Sort through your stress so you can focus.

Steve Jobs Entrepreneur Quote.jpg

I have a really hard time focusing. Like most creative small business owners I have a touch of ADHD coupled with bouts of anxiety. Half the time I feel like being an entrepreneur is just an endless cycle of constantly trying to get my shit together so I can get stuff done. Instead,  I've developed a system to sort through it all so I can be as productive as possible while leaving my full head of hair intact. Here's what I do:


For the last three days I've been doing tasks and getting stuff done, but after three days of completing mundane non-time-crunch related tasks, I finally was able to realize my problem: I felt overwhelmed. Which caused me to lose focus.

A lack of focus can be debilitating, because if you aren't focusing then you can't spot the productivity problem. Only talking to yourself or meditating can do that for you. Recently I've been doing my 'meditating' while in the hot tub. It's a screen time free/brain free time slot that I relish. I gain clarity. I work through problems, and I mentally sketch out my day. Due to my skin acting up I've missed my hot tub sessions, and my with it my ability to focus.


That sounds like a monumental task when you have anxiety, so I created what I call a stress list. It works in your personal life as well as for your business.

     MAKE A LIST OF ALL THE THINGS THAT ARE STRESSING YOU OUT. All of them. Even if you think they are dumb, trust me. They are wearing down your ability to deal with the larger issues. I'm telling you, even if your underwear is uncomfortable it's a problem to be solved because it's taking your focus away from other things. See. Told you.

     SORT THE LIST. Put the biggest, hairiest tasks at the top of the list. We are visual learners, so a visual list of our to-dos is helpful but can also be overwhelming. The reason your biggest tasks are at the top is so that visually we put what we are most afraid of doing at the top. And we save it for later.

     START AT THE BOTTOM OF THE LIST AND START KNOCKING SHIT OFF LIKE THE BOSS LADY YOU ARE. Those panty pinchers that have been creeping? Hit up Amazon Prime and getya some new ones. Task no. 1 completed. See how easy that was? You've given yourself a shot of adrenaline by feeling productive by simultaneously solving a problem. You've lifted your self-esteem AND gotten shit done. Now we can move on feeling, even if only a little, more empowered.

     AS YOU KNOCK OFF THE SEEMINGLY EASY TASKS YOU'LL CLEAR UP ENERGY TO TACKLE THE BIG STUFF. Now that your energy isn't being diverted to all that stuff at the bottom of the list you are now freed up to take on the most important stuff with a lot less of your mental energy being drained by the small stuff. Because as entrepreneurs we do sweat the small stuff because it's our reputation on the line.

Hopefully, now with your newfound tactics, you can wade through the rest of your work with a stronger more effective paddle.




Mandy Zelinka is the former Digital Marketing Manager for KEVIN.MURPHY International and owned one of the largest award-winning salons in Portland, Oregon. She was also Voted Best Hairstylist in Portland in 2016 by The Portland Fashion + Style Awards. 

But she’s best known for tobogganing down the Great Wall of China as a United States Diplomat and First Lady of a City.