Remember that weird period in Disney history around 2004? Michael Eisner was CEO, park attendance was down after 9/11, and their films weren’t performing as well as Pixar’s. Put yourself in a Disney leader’s shoes at that time, and you can imagine that they felt the struggle was never going to end. But we know that now, in 2021, they have overcome those obstacles…even if new ones have cropped up.
We may be past the one year mark of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States, but generally, life hasn’t gotten “back to normal,” has it? Much has changed for good, and we’ve had to adapt to a totally different way of doing certain things.
You’ve probably had to adjust your work as a small business owner, too. Speaking from experience and from what we’ve heard from other entrepreneurs, that constant rebalancing act can be tough. That’s why, in this blog, we’re talking about how you can find your focus and keep working toward your goals when you’re living through challenging events that will make history.
Give yourself permission to let some things go
How do you work through the chaos? How do you survive the day-to-day? From our own experiences during quarantine, it has been tough balancing priorities: being a mom, a wife, a business owner. Making sure we stay healthy. Homeschooling our kids. You only have so much to give, so how do you choose where to devote your time and energy?
You have to give yourself grace, and you have to give yourself permission to let some things go.
Sometimes, surviving takes precedence over thriving. You can’t control everything during a global pandemic or an insurrection at the Capitol or while homeschooling your kids and working from home at the same time. And that’s okay.
If you’re frustrated that you’ve had to cancel in person events, or that your number of Zoom meetings has increased, or that you don’t have time to check off everything on your work to-do list, take a deep breath and give yourself a break.
Make sure you extend that grace to your team, too, because they’re probably struggling as well! Keep in touch with your team members and ask how they are. Work together to help each other out. Not only will it help you run the business, you’ll strengthen your emotional bonds with your team.
Implement some structure to help you stay productive
This may sound like it’s contradicting our previous advice, but we promise it’s not! While it’s important to stay flexible and give yourself a break, you still need some structure to help you get through the day. Playing hooky and watching Disney movies all day is nice once in awhile, but it’s not healthy all the time.
A little structure can keep you going. For example, you might schedule time for yourself after the work day to decompress and stay off your computer. Or, pick a dinner time and a separate block of time to spend with your family. That helped us a lot in the early days of quarantine when we had to figure out our own homeschooling schedules.
Putting tasks in “buckets” or blocks can help, too. Like sending emails, tidying the house, preparing food, and so on. This kind of system helps you stay on track, but you have more flexibility within those blocks to do what needs to be done.
Revisit your goals
Our New Year’s resolutions may look totally different than they did in January 2020, but people still make them. Try not to completely abandon your business goals, because they still matter.
Revisit your goals and see if they’re still feasible. If so, when might you be able to achieve them? If they’re not, can they be shelved for a later date? If you find yourself not wanting to remove a goal from your list, figure out a way to adjust your goal or break it down into easier components.
For example, some of our podcast episodes we planned in Season 2 had to be put on hold because of COVID-19. So did a special project that we’d been hinting at for some time. We looked at our goals and asked ourselves, “What’s one thing we can do to move this forward? How can we still make it happen?”
You don’t have to plan a strategy for your goals right away. Just start by reading them and see how you feel. If anything, you’ll be reminded that there was a time before a pandemic, and there will be a time after that will feel more “normal.” And yes, you may become inspired to jump in and accomplish one of your goals.
Keep looking forward
How do you handle balancing priorities and surviving “unprecedented times?” By giving yourself and your team grace, implementing structure to your workday, and revisiting your goals. We know you can survive difficult periods like quarantine. Disney has done it in the past, and you did it in 2020.
Know that you can’t control everything, so when you focus on what you can control and learn to let some things slide, you can keep your business moving forward.
Want to focus on your priorities? Stop chasing squirrels.
We know you have a billion and one different ideas — and all of them are great. But instead of feeling like Doug from Up, it’s important that you really get clear on your strategic priorities. If you’re not sure what those are… we have something for you.
Our Stop Squirrel Syndrome resource shares the 6 Strategic Pillars of Success, and even helps you outline the priorities that fall under each pillar. If you need to work on what’s most important in your business right now, this resource will help you figure that out.