Time Management for the Tired and Frazzled


Time Management for the Tired and Frazzled

Time Management for the Tired and Frazzled

In David Allen’s excellent book Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, he outlines five stages to mastering your workflow. These stages include:

  1. collecting the things that command our intention,
  2. processing what they mean and what to do about them,
  3. organizing the results,
  4. reviewing the options, and,
  5. doing!

He also mentions that one’s process is only as good as the weakest link. However, what if you are the weakest link?

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You Might Be the Weakest Link

In my years as a professional organizer, the one thing that really caused the most disorganization in people’s lives was the inability to make a decision. People would routinely have piles all over their homes and offices, and not have the slightest clue what to do or where to start. I’d like to call this “decision fatigue.” And it’s what leads to clutter. If you need to work on making faster decisions, here’s a helpful article from Success Magazine: 9 Tips to Make Smarter Decisions Faster. I like the idea of using a timer, so decisions don’t linger forever.

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Be Ruthless

Now in organizing physical stuff as well as the chores you need to do for your business, you need to be absolutely ruthless. If there’s something that isn’t going to help your business, you need to take out your biggest rubbish bin and throw that thing away (and by the way, having a BIG rubbish bin really helps–trust me on this). Putting off decisions will lead to clutter on your desktop, on your desk, and nothing will get done. Or things will get done very slowly, and painfully. This also goes for people who aren’t sympathetic to your work life. You don’t have to cut them out of your life forever but pivot away from those things that bring down your energy level. See How Pivoting Away from Drama Will Make You Less Stressed.

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It’s Counterintuitive

Making decisions will give you more energy, although you might not think so. You might think that putting off that decision will help you avoid your negative thoughts about it. Not so. It will still weigh on your mind like the proverbial albatross. And unless you really love having giant ocean-going birds hanging around, you’re probably better off without them. So if you’re feeling really tired and frazzled? Make a few decisions and see whether your energy levels improve. Want to get some other ideas? Here’s How Tired Business Owners Save Time: 10 Terrific Ways.

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The Metaphor is Yours and Yours Alone

Whatever metaphor you use, making decisions about the tasks at hand is up to you. Some people say you need to eat the frog first thing in the morning. In other words, do your most unpleasant task first. Personally, I’m a tactile learner, so my metaphors are usually about physical action. I like to hit things out of the ballpark, for instance. And I like to start with small wins. So, keeping with the baseball metaphor, maybe I’d bunt the ball and get to first base to create some momentum, rather than eating a frog. I like Brian Tracy’s story about eating the frog.

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If your funds allow, outsourcing some or part of your work could be very helpful. See my post from last week about outsourcing your blogging. You can outsource practically anything. Have someone help with sales calls, picking up the phone for you, or what have you. You can even hire a CEO if you need to! Here’s a list of some things you might consider:

  • Making appointments
  • Graphic design
  • Shopping
  • Research

In fact, you may want to outsource everything about your business and then take a vacation. After all, you deserve one, right? Or only do the parts of your business that you really enjoy doing!

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Take Enough Time to Sharpen the Axe

In organizing for your business day, just like in organizing your home, you need to spend a little time and figure out what you’re going to do and how you’re going to do it. That means planning. Without some kind of a roadmap, who knows what you’ll end up doing all day or how long it’ll take. There will always be unplanned events and emergencies, but if you already have a plan, they’re less likely to sidetrack you. I like to spend at least 5-6 minutes (preferably 15!) writing down a to-do list for the day. And it’s best to write your list the night before, to get all those nagging things off your mind so you can sleep! The next morning, you’ll probably come up with a few more items to add to your list, too.

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Are You Getting Enough Sleep?

If you’re really tired and frazzled, sleep might be part of the problem. A lot of us really do not get enough sleep. Here are my Ten Reasons to Get More Sleep So You Can Conquer the World. Sorry–you can’t outsource sleep, although it’s possible to get a sleep coach if you really get stuck. But if you’re running a small company or startup, you need all your brain power to solve problems. Getting enough shuteye really helps. Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, it’s very common for people to say things like “I can sleep when I’m dead,” as though sleep were something merely optional. It’s not.

