Productivity for Solopreneurs: Insights to getting things done #134 / Frustration, lack of productivity, & an announcement

Frustration, lack of productivity, and an announcement


I’m so tired of the emails telling me how to spend my time or how to market my business during this “current crisis.”

I told my husband yesterday that I think I’m going to have to avoid the promotions tab of my email because it makes me anxious.

I’m frustrated by the “join me for this multiple-day training featuring these very knowledgeable people.” Or even the “I’ve decided to do a special training on x to help you navigate the current crisis.”

Some of them are very easy to say no to or ignore.

The ones that frustrate me are the ones that I’m interested in, but my week is not full of all this extra time to watch these videos/trainings (that will also expire in 24 hours SO WATCH THEM NOW). 

It’s just making me more anxious.

So, I’m permitting myself not to check that folder every day. And generally, I’m someone who likes to stay on top of ALL of my emails.

If you need permission to ignore the email that stresses you out, I give you that permission.

Lack of productivity

I talked about it a bit last week that I need downtime and space to process things.

This means that I’m not getting as much done as I usually would each week. 

Paradoxically, this is the most productive thing I can do for myself.

A couple of weeks ago shared a quote from John Green (author of The Fault in Our Stars): “Taking care of myself and others is the productivity that matters most right now.”

It’s very true. I also shared Partners In Health’s (PIH) 10 mental health tips. You can find their article here.

Take a look at their list and do what works for you.

An Announcement

The things I’ve shared today are a slightly different version of what I’ve shared in the last three weeks. And I’m feeling a bit like a broken record.

One thing that’s helped me handle my frustration, stress, and lack of productivity is having conversations with small groups of people. 

I can interact, or not, as I feel like it and it makes me feel less alone (and it’s PIH’s first tip: Use technology to connect) and that I’m still a community that’s beyond the boundaries of my home.

This might be helpful to you too.

So, I’m putting Productivity for Solopreneurs on hold for now.

Instead, I invite you to join me for an online meeting (via Zoom) at 1 pm on Wednesdays.

Here’s the tentative format:

  • Share one good thing from your week (personal or business)
  • What do you need/want right now?
    This is to support you and is not the time to share who your ideal client or referral partners are. Instead, share what support/help you need, personally or professionally.
  • Q&A
    Have you ever wanted to pick my brain? Or wanted to know what others ask me when they want to pick my brain? This is the perfect opportunity to get your questions answered or learn something from someone else’s question.
  • We’ll keep the first meeting at 30 minutes.

Head over to the Facebook group Productivity for Women Entrepreneurs to find the link to join us next week.

Productivity for Solopreneurs: Insights to Getting Things Done #134
Productivity for Solopreneurs: Insights to getting things done # / How are you spending your time?

How are you spending your time?

In my Next Level Business Mastermind group, we have a weekly call where we talk about goals and obstacles. This week one member asked what we were doing to handle/manage the recent changes to our lives.

This led to a discussion of how we’re spending our time. 

Some have found themselves with more time, but have realized they need to spend more time in self-care. Others have about the same amount of time, but the projects and tasks that they’re spending it on have changed.

Another member shared that she had to postpone the project she planned to be working on right now. This allowed her to start working on a project that had been on the back burner. She’s not doing new or different things, but her priorities have shifted.

I’ve seen a lot of coaches and businesses share free or discounted programs in the last couple of months–and that’s great. 

If it’s not something that fits with the goals of your business, it’s a distraction.

One coach I follow has made her paid course on creating a podcast free. I briefly thought about signing up for it. Thankfully, I dismissed that thought before I even went to the website. Creating a podcast is not one of my goals and remembering that allowed me to move on quickly.

Another thing I’ve reminded myself is that I get to choose who I allow in.

I’ve seen some people share that this is a time to buckle down and get things done! It’s time to focus and push yourself through this!

And you know what, that’s exactly what some people need. That’s how they cope and manage the unknown. So, that’s exactly what they should do.

That is not how I manage these times. And I’ve realized that I have an added layer of losing my Grandma two weeks ago. 

I need downtime and space to process.

You might need that too. So, that’s exactly what you should do.

So, don’t feel bad when you see others sharing that now is the time to get things done. Let them cope in their way and give yourself the space to cope in your way.

