Finding the motivation to practice healthy working hours and accomplish everything on the list often leaves us feeling like we have no energy for anything else.
The past month has been a revelation because I decided to set boundaries for myself. My clients’ time and my time are equally important, so the work we do together needs to be efficient and properly done from beginning to end. To make sure things get done on time and to produce work that I can be proud of, I set boundaries. I don’t think I’ve been able to do that since my undergraduate years - I’m sure you can tell, scheduling tasks is integral to the quality of one’s work. And one’s sanity.
I remind myself that I am a human being who deserves healthy working conditions. Lucky me, I get to decide how that works.
Like one of my favourite books, Atomic Habits, shares: You don’t rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems.
And this mindset shift has given me more agency than I ever thought I could have in my life. I practiced setting systems for myself in 2021 while I was starting out as an entrepreneur. This year, I get to test how well they work. Here’s what I came up with so far:
This year, I promised myself to test new habits out for a month. Since returning to my desk this January I started setting six realistic goals to achieve every day. The ‘realistic’ part is important because not everything is achievable in eight hours when mental well-being and physical exercise are also priorities.
So, I have been motivating myself to set six goals each day and work only on those. This has helped me establish a sense of confidence in how I prioritise and complete tasks. Every day feels like I accomplished the most I could, and leaves behind the sense of urgency to be on-call all the time.
Six realistic goals a day keeps the mental health in check. (I could have rhymed it, but I was inspired by Captain Raymond Holt.)
The ‘realistic’ part is important, because not everything is achievable in eight hours when mental well-being and physical exercise are also priorities.
The second, more collaborative space I schedule my work in is Asana. As an Agile agency my workflow adapts to the shifting client environments and their varying goals. This adaptive and client-centred nature of working has been a life-changing experience. More about Agile in my next post, but if you’re really excited about it and want to learn more, here’s a helpful infographic:
An example of how Agile methodology works.
I’ve been using Asana for the past month, and I genuinely have no regrets. I found it through a fellow entrepreneur’s Instagram page and looked it up for myself. The installation and the learning curve are relatively pain-free, especially if you’ve used project management software before. Moving from a highly structured, Scrum-based workflow to a Kanban workflow using Asana made the creative work I do so much easier to schedule. And this isn’t a paid ad, I promise.
You don’t rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems.
Here’s what Asana looks like when I come to sit at my desk every day:
Using Kanban workflow to manage my projects on Asana.
This easy-to-use software keeps me on track and I get to clock-off work at a humane time. While it may seem like I’m over prioritising my well-being over getting more clients, I remind myself that I am a human being who deserves healthy working conditions. Lucky me, I get to decide how that works.
If you are a small business owner and you’ve got insights to share about how to create better systems, please reach out. I’d love to start a conversation with you!
Until next time, remind yourself that the world will still be online and running while you take a well-earned break.