What does your to-do list look like?

Before I went on holiday last week my ‘to-do’ list was bursting at the seams. I was actually on the verge of crying until I realised I was approaching my to-do list the wrong way.

I had been asking ‘What would I like to get done (generally speaking)?’ as opposed to ‘What needs to get done before I leave for Spain? Naturally being an over-achiever my ‘wants to get done’ list was far bigger than my ‘needs to get done’ list!

I found it was similar to packing too. The week leading up to the holiday I had put aside the clothes, notepads and books I wanted to take with me. Then a few days before I packed, my back was aching and realised I wouldn’t be able to take it all. As I went upstairs to pack, I wrote down on a post it note – Keep it simple, keep it light. Which then helped me to dramatically reduce what I would take yet it was still enough for the 6 days I was away. The bonus was, it was kinder to my back too.

In Successful Business Minds, I discuss how we often forget whether our bodies can handle all the demands we ask of it as business owners. We put high expectations on them. Furthermore, in 12 Steps to Improve Your Cashflow, I mention that often we can lose our way a little. We get caught up in a ‘must do’ list and forget why we started a business in the first place. Naturally we are in business to help others, to serve them and make the world a better place but we forget to ‘keep it simple’. We forget the REAL reason we started our business. For myself, and most of my clients, this was about being kinder to myself and living a much simpler life, yet still with passion.

Like most of my clients, before I went full time in my business, I was burnt out from working many long hours. I had been neglecting friends and family and not really having much fun. I was stressed and having too many sleepless night, whilst I worried about my employer’s finances (what felt like) more that they did. So I left employment and decided to make my own rules about life, work and finances. However, as I discuss in depth in Successful Business Minds, I got a little lost but I soon found my way again.

Yet whilst on holiday, celebrating a birthday, I reflected on the years (as birthdays tend to make us do!) and on my intentions for my life and my business. I realised I still hadn’t quite got there but I did give myself some credit by acknowledging I was pretty close!

I am passionate about many things and this passion excites, encouraging me to do everything I think of and help everyone that crosses my path. The problem I have is that I want to help everyone all at the same time! Thus when I write my ‘to-do’ list, I tend to over exaggerate what I can do. I am getting better at reigning this in, but like most things, it’s a work in progress….

It is also something I have been reflecting on for the next book (Tax Return Made Simple) when I consider why some business owners don’t make time for their accounts. There are lots of reasons why it doesn’t happen (12 in fact which I will be addressing in the book) but often we simply just aren’t able to get a grasp of what we can and cannot do in a certain time period. Equally if we are passionate about our lives and helping others we can often trip ourselves up by trying to do it all and forget to ‘Keep it Simple & Keep it Light’.

I have acknowledged that I will always be a busy bee. I much prefer the fast-paced energy of busyness than relaxed and slow. Yet I have acknowledged that busy does not always mean productive and sometimes I do need to slow the pace down at times.

Interestingly, yesterday attending a conference with other management accountants, I found myself querying the graph data on productivity that a Bank of England representative was explaining to us about the economy. I will share more about that next week, but for now, I encourage you to remind yourself why you really started your business and how productive are your actions towards that intention?

Love Helen x

Accountant & Author of Successful Business Minds and 12 Steps to Improve Your Cashflow.

© HM Coaching Ltd

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