2020 has been a struggle. Covid-19 has caused chaos at home and at work and it has been a particularly testing time for small business owners and startup founders.
It is hard to plan for the future when we are having to deal with more changes from the government regarding Covid restrictions and we still don’t know what that future will hold.
Covid has forced many of us, at least temporarily off the relentless treadmill of life. Bringing a unique opportunity for stillness and time to reflect on what’s really important to us, as individuals, for our families and our wider social and business communities.
According to a YouGov poll only 8% of Britons want to go back to life as it was before the pandemic. The Economist has stated that this forced home working experiment is likely to change work life forever.
That can only be good news for business owners and employees alike – so long as we embrace the change and see its inherent opportunity, as author Sid Madge explains.
Studies have found that people are just as productive at home and are often happier – probably because they don’t have to commute. It’s possible that a hybrid becomes common place where we have some days in the office and some at home. So, let’s create something better for everyone instead of some uninspiring compromise called ‘new normal’.
I’m a great believer in the power of micro moments and tiny interventions. These suggestions are pulled from my Meee in a Minute books, each offering 60 one-minute micro-ideas and insights that can help us to shift our mindset. It need only take a minute to make a change and get the very best out of the last few months of 2020 for you, your employees and your startup or other small business.
1. Embrace uncertainty
Life is uncertain – especially just now. It’s easy to assume that we would be more productive if we knew exactly what the plan was and then simply execute that plan but Harvard research has found this is not the case. People who embrace uncertainty are significantly more creative.
That said, too much uncertainty can be debilitating so create some certainty anchors by maintaining some regular routines. Take a few minutes to consider your current routines. If you don’t have any, create a couple.
Go for a socially distanced walk with friends or colleagues every morning or try what I do – 10 minutes of yoga every day. It makes such a difference and helps me to gain some perspective, slow down and check in with how I am feeling and how I’m coping with the uncertainty.
It may feel counter intuitive but routine can help us to embrace uncertainty and unlock greater creativity which is important for us in our role as business owners and in our lives overall.
2. Breakfast with a book
I am a huge fan of A C Grayling. His book, The Meaning of Things changed my life and led me to the path I’m on now. I met him in June 2018 and I was thrilled when he signed my copy of his book and also endorsed my first book Meee in a Minute.
Reading can be one of the first things to get bumped when we get busy or overwhelmed but it should be the last. Books give us new insights or encourage a new perspective, or new way of looking at an old problem. The information we receive mingles with the information we already have that can trigger new thoughts and ideas.
Forget the morning newspaper. Why not make a small change and breakfast with a book? Or check out the Blinkist App. This app is focused on non-fiction books, most are available as written summaries to read or you can listen to the audio summary and they take 20 minutes for the whole book.
Try audible and go for a walk while you are listening to your book – a double whammy of positivity. You’ll reap the benefits of this personally, and this will can have a positive impact on your business.
3. First things first
In the 1920s Charles M Schwab, CEO of Bethlehem Steel paid Ivy Lee $25,000, about quarter of a million dollars in today’s money for some productivity and time management advice.
At the end of each day each manager was to list their top six priorities for the following day and rank them in order of importance. Next morning when they came into work the managers were to work on the number one priority until it was complete or no further action could be taken and then move to priority two and repeat the process.
One of the quickest ways for business owners to get out of stress at work is to focus on the most important stuff first and do that. This can also stop you getting over stretched. Take a minute to write down your priorities for work tomorrow and order them by importance. Tomorrow when you go to work start on that list and follow Ivy Lee’s advice.
4. Dial down the overwhelm
These are challenging times but, as owners of small businesses, we need to be able to dial down the overwhelm to maintain productivity and optimism about the months ahead for ourselves and our staff.
Have a look at the decisions that are contributing to your sense of overwhelm and decide when you need to make them. We can feel overloaded by too many decisions but when assessed many of them can be delayed without much of an impact. This will give you some thinking space.
Also take a few minutes to really consider your business as it is right now. Ask yourself;
- Do you enjoy it?
- Do you enjoy it sometimes?
- If so, why do you enjoy it sometimes and not others?
- Does the business still inspire you or challenge you?
Engage with your people and commit to helping each other get the most out of work in a way that supports everyone. Together we will get through this.
About the author
This guide has been written exclusively for ByteStart by Sid Madge, founder of Meee (My Education Employment Enterprise) which draws on the best creativity and thinking from the worlds of branding, psychology, neuroscience, education and sociology, to help people achieve extraordinary lives, and author of the ‘Meee in Minute’ series of books which offer 60 ways to change your life, work-, or family-life in 60 seconds.
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