The title of this How To Guide is a bit daft really, but came from a conversation we had at a recent Meet Up. Chatting about how life is for a micro business owner and how there’s a lot to think about, it was referred to as plate spinning – plate spinning that seems to feel more exhausting and more challenging every day.
I therefore wanted to address the issue of plate spinning, what this means and if, in fact, it’s useful to us or our businesses.
Firstly, plate spinning seems to refer to the fact that we are all doing lots of different things or wearing different hats including our businesses. We might be parenting, caring for elderly, being a volunteer, a great sibling, supportive friend etc. We’re probably running a home, paying for a home, looking after a pet and being part of our communities at some level. Then there’s the business…this requires multiple skills and focus points from finances to socials, from customers to web development and everything in between. This is, of course, before we’ve tried to fit in some time for fun, hanging out with friends, planning a holiday etc etc.
This wasn’t supposed to be depressing!
BUT...there are ways to prioritise and help ourselves to make this all feel a lot better. Here are some ideas and reminders for anyone feeling like their arms are aching and that crockery is about to smash.
Put some plates down
It's that simple. Think about things that you can delegate both in your personal and business life. This is a serious decision but a very important one. It could be someone else does your bookkeeping or your weekly shop. Anything that lightens the load - not all things have to be done by you.
Do one thing well at a time
There is a brilliant book called 'Peak Mind' by Dr. Amisha Jha, who, through scientific research, reminds us that humans can only focus on on one thing at a time and that we can choose where we place our attention or torchlight. Never believe that multi tasking is a thing. It simply isn't. Choose one task and give it 100%, then move to the next one and so on. It's calmer, it's more productive and it's a game changer.
Perfectionism is a type of anxiety that only leads to disappointment and a lack of authenticity. It stops us from being fully human with our loved ones and customers. Accept that mistakes will happen, that your website might never be perfect, that your social media isn't always on time and that the dust layer on your house will need to be there another day or week.
Craft your day
We all know the phrases 'early bird' or 'night owl' but may dismiss them as a bit of a giggle. But maybe we need to take more notice. Think about your own personal energy levels in any given week or day and craft your day to suit you. After all you are the boss. With recent health issues, I realised that after 3pm, I was only good for mundane tasks, so blocked that time out for family, rest or dog walking and pushed all client and thinking work into my mornings. I simply didn't work in my business past 3pm for a while. Nobody noticed, everything got done and I rested.
Do you first
We can't pour from an empty cup right? We know this, but still try to do everything for everyone else first. But building in daily practice to change this is a habit worth developing. This might be 10 minutes of mind setting before you get up, a swim, a dog walk or finishing work at 3. Without a great you in your business, there isn't one. By the way it takes 30 days for the brain to learn a new habit to download the habit tracker in the Hub!
Less is perhaps more
Oooh this is a tricky one to write because I don't actually do it quite yet....but there's increasing research hat working a traditional 5 or 6 day week and over 40/50hrs a week isn't actually more productive. In fact the opposite is true. If we reduce the amount of time we work, we become more productive, more creative, make better decisions and sharpen our practices. This is counter intuitive and can even make people feel cross. But...think about where you have your best ideas and find your best solutions. It's never in front of the screen....much more likely in the shower or walking the dog. Imagine if you gave your brain all this extra elbow room...what might happen?