It’s been over a year since I’ve graduated from college. Since then, I’ve more than doubled my freelancing income, grown my blog, and on the side run a content marketing agency—while traveling the world!
My friends and family think of me as that crazy guy. After all, I’ve probably hustled hard all day, every day to be where I am today, right?
Well, not really.
The truth of the matter is it’s my ability to declutter and focus on what moves the needle that has helped me get more done by doing less.
In fact, even Gary Vaynerchuk (a name synonymous with the hustle) recommends working smart over hustling to win at business.
So, how do you scale your business and still have a life?
Well, there’s no secret formula. But there are a few things you can do to focus on what’s important and avoid burnout:
#1. Find your one thing
We live in a world filled with distraction, and this keeps us from doing the key things that matter the most.
Most people multitask and end up doing too much at a time. The problem with multi-tasking is it makes everything seem important, so you end up jumping from one thing to another until you’re exhausted—and in most cases get nothing done!
Enter: your one thing.
This is the most important thing that’s going to move the needle for you. Depending on where you are on your journey—this can be complex—but its key to focus on one thing at a time as not everything can be your top priority.
Here are a few ways to find your one thing:
- Identify your short-term and long-term goals (not more than a year).
- Breakdown your goals into actionable steps.
- Now, out of this list set a priority to each of these steps.
For example, if you want to become a freelancer. Your long term goal could be location independence, but the short term goal is most likely $1000—and your one thing? To get enough clients to make that thousand dollars.
You see, finding your one thing is all about finding what you have to do right now that will make all the other things easy or unnecessary.
#2. Develop a clutter-free system
Whether you’re running a business, freelancing, side-hustle—a system is vital to help you focus on what’s most important.
In my case, developing a system to handle client projects and personal business has helped me ‘automate’ decision making as I now have processes in place to help me manage different overlapping tasks.
Here are a few ways to develop a distraction-free system:
- Find the gaps in your business and take measures to fix them (usually by outsourcing, automating, or reworking).
- Use heuristics to make your system flexible to change. For example, I only write more articles on my niche site if that particular niche hits my income goal.
- Automate the time-consuming tasks like following-up with leads, email marketing to declutter your system
Outsource, but be smart about it
The #1 mistake most entrepreneurs do is trying to everything by themselves i.e., working in your business than on your business.
A decade long study on top execs found that consistency is the #1 thing that separates the best from the rest. But to be consistent would mean you’ll have to be in multiple places at one time.
This is where automation comes in and helps you remove yourself as a bottleneck and focus on critical revenue-generating activities. But it’s important to be smart about outsourcing and not lose out on quality.
Here are a few things you can outsource without affecting quality:
- Hire a VA (virtual assistant) to handle non-productive tasks like calendar management, meetings, emails, etc.
- Use tools to automate time-consuming tasks — for example, Grammarly for speed proofreading, Asana for calendar management, etc. etc.
#3. Pull Hyperwork weeks
A Hyperwork week is where I dive deep into my work and focus solely on completing specific tasks.
During this period, I remove all distractions and focus on one (or two) specific goals for the week. But remember, you first need to know your one thing before you do this. The whole point of a hyper work week is to focus on getting key revenue-generating with maximum efficiency.
Here’s how to pull a productive hyper work week:
- Go over your one thing before you pull a hyper work week
- Block out specific periods of your month for work
- Go to a distraction-free location for maximum productivity
For example, I usually pull hyper work weeks for outreach. During this week, I’m reaching out to blogs, writing guest posts and focusing on only outreach.
#4. Audit your journey (based on your goals)
Running a business is a juggling act that entails managing multiple different tasks—and this can make it easy to lose sight of what matters most.
Auditing your journey is essential to realign with your business goals, which tend to change with experience and time. This will help you stay on track and keep your motivation high.
Here’s how I run a successful audit:
After every 3 months, I go over the goal sheet and track my progress.
- Check the progress you’ve made based on the goals you set and take appropriate measures.
- If you didn’t make progress, find out why you didn’t meet your goals and focus more on the gaps.
- If there’s something you want to change, realign, and set new goals.
Remember, we’re human, so it’s fine to not meet your goals. The important part is to be conscious of your goals and continuously work towards achieving them.
#5. Take breaks off work
Working hard is important, but not at the cost of your health or personal time. So it’s always a good idea to take a break from the business even if that means missing out on sales.
Here are a few ways to take a break without disrupting business:
- Plan your break ahead of time so that you don’t miss important business events.
- Delegate basic operations to an employee (or even a VA)
- Block out times of your day for exercise to stay fit and healthy.
- Don’t work on specific days (like weekends) and dedicate these days for your family.
- Block out time to check emails, social media.
I believe everyone should take a break once in a while and can benefit from some alone time. In fact, I always find that I’m much more focused on taking a break.
Plant down, grow up.
Remember, the whole point of growing a business is so that you have more time with family, loved ones and anything you want.
So keep your head straight and focus on the bigger picture—growing your business by doing less. In the end, it all comes down to balancing out automation and delegation to handle that extra bandwidth, without the extra headache.