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The Two Week Evaluation Every Entrepreneur Should Take

The Two Week Evaluation Every Entrepreneur Should Take.pngAs an entrepreneur, the only thing that is constant is change. There is an ebb and flow that takes some getting used to – if you can ever really get used to it at all. To make things more complicated, try throwing a family into the mix. That means other little humans rely on you for both time and money to keep them going. You begin carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders, and after enough time, you forget how to relax and enjoy downtime.

Candidly, I’m describing my personal scenario since I became a business owner nearly six years ago and a mom nearly four years ago (and again just last year). Ever so gradual I have taken on more and more responsibilities in my day. To think back to simpler times, I wonder how I could ever feel like I was busy then. It’s true. Life can gradually add weight to the baggage you carry; you hardly notice as it happens, then all of a sudden it feels like it’s going to bury you.

What I’ve discovered to be effective for “checking” yourself every so often is a simple two-week evaluation that forces you to recognize unhealthy habits that could send you into a downward spiral of stress, anxiety and overload. It can also help you identify where you’re making progress so that you stay on the right track. Take a look at the eight questions I ask and answer every two weeks to gauge my happiness and satisfaction with my business. I highly encourage all fellow entrepreneurs (and especially hybrid moms) to do the same!

Overall, would you say most days you felt happy/positive/fulfilled or sad/negative/stressed?

This questions is so important to note trends in your mood that could signal a need for a change in your lifestyle. To live, even just two weeks of your life, where you felt sad more often than you felt happy is a waste of precious time we have here on this planet.

On average how many (waking) hours a day do you spend working?

Through this question, if you realize you have been putting in 10+ hour work days (even if not consecutive hours) for two or more weeks, your life is greatly unbalanced. This means you’re splitting the other half of your day among sleep, family, hobbies, self-care and household duties. Something is bound to get pushed out!

On average how many (waking) hours a day do you spend NOT working?

This is essentially a follow-up question to the one prior. Say you work 10 hours then sleep 8 hours in a day. It’s a shock to realize you’re giving yourself, your family and your friends just 6 hours of your day, at best. In the grand scheme of things, isn’t this where you would rather spend your majority of time?

Have you felt like you had time to pursue hobbies that weren’t work-related?

I can’t recall (seriously) the last time I read something for fun. That’s sad. In my latest two-week evaluation, I realized I really needed to carve out time for personal reading. It’s a simple fix, like putting down my phone before bed and replacing it with a book. Catching this early will help you dedicate time to your hobbies so you don’t risk losing a sense of self.

Have you dreamt, or woke in the middle of the night thinking about work responsibilities?

If the thought of work is now disrupting your sleep (especially on an ongoing basis), something needs to change. This means you’re struggling to “shut down” after works hours and you are carrying the stress of work with you wherever you go.

What costs you time, and that you don’t enjoy doing, which could be outsourced?

If there’s a responsibility on your plate that takes up a good chunk of your time, you don’t enjoy doing it and your time would better be spent elsewhere – see if it can be outsourced! For me, this was cleaning. For my husband, this was lawn work. It sounds very “real housewives” of us, but when ran the numbers of the value of our time versus employing someone who runs a business doing these tasks, it just made sense. And it might make sense for you too!

Have you let someone guilt you into taking on more responsibilities when you did not want to?

Oh how I struggle saying now! A little pro bono work here and there is to be expected, but if you’re allowing multiple people to guilt you into to lightening their load, while adding to yours – that’s not right! Not only will this cause you stress, it will negatively impact your relationship with the person long-term. Put a plan in place for standing your ground and being upfront with people when you simply don’t want to take on more work.

What is the one thing you want to improve in the next two weeks?

This question is aimed at getting you to set a short-term goal. If you wanted to improve only one thing in your life in the next two weeks, what would it be? For some of you, you might discover it’s the need to let a trouble client go. For others, it might be getting on a better exercise routine or taking up a new hobby to relieve stress. Set this goal today, and in two-weeks you’ll again have the opportunity to see if you made progress toward reaching it.

Are you up for taking this two-week evaluation? I would love to hear what you discover as a result. Join in the conversation by leaving a comment below!

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2017 in Business & Success, Life

 

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When To Take Risks & When To Take Caution

There’s a quote by Thomas Edison that reads, “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” I wouldn’t dare argue with Edison on this—after all, his invention has assisted in the writing of this blog post. Failures have led to great things all because of trying at least one more time. But there is a time in both business and life when I feel like two thoughts may be of better advice, “Quit while you’re ahead” and “Never risk more than you’re willing to lose.”

We live in a society where we’re taught to do it all. Take on as many responsibilities as possible, overload yourself with work and commitments and have just one more—of whatever that might be. Maybe it’s greed or maybe it’s pride, but sooner or later this mindset almost always results in one thing: loss. Risk taking is seen as admirable, courageous and passionate—oh and it is—but not when you risk more than you’re willing to lose. And that’s what it boils down to. Whether you’re an entrepreneur whose remortgaged his house and cashed in his life savings or a CEO with thousands of employees and billions of dollars in capital, taking risks to further your business may sound heroic and glamorous, but remember two things: never risk more than you’re willing to lose and quit while you’re ahead.

I’ve taken my fair share of risks to get to owning my own Public Relations firm, but not without careful consideration of what I was willing to lose. I was willing to risk a reduced and unstable income because I had savings and developed a very conservative budget. I was also willing to risk a career set-back if Bennis Inc failed. If I went back to my former career, there’s a good chance I’d have to start again at a lower position than when I left. But what I’m not willing to risk is depleting my life savings, putting myself in debt, my mental and physical health or the important relationships in my life. I’m also not willing to risk less than quality work for taking on as many clients as possible. If it means not accepting new clients for a while because business is booming or finding supplementary income when business is slow, I like to think I’d know when to quit while I’m ahead.

These seemingly contrary thoughts have a way of working together. Like Edison said, you should never give up just because you failed. But when deciding whether to try your luck one more time, remember that there’s a difference between being persistent and being foolish. Never let pride or greed set you five steps back all for the chance of taking one step forward.

 
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Posted by on November 14, 2011 in Business & Success

 

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