This episode is about 5 quick, effective ways to quit “busy working” and have more fun in your business
This episode is the first in a season that focuses on growing your business and your revenue.
Are you a small business owner who regularly feels overwhelmed at all the things you must manage every day, every week, every month? Does it feel hard sometimes, and exhausting, and like you’re spinning your wheels?
Let’s take a step back and map out five quick and effective ways to significantly improve your work life balance and therefore, grow your business more easily. My goal for you in this episode is to help you have the impact you want in your business, more easily and with less stress.
In this episode, I’ll talk about
* Creating Clear, Specific Goals
* Having More Fun at Work
* Setting Clear Boundaries
* Cultivating Hobbies (Flow) and Connections
* Reframing the Day-To-day
When I first started running a business back in 1996, I was a biological scientist who had no idea or experience about the ins and outs of running a business. But working closely with the founder, and being in a managerial role, I intuitively started seeing things we should and could be doing to be more efficient, effective, professional and profitable.
For example – not writing invoices out by hand on a pad of paper! Charging clients for photocopying and printing! Developing professional looking stationery and proposal templates!
As our client base and staff grew, I found myself flying by the seat of my pants in business, trying to manage all of the little details, and feeling like I was an imposter with no idea what I was doing. This was the dawning of the internet, when emails first came about, and the learning curve was steep.
The thing is, no matter when you start a business, it’s full of complexity and challenges that you can’t foresee.
For that reason, a huge part of the journey to succeeding without burnout is learning how to trust yourself, and back yourself, so that you can cope with all the curve balls that come up.
Right now, think about a time when you totally trusted yourself to be able to cope, to find the answer, to work it out, to get it done.
How did you feel?
And what’s the consequence of feeling that way?
For me, trusting that I knew enough and could cope, allowed me to take my foot off the pedal. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t slacking off – I just quit all the busy work and made more effective use of my time at work.
Busy work can include anything that sucks up time for little return. This is a little avoidance rabbit hole that anyone can go down when they have fears, self-doubt or uncertainty. It’s our brain’s way of keeping us safe – but you often end up feeling like you’re groping around in the dark for an answer, and this creates more fear and uncertainty because you’re not doing anything concrete that’s getting you traction.
So what does busy work look like? It includes things like constantly checking emails or your social media profile, making website edits, poring over blogs, doing more courses, trying to perfect your elevator pitch, and anything else that gets in the way of marketing and servicing clients.
After all, it’s marketing and giving clients an exceptional experience that creates a profitable, viable and sustainable business.
So, what can you do to eliminate busy work, time-wasting or low ROI activities so you can enjoy your work, do it more effectively, and therefore improve your business growth, client base and revenue?
I’m going to share 5 things that have worked for me. And because of doing these things consistently, I now work fewer days and hours each week, I have greater clarity and focus on what needs to be done and where I’m going, and I work more effectively and efficiently.
Creating Clear, Specific Goals
It sounds like a no-brainer, but a lot of my business coaching clients have not set any specific targets for their businesses.
When you are really clear on the outcomes you want to realise in a specific time period, and the steps required to get there, it helps you to manifest the outcome.
How? Firstly, because you better understand the level of effort required to meet the outcome goal. Secondly, having specific outcome goals allows you to reverse engineer them to define the smaller milestones and actions that need to be taken, and in the right order. Go back to episode #227 – 90-Day Business Planning – for more info on how to do this.
In short – creating clear, specific goals and reviewing them regularly helps you decide in advance what you’re going and how you will get there, so you can then just follow the plan.
That is a MUCH easier way to work than trying to make it up as you go, or doing it on the fly.
Having More Fun at Work
I want to illustrate this point with a client of mine, who we’ll call Toni.
Toni was struggling in her coaching business with making videos and doing FB lives, as part of her marketing. She really wanted to do videos as she was good at talking, but she was super nervous about it. Wanted to be perfect. Did 100 takes of every video. Wanted me to review all the scripts she had written.
She kept telling me how hard it was. She told herself she was no good at it. These statements she kept making created and reinforced some limiting beliefs.
In one of our sessions, I asked her how she could leverage her strengths and make it more fun.
Toni found her solution. She realised that showing up nervous and fussy was creating a negative energy in her videos. They looked as awkward as they felt.
Toni decided that she would find a way to have fun with the videos and to show up with confidence and conviction.
It was as easy as tapping into her bigger ‘why’ – her passionate advocacy for women and women’s health.
As soon as she approached her videos with that energy, the words flowed. There was confidence in her voice. And funnily enough, her fears melted away and she started to look forward to recording videos!
And suddenly, this shift in energy created enquiries and engagement with her videos.
Just as importantly, Toni no longer spent hours preparing and perfecting scripts, worrying about the perfect lighting, hair and makeup. That was her busy work, and she let go of it, instead showing up with confidence and professionalism, on a mission to change the world.
