Entrepreneurs starting out in the business ownership space often think of business systems as specific tools needed to operate, manage and run a business. Things like Quickbooks for accounting, Acuity for scheduling, WordPress for a website, and so on.
And each of these things is important in managing a business. But a system is more than just specific software. It is “a set of principles or procedures according to which something is done; an organized framework or method.”
So, when you get right down to it, these software systems (and any aspect of your business) don’t put themselves in place without you first having a principle, method or framework to get it all done.
And this is where we find that holistic entrepreneurs, specifically reluctant entrepreneurs, often miss the bigger picture mark and find themselves in a swirl of avoidance and procrastination. These types of stress responses can wax and wane over the course of a career, but are especially detrimental to sustainability or growth in the first year or two in practice.
So, what do we mean by “reluctant entrepreneurs”? In the realm of holistic health, we mean practitioners who want to operate a private practice for financial, practical or emotional reasons, but have resistance or blocks around taking ownership over the full scope of being an entrepreneur/ small business owner.
This may look like:
- the practitioner who wants to grow their client list, but resists marketing themselves because it’s uncomfortable, or
- the practitioner who wants to have a nice looking website, but avoids hiring a web designer or copywriter because it costs money, or
- the practitioner who wants to create a workshop or group program, but procrastinates because it feels like a lot of steps to put together. (and what if nobody shows up?)
And the list goes on. Now it’s important to note that there is no room to feel shame if you recognize any of these examples in your own experience. Everyone procrastinates and avoids something.
Because it is COMPLETELY understandable that no matter how excited you are to own a private practice or business, you can still resist the unknown. And It is TOTALLY understandable that no matter how determined you are to succeed, you feel reluctance when trying something new.
So, rather than ruminate about it, simply note the awareness that it’s reasonable that you end up avoiding and procrastinating on important things in your business, then get clear on why setting up some simple principles, methods and tools to address your avoidance and procrastination will help you Get Shit Done in your business (and actually have fun, too).
But first: you must understand the VALUE PROPOSITION of these tools or you will not actually implement them. And then there is no consistent operating system.
So why do any of these things?
- Point blank, it FEELS REALLY GOOD to clear the white noise in your head and accomplish things in your business.
- It is SO EMPOWERING to take ownership over the success of your business.
- It is FUN to see the fruits of your labor pay off, especially when you stretch yourself out of your comfort zone.
- It is legitimately and ULTIMATELY STRESS-RELIEVING to challenge your comfort zone, to learn new things, to grow from your mistakes, to take risks, to invest in yourself and your business. (we just tend to convince ourselves that it’s less stressful/easier to avoid stuff).
So, here is a system of 3 simple tools that help you efficiently execute the things in your business that will make you feel good, empowered, and less stressed:
TOOL #1: USE A TIME MANAGEMENT MATRIX FOR EXTRAORDINARY PRIORITIZING + PRODUCTIVITY
Consider Stephen R. Covey’s (Seven Habits of Highly Effective People) Time Management Matrix.
If it helps, consider these quadrants to mean 1) Necessity, 2) Extraordinary Productivity, 3) Distraction, and 4) Waste.
Covey suggests that if you spend most of your time on the items in Quadrant 2 that you’ll see the most significant outcomes. So, try it out!
- Create a quick list of the tasks you need to complete today. Make them brief and clear.
- Add a deadline to each task.
- Identify the most urgent tasks (quickly approaching).
- Organize by importance (to help you realize which are tentative and which can wait).
- Create your own quadrant and place your tasks in them according to: urgent/ important (Q1), not urgent/ important (Q2), urgent/ not important (Q3), not urgent/ not important (Q4).
- Prioritize Quadrant 2 tasks. Deprioritize or delegate Quadrant 3 & 4 tasks. Understand that Quadrant 1 tasks may arise or need to be addressed, but is not where the majority of time should be spent.
- Assess your productivity at the end of the day and refine your matrix. Notice if anything has shifted in terms of urgency/ importance.
TOOL #2: USE THE POMODORO METHOD (+ ANY SUPPORTIVE CONCENTRATION APPS) TO GET SHIT DONE
Distractions are inevitable and plentiful throughout your work day. Some are external, like incoming notifications, people in your workspace, environmental noises. And some are internal, like wandering thoughts, hunger pangs, fatigue/anxiety. A goal of the pomodoro technique is to reduce the effect of internal and external interruptions on focus and flow.
