You wake up in the middle of the night filled with fear. Did you respond to that email? Are there unanswered phone messages? Invoicing…did I send the invoices?

The fact is you don’t know most of the time.

Why don’t you know? It’s your business, and it is your business to know what is going on in your business? Most people by nature are tired by the end of the day and the last thing anyone wants to do is go through that pile of papers or check the emails because someone may want you to do one more thing and to be honest, you just can’t handle one more thing.

This whole cycle of avoidance and exhaustion is actually causing more harm than good. It is affecting your health whether you realize it or not. Stress is linked to six of the leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver, and suicide. Stress is also associated with binge eating, obesity, and diabetes.

So, how do you get rid of the entrepreneurial night terrors?

You make an appointment with yourself at the end of every day…not some days, every day. This 10, 20 or 30 minute appointment really is the most important part of your day.

It is the time when you:

  • Look back at the day and record any follow up action required from the current day’s activities.
  • Check all the phone messages from the day. Return any phone calls from the day with an e-mail if appropriate, it is the most efficient use of your time. Unless the call needs a return call…so just do it.
  • Thanks to social networking you must check Facebook messages, twitter conversations, linked in connections, YouTube comments and yes the email too!
  • Speaking of emails…have a look at your e-mails and deal with, delegate or delete all the e-mails from yesterday. Yes, you heard correctly. That list is fixed, it can’t be added to and you have all the control over the amount you leave in that day group. Clean it up.
  • Paperwork, yes we still have some of that. Go through that pile on the desk and reorganize in the order of importance from most important to least. Most important being the stuff that brings in the money. Deal with each paper item if you can in this short time. If you need a longer time frame put it aside for tomorrow. Delegate what needs to be delegated. File away what is obviously filing and please recycle the paper trash.
  • Have a look at your schedule for tomorrow. What is on the agenda? It could be a presentation you need to do, client meetings, research or goal work. Whatever it is, have everything you need organized for the next day.

Right now you are saying, “This chick is crazy! I can’t do all this in 30 minutes.” No. You probably can’t, if you add the entire backlog from yesterday, last week and last month. We will save cleaning up the carnage of the past for another post. For now you are moving forward and that means taking one day at a time.

Let’s get back to the strategy of bookending your day.

With the emphasis on ending, because it really needs to happen at the end of the day. When you leave for the day you will have a sense of control over what is happening in your business. You can make the shift to BE-ing at home with a clear mind and confidence knowing that tomorrow is taken care of today! And you might just be able to stop the night terrors. As you begin each day, you will do it with a clear picture of what the day holds so when the inevitable urgent issues arise you can handle them with confidence knowing that the rest of your work is ready when you are.

This is a concept that has worked very well over the years for myself and my clients. I challenge you to do this for the next 21 days. Create a habit that will pay off immediately and with benefits that will change the way you work and how you feel.