I sighed. I stare at the task on my to do list. Again. It wasn’t going away, and yet I couldn’t seem to get the project done. Every time I worked on it, I got frustrated. Things weren’t working out the way I envisioned. This just wasn’t my strong suit. Sigh. Push it out to next week. Again.
I love using Todoist.com for all my tasks, but it’s frustrating when Chris keeps bragging about all the “points” he earns for completing all my tasks and I have OVERDUE glaring at me. I click the handy-dandy button that delays the due date another week. I rhythmically tap my pen on my desk. Maybe it’s time to get help with this design project.
<Fast forward 2 weeks.>
A new email comes in and the friendly message reads: “Jen, I have the proofs for you. Let me know what you think!” I open the PDF and grin like a fool. It looks so GOOD! And I didn’t have to do it! We hired a graphic designer and WOW this guy knows what he is doing! I write back: “I love it! Approved! Send it to the printer.”
Jumping over to Todoist, I gleefully check off the huge project that had been weighing on my shoulders for months. I grin.
These are the huge benefits of hiring a team:
When I build a team in my company, it’s imperative that everyone knows their role and what they should work on. My favorite tool is www.todoist.com. I can use hashtags to keep projects organized. I can assign tasks to myself or a team member and then set the date for a deadline. Every day, I get an email reminding me of upcoming and overdue tasks. I can even earn points for completing my tasks! Todoist works on my Apple Watch, there’s an app on my phone, and it’s beautiful on my computer. It synchronizes automatically, so I can stay on top of tasks wherever I am. Best part? The basic version is FREE! The upgraded version is only $29 per year. Totally worth it! If you’re building a team or collaborating on projects, check it out.
I know you’re already a Rock Star business owner. But you don’t have to do this all alone.
Build a team--and gain your sanity back!
This morning I was up early, enjoying my quiet solitude (halleljuah!), my coffee, and my book.
For the umpteenth time, I looked up and out of my picture window and thought to myself, "I hate this view. I miss the country. I miss all the trees." I sighed and went back to my book. My thoughts started wandering and I even started thinking about moving houses again. Then I reprimanded myself: "You just moved, silly girl. It's just one view out of one window and you only spend one hour here every day!" I pushed down my thoughts and changed course. Started looking at it from another angle. "My morning time matters. This is where I gather my thoughts and assess where my life is going. This view matters! If it's distracting to see 5 other houses, and I would prefer to see trees, doggonit, I should make a change!"
I stood up, grabbed my overstuffed recliner, and started shoving it to the other side of the room.
I took action and changed my view. On the other side of the room, I can see three trees, a lovely bench, and my kids' swing. Much better. So why didn't I move the chair sooner?
Here were my excuses:
1. I am always changing things. (I should just be content.)
2. My family will roll their eyes and maybe even complain that they liked it the old way. (People will think I'm crazy.)
3. People who visit my house will think the room was more balanced with the chair in the other corner. (I'll feel judged by their opinions.)
I have to tell you, I have a history of moving furniture. Often. When we were first married, Chris would walk in the door and I would say, "Don't be mad. I moved the furniture again." He likes things steady and predictable while I'm happiest when I'm creating, inventing, and coming up with new ideas.
Even as a little girl, I would rearrange the furniture in my bedroom. My dad would come home and say "You should have waited for me!" Nope. When I get an idea, I need to take action. Now.
I've been accused of loving to move furniture because I have control issues. And while I admit that shoving a huge piece of furniture across hardwood floors is quite satisfying, it's not about control as much as having a functional space. If something isn't working, I'd rather change it than complain about it. My parents were in networking marketing when I was a little girl, and I grew up hearing "Be positive!" I love being optimistic and looking on the bright side of things. If I find myself frustrated with a situation or a scenario, I would much rather brainstorm a solution and just CHANGE it than complain about it.
My problem is that I love people, too. And when the people in my life jokingly (or seriously) start nagging me because I'm "always" changing things or "always" moving furniture or always moving houses, I start to slink down. I better sit still. I better try to be more calm and steady. I should stop the stream of ideas in my head and just be grateful where I am.
