Thriving in Entrepreneurship – Quick Tips in Creating a “life hack plan”

This is always the question, right? How can we thrive in this journey of entrepreneurship rather than just feel like we are surviving day after day? I find that we live in this over glorified hustle culture that can get us in trouble if we stay in that too long. BURN OUT. Yes, I said it. You will burn out, very quickly. I believe there are seasons where you have to move a bit quicker and have a little bit more on your plate that stretches you, but again, these are seasons. Please do not make excuses and keep having repetitive seasons because that will not last and frankly, your body is not meant to handle that much for long durations.

So, entrepreneurs and my friends, how do we thrive? How do we try to find a healthy “balance” for the season we are in?

I will be honest with you – this year is one of my hardest and I was not exactly ready for all that it was going to entail. I mean, I knew what I had ahead of me, but the workload that came with it, I underestimated it a little bit. I also did not set clear enough expectations for myself or a schedule/routine that would help me succeed during these coming months.

So, here are my quick tips:

  • Know your priorities
  • Know when to say NO
  • Know who to turn to for accountability
  • Know yourself and honor your limits

Know you are human and not a superhuman After, several mini breakdowns in the beginning of the year and me working through self-doubt of how I was going to pull this off – I decided to pick myself up, gather my people and create a plan that would allow for me to be productive, balanced, meet deadlines and still be a loving
person to be around.

Remember, that if you are going throughout the day with a solid plan but are not a loving person to be around and you still seem stressed all the time then you might want to reevaluate your plan. Review it and start prioritizing correctly.

So, let me be vulnerable. I will only say this once because I do NOT like telling everyone what is on my plate. I do not like the attention or the weird praise people seem to give me. These are things I chose to be a part of, develop or start and I have an oddly high capacity to make things happen (the way God wired me). By no means should you look at this list and compare yourself to me. We are two very beautifully different people, so go into this taking away the practicality of the exercise. If you feel you can not do that, then close your browser right away.

What I want from this exercise is for you to see what I have going on and how I broke it up in my “life hack plan schedule”

So, here is what I have in this season. I have listed it from TOP PRIORITY to least, but all still equally important to me.

  • My relationship with God and making time to be present with him (meditating in his word daily)
  • My family: Being a wife, mother and present for my family and their needs
  • Imani Collective: Leading Imani Collective to excellence that is glorifying to God and stewarding our resources well
  • Completing my last year of my Doctor of Education program: (if you are curious: my research focus is on sustainable development among social enterprises in sub-saharan Africa with an emphasis specifically on social sustainability)

a. January – May: My last few months of coursework
b. March: Collecting research for my dissertation
c. April – August: Disseminating data and writing my dissertation
d. December: Defending my thesis

  • Stanford Seed Fellowship – Imani Collective is in an intensive fellowship with Stanford University to help grow and scale our business and programs to continue creating sustainable solutions
  • Sukwa Saddle Blankets – Building this company to be sustainable, which will feed back into the success of Imani Collective.
  • The Moxie Podcast and Dream Development/Coaching courses.

There are a few other things that are not on this list, but you get the picture. I have quite a lot of things going on in my life.

So, how did I begin to even organize this? I had to look at each one of these activities and quantify it. I needed to figure out the actual time each one of these took to be successful or to match what I consider being “fully present”. I also had to be very aware to not overlap activities. For example, when I am with my family. I am WITH my family. There is no work, school, etc. I put my phone down, computer away and put all my mental energy into building blocks and coloring.

On the other hand, I needed to create a schedule that had flex time for meetings or other variables. There are a few days more rigid than others, but if an emergency happens on one of my “rigid” days then I have the peace of mind that I have a flex day coming up and can overflow my time there.

There is going to be seasons where you do not have to be so regimented, but if you are in a season like mine. You have to be organized and planned as well as a bit flexible. It takes a lot of discipline and a lot of support. Surround yourself with people who believe in what you are doing almost as much as you do then they can keep you accountable and help you be successful.

Here is what one of my days looks like to give you an idea:

Now, I want to go back to my first points:

  • Know your priorities
  • Know when to say NO
  • Know who to turn to for accountability
  • Know yourself and honor your limits
  • Know you are human and not a superhuman

 

You have to know you and just be true to you.
My friend, you do you.

