Running a business is no easy feat; add in a global pandemic, a crashing economy, people out of work, and kids out of school.
There is a lot of uncertainty.
As a business owner myself, I feel it and I see it all around me.
My family, my friends, my colleagues and myself… we are unsure, and feeling very anxious at a level that is almost crippling at times.
With as many ups and downs that we have had over the past several months – and the months to be, it is important to focus.
And workflows help you do just that.
In this blog, I’m going to share with you some of the ways that I’ve been leveraging workflows to help my business thrive in uncertain times and have a more positive outlook than ever before.
I’ll Never Say “I’m Busy” Again
The past few months have been a rollercoaster ride; there have been so many unknowns. Meanwhile, my business has actually been busier than ever.
This would normally be GREAT news, however, running a business as a single mom with two kids that have been homeschooling has not been ideal.
I needed help and support, more than ever before.
The tricky thing is – we’ve been insolation! I can’t exactly call up a babysitter and hit up the coffee shop for some quiet work time.
I quickly felt depleted, exhausted, and a bit hopeless on how I would ever get through this for an indefinite amount of time.
5 Tips to Help Your Business Thrive in Uncertain Times
After a particularly exhausting week, and a nose dive into the land of “I’m never going to get through this” I had to get back to my core.
I’ve been through hard times before. I just needed to dig back into my survival toolbox.
Tip 1: Set up Space
I’m the first to say that I am so lucky to have an enclosed home office space. However, at the time my kids stopped school, it was only setup with a single desk for me.
Once we knew we were in this for the long haul, we rearranged furniture, leveraged a few folding tables, and created workspaces for each kid.
Each of us had our own desk, supplies (headphones for everyone were absolutely necessary!), and device to work from.
We were able to stay close, in case anyone needed help, but not so close that we drove each other crazy.
For more ideas on setting up space, check out this article on Wrike.com.
Tip 2: Create a New Routine
Obviously our routine of kids going to school and mom getting to work just wasn’t going to happen for some time. As a family, we had to sit down and figure out how we could make this work together so that we could thrive.
After detailing out my requirements as well as the kids, we set up our scheduling so that they aligned; we set up our quiet work time at the same time, we set up our Zoom meetings, at the same time. (Yes, I also upgraded my internet to support this!)
While I still am waking up early and staying up late to have extra quiet work time, setting the expectation as a family and all agreeing to it scheduling has helped tremendously.
Creating and then aligning our schedulings was the first step to ensure positive, productive work habits.
Tip 3: Identity “Next Step” Actions
Once we had our schedules aligned, we worked through our agendas.
While I had work tasks to complete each day, the kids had school tasks to complete.
I revamped and reorganized my existing processes to ensure that I always knew the next step action for every client and project that I was working on. I then scheduled the next step action into my calendar during my specified quiet work times.
The same approach was set up for the kids using a printed agenda.
I know this sounds very OCD – and it is a bit! However, when you know exactly what you have to do and when you have time to do it, there is a significantly less amount of dawdling around and procrastinating.
Tip 4: Get Support
The last step that we took in order to make our new reality work and to begin to thrive was to get support.
I’m not an expert in 4th and 5th grade common core math – and I just don’t have time to watch YouTube and try to decipher the codes.
I provided my kids support by setting up time with a tutor 3x/week along with their regularly scheduled class meetups. My girls felt much less anxiety about completing work when they knew they would always have someone to check in with and help them if they needed it.
For myself, I enlisted in my first virtual assistant. I’ve been teetering on bringing a VA on board now for almost a year – and the current situation basically mandated it. My assistant has really allowed me to focus more on the most important aspects of my business (like creating content such as this blog) and stepping back from the repetitive or other time-consuming tasks.
Tip 5: Practice Self Care
My last tip for thriving during uncertain times is keep your self care routines and rituals in place. With heightened anxiety, sleep, exercise and eating healthy is more important than ever before. Plus, these rituals will help boost your immune system and help keep you safe.
While my workout routine isn’t exactly what it was before – I am really enjoying morning walks with my girls and pup as well as evening bike rides. As a family, we are spending more quality time together which is wonderful for the soul.
Play to the Long Game Versus Short Term Solutions
During times of uncertainty, we all have the option to play the short game (think: how can I survive today?) or the long game (think: how can I pivot so that this can work in 6- 12-months or even years?)
With the future being unknown, I encourage you to look at solutions that will help you move from short-term survival thinking to a longer-term sustainable game plan.
What tips do you have to help others thrive during uncertain times?