Trying to keep up with your online business when life gets busy is like herding cats. You keep wishing they’d cooperate and do what you say and stay in line. But cats have a mind of their own, and they’re not much interested in your agenda. Your life doesn’t stay in line or cooperate either, so you might as well figure out ways to get business done when life happens.
Here’s the short version of 10 Ways to Keep Up With Your Online Business When Life Gets Crazy-Busy:
1. Make a decision. This is the first step in keeping up with your online business when you’re busy. If you’re wishy-washy about whether you’re going to do this thing, you’ll drift away at the first sign of trouble. After you’ve made a firm decision, no fair going back and picking it up and turning it over in your mind. “Maybe I should just quit.” No way.
2. No escape clauses. Now it’s one thing if you have a major life shift, but sick kids or a nasty email don’t count. Stop giving yourself permission to put off blog posts because “something happened.”
3. Use systems. Have a system for writing blog posts, a system for newsletters, a system for Social Media, a system for answering common email situations. Systems free up your brain space for thinking, decision-making and creativity.
4. Use checklists for your systems. Do your brain a favor—use written checklists for the multi-step tasks you do frequently. You might feel like you could do it in your sleep, but glancing at a checklist can cut some stress when you’re tired or facing a stressful situation in another area of life. Written lists also make it easier for you to delegate.
5. Use a written to-do list. This sounds like a no-brainer, but yours truly is guilty of trying to keep to-do lists straight in her head. When you’re extra-busy, you don’t need extra-stressful thoughts. Unwritten to-do lists easily multiply in your brain, floating around and creating unrealistic expectations for yourself that lead to procrastination.
6. Experiment with designating days for tasks. Rather than feeling guilty every day about everything you’re NOT doing, set aside certain days to focus on specific tasks. For instance, designate x number of days per week for a certain segment of your business, then don’t think about that segment on the days it’s not assigned. I say “experiment” because it might take some trial runs to figure out what works for you. This is a way of simplifying and getting out from under guilt.
7. Master the art of ten minutes. Spending ten focused minutes on a task will produce far more than planning to spend an hour and never getting around to it.
8. Use mobile tools. A smartphone and tablet can help you keep up with your online business when you’re out and about—or even just away from your desk. I do a good amount of business from my rocking chair with an iPhone and laptop.
9. Stay accountable to someone. Whether it’s a Facebook group or a business coach (and I highly recommend both), being connected to people who will kick your buns and cheer you on are essential when the going gets rough and you need to get going. We’re usually either too hard on ourselves or too easy on ourselves. Perspective and truth from others is essential.
10. Take time off. “Wait a minute, I’m too busy to take time off,” you say. Hey, we’re not talking about a trip to Hawaii. Pay attention to your body’s signals and take a break when your thinking gets fuzzy. Change locations, get a drink, read something funny. If you’re working at home, folding laundry or loading the dishwasher is actually a nice change of pace. You can listen to a training audio or laugh with your kids while you’re at it, then return to the computer with fresh energy.
Most of the time life is not going to stay neatly arranged so that you can run your online business in a vacuum. Herding cats and kids and businesses rarely follow a neat path, no matter how good the plan.
Let go of the unrealistic thought that you’ll do better on your business when life slows down. Do better on your business while life is happening. Keeping up with your online business when you’re busy is essential, because otherwise it won’t be long before you don’t have an online business!
Take courage, set your face to the destination and herd your business like a cat shepherd. Things won’t go as planned and it will get frustrating at times. Deal with the detours but make sure you keep moving towards the end goal with these simple tips to keep up with your business when life is, well, life.