Tax season was very busy for me this year and there were times that I felt that I didn't have time to breathe. Riding was out of the question and even routine tasks such as grocery shopping and cleaning the house seemed out of reach. One day, I was sitting at my desk daydreaming about what I wish I could be doing (how much time did you waste daydreaming you may well ask!) and I thought about an email newsletter that I get on a regular basis, called the "Profitable Horseman", written by Doug Emerson. At the top, he includes the amount of seconds it's going to take to read the newsletter (always less than a minute). I ALWAYS read his newsletter because I always have at least 42 seconds to spare in my day. 42 seconds later, I have learned something and feel that I've accomplished something worthwhile.
So I applied the same principle to my problem of feeling overwhelmed. What could I do in a relatively short period of time, that wouldn't take unnecessary time out of my schedule or put me further behind and that would give me some feeling of satisfaction? Into my life came the "5 Minute Fix". I started keeping a list of things that I could accomplish in five minutes. It might not be a completed task but a portion of a task that I could accomplish in 5 minutes. Pretty soon, I was using my travel time or time in the grocery store line (I did get there eventually!) to mentally construct this list and to figure out how to break up large tasks into manageable pieces.
People with equine businesses typically spend so much time working at their business that they aren't able to spend a lot of time working on their business. There are things on your business to-do list that you KNOW you should be working on but you just don't have the time. Try the 5 Minute Fix. Here are some tasks that may be on your list that will take no more than 5 minutes to accomplish. Add whatever else is on your list. Once you get started, you'll find creative ways to make even the biggest tasks less imposing.
-Go to the IRS website (www.IRS.gov
) and sign up for an EIN (employer identification number). If you are using your Social Security number as the tax identification number for your business, you should get an EIN to limit accessibility to your SS #.
-Email a client to let them know how much you enjoyed working with them today or a new contact how much you enjoyed meeting them.
-Post a success story/photo on Facebook. It's great advertising for your business and a morale builder for current clients or employees.
-Grab all your cc receipts for business expenses for this week/month and write a short description on the back of what the expense is for. This is especially true for meals and entertainment or gift expenses. If you are audited years after you incur the expense, you will probably not remember what the receipt represents and that expense could be disallowed by the IRS.
-Find a Youtube video that is less than 5 minutes that covers a business topic that will help your business grow - anything from using QuickBooks to Social Media marketing.
-Go to the website for your state Farm Bureau, Horseman's Council or Ag Dept - always a good source of information for horse businesses.
My first "fix" was to vacuum a small rug in my hallway - just the rug! No more than 5 minutes including getting the vacuum out and putting it away again. Not a huge deal in the scheme of life but it was something that I accomplished in the time that I had.
This article was mostly written in 5 minute fix fashion (which I hope doesn't dissuade from giving the idea a try).