“Each day has ONE main goal and if I get that day’s goal done, then I don’t stress about having small things slip through the cracks.”
Luisa was my very first business coach. I was one of her students under her signature program Employee to Entrepreneur.
Luisa started her career as a business coach by offering digital advertising consulting that later on developed into teaching people how to build their online service-based businesses – all while still working her full-time job.
Luisa created the Employee to Entrepreneur program out of an intense desire to help women successfully make that transition from being someone else’s employee into “becoming your own boss”.
Being an entrepreneur whose empire now makes over $1M a year, I couldn’t think of a more credible person to ask for tips on productivity without the burnout than Luisa Zhou.
These are the systems Luisa follows to stay productive:
“Each day has ONE main goal and if I get that day’s goal done, then I don’t stress about having small things slip through the cracks.
As an introvert, it’s very energy-consuming for me to interact with a lot of people. So I plan my weeks to conserve energy and prevent burnout. Most of my social events and client calls, etc. are planned on Tuesdays. Thursdays, Fridays, all the way through Mondays are saved for thinking and planning.
When it comes to specific rituals, I have two: I meditate on and off, and I visualize my goals for the next day before going to sleep – so I know exactly what I need to get done, and don’t stress about anything else.”
“When the overwhelm of motherhood, entrepreneurship and life in general come for the attack, I don’t go on the offensive… I simply LET GO.”
If there’s any female entrepreneur who epitomizes consistency and grace under pressure, in my humble opinion, that would be Louise Edu.
Every day at 8:30 A.M. (PST), Louise broadcasts via Facebook Live in a private community of mom entrepreneurs – that she nurtured and grew to over 3,000 members – the Mighty Mompreneurs.
And every time, she looks so vibrant and fresh.
I often wondered what her morning routine was. It amazes me how this woman seems to get all her ducks in a row so early in the day everyday, and still have so much energy left for her evening social activities.
But beyond the commendable morning routine, Louise understands more than anyone what it means to burn with passion and work really hard to turn your family’s life around, only to have the rug yanked out from underneath you.
Getting laid off from her job in 2011 led Louise to her calling of becoming a business coach. She now supports and empowers other mom entrepreneurs who are also looking to grow their online businesses.
Aside from running a successful coaching business, Louise is also a real estate agent in San Diego, California.
I asked Louise what specific system she follows for getting so much done and staying consistent every single day. Her response is probably not what you’d expect:
“As a mom of two girls and a mompreneur of three businesses – one of which is the business of keeping my family loved and cared for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – I can definitely say that feeling stressed out and burned out has become a daily expectation.
However, if you look at my face, you wouldn’t be able to see the effects that stress has TRIED to scar me with.
I can sit here and tell you about an amazing system that I use to rid the stress and allows me to glow each and everyday… but I don’t have one.
In fact, I don’t have a system.
I simply LET GO.
When the overwhelm of motherhood, entrepreneurship and life in general come for the attack, I don’t go on the offensive. I simply wave my white flag.
I stop what I’m doing and focus on my priorities – my family.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that my family and the moments we create together can’t be rebuilt. They can’t be re-created. Once a moment has passed, it’s gone. And all you’re left with are regrets.
I don’t want to live with regrets. I want to leave my family with beautiful moments – moments when I was fully present with them.
So when it comes to stress and overwhelm, I have no system. I simply wave the white flag and take control of my life and priorities.”
“Managing the overwhelm for me means not getting to the overwhelm in the first place.”
After working with Silicon Valley startups and growing a multiple six-figure consulting practice over the past seven years, Veronica successfully transitioned her business to the online world – now leveraging her expertise, strategies and processes to help ambitious female entrepreneurs grow their businesses online quickly.
I got to know Veronica last year and what immediately caught my attention and impressed me were the tips she posted on Facebook about automating systems for productivity and efficiency.
Here’s what Veronica had to share:
“I begin each day with a gratitude prayer – a practice instilled in me by my original life coach, my grandmother Laura. I don’t get out of bed without saying what and who I’m grateful for.
