A little while ago, one of my followers posed a very important question about organizing her time. She asked:
"After my father had a stroke I began managing our small family business. Since I was a little girl, my dream was always to run my own business. Now that I have that chance, it's even more important for me to be able to run my business without adding to the stress that is part of being the mother of a new baby. I primarily work online. This means I spend most days at home and I can't seem to get my work done. What can I do to organize my schedule so my work gets done, my business grows, and I have sufficient time to be a full-time mother?"
If you're reading this, whether or not you're a new mother like Julia, I'm sure you can relate to the struggle of managing your time when you own a small business.
One of my Keys to Abundance is to Make Space. When you make space in your life, you will have more time to follow your dreams. It can be as simple as taking the five action steps listed below.
I use this key to make my business grow, surf on a daily basis, do what I like, and get some daily fun beach time in with my dog, Ella.
My method of organizing is simple. And I'm sharing the method with you, hoping that it will inspire you. If you like, you can modify any of these steps and develop your own method for organizing your life.
1. Do something that makes you happy first thing in the morning
Every morning I start my days doing something that truly fulfills me -- before I sit down to work on the computer. I surf, meditate, walk my dog on the beach or do yoga. I focus on my own well being first. I've learned that if I do something I find rewarding, something that increases my enthusiasm, I can carry that enthusiasm into my work, which in turn makes me more focused and efficient.
Do you remember the last time you flew on an airplane? At the beginning of the flight, attendants demonstrate how to use the oxygen mask. In case of an emergency, an adult must put his or her mask on first, before they help any children traveling with them to put on their masks.
The same principle applies in all other aspects of life. If you don't help yourself, you can't offer anything of value to others. This is why I invite you to do something you enjoy, every day, before starting your work.
Try it out for a week and note the positive changes this simple principle brings into your life!
2. Tackle four or five tasks each day
Instead of writing an endless list of tasks when you sit down to work, prioritize them and list only four or five. Then, focus on accomplishing them. Once you know what you should be doing that day, you won't feel overwhelmed, and it will be easier to tackle your to do list.
Even though you may feel there are a thousand things to be done, it's important to focus on achieving the four or five things you decided are your top priorities that day. When you do, you'll be moving forward much faster than you would have if you were trying to complete all the tasks on a huge list.
3. Organize your weekly priorities
Every Friday I list all the things I must do on the coming week. Then I choose the three most important tasks that will allow my business to grow the furthest.
In the event I don't finish my four or five daily tasks, I try to, at least, nail down my three most important priorities for the week, tasks that will help me grow my business and create tangible results. The rest of the tasks I can reprioritize and accomplish the following week.
I usually organize my tasks on a calendar. You can either use a paper calendar or the calendar function on your computer. I make my own calendar on paper. I like using colors and markers to let my "inner child" come out and play and bring the fun into work (I especially looove crossing off tasks on my to do list with a purple marker!).
I also stick colored Post-Its at the top of each week's page. It helps me to have a visual reminder of what is truly important. Then, no matter what comes up, the Post-Its remind me what I absolutely need to do during my work week.
4. Always start with the easiest tasks
From the four or five daily tasks that you set for yourself each day, decide which one is the easiest to complete. Select something you're enthusiastic about and start there. Once you have finished it, cross it off your list (it feels like a Hell Yeah! to cross out a finished task!).
At the end of the day, when you look at all the tasks you crossed off your list, turn that feeling of accomplishment into a feeling of gratitude. Be grateful that you were able to finish them. Gratitude anchors the energy of abundance, and as you tap into that energy, you will have more and more to be grateful for.
5. Take a day off if you feel that you need it!
If you feel drained and can't seem to focus on anything on your to do list, take a full day off to pamper yourself. Instead of thinking you're wasting your time, think of it as an investment in your business. When you stop to refresh yourself, you are gathering the speed to move forward later on!
The key is not to judge yourself for taking that break but to enjoy it since it will bring back the energy of enthusiasm to your work.
I truly hope my tips have been useful to you. If you're looking for ways to organize your life and business even more in 2015, I'm ready to help! I'm hosting a Live Mastermind event in Austin, TX on December 12. I hope you'll join me!
Mercedes Maidana is a Motivational Speaker and Business and Abundance Life Coach who guides women to launch and improve their businesses, go for their dreams, and take action steps to live life to their highest potential. Continue the conversation with Mercedes and learn more about her work on Facebook and Instagram.