Spreading Pixie Dust: How to Stay Calm in the Fast Lane

As a small business owner, I find that if I don’t take control of my day from the very start, it takes control over me. And I get it… business owners are ultimately responsible for everything! From customer service to quality control and from personnel to finance; we wear oh-so-many hats. It’s really amazing to think how it all gets done!

It’s taken me a while (well, actually 10 years to be exact)- but I maintain that three small changes in your day will significantly reduce the level of stress during any given week:

  1. Start with a written plan.

This can be handwritten, or in a digital file cabinet. But it must be plainly crafted with a week’s worth of tactics and strategy in mind. If you are unfamiliar with these terms, learn more about their definitions here: http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/strategic-planning-strategy-vs-tactics.html  I find that certain times during every day, I am staring at my computer asking myself if answering emails is sharpening my long-term strategy. Of course the answer is NO. So then I take a break from the re-active to become more pro-active. It takes practice to switch between the two, and as someone who is task-oriented, I enjoy crossing things of my list. Frankly, the strategic issues take longer to cross off and have less immediate gratification, so they are harder (for me) to spend time on. But I know that if I don’t spend time working IN my business, I will always be working ON my business.

Featured Below: Simple As That

To Do

  1. Get up one hour earlier than you’d like.

Yes, I understand this is an unpopular suggestion. But after years of getting in the office at the same time everyone else does, to only be bombarded with 100 questions and 100 people needing me at the exact same time, I found that one hour to myself improves my productivity and my positivity. I can plow through emails and piles without interruption, which allows me to start the day feeling accomplished. And with the “blocking and tackling” out of the way, I am able to focus more freely on the big picture items without guilt and with gratitude. Of course, this one hour of extra time should be spent doing productive tactics, and not social media surfing!

Featured Below: Clock via RoveStudio’s Etsy Shop

Wake Up Early

  1. Get moving!

About 10 years ago, I was building out our first Vienna store. I had taken out my very first, very large loan and the construction was taking much longer than expected and costing much more than I had budgeted (that is another post for sure!). However, I could do nothing to make the process go more quickly and I’d already committed to the cost. I was going crazy with anxious energy. I live about 3 miles from my Vienna store and so one day after work I decided to run to the store and see how much progress the contractors had made that day (not enough, BTW!).  That first week I couldn’t even run the one way without stopping multiple times, much less the round trip. However, I found myself making this trek multiple times a week and slowly but surely my stamina increased and my stress decreased. I learned that by setting and accomplishing super small goals- like running to the end of the street without stopping- I gained confidence to tackle the tough business issues at hand. And 10 years later, I still find no better substitute for clearing my mind than a good run. I find that my best and most creative thinking happens while running. My husband says it’s something about endorphins? But I think it’s from having an awesome  playlist, some uninterrupted time to process information, and an appreciation for mother nature.

Featured Below: Renew PT


Until next time, here’s to big wishes and lots of pixie dust.