This routine is followed by having breakfast with my love Erik – which is a commitment we made to each other thirteen years ago – to have breakfast together and talk about what our day looks like.
Doing this is part of my grounding and feeling like I’m prioritizing my life, God, family and business.
The evening or afternoon before, I look at what my next day looks like by checking my schedule/calendar.
Everything goes on the calendar: set appointments, client calls, tasks, EVERYTHING.
But here are a few game changers that made a huge difference in managing my time without feeling like I was always running behind schedule:
1. I allow myself driving time for appointments, client visits, etc.
2. I block out 30 minutes in the morning and in the afternoon without any assigned task to it. This block of time allows me to get caught up in case a call ran over or I was running late.
3. I block out 45-60 min every day for lunch, even if I don’t use up the entire time for lunch. If I don’t have a lunch meeting scheduled, I use the rest of that time to read or to meditate.
4. My meditation practice is a combination of mindset work and journaling. I journal every single day – a practice I adopted as a teenager – sometimes focusing on gratitude, other times detailing the things that I want, and other times I write a list of all the things I need to let go of or forgive.
The journaling lasts about fifteen minutes and I follow that with about fifteen minutes of detailed visualization. I don’t practice this at the same time each day. Instead, I do it during one of the blocks of times I’ve set aside.
Managing the overwhelm for me means not getting to the overwhelm in the first place.
I focus on two or three goals at a time – one business goal, one personal goal and one general (that involves family / friends).
Making these goals a priority allows me to focus, delegate or let go of the rest without feeling like I have a never-ending To-Do list.
My day ends with a gratitude prayer, another lesson from my grandmother.”
“I schedule in self-care – which insures that it will get done.”
Hira is one of the first online entrepreneur friends I made while I was just starting out in my own coaching business. What I love and admire most about her is her resilience and persistence – attributes that are necessary for any budding entrepreneur to have in order to successfully start a business.
You see, when we talk about ‘burnout’, it’s not the physical but the mental and emotional exhaustion that have a greater potential to damage our resolve as business owners.
Time and again, I’ve seen Hira bounce back and hammer away in spite of all the challenges and disappointments she has encountered as an entrepreneur. Hira is an indisputable expert on mental toughness which makes her an effective health and weight loss coach for moms.
Here’s what Hira has to say about productivity without the burnout:
“The multiple hats that entrepreneurship requires can become extremely overwhelming. Streamlining processes and setting up systems have had a huge impact on my productivity. This, coupled with outsourcing parts of my business and hiring team members so I can focus on money making activities, allows me to work on my business, not in it.
As entrepreneurs, we tend to never shut off. So I schedule in self-care – which insures that it will get done – whether it’s working out, getting a pedi or going on a night out with the girls.
Also, I learned to give myself permission not to be perfect. Allowing space for growth helps me manage some of the pressure and stress I tend to put on myself.”
Learn more about Hira via her Facebook page.
Productivity is a mental game. Your mindset is really what prevents you from burning out. One common factor among Luisa Zhou, Louise Edu, Veronica Sagastume and Hira Zia that I’m hoping you noticed is that regardless of specific systems or routines, their true productivity secret is the fact that they take control of their thoughts as they go about their day.
Choosing what thoughts to dwell on, what goals to focus on, what priorities to establish and maintain, when to pause and take a break, and how to start and end the day.
Keep in mind that productivity is all about progress.
Many of us get burned out because we equate our progress to the distance between where we are now and where we want to go. If we think we’re nowhere close to our destination yet, we tend to beat ourselves up for not having done more.
If you’ve taken even a teeny-weeny step towards your goals today, then you’re progressing. So be kind to yourself and celebrate every progress you make, big or small.
That’s the mindset that will help you to stay productive without burning out.
Do you want to know the 20 Guiding Principles every confident woman must live by? Yes? Then download a FREE copy of “The Confident Woman Manifesto”.