Time moves quickly when I’m having fun. It also seems to drag on when I am bored or in pain. It is easy to get into a routine and forget why I had that routine and where I am going. As tax season comes to a close, my life shifts. For three months I focus on taxes, speed, repetitive work and meeting very strict deadlines. Then it stops and my business and I shift gears. I slow down, way down and focus back on the business. To make that shift efficiently I focus on a few steps.
Take time to gain clarity. Each morning I write down what I am grateful for, what am I excited for and my tasks for that day. A new habit has been to take 5 minutes and take my inventory. How am I feeling physically, mentally, emotionally? How are my relationships? Am I challenged? What can I do to be in a better place?
Evaluate where my time is going. At work I keep track of every 15 minutes of my time. At first it was drudgery, now it is a vital tool. I look at where am I spinning my wheels. Should I be doing it? Should we be working with that client? Can I create a system to decrease time and improve results? Is this moving forward to where I want to be?
Identify the high value tasks that I could be doing. Now look at my time from a different perspective. Where do I want to put my time, knowledge and energy? Focus on my talents that bring high value to me and those we serve. Focus on doing tasks that I enjoy and provide energy.
Enhance my experience. I had a friend who struggled paying bills. To help her through it she set the stage – lit a candle, had a glass of wine and placed the bills in a hat. She selected one at a time, paid what she could and was thankful that she could pay that one. I don’t need to just endure life or work; add a bit of fun. Focus on the experience – make it easy for me and those around me. Sometimes it only needs to be a smile.
Start saying no. To be everything to everyone creates pain for me, the business and the customer. We waste time and energy attempting to meet every customer request. It allows costs to exceed the sales and creates customer dissatisfaction.
Look for my strengths and synergistic opportunities. Where are my strengths? Pay attention to what I enjoy, then leverage that.
Figure out what drains me and what energize me. At the end of the day, I write down my wins. These are the items that I am proud of. They energize me. They take away the negative and add more of the positive.
The last two years have been a struggle. Decision fatigue has set in. I have found it difficult to take quality time to clarify what I want and to say no. I think it is time to think slow down and take back control. My next quarter goal is to simplify and reset my approach to reach my long-term goals.
By Mary Guldan-Lindstrom, CPA