Are You a Grumpy Business Superhero?

Are You a Grumpy Business Superhero?

Whatever type of business you run there are times when you just need a little assistance. It may be a one-off to get back control or maybe just an hour a week to update your Facebook page. You may need proper business support.

*  Just because you run your own business doesn’t mean you have to be a superhero and do it all.

*  Just because you are a whizz with a drill, pen, wrench or pair of tweezers doesn’t mean you love hanging out on social media even though you know it’s where your clients are.

*  Just because you chose to go self-employed doesn’t mean you can’t spend time with the family at weekends.

*  Just because you love your work doesn’t mean you don’t worry at night about getting behind with the paperwork.

* Just because you can (after a fashion) ‘do the admin’ doesn’t mean you should have to.

 

There’s no point being a superhero if you are a tired, grumpy, resentful one!

 

Why not message me today and find out how I can help you.

 

School Holidays for the Self-employed

School Holidays for the Self-employed

What advantages did you write down when you decided to be self-employed in the first place? Better work-life balance? More quality time with your family? If you are a self-employed parent chances are working during the school holidays probably featured near the top of the disadvantage column. However, with some forethought, you should be able to combine spending time with your children and your business without too much guilt!

 

You will know the dates of the school holidays well in advance so make a plan

  • The ratio of parent/business owner hat you will be need to wear will depend on the age of your kids but, even if you don’t already, you may choose to work from home at least some of the time.
  • Get ahead of your workload if you can to allow some breathing space when you need it.
  • Teenagers can be left to their own devices (mostly) and they often very helpfully don’t get up too early meaning you can make the most of the peace and quiet first thing.
  • Sports clubs and social activities are great resources even if you have to check emails while waiting for them in the car or nearby café.
  • Take up any offers of help from relatives – grandparents, other family members – you get a few hours (or days) to work and they have some quality time together.
  • Share with other parents – schedule in swaps with others who need to work.
  • Plan ahead with your clients – be honest! Tell them you are not working that week or only working on specific days, or if only working late or early. Warn them you will be working but might not be contactable on the phone or immediately on the email and use your out of office for down time.
  • Don’t take on work that is very important or time specific, even if you are sure you can manage. Chances are something will happen to upset your plan just when you have promised a tight deadline.
  • Spend the time on your own business housekeeping. You won’t feel so bad having to break off from writing a blog post or tidying up your accounts to sort something out.
  • Make packed lunches and snacks up just as you would on a school day. It will save time later on.
  • Take time out each morning to get everyone outside for a walk or a visit to the playground. You won’t feel as guilty later when they are left with their screens.

Don’t forget those advantages you wrote down at the beginning of your self-employed journey!

If you were employed you would get annual leave. Make sure you take some time out and enjoy the flexibility you promised yourself and your family.

 

What great strategies have you put in place for the school holidays? Do you have a plan or do you wing it and hope for the best? Please drop a comment below and let us know what works for you.

Why not message me and find out how to outsource some of your admin even just to give you more flexibility over school holidays. Hourly rates available.

Mindfulness – Easy Ways to Build some into Your Working Day

Mindfulness – Easy Ways to Build some into Your Working Day

I took part in a short mindfulness course recently and, having gone in a bit curious and a touch uncertain, I now understand the main principle of being present, aware and in the moment rather than worrying about what has gone or what might happen. I’ve started incorporating some easy mindfulness exercises into my day which I thought I would share.

How can we build mindfulness into our working day?

Think about your drive to work this morning, or if you work from home think about your morning routine. Do you come the same way each day or eat the same thing for breakfast? Do you notice what’s going on around you? Do you wonder sometimes if the lights you just went through were actually on green? Do you think about each tooth as you brush?

Chances are you don’t really think about these actions much. They are almost automatic. We do these things so often they are in our muscle memory and often we can carry out these tasks while thinking about something entirely unconnected. Training our brain to stick to one task, one thought, isn’t easy though. We all have busy lives where we often have to multi-task and juggle. Mindfulness takes practise but it can help with stress, anxiety, productivity and creativity.

Learn how to breathe

Take the time to concentrate on your breathing for a few minutes. Try this at various times during the day – before you start work, before a particularly vital meeting perhaps. Set a notification alarm on your phone to remind you.

Sit on a chair with your back straight, your feet on the floor and your hands in your lap. Close your eyes if you want to and start to become aware of your body and how it feels against the chair and the floor, whether you are warm or cold, let your body become heavy.

Breathe in through your nose for a count of 3 then out through your mouth for 3. On each inhalation imagine the breath flooding into your lungs and then, on breathing out, consciously follow the path of the breath around your body. Imagine it flooding down to the tips of the toes and fingers. If your mind starts to wander just acknowledge the thought and gently bring it back to your breathing.

Single-tasking

We have long been told that the ability to multi-task is the key to productivity. However with so many external distractions now in our high-tech lives actually this often isn’t the case.

Being mindful about a task means to take away distractions and concentrate the mind on the job in hand. If you’re working on a computer close down the windows you don’t need and put your phone on silent. Log off from emails and social media – don’t just close them down as you will still get notifications popping up on your screen. Set a timer and work on the task for the time you have allowed yourself. If your mind wanders gently bring it back the task. It may not be practical to do this all of the time at work but try where possible to complete one task before starting another.

Pay attention

How often do you ask a colleague or the postman how they are or if they had a good weekend? Now how often do you really listen to what they say?

When you have a conversation make a point of doing it mindfully. Look at the person you are talking to, watch their mouth form the words, listen to each sentence they say. Keep your mind actively engaged on the conversation, think about what they are saying, not just the words but their voice, tone and body language. Ask questions and give the other person your undivided attention for those few minutes.

Get outdoors

Take a lunchtime walk if you can. Being outdoors, taking the time to practise your breathing again, and walking mindfully will help with that afternoon slump time.

When you walk use your senses to look around you. This sounds easy but often we look without really noticing. Concentrate on the weather, the temperature, what’s around you. Are there any noises? Can you hear birds, how many different songs? Or the traffic, is it just cars you can hear or is there a lorry or an ambulance? Does the grass make a noise as you walk on it? Are the trees moving or can you smell someone’s lunch? How does your body feel? Are your legs tired or are you feeling energetic? Can you feel the cold in your nose as you breath?

Try not to think about work, what has happened so far that day or what you have left to do. If your mind wanders acknowledge that you will think about work again when you get back to your desk. Bring your mind back to the present.

Take ownership

In the workplace this can mean accepting mistakes you may make. Own up, even if you are only accountable to yourself, and accept it. If you can change something or learn from the mistake do so. If you can’t action the error just take some time to acknowledge it and how you are feeling and then let it go.

Also acknowledge when you have something tricky coming up and you need a little extra time. Plan your time in your diary – not just a meeting, set aside the time to write and go over your notes, to travel without rushing, to take a few minutes beforehand to breath mindfully and to settle your mind. Ask for help if you need it and also take any compliments mindfully too.

Practise

As I said at the beginning mindfulness takes practise and there are many routes you can take to learn more including apps, books and courses.

Throughout your day remember the principle of mindfulness is about immersing yourself in the present moment –

“ If you worry too much about what might be, and wonder too long about what might have been, you will ignore and completely miss what is.”                                                                                                               (1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently, Marc & Angel Chernoff)