Sometimes running a business feels like you live in a hamster wheel. Even businesses that make $1-3 million a year have to overcome this challenge and learn how to create an environment where their employees and team don’t end up stuck here too.
Here are 5 ways to STOP the hamster wheel, and help you and your small team shift their perspective, and actions to bring you creative ideas and solutions.
1. Take a Walk
It’s summertime, sometimes when we are feeling frustrated or stuck in the endless wheel, we have to get out of the space we typically work. If you haven’t taken a short walk lately, even 5-10 minutes. Go do it.
On your walk set the intention to find 5 things to be grateful for in nature. You will be surprised how many things you can find to enjoy.
Another fun thing you can do on your walk is to look for a specific color in nature, for example, Red. Depending on where you are, different colors will be more prominent than others. Sometimes when we are so used to running in the hamster wheel, we have to have something to do with our mind.
When you look for colors in nature, this keeps your mind out of the typical hamster wheel and focused on the new environment you are in.
You might be surprised by what you discover and see because you got out of the wheel and into nature.
Going on walks is an easy-to-implement tool anytime. The key thing is giving yourself permission to stop the wheel and get out of it.
2. Do a Fun Team Building Activity
When you have a team, getting to know each other and connecting with each other outside of stress and frustration is vital for the health and happiness of your team.
Find something you can all enjoy together, be it playing a card game, doing a ropes course, even going to a painting class, taking your team to the movies on a slow Thursday, or even buying the team lunch and eating together.
There are so many ways you can connect with your team, the key thing is that you set some ground rules. No work projects, no “shop” talk.
We also recommend that if at all possible you take the time out of your usual work hours to find the time, this helps your team feel valued, and they don’t have to figure out how to make extra time work, particularly if you feel like your team really needs a pick- me- up.
3. Write Out Everything You Feel Like is Worrying You
When you are stuck in worry it can be really really hard to find the solution, because you are too close to the problem.
When you keep overthinking everything that’s worrying you, not working, or that you feel like you have to remember how to figure out, then this will just keep taking up time, energy, and emotional headspace. This keeps you in the loop, and it takes lots of energy in your head.
So get out your favorite journal, and start dumping and bullet points. By each item put how long you have been worried about this item, and how worried you are about it from 1-100%.
Example: How can I help support my team right now when they are all personally struggling? (3 Months) 90%
When you have 15-30 things on your list and you keep jumping from one to the next it will feel impossible to get past them.
The key here is that simply the act of writing them down can give you relief. You can look at things one at a time, and look at the thing that’s been hanging around the longest because that tends to be the thing that takes the most energy.
Then go for a walk and focus on one thing at a time. This leads me to my next point…
4. Stop Multitasking Focus on One Step or One Bite at a Time
Our brains are not designed to accomplish multiple tasks at once. This creates burnout in our brain and the way it communicates different signals in order to form thoughts, and words, and take actions.
If we are trying to put 30 puzzle pieces into the puzzle at one time that’s way harder than putting them in one PlECE AT A TIME, that also makes it really hard to focus.
Our brain can only focus on one thing at a time, so when we ask it to focus on more than that, it can only accomplish so much before it switches tasks. It’s kind of like a GPS in your head going turn left, no turn right, actually turn around, not that way, this way. Round and round and round again.
Just by practicing focus and intentional time for specific tasks, you eliminate mental burnout.
As my grandpa used to say “How do you eat an Elephant?… One Bite at a Time!”
Once you break down the steps and tasks you need to accomplish, it should bring clarity. If it still seems impossible to complete, break each item down again, and down some more into bite-sized pieces.
Example: Social Media Posts (Overwhelming)
> 3 Facebook Posts
> Make 3 Graphics for the Week
If you aren’t sure how to break something into smaller pieces this can be a sign that you need a process or even a system that you can repeat and train your team on. Systems help make growing and scaling significantly easier. Also, sometimes we think of the umbrella part of a project and that makes it seem like a lot all at once.
5. Celebrate Every Single Day, The Small Stuff & The Big Stuff
Our brains are wired for rewards. This is why when we make our bed in the morning and we go “CHECK, It’s DONE!”, our brain does a little happy celebration, and gives us a reward, dopamine. We love accomplishing things.
When we skip the celebration or acknowledgment then we skip the reward. We begin to starve ourselves of celebration, and a sense of accomplishment, and oftentimes this leads to forgetting our big why our drive and even our purpose to begin with.
So at the end of each day, take some time to acknowledge what you want to celebrate. It can be personal, it can be business, it can be progress on projects, It can be a sale, it can be how you helped a client, it can be anything that you want to celebrate, even as simple as making your bed, taking a 15-minute nap, or eating lunch.
Just start celebrating.
We hope that you enjoy these tips for getting out of the hamster wheel. We want you to know that we get that it is not easy, but it is always possible. It can take conscious effort, and dedication, and it’s what will help you unleash a new level of your business, for you and even for your team.
So give these tips a try and let us know how it goes. We would love to hear what else you have done or are doing to get yourself out of the hamster wheel.
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Business Inspired Solutions is owned and operated by dynamic marital duo, Anna and Katlin Empey who are members and supporters of the LGBTQ+ community. We do not discriminate based on race, gender, sexual orientation, financial status, etc. We are an all-inclusive business that believes in working with the people to change the world and make it a better place.