Guest Contribution by: Jenny Lee
Believe me when I say this: You can run a successful business with less effort.
Sure, the start-up phase will be a whirlwind of late nights, endless brainstorming sessions, and
cups gallons of coffee — but after the initial excitement, you can (and probably should) find a way to be the CEO of your business in a more balanced way.
As a long-standing minimalist at heart, I want to share 3 minimalism principles that you can apply to your business. And no, I won’t tell you to get rid of all your worldly possessions — in fact, I believe minimalism brings abundance.
Take my tips to heart and work them into your mindset. Soon, you’ll find you can:
- Do more in less time
- Find what works (and feels) best for you
- Delegate — or dissipate — like a boss
The Usual Spiral of Busy-ness
Before we get into the tips, I want to paint a picture for you…one that you may be all too familiar with.
You wake up, mind blazing with your tasks for the day, groggy from yesterday’s late night. You sit down at your desk with a buzz of energy. Is it the chai tea latte with two shots of espresso or is it your burning desire to bring your business to the next level? Either way, you begin to feel that wave of nausea rush over you as you look over your lists, goals, and calendar. How are you supposed to accomplish everything you need to do in the pockets of time you have in between calls?
As you prepare yourself for yet another nonstop day, you realize you have yet another late night in your future.
Peel Yourself Away From Hustle Culture
Hustle culture and messages of toxic productivity are way too ubiquitous.
It’s no wonder Americans are unhealthier than ever before. The cycle of too much work and poor self-care is frightening. But let me tell you — it does not have to be like this. Take a step back to reframe your mindset around the work you’re doing and how you’re doing it. You’ll soon realize how prioritizing yourself as a human being and cutting out the excess can do wonders.
Audit and Declutter
In true minimalist fashion, I’m going to state the obvious: declutter. But my advice isn’t the norm. First, take an audit of everything in your business. (Not sure where to start? You can grab my free Minimalism Map workbook for a great framework.)
Look at every aspect of your business…
- From what’s on your calendar to how you spend your time
- From what’s on your to-do list to what you accomplish each day
- From your big-vision goals to what you work on
You may notice that your intentions and your actions don’t align — that’s okay! By being aware, you give yourself the ability to change course for the better. Doing a business audit gives you the insight you need to get rid of what isn’t working for you. Plus, you can do this on any cadence that’s best for you—yearly, quarterly, monthly, or weekly.
Remember: Nothing is Permanent
After the audit, it’s time to edit like you’ve never edited before. Here’s a secret that isn’t talked about often: anything in your business can be dropped at a moment’s notice. That’s the beauty of running your own business.
- Is your weekly newsletter not driving leads the way you hoped it would? Scale it back to monthly.
- Is your quarterly live course launch causing you too much stress for a low ROI? Change it to an evergreen format.
- Are you not finding time to write that ebook that a marketing guru told you was essential for your credibility? Put it on the back burner.
And heck — you can completely pivot your business if it isn’t working for you. Or even sell it for a chunk of change. I know dropping something you worked hard on may feel uncomfortable, but we can find growth in discomfort.
Plus, this mindset helps you avoid sunk-cost bias at all costs. Sunk-cost bias is when we tend to feed more money, energy, or time into something because we’ve already put so much money, energy, or time into it, so we feel like it’s worth continuing. It’s when you sit through a horrible concert because you paid for a ticket, or why you spend tons of time trying to revive a large Facebook group because it worked for you in the past. By remembering nothing is permanent, you free yourself to cut out what isn’t working and make room for what will.
Do Less, But Better
Now that you decluttered and dissipated tasks and entire areas of your business, visions of the 4-Hour Workweek may come to mind. Sure, this extreme is achievable, but it’s an extreme all the same.
If you’re reading this, there’s a chance that a 4-hour day sounds like a dream compared to your 10+ hour days right now. Whether or not you track your time, I’m sure you know you could be more efficient and focused.
Raise your hand if these behaviors sound familiar:
- You sit down to schedule out your Instagram posts for the week in a tight 30-minute block and before you know it, 90 minutes passed because you got sucked into scrolling and answering DMs.
- You prioritized 1 to 3 tasks to get done for the day, but somehow the list of 20 tasks underneath those highlighted priorities took precedence, leaving your top tasks in the dust.
- You have several tabs open on your browser, and you’re not even sure what you sat down to do in the first place. (Don’t get me wrong — I’m glad you’re here reading this, but I see you with those tabs open.)
By doing less, but better, you’ll accomplish more.
We’ve already gone through and audited your business activities and products/services with a fine-tooth comb and said goodbye to the things that didn’t serve you. Now it’s time to double-down on the things that do work for growing your business.
Implement these productivity hacks whenever you sit down to get something done:
- Clear your workspace of visual clutter.
- Turn off notifications on your phone and computer. This means closing down apps or disabling unread message badges if needed. Heck, swap out your laptop for a more focus-friendly device.
- Do whatever you need to do to remind yourself what you’re working on in this time block: write your task on a post-it and put it on your laptop screen, or set a Toggl timer with your task at hand in the description.
- Throw your phone across the room if needed. (Or maybe toss it gently onto the couch in the next room.)
- Block your calendar in increments so you have time to get your priorities done and no one can schedule a meeting during that time.
- Use an instrumental music playlist to minimize distractions from music, podcasts, or videos. Plus, nothing says “I’m working” like large over-the-ear headphones.
What did I miss? DM me on Instagram.
I’m Jenny Lee, founder of Hello Brio, a community of conscious creatives and entrepreneurs. I ditched my stuff in 2013 after a major life event and a cross-country move, but little did I know that minimalism would allow me to discover my true self.
You may have seen me on Forbes, Becoming Minimalist, No Sidebar, Wild Minimalist, Medium, and my own blog, sharing insights about intentional living and digital minimalism.
I’m a writer, mom of two, energetic INFP, and I reside with my family near Philadelphia, PA.