And in it all, be proud of who you are, where you are going and stop comparing yourself. Sit down, organize a bit, create your own life hack plan and remember, you got this.

From your biggest fan – you got this friend,

 

Self-care + Entrepreneurship

One of my favorite things to talk about is entrepreneurship. I love talking about the adrenaline rush of it, the ideas that flow from brainstorming sessions or visualization exercises. There is a joy that comes with seeing a new idea form in your head to be written on paper and then coming alive. On the flip side, it is hard and takes an immense amount of time to be a successful entrepreneur. Many people shy away from talking about the difficult and go into talking about the highs, the successes and that “big break”.

There is not a perfect equation to what makes an entrepreneur successful, but what I can tell you is the hustle and busy culture will make you quickly burnout and be ineffective.

Today, I want to focus on you.

There are 5 quick tips I can give you that will not make your life easier, but will make your life more enjoyable. I want us to stop thinking that busy is good and running around is successful.

Just because you have a big TO DO list and are constantly moving from one thing to another – that does not mean you are successful and more importantly, that does not mean you are happy.

Let us find happiness + joy today, together.

  1. Sleep

This is important and for some of you who are reading this and know, know me then you also know that this is the one I struggle with the most. I love being engaged, socializing, hopping into every opportunity I can. I also am bombarded with new thoughts and visions constantly – that my brain has trouble slowing down. You can ask anyone who works directly with me at Imani Collective – they know I work high capacity – all the time. So, my advice for you and I is learning how to set boundaries and start making sleep a priority. This helps with emotional health, physical health and overall – just giving your body rest to be rejuvenated to give its full potential the next day.

Again, this is something I work on daily – but some practical steps that have helped me accomplish more sleep are the following:

  • Setting downtime and app limits on my phone
  • Charging my phone outside of my room
  • Putting a recorder by my bed so I can quickly verbally transfer thoughts or ideas. I choose this over a journal, so I do not have to sit up and turn on a light to signal my brain to arise – but helps me track my thoughts through voice notes
  • Separate work from my bedroom. Create your bedroom to be a sacred space of rest and set up your home workspace to be elsewhere.
  1. Nourishment

Food. It sounds simple, but I will let you know that as an entrepreneur we tend to go in two different directions. We either do not eat because we forget to make time to sit down and have this common claim that we are “too busy”. On the other hand, we eat many bad snacks because the entrepreneurship has brought a new stress into our lives that we are not sure how to handle all the emotions, so we eat under pressure. Whatever side you fall on, both are not sustainable and especially not putting the proper nourishment in your body that you need.

Practical advice is learning to plan ahead, prioritize and meal plan. If you know you will forget to eat then begin to meal plan or if you know you will snack when stressed then plan to keep healthy snacks around (stop eating the candy bars!)

Nourishment for your body can be easily accomplished by setting it as a priority and not just an afterthought.

  1. Breathe

Sounds simple, but truly just breathe. You can do this by simply having breathing exercises or like I do – meditate. I spend some time reading scripture and then meditating on truth before I start my day. This does not have to be long. I know as an entrepreneur this might seem like a lot of work to sit still for even 30 seconds – but I encourage you to begin this practice. For me, I spend 15-20m being still in the morning and of course, breathing.

It is said that when you own your breath, nobody can steal your peace. 

Start owning your breath. 

  1. Learn to say No

This is hard for many of us, but you have to start evaluating that what seems like a good opportunity is not always the best one to be a part of. Really take time to evaluate your time. Where are you spending it? What are you prioritizing? Are you taking time for yourself (me-time each month)? 

Once you understand what is important to you and what you want to be prioritizing in your lie then saying no will be much easier because it will be an alignment of what is important to you.

  1. Be present

I heard the other day that most leaders and entrepreneurs are like hippos – they have big mouths and little ears. Start to become more present for not just yourself, but others. Begin to listen more and truly engage with being present. The most practical example I have in my own life is with my children. Everyone knows that from 5-8PM – you will not be able to get a hold of me. That is my intentional time with my children. It is my time to be fully present – fully mom and engage in all the laughter and memories in the sandbox. 

Find a way to set your phone down, turn off the distractions and be present, fully in the moment. Those seconds are life giving.

Entrepreneurship is a journey and its exciting, hard and truly builds you, well, to be you. 

My biggest advice to you today is find your joy and let us walk together.

From the joyful entrepreneur,