Is this the year you’re going to lose that extra weight, get organised or bag the career of your dreams? Yes? Then you’re going to need to get savvy and take some time to plan how you’re going to make your dream a reality.
Serial entrepreneur, Jo Shanahan (pictured), owns three separate successful businesses with 15 staff (DVE Business Solutions, Animal Therapeutics Online and Warrington Park Equestrian Services), is married, competitively rides horses, travels interstate, and internationally, regularly and is continually juggling the demands of her busy life. However, with a background in engineering, processes and continuous improvement she is well equipped to find a solution to any problem, the biggest being how to make the most of her busy schedule.
“I prefer the term ‘life balance’, as I believe work is an integral part of life, and work-life balance suggests that it’s separate,” said Jo. “I’ve learnt to accept that the choices I have made will keep me busy. It is my responsibility to make those choices work and to make them fun. This is my life and these are my choices.
“I have also learnt how to be more effective when balancing these demands. Some simple things, like using Apps that help me keep track of my to do list, have really made a difference to my efficiency and ultimately my stress levels.”
Here, Jo shares her key tips on how to get more productive, more efficient and focused on your goals over the next 12 months to achieve that dream:
1. PLAN, plan, plan. Set your key priorities for the coming twelve months. Know what your values and goals are and prioritise work, friends, and family. Then, as you start finding it hard to decide between conflicting priorities, revisit your plan and make an informed decision based upon that.
2. ORGANISE your activities using to do lists. It will keep your thoughts in order, your actions focused and give you a sense of achievement as you cross them off. There are several Apps designed to help your day to day planning including To Do and Errands. The obligatory Outlook calendar is a powerful tool as well.
3. VISUALISE your day and what you want to achieve with your time each morning, while lying in bed. Try to take the emotion out of this process and imagine yourself in a helicopter looking down at your day.
4. REFLECT on your day in the evening. Think of at least three things, no matter how small, that went well in the day. And this is a good time to think about the things that you’re grateful for as well.
5. ALLOW yourself to do things for yourself and don’t feel guilty about it. If you’re happy, you’re more effective, so it helps you in the long run.
6. INCORPORATE exercise into your routine. It is so important that your mind and body are healthy to enable you to squeeze everything in, so make sure to schedule in regular exercise when you’re planning your week.
7. LISTEN to your body and learn to work with it, not against it. If you’re an early riser, make the most of the time to do some quiet work or reflection before beginning your day. If you’re a night owl, let yourself stay up late, but make sure you’re still getting enough rest, even if it means starting your day an hour or two behind everyone else. If you feel yourself getting run down, make sure you sleep in a little longer.
8. OUTSOURCE what you can. If you need a cleaner, organise one. If you hate doing your tax each year, hire an accountant to manage your finances and take away that stress. People are best at what they enjoy, and you’re no exception.
9. KEEP somewhere as your haven, a sacred place, whether it is one particular room of the house or a holiday home, to escape the work stresses. Ensure you never take work with you to that space and you’ll find it much easier to ‘turn off’ there.
10. BREATHE, when you begin to feel overwhelmed, relax and remember it is your choice. Whatever it is you have chosen to do – work, raise a family, play sport, anything – you have chosen it and it is your responsibility to make it work and make it fun. It’s all about understanding that you have control of your life and your decisions. If ultimately you are continuing to struggle, it might be time to make a choice to get rid of a few things, which is your responsibility too.