“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
– John Lennon
Yep. I’m a witness and here’s my testimony.
After several weeks of excruciating back pain, on Thursday, September 2, 2021, my husband & I received the shocking news from his oncologist that she was referring him to a neurosurgeon and we should be prepared for surgery the following day.
Luckily, after 6 days in the hospital following a laminectomy on his thoracic spine, we learned it was NOT cancer but that further tests would be needed to figure out the root cause. The doctor felt like it was an infection and referred us to infectious disease experts.
Talk about life interrupting… I was busy making plans to launch the JOYFully BadAss Business Academy™. I had not factored in time for a laminectomy that caused a cancer scare that led to a final diagnosis of a bone infection. I was not prepared to take a month off to help him with recovery. I started to panic and feel overwhelmed by so many things happening at once.
But then I remembered….
I have a virtual assistant. I have a webmaster. I can delegate.
I had a meeting with my assistant, Jamie, on the day of his surgery, which I had to reschedule. SHE had to reschedule everything on my calendar for the following weeks, including the launch.
In fact, Jamie basically took over all the pending projects, kept me in the loop, asked questions when needed, and kept my whole enterprise afloat while I stepped back. I was never worried about anything business-related because I knew she would handle it. I knew I could delegate anything to her and it would get done.
I knew I could relax and focus on helping him heal. I could delay the launch and use the time to reflect, brainstorm and work on small projects without feeling stressed. I felt no pressure or guilt. I did what I could and let the rest go. In fact, over the last two weeks, the phrase JOYFULL Productivity appeared and it resonated with me so much, I’ve integrated it into the Academy.
JOYFull Productivity Helps Manage Unexpected Delays, Interruptions, or Obstacles
Your first response to delays, interruptions, or obstacles is probably not JOY. Mine isn’t. I usually drop a few F-bombs before I’m ready to find or use my JOY. I have also been known to yell at my computer and throw my phone. I might push myself non-stop to meet my own self-induced deadlines to accommodate for the delay.
But here lately, I’ve been leaning into JOYFull Productivity as a way to better manage the expected and unexpected stress of life & business. When this laminectomy interrupted my launch, I was irritated. I was frustrated. I didn’t want to postpone, but I knew that was best and once I made the decision to delay, I felt a sense of peace.
I could use JOYFull Productivity to help me determine how to manage the unexpected. Here’s how you can too.
Tip 1: Let Some Shit Go
Some of the things on your To-Do lists are based on toxic productivity – meaning you put them on your list just so you can fill the time. EVERYTHING is not urgent. Review your tasks and delete or postpone what isn’t urgent.
In the past, it would have been very easy for me to sit with him all day at the hospital, while constantly checking my phone/emails/socials, sneaking in calls as he napped, or working on my curriculum in the wee hours of shift change.
I would have sacrificed sleep and my own mental and emotional health to stay on track and make the launch happen. I would have been stressed, irritable, cranky, and miserable. Not the first qualities you think of when describing a great nurse AND none of that shit was urgent or more important than my husband’s health (or mine!).
Instead, I chose to let some things go. I canceled appointments, rescheduled meetings, made a list of the bare necessities so I could, and kept going.
Tip 2: Delegate
After you eliminate the BS that is clogging up your To-Do list, delegate the rest. Thankfully, I got wise a couple of years ago and found my amazing assistant, Jamie, after I did a Joy|Money Matrix (JMM) retreat. I gave her all the work tasks that did not bring JOY!
Delegation is not just for business tasks. You can also hand off household chores like grocery shopping, house cleaning, taking out the trash, cooking, or walking your dog. Anything you can pass along that frees up time for you to focus on what’s important can help. I was lucky enough to have a friend who helped me respond to and share updates about my hubs’ condition, which allowed me to streamline communications.
If you don’t have anyone to delegate to, then consider it. What could someone help you do to be better prepared for life’s unexpected interruptions? Without Jamie or established and documented processes, I would have either lost my mind trying to stay on track or I would have scrapped the project completely.
Tip 3: Establish and Enforce Boundaries
When you are dealing with an unexpected interruption, you MUST protect your energy so that you can better manage whatever has or is happening. This means setting clear boundaries and maintaining them at all times.
I know it’s hard. I have had to enforce mask-wearing and social distancing at all times even though we are vaccinated. I’ve had to duck and physically step backward to avoid an awkward hug. I limit who can come into our house right now because if I don’t, one of us could pick up COVID or something else and set his recovery back. I cannot take the risk.
You can set boundaries around ANYTHING and EVERYTHING. If people don’t understand or complain, LET THAT SHIT GO or DELEGATE to someone better suited for confrontation. Give yourself permission to TAKE CARE OF YOU!
JOYFull Productivity Makes all the Difference
I am so glad I have embraced JOYFull Productivity. It feels more natural and aligned with me as a person. It’s based on structure, boundaries, documented processes, delegation, working above the joy line, and excellent communication with my team and clients. It’s about encouraging other female business owners to let go of the toxic productivity that’s expected and do life as they want.
JOYFull Productivity empowers me to run my business in the way that works best for me. It helps me be resilient and focused on what matters most. It helps me enforce boundaries and delegate tasks to my team.
JOYFull Productivity helps me do things more efficiently and effectively because I don’t waste time wondering about what to do because if it’s not JOYFull, I’m not doing it. Neither should you.
Join Janifer Wheeler of The JOYFully BadAss Business Academy™ and Amber Gray of Trusty Oak for a webinar that’s just for scaling business owners looking for solutions. Together, Janifer and Amber will answer your pressing questions about identifying what and how to delegate to get you back to a place of joy and freedom in your business.