Planning Beyond Your Business
Updated: Jan 10, 2022
This post is going to be less business and more straight talk as we continue to talk Planning.
As sole proprietors, we are juggling multiple tasks in the office or workspace along within our homes. A task that becomes increasingly difficult when your workspace is your home. Whether you are a parent, have fur babies, or even live on your own, working from home requires discipline and plan.
This lesson was hard-learned when I went into business for myself in 2020. A year when everything flipped upside down. My children had remote learning and I was building a business. I had my business plan laid out and covered all the angles. Or so I thought🤦🏽. I did not account for the obvious, my children were home, and not only did I have the usual mommy duties, but I also had to supervise remote learning for my then 4-year-old…this was an oversight that would ultimately almost break me and lead me to question my choice of going into entrepreneurship.
So here is what I learned and how I finally found some form of organization and functionality in this very unexpected journey.
First of all, it is entirely impossible to do everything in 24 hours and still come out the other end with your personal sanity, so please do not beat yourself up if at the end of the day you fell asleep with dishes in the sink🤷🏽♀.
Instead, be realistic about what you can handle in a day and stick to it. i.e., Laundry, Deep Cleaning, and Grocery Shopping can not be done in one fail swoop, along with your remote work. Especially, if you are doing it all alone. Spread the big task out during the week, dedicating time to each task, and be mindful to only do the task you have set out to do. When that doesn’t work, leave some things to be done on weekend and involve your children, if you are a parent. After the exaggerated exhale, you will be surprised how much they love to help.
Secondly, as long as you are alive the unexpected will happen, and you must be able to be mentally flexible enough that when your planned day does not go as just that – planned – that the entire day does not completely go to hell in a handbasket. That means always having alternate plans to cover any foreseeable eventuality.
Example - Your client requests to move a meeting up, just as you confirmed a new pediatric appointment that took 2 months to secure. Now just as you cleared a few hours to supervise virtual school and attend the appointment you realize that there is a mandatory presence request for an online evaluation, which makes getting to the doctor on time a bit of a crunch, then the cherry and sprinkles on top…a project deadline moved up and your computer just got an orange juice bath. (you have my permission to cry😭 – I can fully relate.)
I know what you are thinking, no way to be flexible here, right? I beg to differ. Here is how I would handle this situation.
Head to the bathroom and take a breath. Look at myself in the mirror breathe wash my face and pull it together. Then using my cell phone…
Alert the clients to a situation that requires my immediate attention and ask to reschedule (never overshare here).
Request an extension of a day or two and site a situation that requires my immediate attention (again avoid oversharing).
Call ahead of your appointment and alert them that you will be running late and be sure that your appointment will be held. Otherwise (overshare!) just pour your heart out and I am pretty sure they will be sympathetic.
Google ‘orange juice on laptop’ (trust me…the solution is there).
Complete the evaluation and head to the doctor.
Then call it a day. (You deserve to push pause at this point…you kept it together long enough)
Being able to be flexible enough to adjust takes a mental grounding, focus, and the ability to be gentle on yourself. Meditation is like my daily recharge, and I find that time as a single mom, at night after my youngest goes to bed. Just remind yourself that you are amazing, doing a fantastic job and where you fell short today you will not fall short tomorrow, because the lesson was learned. From there every day you will get stronger, and the daily flow will come like second nature.
So, when planning to start your business and you are going to work from home just remember, drafting a business plan is only half the work. Personally, you should have a plan A, B, and C with an opening to improvise with Plan D. If you will be in a workspace the same applies.
My days are never perfect, sometimes I do need to adjust but, I remind myself that life will happen and as a business owner I do not have the luxury of being derailed every time it does.
Here is my general personal Check List!
My Personal Daily Mantra: Find those in-between moments to just smile. No matter how hard life gets I am still here and that means that there is work to be done, goals to achieve, and memories to be made. - by S. A. Brewster
(This keeps me going!)
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