Last week I took a last minute opportunity to take a mini vacation. While I was on “vacation,” I found myself with big plans to get caught up and get ahead before our busy fall season started. I take some classes online, my 3 year old has Mother’s Day Out and Dance Classes, and business always picks up around this time. After a 9 hour drive on Monday, I slept in on Tuesday and instantly found myself feeling guilty for not getting more work done. Yes, I seriously felt guilty for being on vacation.
Later that day, I was read a post from Leisa at Words are Little Gods. Leisa was reflecting on how she had a great weekend, but was beating herself up for what she didn’t get done. This suddenly brought my own attitude into focus. Here I was trying to take a vacation and I was literally letting it pass before my eyes.
Another blog I read often is Ronna Detrick’s Renegade Conversations. She recently posted lists of 10 Things She was Saying No To and 10 She was Saying Yes To. I’m going to steal her method for today’s post. While I wish I had half the conviction and determination Ronna does, over the past few months I have felt the need for change. This summer we’ve noticed a wave of changes- some planned and others not as welcome. Without getting too philosophical, I believe things happen for a reason and make us stronger people.
To better serve myself, my family, the wonderful ladies that work for me and my clients,
Things I’m Saying No To
1. Working for Free– Mirroring Number 1 on Ronna’s List of No’s, my project manager and I have been discussing this for a while. I pour my heart and soul into the growth, care and details of this business. Secondarily it’s not fair to our loyal and loving clients who pay us well for me to spend so much time on discounted work.
2. Feeling Guilty about Not Working 24/7.
3. Conversations, Relationships and Clients that Suck the Life Out of Me. Again, I’m using Ronna’s phrasing here because I’ve been troubled with this for a while and I didn’t realize how much it was “Sucking the life out of me” until I read her post.
4. I will not let my Inbox dominate my day. Yes I mean email. At one point in the past year, I was getting about 1,800 emails a day (from clients, contractors, newsletters, junk, etc.) I have done 4 major things to eliminate email overload.
A. We use Basecamp for contractor and client communications. This leaves me with a sense of security because emails don’t get spammed and files are always securely on the server. (We’ve actually been using Basecamp for a year this week and still LOVE it.)
B. I unsubscribed from a number of lower quality newsletters that I considered junk or spam even though I probably signed up for them.
C. I created a Swipe File in my email folders. By using Filters, great newsletters full of ideas and products I might want are securely in a folder, but not in my inbox taking my time when I don’t need them.
D. Using the Zen to Done technique (See #1 On Yes List), I empty my inbox everyday. Yes it’s possible and I’ve been doing it for a while now. I found the first step was to get it empty once and respond to everything the same day it comes in. The mantra “Look at nothing twice” also drives it home.
5. To allowing myself to get burnt out on my business rather than confronting issues.
Things I’m Saying Yes To
1. Using my time more productively and Continuing to become more organized. For the past several months, I have been working through Zen To Done by Leo Babauta. The steps and tasks in the book have definitely been a lifestyle change. When I first started reading the book, I thought I am already doing most of these things. Then I was honest with myself and admitted that I wasn’t following through.
2. I will ask for help when I need it. I have two wonderful VAs and a Project Manager who are always willing to support me. The Key to our success at The Small Business Transcriptionist has always been teamwork.
3.Using #2 as a Stepping Stone, will allow me to do the things I love (in business and in life.) Teresa at Picsie Chick says in her Naked Pictures page, she is in love with what she does and doesn’t feel a need to correct her images. As you can see in her image above, she takes the time to enjoy the beauty of nature because that is her calling and I have to say she does it very well. (Thanks for letting me feature your image Teresa!) I can only hope to use my skills as well as she does.
4. Making time for the Important Stuff. No matter whether it’s a client deadline, spending time with my daughter, or making time for myself.
5. Making the appropriate and timely changes to provide better service to our clients while keeping my contractors and I happily working and profiting.
Now that I’ve gotten it all off my chest, I know that these changes will be better for my company and my clients. Let me know what you think and what changes you might need to make in your business.I encourage you to reevaluate your plan and lifestyle if you are overwhelmed and otherwise unproductive. Perhaps you need to need to find a part time VA or outsource your transcription and editing.
*If you need help finding a VA, feel free to contact me. Both of my VAs work on a “task” basis for me and are quick and efficient.*
Ladies, be sure to check out RonnaDetrick.com for some empowering conversations.
Have a great week!
P.S. Be on the look out for more updates on changes going on around here.
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Erica Cosminsky is an HR Business Strategist for small businesses. She can slog through the pile of applicants and help deliver the best assistant to your “office door”, she transforms mile long to-do lists into manageable bites, and like your best friend after a raging party, she sticks around to offer assistance or clean up any messes, etc. Find her free delegation workbook at TheInvisibleOffice.com
She is a former corporate HR Manager, and ran her own virtual business team for 4 years. She has a BS in Organizational Leadership focused in HR and is a grad student in Industrial and Organizational Psychology focused in Workplace Efficiency. Honestly, if you have questions about working with people, Erica can probably help you. Ask her on Twitter. @Cosminsky