Running a business is no easy feat. You need to juggle a lot of responsibilities, manage your energy levels, your health and somehow turn a profit so it can sustain the lifestyle you want to have.
For many beginners, all those tasks dumped on them at the same time cause burnout or at least, they look like they have been run over by a bus. But the critical problem is that they are continually making decisions that drain their willpower.
As we know, your willpower is a finite resource. Yes, you can replenish it and be able to tackle more things, but this will only take you so far. That’s why after lunch I used to feel I had no energy left to do anything; I just wanted to watch Netflix and wait for the next day.
But, there is a smarter way to do things. You can create a support system that helps you avoid fatigue and keeps you sane. It also helps you dodge our biggest enemy: burnout.
An efficient support system will help you recharge your willpower and remove a big chunk of the decisions you have to make throughout the day, saving your energy for more important things.
Now, before we begin, you need to know that creating a support system takes time and effort, but it’s an investment, you will get far more energy back than what you spent on building it. So let’s get to it!
How to create a support system that works for you
I wish I could give you a magic wand to solve everything in one fell swoop, but unfortunately, that’s not the way things work.
You may have read a ton of different techniques, tips or tricks that have helped other people, and those can be a good starting point for inspiration, but you are not them. A support system is something that works for you; it’s custom tailored for you.
To build a system that fits all your needs, you need to start small and with a crystal clear goal. I know it’s not fancy, but all great things begin the same way.
If you try to build a complex system with a ton of moving parts, it will be insanely hard to maintain it, and you will most likely give up and be back at square one.
Instead, you should pick something small that could have a significant benefit (yep, just like the 20/80 rule). Let’s grab one of my systems as an example, my goal was to be able to work for two hours in the afternoon, but after lunchtime, I couldn’t even look at my computer.
Notice how I have a clear target, 2 hours in the afternoon. It’s simple, easy to measure and attainable.
Next, you need to understand the challenge or roadblock. Now it’s the time when you grab your detective hat and start digging. There can be numerous causes why you have not been able to achieve your goal, so take time to find them.
Continuing with my example; there are a couple of behaviors that may cause the problem. For example, I start working somewhat early in the day, and I didn’t take any breaks in the morning. Also, I scheduled all my meetings early in the day, sometimes back to back!
If necessary take a couple of days to figure this out and remember to take notes on anything interesting you find along the way.
Once you have identified the roadblock, it’s time to create a test system. And the key here is “test.” It’s like any experiment, you have an idea of how to fix the problem, but you don’t know if it will work flawlessly.
That’s why I recommend that you invest as little resources on this test. Don’t buy stuff or try to find the perfect app for the task. That can come later once you are sure your idea works. Right now, use whatever you have around yourself.
For my example, I don’t need any apps. I think the problem is that I have too many meetings in one day. So I will limit them to only two per day for a week.
It’s a simple test that I can implement right away, and also it’s somewhat short. It only lasts a week so that I can measure my results.
When you create your test, always define boundaries for the experiment and measure the impact of your solution. This way you will save a lot of energy in the long run. I suggest giving any test at least a week to see results.
Don’t be afraid to adjust your solution as the test progresses. Since you are making changes to the way you handle things, you will discover new information that will help you create that sweet custom support system you want.
For me, after I decided on the two meetings per day, I also decided to move one of them to the afternoon. Once I did that, my energy levels remained constant through the day, and I could get my two extra hours of work.
It’s all about creating a solution that works for you!
A support system can include anything, even other people.
Perhaps as you try new things, you will discover that your resources are not enough to tackle this challenge, or maybe you could use some help to smoothen things out.
It’s ok to ask for help, especially if your goal is to create accountability or to improve your mental health.
For example, if your roadblock is that you are too stressed or that you feel like a lone wolf in the forest. Perhaps you need to seek a group of people that can help you stay on track and in a good mood.
You could join a mastermind group to talk about the issues you are feeling or perhaps a weekly coaching session is what you need.
Maybe it can be simpler, like calling your friends every month to enjoy a fun multiplayer gaming session, or if you are like me a good board game.
There is no such thing as a wrong system; you can bring as many people as you need. What matters is that it works for you.
Your support system will evolve with your needs
As you grow and face new challenges, your support system will need to evolve with you. What has worked in the past may no longer work now, and that’s ok.
You need to take time to maintain your system and adjust it. For example, your weekly group session can evolve from just venting out to an accountability group, where you catch up on the events of the previous week and each member sets goals for the next one.
Or maybe the app you were using is starting to feel constraining, and you discover another one that fits your new needs. Don’t be afraid to include it, remember, what matters is that it works for you.
A good support system increases your quality of life
Yes, it will take some time for you to find and create the perfect system for you, but it’s an investment in yourself. That’s why you should always measure how it’s improving your quality of life.
If your system is creating more stress or you become obsessed with updating it and make it perfect. Stop!
The goal is to keep you happy. It’s normal to feel a bit of pressure when you are building it, but the result should always make you feel better. You are doing this to take care of yourself.
Now, choose one small area that could use a bit of help and create a simple test. Start building a system that makes your life easier and run with it. Your future self will thank you!