Being an entrepreneur means being obsessed with what you love and somehow almost everything else seems to take a backseat when you're in the zone. You are constantly working even in your sleep even when you're out for a run! Taking your mind off even for a brief minute feels like momentum lost. While this doesn't sound healthy by any means, entrepreneurs especially early on in their journeys (like me), struggle to find that balance between being a founder versus being a spouse, daughter, mother, sister or a friend.
It can get really overwhelming because you start to apply the “think, plan, execute, measure, learn” loop to each and every aspect of your life. But that's pretty much what being a founder is all about. We are obsessives, who live, breathe and exist to solve hard problems. If those problems were easy to solve, they would’ve been solved right? Personally for me, it started to get quite real when I needed to stay motivated & focused on building value for my customer, hiring & coaching my team, establishing trust & culture, while addressing shareholder expectations and trying to live a normal life - such as exercising, dinner with family etc.
This is not unique or a new phenomena. Many female entrepreneurs I meet, especially moms, have found excellent productivity practices that have helped them handle the myriad of responsibilities, decompress when needed and as a result improve their efficiency. I’ve gone ahead and implemented the below 6 into my life:
TMIT - The Most Important Thing. This is something I swear by, after I read about several successful entrepreneurs who still practice this as a daily routine. The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is open my calendar, scroll down to my to-do list and pen down the three most important things I need to get done today. It's harder than it sounds, given you likely are juggling 15 different #1 priorities. But this is why this method works so well because oftentimes I feel like I'm falling behind even though I've likely completed a lot of important things throughout the day. Or alternatively, I got caught up in a distraction which could have waited. This way before I hit the bed, I look at my list and feel satisfied when I check off the three most important things I needed to get done that day.
The Pomodoro method advocates for 30-minute slots where you work for 25 minutes without any distractions that means no Instagram, Facebook, phone calls, emails or anything else. And you set aside 5 minutes to respond to anything that occupies your mind. Having focused time like this really can get you into a flow state. I've also tried doing 40 minutes with 5 minute breaks to get possibly larger pieces of work out such as writing a blog post or building an investor deck.
Stepping away can mean multiple things. It could mean taking a walk with your dog. Going for a run. Cooking if that relaxes you. Doing a Tik-Tok video if that feels like fun. Don't forget we are all humans. We need to feel human. Taking time away from your work refreshes your brain with energy and ideas so you can come back and be more productive.
Because being an entrepreneur oftentimes means, you are wearing many different hats sometimes all those hats on the same day. You may be lucky if you have a good team you can rely on but still as the founder you cannot take your foot off the gas. That means at any point in time you may be the CEO, marketing specialist, blog writer, social media strategist, sales guy, the one who makes cold calls, corrects engineering problems, creates video tutorials, out there raising funds, playing customer support. You see how that's kind of ridiculous? So what many founders recommend is to carve out days that you focus 80% of your energy on that one function. Of course other functions may need immediate attention and you will be expected to adjust as needed, but that comes with practice and time. As an example Mondays and Wednesdays could be focused on Tech. Tuesdays could be on marketing and generating assets. Thursday and Fridays could be outreach conversions and more. Saturdays and Sundays could be things that you didn't get to.
A Trello board for your life sounds like an unachievable hack, but it works. I dump everything I need to get done the night before. I go over it with my team in the morning and just make sure that all the items are listed in priority. This keeps my team focused on working on the most important items as well as myself. So even if a few items at the bottom of this don't get done they just got moved over to the next day. And we go over this exercise again so that at any point in time with my team I feel and know that we are executing on the most important items.
This is the last one I leave you with. Identify one thing that is yours and yours alone. This is something that only you get to do for yourself and for nobody else. I know that may sound highly self-involved, but when so much of your time is spent on being available for everybody and everything else it's important to have a home base. For me. Home base is a 7 a.m. meditation followed by a 1 hour workout in the gym. I unapologetically dock one and a half hours each morning to dedicate to my Wellness both mentally and physically.
A lot of what I've described today has little to do with entrepreneurship and much more to do with just being a human in the workforce. The company obviously feels like the world is on your shoulders while running a team in your company, being a mom by juggling your entire household, being a daughter while handling your family, your career, your parents, your social responsibilities all of these can feel overwhelming and demand a lot from you. Just know that leveraging some really simple habits can help you feel like you have far more control over your time then you do without it.
One of the primary reasons we built Criya was just to take away a lot of the busy work. Many content creators and entrepreneurs have to single handedly manage, build a website, process orders, payments, matching taxes at the end of the year etc. These take away from actually doing the things that you value for your business. We hope our tools and our educational resources help creators, entrepreneurs, side hustlers and freelancers find time back in their schedule to do the things that they love and care about. Try Criya and get your business in order within seconds.