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Why you should do more of what you love Part 2: Taking a mindful approach to running your business

In my last blog post I talked about how I came to a realisation that changed everything. I realised that I didn’t enjoy managing people, that I wasn’t any good at it and that trying to be good at it was making me miserable and ill. The solution was simple: stop doing it, and focus on the things I am great at. That’s what I did, and I’ve never felt better!

Today, I’d like to encourage you to stop for a moment and think about your business. Are you spending enough time on the things you love and are great at? Or does running your business feel like a constant battle?

Don’t get me wrong; it’s extremely unlikely that you’re ever going to love every second of your working day and that there won’t be any tasks that make your heart sink. But the key is to find a balance, and to make sure you’re not spending more than 20% of your time feeling ‘meh’.

The first step to redressing the balance is awareness. Notice how you feel when you’re going about your day. At the very least listen to what’s going on in your mind and body as you work through your to-do list. Maybe even write it down (my ‘Your Business Love/Hate Audit’ can help with that*).

Do certain tasks leave you feeling exhausted? Frustrated? Stressed? Angry (I think we’ve all had moments where we’d like to launch our computer from a 3rd floor window)? What is it about those tasks that makes you feel that way? Perhaps you find them difficult. Or maybe it’s easy for you to get them done, but you just don’t want to be doing them because they bore you to tears. For most people it’s a combination of the two. Notice how much time you’re spending on tasks that make you want to run for the hills.

It’s equally as important to take time to notice which tasks leave you feeling energised. What are you doing when you’re in the zone and lose track of time? Are you spending enough time working on the things you love?

Ask yourself whether you believe that in order to run your own business you need to do All The Things yourself (even if that leaves you exhausted and unhappy). It’s always useful to think about whether All The Things actually need to happen (do you really need to use every single social media platform for instance). Then consider whether those things need to be done by you. Is there anything you could outsource?

Here’s an example of how one of my clients (let’s call her Rachel) makes this work for her:

Rachel absolutely adores creating content for her clients. She knows that putting together amazing resources and delivering those in an engaging way is a huge strength, and is where she brings most value to her business. However, she also knows that she hates the detail. She really dislikes the faffing involved in creating and adding links, uploading stuff to the cloud and adding it to her website. If she had to do all those things herself, Rachel would soon lose her motivation. Her oomph would start to dwindle. It’s quite possible that her glorious content would never see the light of day.

Because she understands all this, Rachel outsources the bits she hates. She sends me her content, I proofread it, add the links, upload stuff to Amazon S3 and then set things up on her website. She does what she loves, and I do what I love. Hooray!

Of course, in reality not everyone is in a position to outsource. Rachel can delegate because her business is established and she has a steady income. But if you’re still building your business, you will probably need to do everything yourself to start with. Actually, that’s no bad thing; by doing stuff yourself you’ll start to build a valuable picture of what you love and what you don’t. That will be useful to know when your business has grown and you are able to outsource.

Wherever you’re at in your business, stay mindful of how you’re spending your time. Aim for balance and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Most importantly: Remember why you started your business in the first place, and make sure you protect chunks of time for the things that bring you joy!

 *The “Your Business Love/Hate Audit” is designed to help you notice how you’re spending your time, which tasks you love, which bring value and which could be outsourced. You can get your free copy here.

Louise MillerComment