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Collaborations Give You Energy

Sometimes the best ideas come from people who do the same thing you do. Do you have a group of people who support you, help mentor you, and that you help in return? Your peer support group can save you tons of time and energy. There are many support groups online. For instance, Facebook groups are a good place to look. And if you like an in-person group, Meetups are a great place to discover like-minded people.

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The Doing

Arguably, the most important part of time management is the doing. That is, if you’ve actually gone through and collected your items, processed your list, organized, and reviewed everything appropriately. After all, you don’t really want to be one of those “do something–even if it’s wrong” people, do you? Probably not.

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Are You Tired and Frazzled?

What has helped you move from being tired and frazzled to alert and excited about work?

Startups: Why Being Vulnerable Makes You a Better Entrepreneur


Startups: Why Being Vulnerable Makes You a Better Entrepreneur

Startups: Why Being Vulnerable Makes You a Better Entrepreneur

Being an entrepreneur, you’ve probably heard that you should be tougher, leaner, and quicker at decision-making. And while all of these traits are important, you might have never heard that being vulnerable could help you as an entrepreneur.

Recently, on Women in Business Today’s (#WIBT) hangout on air, we discussed Brene Brown’s TEDxTalk on vulnerabililty. Brown is a scientist who takes years–and a stint in therapy–to discover how to be vulnerable.

Vulnerability Gives You Courage

As an entrepreneur, you’re investing in the future of your idea or startup. And while you may believe you have the best idea in the world, there are so many things that could go wrong. People and brands think they have the answer to all the prayers of the known world, but people are emotional creatures. CEOs often forget this. We all make decisions based on emotion. Thus, a potential client may love the idea a startup has, but what if that client hates the company for the way it advertises or treats its employees? What if the idea is terrific, but the timing is off? Or what if the funding doesn’t come through for your high-tech widget?

There are so many reasons why people don’t buy. And every company takes a flying leap into the dark when it puts an idea or product out into the world. Realizing your own vulnerability and being honest about it can open doors where none were open before. By the way, Inc. has a terrific article about the Psychological Price of Entrepreneurship, and the “fake it til you make it” attitude that plagues many entrepreneurs.

Vulnerability Gives Your Employees Courage

Why do your employees decide to work with you? Your product may be no different than anyone else’s. But if you’re authentic, and tell people who work for and with you the truth, the chances are that your employees will feel more courageous, too. They’ll want to stick with you during the hard times, they’ll feel motivated when they get up in the morning. and your product or service will have its differentiator.

Vulnerability Makes You Stand Out

Startups: Why Being Vulnerable Makes You a Better Entrepreneur

Startups: Why Being Vulnerable Makes You a Better Entrepreneur

When you’re vulnerable, when you treat your own employees like family, those people will travel miles to do business with you and to work with you. Once I’m a raving fan, I’ll drive past other businesses to do business with those who treated me well. Often, it’s that emotional vulnerability that is the glue that makes me stick with them. Often I’m willing to do nearly anything to buy something from the company that shows its vulnerability–its heart, if you will. And I’m not alone in this, either.

Emotional Quid Pro Quo

Every time I show my vulnerability in my writing, I’m scared. All those thoughts of “I’m not good enough” emerge from their deep closet. And yet, every time I’ve been rewarded by people saying “Me, too! That happened to me!” Or “OMG. Do you need anything?” Or a story from them, in an emotional quid pro quo. In other words, now that you’ve opened up, I feel that I can, too. And they share something with a similar emotional weight to what I’ve shared. That’s the same way it works for a bigger brand; your emotional vulnerability makes you fans both inside and outside the company.

When Has Vulnerability Helped You?

Have you ever been intentionally vulnerable? Or were you forced into a vulnerable position? Please let me know in the comments!



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