Since the first of January, I wake up each and every morning and ‘hit the ground running’.
According to yourdictionary.com, ‘hit the ground running’ means – ‘to seize an opportunity; begin at full speed’.
Back in 1995, I was running a temporary help service, Westaff, and my assistant was in and out on maternity leave. That meant that I basically had to do both of our full-time jobs. And, that meant getting up at 6am, getting breakfast for my family, getting my 6 year old daughter ready to go to the babysitters, delivering her across town at 7:30, then trekking back across town to open the office.
Once I sat down at my desk, it was kind of like strapping yourself into the cockpit of a 747 airliner. There was no time to get up and walk around, usually no time for lunch and certainly no time to use the restroom.
At the end of the day I would trek across town to pick up my daughter, then head back home to cook dinner, do the dishes, pick up the house, do the laundry, get my daughter ready for bed and maybe watch some TV with my husband.
Out of necessity it was full speed ahead – 24/7. I remember thinking that what kept me going was adrenaline and caffeine.
This time has been a bit different, all of a sudden, I am busy, busy, busy; building websites, setting up social media marketing systems, writing the 8 modules of RoadMap to Success, publishing blogs, taking care of my clients, supporting Century 21 M&M Realtors with their internet marketing, and did I mention, building websites?
Instinctively you know when you go through a period where you ‘hit the ground running’, that it won’t last forever. But as you come out the other end of a ‘hit the ground running’ period, you may find that your business has moved to the next level and things are a bit busier than they were before, and you have to make some changes so that you can be more efficient.
So in the spirit of learning to be more efficient AND transitioning from ‘hit the ground running’ to a new sort of routine, I did some research looking for tips that would help me move my business to the next level. Just thought I would share those tips with you:
Tip #1. Start with a daily brain dump. Empty the contents of your brain by writing it all down – all of the to-do’s, ideas, errands, thoughts – don’t worry about order, just write it down as it comes to mind. Keep pen and paper handy so that you can write down things to-do through out the day. This activity gives your mind a chance to rest, which in turn, allows your body to rest.
Tip #2. Establish a written routine. For instance, this might mean that you read and answer all of your emails first thing in the morning, make all of your phone calls at one time, maybe you run all of your errands at lunch, take care of your banking late in the afternoon, then finish out your day with emails again.
Tip #3. Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize. Start with a to-do list that takes into consideration the most important tasks you need to complete. Then through out the day, cross off the tasks that you complete, add tasks to your list as they pop-up, and continue to prioritize as needed.
Tip #4. Break down a large project into 5 minute tasks; internet research, creating a content outline, finding images, creating charts and graphs. 5 minute lists can help make you productive even when you are having trouble concentrating.
Tip #5. Make it fun. When it comes to the mundane, try something new to help you get through it; listen to music, take your work to a coffee shop, sit on your deck… and the thing that always works for me – add healthy snacks; popcorn, gum, hard candies, nuts, etc.
Tip #6. Don’t even try to multi-task. Our brains don’t function well when we are switching back and forth between tasks. It’s better to focus on one thing at a time, otherwise you are likely to forget some things which will just make your situation worse.
Tip #7. Take advantage of your bodies highest energy levels. My highest level is usually late morning to early evening, so I schedule the most complex tasks for that period of time. I start out the day with low-energy tasks, ease into the high energy tasks, and usually work full-speed ahead until I am done.
Tip #8. Take breaks to let your brain rest. You might be able to fit exercise into one of these breaks, walk around the block, call a friend or talk with a co-worker. Then when you get back to work you will be re-energized and ready to take on complex tasks.
Tip #9. Examine the ‘whys’ of procrastination. When you procrastinate – there is usually a reason. Is the project idea fully formed? Do you not have all of the tools needed? Was the project even a good idea (unless
Tip #10. Don’t forget to exercise. Exercise is important in so many ways, it has been proven to reduce stress, ward off anxiety and feelings of depression, boost self-esteem and improve sleep. So even if you don’t think you have time to exercise, start with a 15 minute commitment… you will feel so much better that you will find yourself carving out time to exercise regularly.
Tip #11. Don’t forget to eat healthy. Reach for stress-free foods that will help you stay in the game: oranges, sweet potatoes, dried apricots, turkey, spinach, salmon, avocados, almonds, walnuts and pistachios. Eating small meals and snacks throughout the day, will keep your blood sugar stable. When blood sugar is low, mental, physical, and emotional energy decreases, and stress increases.
Tip #12. Don’t ignore your relationships. Take time for family and friends. Share a meal, or even just a glass of iced tea. Ignorance may be blissful for now, but it won’t result in healthy relationships. In my opinion, healthy relationships provide the support that we need to get through the tough times.
Hope you find these tips helpful… I know I did. Over the years I have practiced all of these activities. I find that sometimes you just have to take a day to regroup and reorganize – so I am taking tomorrow to do just that.