasks as well, like bulk scheduling my social media posts and blog post writing. And to streamline my biz tasks by automating what I could, and making other aspects easy.
I keep swipe files for my marketing, emails, and the like in Evernote. A swipe file is a collection of letters, emails, phrases, images, and more.
I have swipe files for soapmaking questions I receive via email, swipe files with sales letters and answers to frequently asked questions about my services, and more. Swipe files can also be inspirational, by collecting images, phrases, and colors for ideas or your brand identity.
The great part about swipe files is they make you more efficient. When I receive an email that can be answered in my swipe files, I just have to copy and paste the response or use it as a template. Plus, when I have a virtual assistant working with me, I can give them access to the swipe files.
4. Ignore “Inbox Zero.”
Speaking of email, stop letting it hold you down. I’ve seen so many articles about keeping your email inbox empty and how to get there, and I think it’s just a sick joke to try to kill you as an entrepreneur. (If you manage it, kudos to you!)
If you’ve emailed me before, you know that sometimes it can take a couple days for me to respond. Why is that? I set two time frames during my work day to check email, and I set a timer. Whatever I don’t get to has to wait.
When I do check my email, I scan the subject lines to determine it’s importance and priority. The 8 million biz newsletters I get are pretty far down the totem pole, but emails from clients about sessions or ebooks take priority.
Turn off your email notifications on your phone, and stop leaving your inbox open to free yourself from being a slave to email. No one will fall over and die if you don’t answer their email right away. I promise.
p.s. When I do check my email, sometimes I make it a game. 😉
5. Take a day off.
Before I found entrepreneurship, I never thought about how I would NOT take days off. But I’ve found it incredibly common for people to not take time for themselves and their personal lives.
Yes, I’ve been there, and done that! For several months this past winter, I didn’t take a single day off. And it took it’s toll on me. I was always stressed, and to be honest, things got under my skin a lot easier. Plus, it made it difficult for me to be productive. Surprise! Working all the time is less productive than working most of the time and taking time for yourself!
Aim to take a day off at least once a week. Put down work, ignore your email, schedule your social media posts, and enjoy your life. There are times I’ve had to turn off my phone, lock my office, and refuse temptation, but it’s worth it.
I always feel recharged, empowered, and really ready to rock out after I’ve taken a day to enjoy my family and the freedom my work has given me.
If you are resisting this thought, please remember that the world is not going to burn down if you take a day for yourself. Your biz will still exist tomorrow. If you are like I am and need to feel productive every day, make yourself a To Do list that has nothing on it for work, and feel accomplished when you check off “Make cupcakes with my kids” and “Get my hair done.”
6. Learn, get motivated and inspired.
Set aside time in your work schedule to consume material that teaches you, motivates you, and inspires you. Whether it’s reading a book about biz marketing, scheduling a session with your favorite mentor or coach, or watching TED talks, it’s important to continue to grow as you propel yourself forward.
Working the grindstone 24/7 without expanding your horizons will wear down on you quick. Plus, you might learn how to handle your workload in better ways by turning to others for help or inspiration, which can save time. Bingo!
7. Remember, YOU are the most important part.
Most of my clients and readers are solo biz owners, which means without you, your biz can feel it. Instead of telling yourself that you can’t take a day off because your biz needs you, remember that your biz can’t exist without you.
If you work yourself sick, you’ll be taking a lot more time off than if you took care of yourself. And if you aren’t at your tip top YOU, your biz can suffer.
Reward yourself when you hit goals and milestones, celebrate every item you cross off your To Do list (even the small stuff!), and remember to treat yourself every once in awhile.
And I made it easy to put your skills to work and remember why you started this biz in the first place while pampering yourself!
Snag this freebie from my email newsletter and you can enjoy seven amazing bath and body products featuring the entrepreneur’s favorite thing: coffee. (Or click on the image to download it!)
There’s one lovely product for every day of the week. Pamper yourself. You deserve it.
Check out what other freebies I have at Modern Soapmaking with this new Free Resources page!
What practices or tricks do you use to keep yourself motivated, productive, and inspired? Leave me a comment and let me know!
Did you enjoy the freebie mini eBook? Share this post with your fellow makers to share the love!