As we head deep into the heart of our dark cold winter, we start to find that life feels a little more challenging than normal. It’s around this time of year when energy levels start to hit an all time low, our emotions become hard to control and it’s a challenge to find that energy we need as entrepreneurs to keep on pushing to 110%.
Now before you throw in the towel, pack your bags and close up shop I wanted to share a 4 step process I follow during times of need, especially during the mid-year trench, that enables me to keep aiming for and achieving my goals.
The Back Story
During my first business venture, I found myself working close to 18 hours a day, 7 days a week out of my small 1 bedroom apartment. At this stage in life, I had no boundaries and sitting at my laptop for over 12 hours in my boxers without food was the norm.
The reason I share this is to advise you that no matter how resilient you are, you just can’t maintain this style of work for very long. Not only is it physically draining it will negatively impact your mind, your relationships and your business. While we may think we’re getting ‘more’ done, working this way is ineffective and can destroy the positive life you’re working towards achieving.
Today, I want to ensure that you don’t make this same mistake, that you don’t feel like you have to work until the wheels fall off as it’s actually counterproductive to work this way. By creating healthy working habits, you can ensure you don’t fall into the negative rut that can creep in around this time of year.
Here are four easy to action ways to rally now:
STEP 1: Get out
Taking a break is imperative right now. When I say ‘break’ I don’t mean taking 5 minutes to walk to the kitchen for a cup of tea. I’m talking about scheduling a day, or more, to disconnect. Remember, your business will not fall over in a day or even week for that matter. The idea is that you disconnect completely from the business, from your devices and get out of the house or office. My advice is to get outdoors, and into nature. Go sit by a quiet river, a beach or just put yourself down amongst a group of trees. Take nothing other than a pen and a notepad. A few hours sitting still in this space will change everything. Your natural tendency will be to pack up and get back to your computer, but you have to resist. Push through and after a while you’ll begin to connect with your business on a whole new level.
STEP 2: Tap into networks
Now is NOT the time to think you need to be alone. The lone wolf syndrome is a killer and will often do your business more damage than good. Do yourself a favour by attending a few networking functions. Start by finding a few that resonate with you on a site like meetup.com. This is where you’ll be able to speak with like-minded individuals who know what you’re dealing with and can give you a little encouragement to remind you why you’re doing what you’re doing. It’s also a great way to take the time to break out of the office and meet other entrepreneurs.
STEP 3: Chunk your day
I found that breaking my day into 1 hour chunks allowed me to focus on a specific task and project more efficiently. Ensure that each of your hourly chunks are focused on a specific area of the business – social, marketing, sales calls, emails, finance, customer service or content. Stay laser focused on the topic at hand for that 1 hour block before moving on to the next. This will help alleviate a lot of the anxiety around ‘how am I going to get anything done’ and will ensure you’re working on the hard strategic business tasks as well as the easy ‘look at me, I’m very busy’ tasks.
STEP 4: Practice gratitude
I’ve personally struggled with this for most of my life. I never celebrated the small or large wins. I just expected myself to make everything happen. Practicing gratitude doesn’t have to be complex and since getting my head around it my life has been more fun and fulfilling. As an example, I started by rewarding myself each time I was able to stick to one of my 1 hour time blocks without distractions. I’d give myself a 5 minute break for each block. These breaks would accrue throughout the week and I would use them to go for a surf. You can do the same when you complete a project, make a sale or form a new strategic partnership. Whatever the reason, it’s important that you celebrate these small wins.
BONUS TIP: Start a journal
This little guy changed my life. When you take 10 minutes out of your day to write about how you’re feeling, what’s on your mind and what you’re grateful for you will find that you start to feel more relaxed. You’ve said what you needed to say and you’ve reminded yourself of the bigger picture. It’s a habit that the world’s smartest, happiest and most successful people follow and encourage.
In closing, I want you to know that entrepreneurship is a journey and with every journey, there will be challenges. There will be tough days, there will be fun days, busy days, and quiet days. Some days, you might wonder why the hell you’re in the game. BUT if you take the time to enjoy each and every moment, you’ll be reminded of the extraordinary opportunities for growth.
Now get out there, and make the second half of 2015 the best you’ve ever had.