How Planning Your Ideal Day Can Help You Avoid Overworking

If you’re a small business owner, you’re likely to be familiar with the word “grind.” Owning a small business is hard work. You don’t need me to tell me that. Especially if you’re striving to support yourself or a family through your work, you work hard to meet your needs. Today I want to suggest an exercise that can help you take a look at your work life without being caught in the hustle. By planning your ideal work day, you can avoid overworking. How? Let’s jump in and I’ll show you:

How Much Do You Want to Work?

Though it might feel frivolous, especially if you’re used to long hours or a tight schedule, go ahead and ask yourself this question. It’s important to keep a vision in mind. Especially so if you’re self-employed, because you’re the boss! So, would like to work 25 hours a week? 6 hours a day? Think about the other facets of your life – how could you find balance?

Now, compare this with how much you are currently working. There’s probably a difference. Start thinking about ways to close the gap.

Your Schedule Bone Is Connected to Your Pricing Bone

I love this saying from Ariane Trelaun, a fellow bookkeeper and self-described business witch. The point she puts across here is that how much you need to work is directly connected to how much you charge for that work. So, if you need to work 60 hours a week at the rate you’re charging now, imaging upping that rate by a couple bucks. Maybe you could ease back to 40 instead! Doing this math requires being aware of your expenses, and setting income goals based on them.

Try taking a look at your expenses, and how much you’d like to work. Ask yourself, “How much do I need to charge to work that amount?” Doing so can bring you more awareness of why you work as much as you do, and how you can start to limit that. For more thoughts on considering what you make as a business owner, check out this article.

Business, Not Busy-ness

It’s important to note that beyond income needs, there are many other reasons why we might find it difficult to put a cap on our work hours. Many people use work as a coping mechanism, or pride themselves on long hours. Being busy is not a badge of honor. In the long run, busying yourself with your business can lead to solopreneur burnout and a lack of fulfillment in your business. The more you choose to set up your business in a restorative way now, the more it will serve you down the road.

I hope this exercise helps you think through the way you’re structuring your work schedule, and encourages you to find ways out of overwork patterns! If you’d like some personalized help with any of this, please check out my services and schedule a discovery call.

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Angela

Image: Slava Keyzman

Stop Expecting “Business As Usual”

So far, 2020 has been a challenge for many business owners. The COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout and the protests that have broken out around the country have both rocked the business landscape. Many solopreneurs and business owners have had to completely reshape their offerings and financial strategies. Perhaps this includes you!

This time last year, I shared my thoughts on how to do a mid-year review. This time around, I’m thinking about how rather than reflecting on the year so far, it’s time to adapt to a new and different future. I had prepared a blog post about how my income expectations faltered as the pandemic set in. However, because so many people ended up needing help straightening out their books, I blew my original income goal out of the water! My point with this post was going to be how important it is to not let a dismal situation limit your expectations for your business. But, at this moment, I think there’s something deeper to learn. In these rapidly-changing times, it’s important for us to adapt and be gentle with ourselves.

No More “Business As Usual”

Despite the many plans for re-opening the U.S., for many of us, things are not going back to normal. Perhaps you already know this from looking at your bottom line. Or maybe you’ve seen reports about how small businesses have been affected at large. The economic effects and social effects of recent times have created a lasting change in the small business landscape. It’s important for us as business owners to prepare for things to continue to change. This can look a myriad of ways. Creating a money system and putting together a savings cushion are two great strategies for establishing financial resiliency if you want extra ideas.

Just because things aren’t going back to normal doesn’t mean it’s all doom and gloom, though. Aside from the economic effects, both the pandemic and the recent Black Lives Matter protests have also enriched the business landscape from a social perspective. There are so many opportunities for collaboration! Now more than ever, we have an opportunity to lift each other up. If you want more ideas for collaboration, check out my article on 7 Tips for Business Owners During COVID-19 and my Cash Flow Reboot Guide.

Be Gentle

Don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t meet your income goals or if your business is struggling. Conversely, if you find yourself getting a ton of business as a result of the pandemic, don’t work yourself too hard, either! Coping with changes in your business can be challenging. Giving yourself the space to be present with feelings that come up and get enough rest are of paramount importance. The reality is that, no matter how hard you grind right now, in many cases things are still going to be challenging. This is a hard time in the world for most people, solopreneur or not! Be gentle in your expectations of yourself as best you can.

Be Present

In addition to stepping up to give your emotions some space, this is also a time step up for your community as a business owner. The current moment we are in is showing us many ways to do this. Whether we choose to uplift Black colleagues, create fundraising projects, or present some offerings for free, we’ve got options in how to contribute. I think that, if we want to, we can use this moment to permanently change how we do business. I love the way that Proposals for the Feminine Economy frames businesses – as “needs-fulfillment machine[s].” How can we find ways to do business that meet, not only our own needs, but the needs of those around us? Both COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter protests have shown us how connected we all really are – socially and economically. This is a question we can sit with right now.

What are your thoughts about business as usual? Has your business experienced any bumps in the road? Please sound off in the comments below. If you’re feeling in need of more guidance on how to navigate this time, don’t hesitate to check out my services and schedule a call.

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Angela

Image by Christin Hume