I had an epiphany a couple of years ago, I was working way too many hours and not getting through my to do lists, customers reminding me I needed to send them some information and with so many ‘To Do’s’ on my mind it was stagnant of ideas and plans… so I had no offers on, facebook hadn’t been updated in a month because even though I had so much going on I didn’t know what to post, I felt like i was constantly behind. I had no plan, all of the plans I did have were out of date and I hadn’t got any thoughts to work on and develop when i sat down with my iPad and a blank page in front of me…
Then one day I had to take a long drive to cornwall for a nail event so i was on the road for 4.5hours to get to my hotel before the event the next morning, after an hour or so, i was on the motorway and would be for a good few hours, with nothing else that i could do besides drive on this long straight road ahead, my mind started wondering, and before i had reached my destination, my mind was full of ideas and all of those things I always had planned or wanted to do popped into my head, so I called my friend on the hands free set in my car and dictated my ideas for her to write down so i didn’t forget them all (there were so many ideas!!)
Ever since then, when I have a long drive ahead of me my mind has magically cleared and for that limited time I my mind de-mists from the everyday and I get a clear picture on where I want my business to be in the near and far future, the same happens when I go on a break or holiday, I find myself desperate for a break and when i get there and leave the office behind within a couple of days of R&R the ideas once again start flowing.
I put this down to the ‘everyday getting in the way’ syndrome (yes i made that up, but I use it all the time now) I get up with the best of intensions, a plan, i know what needs to be done that day but by 10am that plan has sometimes gone out the window already! Take today for example, I did my usual, alarm at 7.30am grab a coffee and check my emails, notifications and my online banking for 10 minutes before getting into the shower…and there on my online banking was a transaction i didn’t recognise, you know that feeling when your bank account is all of a sudden A LOT less than you expect it to be!! and there was what looked like a cheque number as the reference next to it. I thought my usual…right better get planning my next move then!! but this transaction stayed on my mind until i reached my office and after greeting the girls when I arrived I went and got out my cheque books, now I say books because somehow over the years I have ended up with 3 for the same bank account, but still, I’m looking through for the last stubbs in the one I use and of course i see the last cheque i wrote, but no sign of this particular transaction, so I check the other cheque books and there is nothing, so i call the bank. The helpful man on the phone thinks there is something odd with the cheque even just by looking at the transaction and on further investigation he tells me it doesn’t look like my signature at all, so I’m transferred to the fraud team, long story short, it seems my cheque book has been cloned and I’m rooting through my purse to confirm I have my other ID and nothing else obvious is missing, thankfully I have everything I should have but…there is 2 hours of my morning already gone!!! See what i mean? It seems everyday or more often than not there is something that as a business person crops up without warning, whether it is a delivery that hasn’t arrived and you are stuck on the phone for an hour being passed from person to person, or the bookkeeper calls and needs the 1 invoice you cannot find because it has been filed, put into a box, taped up, labelled and put into secure storage, but its urgent!! Then there are the days like last week when vodafone had issues and so we had no wifi in the office at all, so the team are rallying to process orders from our 3G phones only to then realise the printer works off wifi too, so our cunning plan to print the orders and carry on was still scuppered 😦
My point is, the everyday can get in the way, so part of my monthly planning now is to take days off at times where I know I need to start planning my next move, because when I am in the office and those 4 walls I do really enjoy being in with my team, the everyday can take over and all of a sudden its a few hours later and I haven’t started my what I needed to do that day. I catch up of course, but its not the doing… its the planning, the ideas, thinking for just 10 minutes about that conversation with a student or salon owner yesterday that leads me to a thought on how lots of other people say the same/have the same issues in business, with application of product or staff and all of a sudden those 10 minutes thinking about that conversation means I have something to blog about or create a class around! If I just have the conversation and carry on with my next task that idea is lost, but taking the time out clears my mind to develop the ideas from the week or month.
Working IN your business can hinder you working ON your business, so if you find that you struggle to plan and the everyday gets in your way, then there are a few things you can do to clear your mind and get some clarity back…here is what I do:
- Go somewhere other than work! Make the park your office for the day, now this is a bit harder when the summer holidays are on, but if you can find a spot in the park that is quiet then take a blanket and your laptop, pop yourself down and people watch for a while, you might just find your mind wondering about the possibilities like you used to…
- Meditate. This one is harder for me, I always feel like I don’t have time to do it and would rather be ‘getting on with something’ but that something is the thing that means I don’t have time to plan the next move, if you have tried meditation before and enjoyed it or never tried it before i do recommend you give it a go, I know many people who just do 10 -30 minutes each morning and really feel the benefit
- Exercise. Whilst I am not a fan of the gym, I used to find I could happily get on my exercise bike and listen to a webinar i missed the day before, again this helped give me ideas, got me some much needed exercise AND I found it helped me sleep too.
- Make sure you plan a few break into your yearly plans, long weekends where you can get away to the nearest seaside area, so you can sit on the beach or outside a lovely cafe and have a sandwich and cup of tea for a couple of hours and make some notes on your iPad as you relax.
- A long journey and a dictaphone – This is my favourite! have your dictaphone ready or Siri on call to start taping your thoughts as they flow!
Its crazy how when I start to relax and not think about your ‘to do’ list, your mind can clear, but don’t force it, the blank piece of paper/word document in front of you sitting in your office just doesn’t do it for me, My garden, my car and a walk up the field with my dogs are my go to places…
Leave me a comment as to your favourite place to clear your mind, what are your tips for letting the ideas flow and getting out of the everyday for a little while so your business can flourish rather than exist from one day to the next?