Busy? Focus on These 3 Critical Habits
As a business owner, you may have looked forward to the post-Covid period when you would get things back on track and move your business forward. However, even before the dust on the pandemic could settle, inflation shot through the roof, and the monetary tightening (aka interest rate hikes) implemented by the Federal Reserve has left the economy teetering on the brink of a recession, with some analysts going as far as saying that technically, we are already in a recession.
With all these storms raging in the business world, it is likely that business owners and managers are way busier than they have ever been trying to keep the ship afloat. Even if your level of busyness has gone up a crescendo, there are some critical habits you need to focus upon so that you are able to remain healthy and productive amidst the chaos. We discuss those critical habit clusters below.
Critical Habit #1 for Busy People: Professional And Personal Reflection
It is important to know where you are coming from, where you are at the moment, and where you are going. The success of your business depends on having this clarity, which is why professional and personal reflection is a key habit you need to focus on regardless of how overwhelmingly busy you are.
Professionally, you need to take time out and reflect on your business. Where does it stand in terms of critical parameters like inventory, cash flow, hitting sales targets, succession planning, and other KPIs you have set for that business? What are the key challenges that the business is currently facing? Reflecting on these and other important questions relating to your business will enable you to choose what to focus on to keep the entity on the right trajectory.
Personal reflection is also necessary. It is easy to focus so much on the business and neglect to focus on yourself as the person at the helm of that business. Personal reflection is important because it helps you to remain centered and able to give your best to your business on an ongoing basis.
Journaling, meditation, making notes about what went well during the day and what mistakes need not be repeated, and so on, can be valuable ways to engage in personal reflection so that you and the business benefit.
Critical Habit #2 for Busy People: Prioritize Relationships
When life gets really busy, as it usually does for business owners, relationships are the first area of life to suffer. Significant others, family, friends and other members of our social circles get relegated to the backburner as we focus on firefighting in our businesses.
However, no amount of business success will have any meaning if you don’t have meaningful relationships with those around you. Humans are social animals, so we thrive best while relating well with those around us.
This isn’t to say that you should be on first name basis with all your employees or clients. Rather, you need to be deliberate about creating time to be with family, friends and other social groups that are meaningful to you.
For example, you can propose to have dinner with your family every weekday, and you can schedule a date night with your significant other every week or fortnight. Similarly, make a deliberate effort to spend time engaging in charitable activities or engaging in your hobbies with friends.
Relationships are largely about spending time with those you care about, so don’t be tempted into thinking that sending them checks and never getting to spend time with them will cement your bond. Make time for your relationships so that your life is more fulfilling and meaningful. You should never be too busy for that.
Critical Habit #3 for Busy People: Mental & Physical Health
Another cluster of habits to focus on when your life as a business owner gets very busy are the habits that promote mental and physical health. We only have one body and mind, and there is only so much abuse they can take before they start breaking down, sometimes irretrievably.
It is therefore vital to prioritize habits which boost mental and physical health. For example, exercising for at least 30 minutes every day or every other day will do plenty of good for your mind and body. You don’t have to go to the gym for this; you can do brief stretching exercises right inside your office, and you can walk more while going about your day.
Brain dumping is another habit which can be beneficial to your physical and mental wellbeing as a business owner. We teach this in our Performance Coach Certification program and here as well. It involves periodically (daily, for example) writing down everything that is bothering you and then mapping out action steps to address or fix those situations. It nips anxiety in the bud, and forestalls the adverse effects that the anxiety would have caused to your mental health and physical body.
Making healthier meal choices, getting your mandatory 7-9 hours of sleep each day, blocking out time to rest, praying (if you are so inclined), spending time alone in nature or wherever alone-time can be got, mindfulness exercises, and so many other such habits can all be incorporated into your routine as a busy business owner who wants to remain in peak physical and mental health.
It also helps to learn how to delegate effectively so that you empower your team to handle the bulk of the day to day running of the business while you focus on the big-picture aspects, like the strategic direction of the enterprise. Working on, rather than working in your business is a sure way to promote the interests of the business while doing plenty of good for your mental and physical wellbeing.
In closing, it is worth pointing out that it will take some work for you to incorporate these key habit clusters when you are extremely busy. However, the payback is more than worth the effort and time invested, so start small as James Clear recommends in Atomic Habits. If you catch yourself saying you don’t have time to make these changes, remember that how we allocate time and other resources depicts what is important to us. Are your physical and mental health, your relationships, as well as your personal wellbeing not important enough to require investing in them? Invest in those three critical habits and watch every aspect of your life soar!