This one shift saved her about 6-10 hours per week and she started sleeping better, feeling more energized and showing up with confidence.
Another coach I know decided that she didn’t like long, boring written business plans. She found them tedious, so didn’t do them. But not having plans was impacting her work.
Being a creative person, she decided it was more fun to create a one-pager with coloured bubbles highlighting her key goals, marketing processes and packages for the year. This was a fun way to plan, and it resulted in more ease, flow, clients and revenue.
Now she looks forward to planning and sees it as a creative process that allows her to have fun in her business.
Where can you have more fun at work?
Having fun creates flow, which helps you to feel just the right amount of challenge, play to your strengths, be more present in the moment, and experience positive emotions.
Setting Clear Boundaries
If you are working from a place of fear, lack, uncertainty etc, then you might find yourself falling into the trap of working late, working weekends, seeing clients on any day or at any time, and being constantly on your marketing channels looking for leads.
This is ends up being a bunch of energy leaks that leave you feeling unfulfilled, drained and disheartened.
The better way is to set clear boundaries around your time. It might feel hard at the beginning, but that’s your brain trying to tell you that more time at the desk equals better outcomes.
We all know that’s a lie!
Having boundaries changed so many things for me. A few years ago I stopped working weekends, set a clear cut-off time on weekdays, and this year am only seeing clients and having meetings on 3 days per week as this allows me time to recharge my energy.
Now I’m actually making more money with fewer meetings and clients than I did previously. Most importantly, I feel calm, centred and energized.
That’s because having clear boundaries has allowed me to do more outside work to balance my intense focus of the day.
Imagine working without guilt or fear, knowing you have done enough, and having the time and energy to decompress and recharge.
It is a game changer.
It changes the way you show up to client meetings – calm, present, confident, assured, and professional. It changes the way you sleep – soundly and completely without a monkey mind.
And you love going to work each day, knowing that your way of working helps you to feel like this.
Cultivating Hobbies (Flow) and Connections
Leading on from the last point, creating time outside work means you have the time to cultivate hobbies, social connections and other flow activities.
Those types of things meet your needs in those other areas that are essential to your wellbeing.
I also believe that creativity is the opposite of stress. When you have creative flow in your life, it counterbalances the demands in your daily work.
On top of that, research shows that people with more hobbies end up at the top of their professions. The more diverse their experiences, the higher they go. I will share more of this exciting research in a future podcast!
Reframing the Day-To-Day
One last point is to keep watch over your mind.
A lot of the time, having a tough time at work is related to what you’re thinking, or in other words, the sentences you say to yourself each day.
When things get tough, the negative thoughts come out, and they create a downward spiral. They take up valuable time, space and energy.
By catching your thoughts each day, you can reframe them to change the conversation you have with yourself and with others, to make work more pleasant and enjoyable.
Here’s an anecdote. I recently started back at the gym after a long break. The long break was because I had a billion excuses not to go, and why I didn’t like it.
This thinking made it impossible for me to get there. I never found the time.
But then I changed the conversation I was having with myself, and I started looking forward to the gym. Now I seem to find lots of spaces in my calendar for the gym and I am desperate to fit it in.
One of the conversations was about becoming the strongest I can be at 51, to be a role model for other women of my age. To apply my love of challenge to see what is possible.
Another example is marketing. Years ago, I would say that I hated marketing. I was no good at it. It was hard. Guess where that got me?
Then one day I realised some important things. That marketing is a coaching conversation. That marketing is a creative activity. That marketing creates connections and offers hope and leads to services that offer real, tangible change.
Now I love marketing. I became curious about it, and it is one area that I research deeply on an ongoing basis because it’s so closely intertwined with both psychology and creativity.
What are the negative things you say to yourself?
How could you reframe those to totally change the game?
What will the benefits be of those reframes?
Sometimes work can feel like a grind. It can be hard or scary, and that can generate negative thoughts, feelings and a propensity to do busy work. All of that saps energy and affects your professionalism and presence as a coach and business owner.
But there are five things you can do to make work more enjoyable:
- Create clear, specific goals so you have a clear roadmap of steps
- Find ways to have more fun at work, to improve the way you show up
- Set clear boundaries, so that you get enough time off to recharge
- Cultivate hobbies and connections, so you can get into the flow, and meet other needs
- Reframe the day-to-day, catching and changing unhelpful thoughts so you can be your best every day
One last thought – don’t expect every day to be perfect, amazing and wonderful. Shit happens. Negatives are a part of life.
But if your day-to-day focus is on cultivating good, positive, fun and light-heartedness, you’ll be more resilient and better equipped with the inevitable curveballs in business and life.
Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?
Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.
Learn more here: