Pillar Blog Post
AWAI Pillar Blog Post Content Specialist Project
Having Solopreneur Work Overload?
Shrink Your to-do List, Change Habits to Have More Time for YOU!
Overworked and beginning to have physical signs of pain slowing down your productivity? These physical symptoms can include:
• Muscular tension.
• Heart palpitations.
Sleeping difficulties, such as insomnia.
• Gastrointestinal upsets, such as diarrhea or constipation.
• Dermatological disorders.
Here are a few key simple techniques for your business to cope with solopreneur- ship work overload so that you can bring your to-do list down to a manageable level.
1. Manage your time. ...
2. Wipe out bad work habits. ...
3. Make a list of everything you have to do. ...
4. Don't try to do it all. ...
5. Learn to say 'no' ...
6. Don't let it overwhelm you.
1. Manage your time When your workload increases, it's more important than ever to practice effective time management. One of your time management main goals should be to recognize your priorities and focus on them, so that the most important jobs get finished before their deadlines. That could mean you'll have to put jobs that aren't high priority to one side, or even drop them altogether.
2. Wipe out bad work habits Lots of little things you do during the day may add up to a major waste of your time, such as reading junk email, surfing the internet and chatting with other business associates. You may also think you're using your time wisely by doing lots of preparation and research for a writing project. But in reality, what you may be doing is putting off starting the work itself. Identify all your time-wasting habits by writing down everything you do during your working day for a week. You'll soon see how much more time you could devote to realizing your deadlines if you cut out or changed those small habits.
3. Make a list of everything you have to do If you tend to work on several things at the same time, a to-do list is essential. So, write down all the tasks you have to do and rate them 0-5, where 0 is the least important and 5 is top priority. Once you've done that, work through the tasks on your list one by one, concentrating on the higher-priority tasks first. Making a list can also help you recognize that you have too much to do in too short a time. If that's the case, concentrate on the next steps.
4. Don't try to do it all at once You're not a super hero, so don't try to achieve everything on your own. Lighten your workload by learning to delegate to outside partners (if you have them) who may not be as swamped with deadlines as you are.
5. Learn to say 'NO!' This is the biggest problem most solopreneurs have. If your workload is already sky high, taking on even more tasks could mean you won't be able to complete any of them to a high enough standard. Stop and think before you agree to take on any new deadlines - only commit to those that are essential. If you decline politely, your prospects and clients will understand.
6. Don't let it overwhelm you When things feel like they are getting on top of you, find a quiet space or even at your desk, shut your eyes, clear your mind and just focus on your breathing. Aim for four seconds breathing in and four seconds breathing out. Do this for a minute or more and just keep focusing on your breath and your body as you inhale and exhale. You should feel the stress begin to wash away; this should prevent you from being too frantic and will not only help productivity - which is reduced by stress - but is also good for your health in the long run.
Once you get into a pattern of using the most-simple of techniques, here are some other suggestions to strengthen your efforts:
A. Establish strong work-life boundaries Leaky boundaries between work and personal life leave you disoriented in the long haul. You can only hustle for a limited time. Once in a while, you’ll need a break to sit back and relax. Think closely though – can your business breathe on its own if you take a few days of break just to alleviate stress? Unless your venture has taken off already and is enjoying a stable flight in the air, your work needs your time and attention. However, if you establish thick boundaries between your work and personal hours, you can better charge your batteries and keep up with your work with the same energy as day one of starting your business.
B. Read your stress out Research conducted at the University of Sussex applauds reading for minimizing stress for up to 68%. In fact, it’s a champion at stress management in contrast with sipping tea or listening to music. Therefore, dive into a fictional book. The key here is to read non-business-y books. This is because by reading a business book, you may end up working again. Eventually, this pursuit for new ideas or work problems leaves you with less of personal time, which only aggravates your stress. This is why you need to read something that is not work-related to refresh yourself.
C. Limit multi-tasking to de-stress While most of us pride at our multi-tasking skills, science frowns upon us for damaging our brain and adding to the stress. Although there is something supremely satisfying about multiple open tabs and a wide collection of sticky notes on your desk, they really are terrifying. Talk about a sheep in a lamb’s clothing. Mounting evidence indicates that our performance takes a tumble when we focus on several tasks on one time. David Meyer, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan explains this further. He points out “The brain is not equipped to do heavy-duty multitasking… People are being asked to do multiple things, but they would need superhuman abilities.” Put simply, you’ve one brain that can only concentrate on one task at one point. As you push your brain’s capabilities, stress is bound to follow. In addition to the stress, working on multiple tasks simultaneously can take a toll on your learning, attentiveness, and mindfulness.
D. Divide and conquer – schedule your work with breaks If you lock your hands with work cuffs, your brain is only going to scream for breaks. Most of these pleas, however, fall on deaf ears. The consistent dip into the work muck can slowly poison your health, both mentally as well as physically. Since solopreneurs are fueled by passion, they may rarely note the negative imprints of excess workload. To prevent the stress reserve from over-flowing, punctuate your work schedule with breaks. This works, specifically, well for those who work from home. Adding breaks to your schedule takes your productivity up by several notches. Investigations conclude that the 52-minute work and 17-minute break protocol works effectively. In other words, you give 52 minutes of your undivided attention to your work minus any distractions. You follow this up with a small break – take a walk, squeeze out some fresh orange juice, or attend to any household chores on your plate. These breaks help to keep work-induced boredom, bad moods, and stress at bay.
E. Eliminate the extra workload by automating or outsourcing There’s a 100% chance that you pride yourself in being a ‘solopreneur,’ one that handles all the tasks himself. At the end of the day, however, you’re a human. If you squeeze in excess workload on yourself, you are only going to get stressed. Two simple ways to prevent your turbojets from dying down include automating and outsourcing some of your work. For instance, use tools to schedule your social media posts so that you don’t have to be logging in on and off between work to show your online presence. You can hire a virtual assistant to take some work off your heavily-loaded plate. Likewise, outsource other work that may be taking up more of your time such as preparing content for your business.
F. Walk your stress out the door If you consistently sit on your desk, working the hours away, you’ll end up paving paths for stress to barge in. However, if you walk, you can pop the stress bubble. In fact, walking is a friendly supporter of your work. Do you feel that your creative bulbs are suffering from a short-circuit? Is stress sabotaging your focus? Or, do you want to prevent workload from nearly suffocating you? In all three cases, go for a walk. If you’re not cheating on pairing your work hours with breaks, then going for a short walk won’t be a problem for you. Recent research points out that taking a walk can shift your mind’s gears into the calmer zone. So much for poor stress. G. Dedicate a day to digital detox Stress comes in bits and bursts. It survives throughout the work days. However, as you take a sigh of relief and hit the weekend, it may strike again in a larger explosion that works behind your back. That sort of stress is the weekend special version that nags you about pending work, new work to start, and more, all tied in with the guilty feeling of not attending to your work. For one, it’s the weekend. If you are somewhere in the early stages of your business-hood, then it’s possible that you’re working on the weekend too. Regardless of the stage or workload, a weekend or at the very least, an off on Sunday is crucial to your well-being and stress disposal. So, one of these days, when you take an off, dedicate it to a digital detox. It denotes disconnecting from your devices. Now, that’s understandably hard. However, the move is critical for your well-being. It boosts your memory and encourages better sleep, which are both paramount for preventing stress take over the limelight. What’s more Facebook depression is real. So, dedicate your Sundays to unplugging, self-care, and family time.
H. Get some sleep As an entrepreneur, it is common to work late into the night. This naturally sacrifices sleep. Not to mention, you think more work-related thoughts if you head to bed straight from work. Nights when you’re entirely exhausted, and you land straight into the land of Nod are a blessing. However, exhausted, sleepless nights with a dash of work thoughts are all too common. Moreover, sleepless nights can chip in stress or aggravate it further. Evidence confirms that slumbering well can lessen stress. The takeaway is simple – don’t compromise with your sleep hours. The ideal number of hours suitable for sleep varies from person to person. Figure out the time that you need for recharging your batteries with sleep and forget about work during those hours. In conclusion: Stress over work in an entrepreneur’s life is inevitable. That doesn’t mean that you don’t need to set up a defensive parameter around yourself though.
Remember that health is wealth and stress is not a minor player, it can grow into deeper cognitive problems if ignored. Therefore, smash it to smithereens before it engulfs you.
H. James Hulton III
WW II and Korean War Veteran a Hero!
Veteran of World War II and Korean Conflict Wondered,
“What Is an Atomic Bomb?”
by H James Hulton III, USAF Veteran and Freelance Copywriter
Glenn Bushey, a two-major war Veteran of the U.S. Army, earned many awards during his military career, including a Bronze Star and Combat Infantry Badge with Star, and by being a member of America’s “the Greatest Generation.” We salute and thank him for his outstanding valor with the following story:
A 96-year-old WW II and Korean War U. S. Army Veteran from Camp Hill, PA, Glenn Bushey was called up to serve in WW II in Nov 1943. He was sent to Ft. Benning, GA for basic training. In March 1944 he was sent to the 86th Division at Camp Livingston, VA where he and fellow soldiers were trained for fierce fighting.
In September 1944 his unit was transferred to Camp Cooke, CA, San Clemente Island, and Camp Luis Obispo for amphibious training to prepare to invade Japan. But because of the need for more troops in the Battle of the Bulge in Europe then, a U.S. DOD decision in Washington, D.C. was made to send the 86th Division to Europe. After intense training in CA through January 1945, Bushey and the 86th Division arrived in France in March 1945.
On 27 April 1945, as a member of the 7th Army, Bushey was severely wounded when a German machine gun nest suddenly shot him in the lip, left arm, and right hamstring in the Danube River area. He was just a 19-year-old private first class. He would not have survived this attack had his wounds been closer to major bodily organs and arteries. Medics treated him in a field hospital then airlifted him to a hospital in Paris, France for further treatment. He was sent to a hospital in Cambridge, England in May 1945.
He left Europe to return stateside in July 1945 and arrived in New York on August 10, 1945. On May 8, 1945, V.E. Day (Victory in Europe), the Germans officially surrendered, and his division was shipped to New York City to participate in a big ticker-tape parade. Shortly after that, his unit was deployed to the Philippines.
The war with Japan continued. “I really wanted to go,” he said, “but they wouldn’t let me. I was very disappointed.” Why did you want to go? he was asked. “They were my buddies. You want to be with your buddies, right?” He was not fully recovered from his wounds yet, no parade, no redeployment. Big disappointment for him.
It was at this time that the United States Army-Air Force dropped two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan on August 6 and 9, 1945. Bushey and his comrade soldiers noted, “We had no idea what an atomic bomb even was when we heard this had happened! We never heard of any such thing as an Atomic Bomb!” This wartime project was a top U.S. military secret.
Following this event, he was transferred to train and work at Ft. Indiantown Gap, PA to work in the Army Separations Center preparing active-duty soldiers for discharge. For a short time there, he was also a military police (MP) member. He was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army in mid-March 1946. In the summer of 1946, he enrolled in Gettysburg College where he majored in Mathematics and graduated in 1949. He enrolled in the U.S Army Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) where he was paid $20 per month as a cadet.
Upon graduation from Gettysburg, he was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant. He later acquired a Master’s Degree in Education at Penn State University (PSU) in January 1955. In the spring of 1951, Bushey received notice to report to the Armed Force Entrance and Examination Station (AFEES) at 401 N. Broad Street in Philadelphia. In June 1951 he was sent to Ft. Meade, MD Induction Center to begin training for the armed conflict in Korea. He became a platoon leader as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S Army 43rd Infantry Division.
In October 1951, the Army sent him to Ft. Benning, GA for basic Officers Training School. He was promoted to 1st Lieutenant here, and deployed to Korea in April 1952. He became the Army’s 40th Infantry Division Executive Officer. He later became the battalion Intelligence Officer. The unit’s mission was to go on night patrols to identify locations of Chinese enemy troops. “The only combat I saw was in the form of ‘back-and-forth artillery fire.’ Nevertheless, there were actual casualties,” he noted. As a reserve officer, he was then rotated out from Korea early five months later. “I had enough!” he said, and so he quit the reserves.
In mid-October 1952, about 8 months before the end of the Korean War, Bushey returned to the U.S where he was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army. He has been awarded a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart, and a Combat Infantry Badge with Star for his combat roles in both World War II and Korea. When asked, he says “I am proud to show this album about my family and military life; also my medals,” as he holds them in a deep frame.