And if you need to snooze them for 30 days on Facebook, by all means, do! Again, you get to choose who you allow in.

There’s a couple of things that I want you to walk away thinking about.

  1. What are your goals?
    I’m not talking about your income intention; I’m talking about the goals that support that intention both short term and long term. If you’re adding a new project, make sure it aligns with your goals. Don’t add something new just because someone offered their course for free.
  2. How are you taking care of yourself right now?
    Give yourself the space you need to take care of yourself. It might mean that you spend less time in your business. That’s okay! For most of my audience, your business doesn’t exist without you. So don’t forget to take care of you!

I’m available if you want support. It might look like helping you get clearer around your intention and goals for your business (and self) right now or a call to chat with someone you don’t live with 😉

Productivity for Solopreneurs: Insights to Getting Things Done #133
Productivity for Solopreneurs: Insights to getting things done #132 / Being productive looks like taking care of yourself

Being productive looks like taking care of yourself

If you ask me how I’m doing during this time, I’ll tell you that I’m good and I’ll mean it.

But if I take a little time to think about what’s actually going on, I’d tell you: I’m spending a lot of time scrolling through Facebook (my social media of choice) or sitting on the couch cross-stitching while listening to podcasts or watching Youtube.

One of my coping mechanisms is avoidance (scrolling Facebook). 

It’s a way I procrastinate and avoid dealing with things.

While cross-stitching is probably more of a healthy coping mechanism.

What are your coping mechanisms?

If you do some honest reflection, you’ll probably notice some slight shifts in your behavior too.

This brings me to a video I watched Tuesday from John Green. You can find it here. In it, he references ten mental health tips shared by Partners In Health.

Partners In Health (PIH) is a social justice & global health organization striving to make health care a human right for all people, starting with those who need it most (from their description on Twitter).

In their article here they offer these ten mental health practices:

  1. Social distancing does not mean emotional distancing; use technology to connect widely;
  2. Clear routines and schedule, seven days a week, at home—don’t go overboard;
  3. Exercise and physical activity, daily if possible;
  4. Learning and intellectual engagement—books, reading, limited internet;
  5. Positive family time—working to counter negativity;
  6. Alone time, outside if possible, but inside too; but remember, don’t isolate;
  7. Focused meditation and relaxation;
  8. Remember the things that you really enjoy doing, that you can do in this situation, and find a way to do them;
  9. Limit exposure to TV and internet news; choose small windows and then find ways to cleanse yourself of it;
  10. Bathe daily, if possible, to reinforce the feeling of cleanliness.

John Green also shared this: “Doing things on this list IS BEING PRODUCTIVE. Taking care of myself and others is the productivity that matters most right now.”

It’s important to remember that right now.

I saw something scrolling Facebook that I can’t find now to give proper credit, but the statement was something along the lines of: “That feeling you’re feeling right now, it’s grief.”

There have been a lot of changes to our normal over the past week, and it looks like these changes will stay in place for at least another couple of weeks. 

This means the goals we set, the things we planned on doing, and the experiences we anticipated are not happening or look significantly different now.

It’s natural to grieve these expectations.

Give yourself the time and space to do that.

And if you’re feeling overwhelmed, scared, or like shutting down, ask yourself: Which thing on the PIH’s list can I do right now?

And if you want/need to connect with someone, please reach out to me. 

Productivity for Solopreneurs: Insights to Getting Things Done #132

Productivity for Solopreneurs: Insights to getting things done #131 / What to do when your normal changes

What to do when your normal changes

I thought a lot about what to share this week.

Do I address the elephant in the room?

Do I ignore it because there’s already soo much out there about the changes to our routines this week as we learn about and practice social distancing?

If you’re emotionally tired of all things virus related, please take care of yourself and move on.

For everyone else, let’s take a few minutes to talk about what to do when your normal changes.

Right now, you might find yourself unexpectedly at home with your kids, trying to figure out how to make sure they’re doing their online learning while you’re figuring out how this changes things for your business.

This is a big change to your “normal.” It’s going to take a bit to figure out what works for you and your family right now. Give you and your kiddos some grace.

Know that you’re not going to be able to get as much done as you did a couple of weeks ago—plan for that.

