Every sole trader, entrepreneur and small business owner goes through it: losing their business mojo, falling into a funk, or feeling just plain “meh” about being in business. I’ve been in a slump for much of winter – but things are slowly lifting and shifting. And while I could attribute it to spring’s arrival, I think there are other factors at play. I’m approaching tasks, and life in general, in a more mindful way. And so far, so good!
Here are a number of ways I’m working on rebooting my business mojo:
- Set a routine – and stick to it. This may be obvious to many, but being a free-spirited creative type, I sometimes struggle with routine. Just the word makes me slump and want to wield my dead weight – like my dog Roxie does when we take her to the vet. But when I think of it as a ritual, not routine, I feel lighter and more positive.
- Tidy up. A cluttered mess breeds a cluttered mind. I’ve spent most of my life subscribing to the credo “Creative minds are seldom tidy.” And while I’ll never be a neat freak, as well as doing a literal office tidy up, I’m exploring ways to streamline tasks and time management. I’ve been tracking my time each day, whether it’s business admin, client work or personal time – just to see how I spend my time. It’s helping me stay focused and more productive, which also makes me feel better. Like learning any new skill, it’s off to a bit of a shaky start, but I’m enjoying the process!
- Connect with other small business owners. The last thing you may want to do is network – and take it from an introvert like me, when you’re mojo-less, the idea probably makes you squirm with social anxiety. But it doesn’t have to be the full-on schmooze-fest / lay-your-business-cards-on-the-table affair. Even just phoning up peers for a chat is helpful. Or meeting for coffee.
- Seek out positive people. Another obvious one, right? Sometimes though, I get so bogged down in the ‘bleugh’ I forget to confide in others – or I don’t want to burden them. When you feel the need to reach out to others for a pep talk, make sure their positivity level and energy matches yours. I tend to recoil from people who ‘bung on’ the positivity, or who are so gung ho and enthusiastic, it’s exhausting just hearing them speak. Quiet achievers are more my type. I’m sure you know your type.
- Meditate: Tuning in to your inner self helps you refocus – and it’s mighty good for calming frazzled nerves or lifting your spirit. Mindfulness is a popular and very accessible style of meditation, that doesn’t require any spiritual beliefs – or incense or crystals for that matter. There are plenty of mindfulness phone apps too.
- Exercise: Yes, yes, you knew this one would come up, didn’t you? There’s just no getting around the fact that moving manifests mojo. As well as those funny-named feel-good chemicals that swim around your bloodstream after a workout… Endorphins, that’s them. No need to sign up for crossfit; even a brisk daily walk helps clear the mind and loosen any kinks in the body. But BYO dogs – ‘cause mine are taken! While you’re at it, eat and drink with your good health in mind.
- Soak up some sun: We all know sunshine helps lift our mood – just read all those facebook posts at this time of year, paying tribute to the glorious warm, sun-drenched spring days. So get out in the sun and see how quickly your mindset shifts. But don’t overdo the UV exposure – be sensible.
- Breathe in, breathe out: You don’t have to practise yoga to reap the benefits of slow, deep breathing. For full de-stressing benefits, it’s best to breathe from the belly, not the chest. Push your tummy out as you inhale and draw it back in as you exhale, slowly letting the breath out.
- Mind the self-talk: Fearful, negative, scolding ‘parental voices’; second guessing, procrastinating, distracting ideas that fill your head when you really should be getting on with things … they’re all kinds of self-talk that self-sabotage and undermine your confidence and productivity. Each time the unhelpful self-talk pipes up, kindly and gently escort them off the premises (of your psyche, that is).
- Laugh lots, laugh loud: You have to laugh, don’t you? Well, yes, you DO! A good ole guffaw heals many a troubled mind. Whether it’s comedy films or TV, catching a stand-up comic, hanging out with kids or pets – or reading about the latest political leadership challenge – reconnect with whatever makes you laugh and let rip.
These are the main things that I find help me get my groove back. Maybe they’ll work for you, too!