Yes, being content is so important! But if you have the power to make a change and you can make things better in your house, your business, or your family, DO IT! Who cares if people think you are crazy?! YOU were made exactly the way you are because God made you this way! You are wired for innovation and ideas and positive change. People like you and me were sent to the planet to look at things in a different way and say, "Huh. If I move this chair, my view will be so much better! I'll enjoy my mornings so much more! I'm going to do it!" So what if people grumble a bit? They will get over it quickly. And YOUR view will be better forever.
My 9 year old saw me shoving the heavy armoire a few inches to make room for my chair, and said, "Shouldn't you wait for one of the boys to move that?" Oh honey. If you only knew how many times I've moved heavy furniture. I'm fine. I'm just fine.
I plopped down in my chair and got a huge grin on my face. THAT view is much better! Fewer houses, more trees. I can't wait until the leaves pop out in the spring! Green grass, we need you!
I grabbed my book and my coffee and sighed contentedly. Who knew such a small change could make such a huge difference?
(What do you need to change? What do you need to move around, both literally and figuratively? Make that change. Ignore the nay-sayers. Listen to your intuition. Make the change. I'm cheering you on.)
Disney is doing things right.
The first time I visited Disney World, I was 19 years old, and yet the magic was as wonderful as if I were only 7. Nothing was lost on me--the pristinely clean walkways, the beautiful flowers everywhere, and the amazing experiences both on the rides and even in the lines!
I've been back a few times, but this year is the first time we worked with a travel agent and we are staying on the property. Everything is included: snacks, meals, lodging. All in one price. We don't even have to carry cash or credit cards. If we need anything extra, we can hook up our credit card to pay with our Magic Bands. They've thought of everything to provide our family with a stress-free experience. We didn't even have to pick up our luggage at the airport--they delivered it straight to our room.
Here's my observation. Disney World was STILL magical, even when I stayed off site and didn't buy their whole package. How can I learn from that, as a busines owner? How can I provide a wonderful experience to ALL my clients, but ALSO have a VIP upgrade available for clients who want even better service and more ammenities included?
Even on vacation, I can't turn off my business brain. I notice marketing and signage everywhere I go. I'm always analyzing customer service, sales, and coupons. As a business owner, I think it's important to keep learning new things every day and to keep striving to get better.
This week, I'm taking it all in. Teach me, Disney. Teach me how to make my business the "happiest place on earth."
Now I'm signing off--time to head to Hollywood Studios!
It's true. You are a busy business owner who needs a break. You need to step away from everything and re-focus, re-energize, and re-connect with your spouse and family.
If you feel like stepping away is absolutely impossible, we need to analyze WHY.
1. Do you have trustworthy staff in place?
Does your staff know exactly how to handle every scenario that comes up in your business? Do they have permission to act and solve those problems? Are they used to you stepping in and solving things? Or have you enabled them to solve problems just like you would?
2. Are you still doing all the work?
Depending on the size of your business, you may still be doing all the work or delivering the service/product. This is, of course, how every business begins. However, in order to grow, you have to start hiring staff and delegating so you CAN get away.
3. Are you constantly playing catch-up?
I talk to many business owners who just can't catch up. There are always emails and problems and projects that are unfinished. If stepping away from your company for a week breeds panic because you would fall even more behind, you need stronger systems in place. You are only one person. You need support, staff, and systems so you can see the big picture and stop putting out all the fires.
I am not trying to discourage you. No, I'm trying to shine the light on areas you can improve. I'm trying to allow you go to on vacation!
If you can paint a vision of what you want for the future, you can attain it.
If you can see it, you can chase it.
If you know where you are going, you will get there.
If you can imagine yourself packing up, leaving your company in good hands, and able to unplug for a week, then you can decide to do whatever it takes to get there.
It's all about staffing, training, and systems.
If you regularly get away from life and business, you can attest how powerful it is to get perspective and return to work more energized and refueled to take your business to the next level!
This week, our family is headed to Florida for some time in the sun and fun together. When I get back, I'd love to talk to you about joining my coaching program. If you're desperate for solid systems that allow you to go on vacation (multiple times every year), let's talk.
About the Author
Hi, I'm Jen Hickle!