These are crazy times. Something that could not have imagined and came on so quickly, we had little time to prepare for. It is easy to feel overwhelmed and feel a little paralyzed about what to do first. Now would be a great time to incorporate some tried and true routines to help you organize your mind, reduce your bodies reaction to stress and prioritize what needs to be done.
A good routine first thing in the morning is to spend a few quiet moments breathing deeply. Breathe in on the count of four, hold for four and breathe out for 4 counts. This helps oxygenate the blood which physiologically reduces your body’s reaction to stress. Stress is actually the body’s reaction to a loss of oxygen because you breath more shallowly. Breathe in and quiet your mind so you can focus on what you will do next.
Let our mind live-stream what you are most worried about.
Write these things down without censoring yourself. Let them all come out and write them down as you think of them. This simple activity of writing everything you are worrying about will alone lift the anxiety of just letting them live unidentified, floating freely and uncontrolled in your mind. Once you can stare them in the face, you can start to organize them into categories. There are ones that you can control and directly impact, there are some that you cannot control except how you perceive them and what your reaction to them will be.
Now everything that has been weighing you down and lending to the sense of being out of control is on paper. More often than not, the list, once seen, does not look as bad as that feeling you were carrying around.
Look at the list and prioritize those issues that are most important to work with first. Which items, if resolved would make your life easier to manage? Take each one and list the action items that can be taken to resolve them. Create a plan for how you will attack each item and schedule the time into your calendar as a meeting you cannot cancel.
For the ones that are out of your control, recognize that and choose a different way to perceive them. “I cannot control this, I can only control my reaction to it” Focus your time and energy on what you can control.
Find the Help you Need
You may discover that you need help you do not currently have. It could be in the form of a mentor, new or different staff, professional business services (good CPAs can help businesses navigate the muddy waters of running a business from just OK to successful), a peer group of people who have similar issues and could benefit from the power of outside opinions and group brain storming. If no such group exists, form one yourself. All business owners have similar issues, so reach out to some and form a business counsel of sorts where everyone can contribute something.
Find Apps and Other Technology
Find apps that can help you standardize and automate task. Everything from using bank downloads. Using something like Trello as your virtual To Do list to keep track of everything you want to do. Trello is an awesome, free app that can organize everything; easy to use and customize, it helps you keep track of what you want to do, what employees are doing, ideas you want to incorporate later. Just YouTube it and give it a go. There is literally an unlimited number of apps that can work for you and apps that make several apps communicate with each other and perform repetitive tasks between apps. Zapier is my favorite app of all time. You can become a software developer without any training whatsoever. Point and click automation.
Stay Committed to a Daily Process
Stay committed to starting your day the way you want. Do not let yourself get hijacked by others. Every morning, schedule a meeting with yourself to look at your list, decide what you will make headway on today and commit to making that project as important as any other project, distraction, someone else’s emergency that wants to become your emergency. You have to decide that what you need to get done that will improve all the days ahead is the most important task for at least 1 or 2 hours of your day and do not let someone else, something else sidetrack you. With every other task that comes up, decide where it should fall in the list of priorities. You will find that you let other things distract you that really do not deserve to take charge of your day. That is mostly because you have not really connected with what is a priority, nor developed a plan for attacking them. Once you find the clarity of what you really want, what needs to happen to attain it and the focus of dedicating time to strategies and action items that will lead to results, you will not let yourself get sidetracked as often.
Now you are more in control
You have identified fears, your anxieties, what you can control and what you need to let go of. Now rinse and repeat every day. And at night, another 5 minutes breathing; slowly, deeply. Remind yourself what was good about today, what you accomplished, what will be important to you tomorrow. Visualize your life as you want it to be and ask the universe to provide what you need to get there. Keep seeing your life as you want it to be and you will start making decisions that will keep you on that path instead of feeling like a ball in a pinball machine. Don’t be a pinball machine. Be a calm, focused person who knows what they want and is actively working toward the vision.