This is an effective time management method to encourage you to consciously reduce distractions, celebrate progress, and be more efficient and productive. That means getting more done in less time (life hack!).
A “pomodoro” is essentially an interval of work time (named after a tomato-shaped timer the creator, Francesco Cirillo used). The 6 steps are:
- Decide on the task to be done.
- Set the pomodoro timer (typically for 25 minutes).
- Work on the task.
- End work when the timer rings and take a short break (typically 5–10 minutes).
- If you have finished fewer than three pomodoros, go back to Step 2 and repeat until you go through all three pomodoros.
- After three pomodoros are done, take the fourth pomodoro and then take a long break (typically 20 to 30 minutes). Once the long break is finished, return to step 2.
The stages of planning, tracking, recording, processing and visualizing are fundamental to the technique. As pomodoros are completed, they are recorded, adding to a sense of accomplishment.
Additionally, you may consider integrating soundscapes that are shown to boost focus, concentration and creativity into your work time (as compared to playlists and silence). The Endel app is one we prefer and use. Try it free for 14 days HERE.
TOOL #3: CARVE OUT TIME TO USE A COLLABORATIVE WORKSPACE WITH OTHERS FOR ACCOUNTABILITY + CONNECTION
You may think that going to sit in a space with others to get work done is more distracting, but the opposite is true. Collaborative workspaces both increase creativity and productivity. Additionally, you get a sense of community and find natural, ingrained networking opportunities. These benefits are not as palpable when you work from home/ in isolation all the time.
Now, not all coworking spaces are equal. Supportive spaces operate with a sense of structure, inspiration, peacefulness, and overall intention. This is especially true for holistic practitioners who can get overwhelmed with the details of running a practice, or tend to avoid and procrastinate when left to their own devices.
Tribe offers a monthly collaborative workspace for holistic practitioners (both members + non-members) using a specific structure to push aside procrastination + avoidance and create + execute instead:
- We start with introductions + a short industry chat
- We do a fun tasting + snacks to stimulate our creative flow
- We use pomodoro sprints to work on our desired tasks, and take short breaks to check-in and celebrate!
And if you’re someone who needs to see it (or do it) to believe it, perhaps feedback from our last GSD collaborative workspace will inspire you to join our next one!
Regina Rodriguez-Martinez, copywriter for healers and spiritual entrepreneurs, said this:
“With Cari leading us in 30-minute work sprints, I focused much better than I would have on my own. I got the same amount of work done in two hours even with the 10-minute breaks, and enjoyed meeting people I have a lot in common with.”
Morgan Gaskin, LAc + Tribe’s Coordinator shared this:
“Alternating between doing focused work and checking in with fellow Tribe members surprised me by making the work I got done feel more validated. I might have done the same work at home but it would have taken longer and I think I might have taken it more for granted instead of celebrating small wins with colleagues.”
Amanda Boike, certified personal trainer in assisted stretching had this to say:
“I used to prefer working alone because of how easy it can be to get distracted by conversation with others. But the pomodoro sprints as a framework was the perfect balance of enjoying each other’s company and GSD! I even found I was more productive in our 30 min sprints than I am in hours of working alone at home. Having a clear intention and focus for each sprint boosted my productivity big time. And I noticed I’m a lot more committed to the pomodoro sprints when I’m with a group of people as opposed to being alone. Helps keep me accountable and on-task.”
This type of social proof is powerful! So whether you come and co-work with us, or gather your own group in a coffee shop or your living room, make these tools an ongoing priority in your business.
As a co-founder of Tribe (and a multi-business owner), I will personally say that there is absolutely NOTHING that replaces being in the room with people who are like-souled and motivated. The only distractions for me are the bubbles of joy and excitement I feel in my body to be able to connect eyes, share time and space, and collaborate with my colleagues once again to Get Sh*t Done!
Oh, and the cookies! 😏🍪
Written by Cari Rogers, co-owner of Tribe and founder of HealThySelf. Cari loves to partner with people who believe that the body has an incredible capacity to heal under the right circumstances and with the right support.