Too busy and finding it hard to stay at the top of your game? This journalist and author has the trick.
My biggest strength—and therefore, my biggest flaw—is that I’m a perfectionist.
If I’m doing something, even if it’s a blog post or a small freebie for promotional purposes, I’m going to make sure that it’s something I’m proud of. I don’t take shortcuts, and I don’t like when I’m forced into situations where I have to. This often means that I’m overworked and overwhelmed, but it also means that I, at least in my head, feel that I’m kickass. (It’s also why I’ve learned to say No to a lot of things.)
But there’s a limit to how kickass you can be if you’re constantly performing at high levels and hurtling down the road at top speed.
Here are a few things you can incorporate into your every day to make sure you always stay at the top of your game, no matter how busy you are.
- Set boundaries. Only take on what you know you can do well. Delegate the rest.
- Read a lot. I’m always a unsure when someone proclaims (usually loudly and proudly) that they don’t read self-help books. How do you learn, I want to ask them. I read somewhere that reading a nonfiction book is like inviting a mentor into your own home and having a training session with them. People don’t hold back in their books, they give you their best stuff. So whenever I have a problem, need inspiration, or require motivation, books are where I go to find it.
- Ask someone you respect out to coffee or lunch.
- Sleep. Self care. Routine. The three things most self-employed parents I know struggle with. Simple, but they can make an enormous difference.
- Ask for help. Accept it graciously when offered.
- Demand high standards from the people you employ, especially if they’re your representatives in the world (for example, your agents, your manager, etc.)
- Look good. Be comfortable. Dress in a way that makes you feel powerful, smart, and comfortable. Don’t let other people’s standards of what business wear looks like dictate your choices. We are business owners, not employees. Choose your own damn dress code.
- Go walking or running. It’s the best exercise I can think of that costs nothing, brings you closer to nature (unless you’re sweating it out on the treadmill), and really refreshes your brain.
- Be prompt. I’ll tip my hat to David Allen for the wonderful tip that if you can do it in two minutes or less, just do it and get it off your mind. If it’s going to take more than that, then you can file it away. This works, especially for emails. (And I struggle with it, I’ll be honest.)
- One of the best ways to stay at the top of your game is to learn new skills, grow your knowledge, and practice working with people who’ve been there before you.
Natasha Khullar Relph
Founder and Editor, The Wordling
Natasha Khullar Relph is an award-winning journalist and author with bylines in The New York Times, TIME CNN, BBC, ABC News, Ms. Marie Claire, Vogue, and more. She is the founder of The Wordling, a weekly business newsletter for journalists, authors, and content creators. Natasha has mentored over 1,000 writers, helping them break into dream publications and build six-figure careers. She is the author of Shut Up and Write: The No-Nonsense, No B.S. Guide to Getting Words on the Page and several other books.
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