Sometimes the day feels that way. After all, what isn’t on the to-do list of a small business owner?
So, how best to rein in the overwhelm, when we feel like we need to — we must — accomplish everything planned for the day?
Does doing a little bit of everything but not enough of anything sound familiar?
“Hey, I checked off a few items from my list,” we say to no one because we’re working late and everyone has long since left for home. Heck, at that point they’re probably comfortable on the couch, feet up, drink in hand… having a life.
Sure, we might be working hard, but how smart is our strategy?
Words are powerful. Say “scattershot” and you immediately recognize that feeling. Better, then, to shift the mindset and rewrite the script; albeit it’s a short one, just a single word. In this way we’ll embrace a smarter way to work, and find our way to greater productivity.
Rewrite the Script
There it is, the rewritten workday script.
“When we work with intention, we’re more successful,” asserts Jaclyn Renee, a holistic health coach in Berkley, Michigan (pictured).
Working with intent means not being so… scattershot.
“Doing multiple things is never really successful… multitasking kills our brains,” Jaclyn explained.
There’s no hyperbole to her statement. Research from the American Psychological Association shows how multitasking, especially if the jobs are complex, “takes a toll on productivity.” Not really a surprise. But it’s the scope of the problem that gave researchers pause, and should nudge you to consider shifting how you work. According to the research, “Psychologists who study what happens to cognition when people try to perform more than one task at a time have found that the mind and brain were not designed for heavy-duty multitasking.”
It would be easy for Jaclyn to engage in multitasking. In addition to coaching, she hosts a podcast (A Gut Feeling), leads workshops, and manages and teaches at The Classroom, an educational space adjacent to Balanced Health and Wellness in Berkley. The Classroom offers courses to help people address wellness challenges. Jaclyn’s largest endeavor is organizing Women of Wellness, a one-day summit where “inspiring female leaders in the wellness space in Detroit discuss gut health, hormone health, weight loss resistance and stress management,” she said.
Jaclyn not only encourages clients, and anyone, really, to work with intent, she’s also an enthusiastic practitioner.
Stay on Brand
Jaclyn believes success comes from being intentional during the day. And that means setting timers for certain tasks, like giving yourself 20 minutes to check email, and stopping to eat lunch. “Every once in a while get up, take a deep breath… refresh the brain,” she said, adding, “We make mistakes when we’re drowning in work and don’t feel fresh.” Sound familiar?
Jaclyn also keeps interruptions to a minimum. Again, her actions are intentional. “I don’t get texts on my computer, and my phone is on airplane mode during the day.”
Her days begin and end, intentionally, too. “When I started my business I experienced adrenal fatigue. As a business owner I thought I had to do it all, that I was falling behind… but by whose standards,” she said. Her fix was to create balance. Easier said than done, of course, but when you’re the one doing the heavy lifting it’s always helpful to hear strategies about how cohorts manage.
Jaclyn speaking at a health and wellness event.
“I don’t look at my phone until 8:30 a.m. I walk the dog, I meditate… I don’t let interruptions get in the way. When the first thing you do in the morning is grab your phone it sets off your nervous system… it’s a trigger,” Jaclyn explained.
Her evening routine, likewise, is intentional. A big part of that is preparing for the next day. “I pack my lunch, set out my clothes,” she said. “It sounds elementary, but it really makes a huge difference the next morning.”
Most importantly, Jaclyn says working with intention keeps her business on brand. That is, she makes strategic decisions that stay true to the roots of her work, which is promoting gut health (remember her podcast).
“The foundations and values of my business emphasize what nutrition and wellness should be,” she said. “I use those, then, to motivate my clients and work with them to establish long term solutions.”
So it’s incumbent upon Jaclyn to ensure all of her affiliated work relates to the pillars, as she calls them, of stress management, lifestyle (nutrition and exercise) and environmental toxins, all of which impact gut health. With those always top of mind – thinking intently – she stays on brand.
She said, “I have my own foundation and values about what health should be, and anytime I speak to a group or in the media or write a blog post or record a podcast… all that I communicate stems from those foundations of what wellness means to me.”
Indeed, she wrote the script on the importance of listening to our gut.
Edward Nakfoor is a Birmingham, Michigan-based freelance writer and marketer for small businesses. How do you work with intent? Contact Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Connect with Jaclyn @jaclynreneewellness