If this is your first business, or your fifth, you know that many days it’s difficult to stop working because there’s so much to do. But in the back of your mind, you also know that if you don’t stop working, and get some down-time and good sleep, your brain turns to mush and your energy levels go to rock bottom. And you also know that sometimes, even though you stop working, your brain is still running through all the problems and issues that are keeping you from switching off and possibly from sleeping and enjoying time with your friends and family.
We’ve gathered some tips for you that should help. But “switching off” whether you’re just starting out or a serial entrepreneur with million dollar businesses is a learned habit that needs consistency and practice just like anything else. So use these tips and make a routine that works, and stick to it until it’s a habit.
- Make a List of Issues and Priorities
This is one of the most helpful tips I’ve ever used. At the end of your day, take 5-15 minutes and either write or type a list of all the issues that need to be taken care of over the next day, week, month, and year (you can choose your timeframe, but at least do a list for the next day). Then prioritize the list. Some people use numbers, some use letters, but prioritize the list. Just writing down all the issues and getting them out of your head will greatly help you be able to shift from work to personal time. And it will help you be more organized the next day.
- Plan Tomorrow
I’ve always been much more successful when I’ve planned my day the night before. Take the priority list you created and spend 5 minutes planning which 3-5 items absolutely need to be accomplished tomorrow. You can even use the Franklin Covey method, and make a secondary priority list…just in case you end up being super-efficient and needing more tasks to accomplish.
- Write Down Your Daily Achievements
I didn’t realize how powerful this was for my focus and stress relief until I tried it. If you take a few minutes before you go to bed and write down at least 3 things you achieved that day, you’ll be able to end the day on positive note. And it really helps your thoughts as you fall asleep. Obviously results vary, but I found that my sleep was less restless and my dreams were more positive (instead of stressed out nightmares with crazy images and a tired brain). I would just jot 3 things down in an app in my phone, but you could use paper or your laptop, or just a quick meditation.
- Start and Stop at Regular Times
If you’re like me, you’re probably thinking “Yeah, right, I own my own business…I’m not one of my employees…there’s no way I can start and stop at regular times”. But it is possible. Take it from someone who’s almost always worked and ran a business at the same time. This doesn’t mean you need to have banker’s hours (no jab to bankers). But if you set specific start and stop times for your business, you’ll find that it not only becomes a habit, but you will become more effective during the hours you allow for business. There’s something about human nature that makes us less efficient if we don’t press ourselves to complete our tasks in a specific timeframe. So make your priority list, and schedule your start and stop times. You’ll see a change for the better in no time.
- Develop a Regular End of Day Routine
There are many, many relaxation routines you can come up with. Some people watch an hour of TV, some people wash dishes, some spend time with family or friends, others meditate. And even multi-million dollar entrepreneurs have their routines. My routine consists of running the dogs, then feeding them, then feeding me, then working until about 8pm. Then I’ll watch an hour of brainless TV (if I can stay awake that long), then take a really hot shower. Boom! Out like a light. And don’t forget your start of day routine…that’s important too. In fact, routines in general, make you more effective. These routines help our brains learn and understand when it’s time to focus and when it’s time to relax.
- Schedule Time for Yourself, Family, and Friends
Develop communication with your family and friends that will allow you to plan around fun time and work time. Even if you plan only a few hours on certain days, it’s better to have something that you can work into your schedule, then to let your business take over your entire life. Down-time increases your energy and productivity, and it can improve your creativity, which can give you more ideas how to improve your business and manage your time.
As business owners, we often feel the demands of the business affects our personal lives. Use these tips to help you take back your time, while also pushing yourself to get more done in each day. The articles I’ve referenced provide even more ways to help you manage your time.
Mahalo and much success,
Brown, J. (2015, August 12). You can Achieve Work-Life Balance as an Entrepreneur (Even With a Newborn). Retrieved from Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2015/08/12/you-can-achieve-work-life-balance-as-an-entrepreneur-even-with-a-newborn/
Focus: Achieving Your Highest Priorities. (2015). Retrieved from FranklinCovey: http://www.franklincovey.com/tc/mediaengine/public/files/fl_focus_v6.swf
Foster, J. O. (2011, September 23). How to Switch off at the End of the Day. Retrieved from Love Your Small Business: Profit with Purpose: http://loveyoursmallbusiness.com/work-life-balance/switch-day/
Shamini Jain, S. L. (2015, January 10). A Randomized Controlled Trial of Mindfulness Meditation Versus Relaxation Training: Effects on Distress, Positive States of Mind, Rumination, and Distraction. Retrieved from ResearchGate: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/6514209_A_Randomized_Controlled_Trial_of_Mindfulness_Meditation_Versus_Relaxation_Training_Effects_on_Distress_Positive_States_of_Mind_Rumination_and_Distraction
Simmons, M. (2015, August 26). How Miilionaire Entrepreneurs Shutoff Work in the Evening. Retrieved from Inc.com: http://www.inc.com/michael-simmons/12-essential-night-time-rituals-of-millionaire-entrepreneurs-part-2.html
Simmons, M. (2015, August 26). How Millionaire Entrepreneurs Hack Their Sleep. Retrieved from Inc.com: http://www.inc.com/michael-simmons/12-essential-night-time-rituals-of-millionaire-entrepreneurs-part-4.html