If you need help, look for it or reach out for it. I’ve seen experts in homeschooling offer to help or share resources. Search or ask for the help you need. Someone will help you!

And regardless of if you have kids, take the time you need for yourself. You might need to do a little more self-care right now. I find myself wanting to curl up on the couch with my cross stitch and podcasts more and more.

Give yourself the space to do more of that if that’s what you need.

And, remember that goals are not written in stone!

This might be a good time to take a couple of hours and adjust your goals and intentions for your business. If your current plan involved networking and coffee meetings (or 1-1’s), then come up with how you will adjust your goals and your plans. Maybe you do more Zoom meetings or offer something new or different.

If you need help with this, reach out to others and do some brainstorming over Zoom or the phone.

Or reach out to me. I’m happy to help. The easiest way to do that is to leave a comment or fill out the Contact Me form here.

Give yourself time to adjust to this new, temporary normal. It’s okay not to have everything figured out. Notice what’s working for you and do more of that. And notice what’s not working and adjust until you find what works.

It’s really easy to say that. It seems so obvious, but at the same time, it’s really easy to overlook.

Again, if you want help with figuring out what your new normal is, reach out to me.

Productivity for Solopreneurs: Insights to Getting Things Done #131

Productivity for Solopreneurs: Insights to getting things done #130 / What you don't see

What you don’t see

Before we start, I want you to know that I’m not covering a typical productivity topic. However, this can negatively impact your productivity and the goals we set for ourselves. 

I was talking with someone this morning and the state of her desk came up. She shared she was frustrated by the piles all over it.

We talked about this for a bit and I shared that when I was a kid, my mom referred to me as her “pile child.” She always knew where I had been sitting in the living room because I had a pile, or two, of what I had been working on near me.

We chatted a bit more and then I was asked: “do you have piles on your desk now?”

Yes. I have a couple of piles on my desk now. 

The piles are receipts and credit card statements for this year that I haven’t processed and put away yet.

That’s generally what my pile is, one or two piles of bills, receipts, or statements that I haven’t put away yet.

I have three drafts in different states of completion on three different topics for this week’s article.

I’m not happy with any of them.

The message in them isn’t clear to me. They’re good starts, but I don’t know how to end them.

Last week I was talking with someone who shared that she felt unprepared when networking. Everyone else seems so together and confident. 

I compared networking to those perfect Instagram pictures you see.

In those Instagram pictures, you feel like you’re getting a glimpse into someone’s perfect life. 

What you don’t see is all the time it took to get their hair and makeup to look perfect. And in some cases, someone was hired to do their hair and makeup.

You don’t see how long it took to get that perfect picture.

You don’t see the screaming kids in the background, the stress and frustration, the things that went wrong, the things that they’re worried about, or their bank account numbers (sometimes they’re not anywhere near as healthy as they pretend).

You see what they want you to see.

Networking can be much the same.

You don’t see all the events they went to where they talked to no one.

You don’t see them taking a break in the bathroom stall to regroup (I’ve done this!).

You don’t see all the ways they miffed that 30-second elevator pitch or felt awkward as they got more comfortable doing it.

You don’t see the time and effort they spent playing with and perfecting that elevator pitch.

You don’t see any number of things happening behind the scenes of their business or life.

You see what they’re sharing with you and how they’re showing up that day.

Which is fine, but you can’t compare all the things you’re feeling below the surface and the things you know are happening (or not happening) in your business to what others are choosing to share with you.

This is why I started with sharing about the piles on my desk. In the videos, my camera is situated in a way that you see me, not my desk. You’re seeing what I’m choosing to share.

This is why I shared about the three unused topics. It might seem like I just magically have a topic every week, but that’s only because you don’t see the unused topics. I wrote today’s topic about two hours ago because I didn’t have a topic yet.

Where you are is perfect.

Some are ahead of you and some are behind you. It’s all good.

You have the inside track to all the things working and not working for you right now. But you can’t see those things in other people unless they give you a glimpse in. And even then, it’s only a glimpse, while you have a front-row seat to your life and business.

Keep this in mind when you’re comparing yourself to someone else.

Productivity for Solopreneurs: Insights to Getting Things Done #130