Understanding your Daily Minimum Effort: The key to making time for self-care.

by Tara Fitness

This week, I’ve had to drag myself out of bed every day. Sitting down to write – in fact, sitting down to do any work related task, has been a monumental effort. My motivation is at an all-time low. Earlier this week, I realised I likely created this situation by breaking a golden rule, and not taking at least one day off last week.

When your mind and body are screaming ‘I need a break’, it’s tempting to ignore the cries and keep pushing forward. If you do it often enough, it becomes a habit and eventually, you find yourself surrounded by nothing but work, exhausted and burnt out. I created this exact habit when I was running my online fitness business. But since closing the doors in June, I can confidently say I have broken the habit, now prioritising self-care above all other things.

Which is why, when I felt awful on Tuesday, I still wrote and published a blog post, sent a couple of emails, then took the rest of the day off. The one thing that enabled me to do this was:

Understanding my Daily Minimum Effort.

What is Daily Minimum Effort?

The minimum amount of work you need to do each day to move your business forward.

As small business owners, there are plenty of tasks we complete each that day that aren’t moving our business forward, and thus, aren’t essential tasks. Checking social media and responding to emails are two of the biggest time sucks for a small business owner, but unless these tasks directly move the business forward, they aren’t essential.

But they’re easy, so when you’re feeling unmotivated, it’s simple to lose an entire day flicking through social media platforms. When 5 pm rolls around, you’ve achieved nothing and wasted an entire day that could have been better spent looking after yourself.

To avoid this, it’s important to identify your daily minimum effort. Do this by completing the following steps.

  • 1: On a piece of paper, write down your long-term, overarching goal?

  • 2: Identify 2-3 key tasks that will move you closer to that goal every day.

  • 3: Break down your key tasks into 1-3 daily actions, which make up your daily minimum effort.

What does Daily Minimum Effort look like in practice?

My big, scary, slightly overwhelming and incredibly exciting dream is to become a writer. In the short term, I want to write content and copy for fitness business owners. In the long term, I want to write a book.

The two key tasks that move me closer to achieving my dream are:

  • Improve my writing skills;
  • Make sure everybody knows I’m a writer.

My daily minimum effort is:

  • Write at least 500 words every workday;
  • Publish a blog post on Medium;
  • Email 5 LinkedIn contacts to tell them I’m offering content and copywriting for fitness businesses.

That’s it! The absolute bare minimum amount of work I have to do every work day. Sure I have other tasks to complete, like posting on my blog, emailing my list and submitting guest blog proposals, but I don’t do any of those things every day. I do, however, complete my daily minimum effort every single work day. It takes me about an hour.

How to use your Daily Minimum Effort?

On days when you hit the ground running, work through your DME tasks first. Don’t work on anything else, unless absolutely necessary, until you’ve completed these tasks. Don’t check email or social media. Just do the work to move your business forward.

Then, if you open your email and are overwhelmed by flames which take the entire afternoon to put out, you can be confident that you’ve completed the tasks that matter. Getting sidetracked has less of an impact because you’ve already done the important work.

On the days when it hurts to look at your computer screen, you have a list of ‘must do’ tasks that should take you no more than two hours to complete. Once finished, you can take the rest of the day off, guilt-free, because you know you did the minimum of what your business needs to progress. Use this time to rest, relax and recuperate so you can hit the ground running the following day.

Checklist to discover your daily minimum effort.

Click here to download a free checklist which you can use to identify the priority tasks within your business. 

  • No opt-in required – All I ask is for a quick share on LinkedIn to grab the worksheet.

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