I should write that promotional email.
I should post twice a day in Facebook groups.
I should keep pushing through even though I want to have lunch in the sun and relax for 30 minutes.
Sound familiar? There are so many "shoulds" when it comes to business. We're so inundated with advice from books, features and articles (just like this one -- sorry not sorry) that it's easy to lose our way in business, particularly when we're starting out.
There's one main reason this is happening to you.
You're trying to find a shortcut.
In the spirit of saving time, I'll give it to you straight -- there isn't one. The only result you'll receive from absorbing everyone else's "How To Guide" is that you'll end up doing it their way.
And yeppers, I'm saying this from experience. After two years in business, I've realized one big fat truth -- I can do whatever the hell I want. I can say what I want. Work when I want. And work how I want.
And you can, too. If you've fallen off track and feel totally confused with what you're doing and why, here are some prompts to get you started:
- Why did you start your business?
- Who are you here to serve?
- What are your goals?
- What feels good to you? (Do more of this.)
- What makes you feel like you're turning into someone you don't recognize? (Do less of this.)
If this is resonating, I'm going to make an assumption -- you're less than 12 months into your online business. And that's all good, it wasn't too long ago that I was in that very same place and I remember it well. I remember side-hustling my ass off at my day job and feeling totally out of whack because while my brain wanted to focus on building my empire, I had a team who constantly gave me tasks: "Cheryl fix the printer. Cheryl order catering. Cheryl book a meeting room."
There are numerous reasons why I worked a day job as I built my business -- explained at length in this HuffPost piece -- and it was a smart decision. But it also played into the should-ing phenomenon.
Could I be an assistant by day and an entrepreneur by night?
I felt like I was living a double life.
It made me incredibly susceptible to taking advice from those who had attained the elusive "full time in my business" status. Because they knew what was best, right?
Wrong. They knew what worked for them. But it didn't work for me. Of course it didn't -- I was taking scheduling advice from a mom of two. Look, if you're a mom, you're a hero in my eyes and that sentiment quadruples if you also run a business. But that's not my reality. I'm in a fortunate and blessed position to have no dependents, meaning I have total control over my time and I don't have to work around anyone else.
And if I want to take a day off on a Thursday and work all day on Sunday? I can do that.
Remember you are the boss. You make the decisions in your business, regardless of whether you're starting out or if you have several years under your belt.
But for the love of all things holy, it's time for you to stop should-ing all over your business.
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MORE ON HUFFPOST:
BILLS: Every month, input your billing dates into your calender or smartphone to help you pay bills on time, suggest Professional Organizers in Canada (POC).
LETTERS: Use a tray, box or dedicate one drawer to organize your mail. You can label your tray or box with 'must be paid', 'incoming mail', or 'junk' — this is an easy way to keep your mail (which, as we all know, is usually bills) organized.
MESSY ROOMS: Which room is the messiest? Which room is in dire need of a vacuum? Before you start to organize any room in your home, ask yourself which room is the priority. Make an action plan — write down the problem you have with each room and what you would like to see changed.
THINK SMALL: Not every cleaning task needs to be a room. POC say you shouldn't just start in a small place, but instead, start with smaller tasks. For example, if your laundry room is the problem, start by organizing or washing all the laundry hanging around your home.
FAMILY NIGHTS: Maybe Monday nights are game nights and Fridays are pizza nights. Whatever your family is into, make a routine out of it, says POC.
MAKE THOSE CALLS: We all have relatives and friends we haven't touched based with in a while. This year, POC recommends starting fresh and spending a few minutes every week either emailing, texting or calling someone important in your life.
DOWN TIME: Maybe you both love rock climbing, cooking or even sitting on the couch catching up with your favourite shows. Whatever it may be, this year, improve your relationship by finding common goals and scheduling a day to actually do them, according to AskMen.com.
BE UNPREDICTABLE: Take a look at your partner's calender (and no, not by snooping in their personal email) and figure out what he or she has coming up in their schedule. Maybe it's a baseball game or movie night — YourTango.com recommends making an unexpected surprise like a meal or snack to help them get their day started right.
EMAILS: Most of you are probably getting tons of emails during the day (the average employee gets around 50, according to ABC News). This year, spend one part of your week (even a few minutes a day) clearing our your inbox and replying to emails. Tip: this past week we tested out an email organizational tool called The Swizzle.
THE DESK: Certified organizer coach Ellen Faye says being more productive starts with your work space. Clean out your drawers, throw away those old files and magazines, and start over with a clean desk.
Follow Cheryl Muir on Twitter: www.twitter.com/cheryljmuir