Productivity for Solopreneurs: Insights to getting things done #120 / How do you prioritize the importance of doing in contrast to strategizing?

How do you prioritize the importance of doing in contrast to strategizing?

Someone recently asked me how I prioritize the importance of doing in contract to strategizing (or planning).

She said that she finds DOING is 10x’s better than having a perfect strategy.

But it can be a whole bunch of work in the wrong direction, which isn’t great either.

So what do you do?

I want to start by saying that there is no perfect strategy.

In our desire to have the impact and results that we want we can get caught up in doing things the “right” way.

And a lot of us can get so caught up in creating and executing that perfect strategy that we keep putting off the thing we’re actually trying to accomplish.

We plan and plan and plan and plan.

When we start the work, we want it to be done so very well, that the end date keeps getting pushed back and we don’t end up with the results or the impact that we wanted.

Basically, you can end up procrastinating something important through a desire to do it perfectly.

You might forget that it’s important to make progress, and not wait for perfection.

It’s a whole lot better to get something out there that’s imperfect, unfinished, or unnamed (as the case may be) than to wait for things to be *just* right or perfect.

And you also need to balance that with planning.

You don’t want the only thing you’re consistent about to be that you’re throwing undercooked spaghetti at the wall and wondering why NOTHING ever sticks.

Meaning, if you do that once, fine. Learn from it and maybe cook the spaghetti a bit more next time.

In other words, do it badly first, then look at what worked and what didn’t.

You have a start.

No one else is going to think you did it badly because they didn’t go into with the HUGE expectations that you did, they’re ONLY seeing what happened.

Let’s take it into more personal terms.

A week from today I’m hosting a 1/2 day workshop.

It’s the first time I’ve hosted a workshop in over 3 years and the content is completely different.

But it is material I’ve taught before, so I don’t have to completely write new content.

When I started planning it I thought I should host it in a hotel, have tables with white table cloths that hit the floor, have a microphone, maybe be recorded, and have the perfect powerpoint presentation (or slide deck).

And I thought that before I started marketing it I should have all the marketing planned out, the fliers created, the social media posts and images created, all emails written, and a list of everyone that I wanted to call and personally invite written.

And that FREAKED me out. Because it meant I needed about 2 1/2 months of lead time and for the timing with some other things I wanted to happen to work I needed the workshop to happen in about 6 weeks.

So, I reset my expectations.

What absolutely needed to be done now so that I could start sharing this workshop 3-4 weeks out from it happening?

What could I work on and figure out during that 3-4 weeks before the event?

And what expectations can I let go of this time around to have more time for some other more important things?

It was more important for me to get it out there for the first time and have some experience with it than to try to get everything perfect the first time.

Sometimes it’s about doing enough planning so you can start moving in the right direction.

Again, it’s about making progress and not waiting for perfection.


PRODUCTIVITY FOR SOLOPRENEURS: INSIGHTS TO GETTING THINGS DONE #120

Productivity for Solopreneurs: Insights to getting things done #113 / Choosing between an impromptu visit and your to-do list

Choosing between an impromptu visit and your to-do list

I was searching through my blog archives last week and came across something I wrote seven years ago that really stuck with me.

It’s about what to do with impromptu visits.

Those “hey, I’m in town today, want to grab some lunch” type of unexpected invitations.

For me, they usually come from family members.

And I’m a planner. I like to have appointments on my schedule at least a week in advance and my tasks for the week outlined before Monday morning.

When I get an impromptu visit or lunch request, it can feel like someone took a large cartoonish wrench and threw it into my well planned and thought out week.

Do I want to spend time with them? YES!

AND I want to get the things I had planned for the week done too.

The problem is if I always say no last-minute requests of my time, I might not have an opportunity to see that person again for a few months.

I don’t know about you, but one of the reasons having my own business was appealing was that I could occasionally enjoy these impromptu visits.

So, if I say no to these visits, am I honoring my schedule and plans or am I being too tied to them?

Here’s what we forget about our to-do lists, schedules, and plans sometimes: they are there to help you and work for you. You do not work for them.

It sounds a little weird to say it like that, but sometimes in our quest to get as much done as we can each day, we forget that there are other things to do.

Life doesn’t always fit in nice little compartments and since you’re reading this, I’m guessing you really don’t want it too. You want a life with flexibility.

This doesn’t mean it’s always easy to put aside my plans for the week and have brunch with family instead. I have things! that must be done! And if I start my day late, those things! Might not get done! (does anyone else’s brain work like this? Or is it just me?)

This is when it’s helpful for me to take a breath and realize that if there are no appointments scheduled, then the things! can be done later.

When I have impromptu visits and my mind is ping-ponging between GO have fun and STAY to complete the things! I ask myself these questions:

  • Are there any appointments or meetings that this will overlap or interfere with?
  • Are there any deadlines approaching that will be negatively impacted?
  • Have I already spent time this week with unplanned visits?
  • How will this impact progress on my goals?

The gist of these questions is: will my business or goals be negatively affected by spending time elsewhere?

If so, is spending this time with this person more important than my business and/or goals?

Notice that I wrote “is spending this time with” and not “is spending time with.” That one little word changes the meaning of the sentence a bit.

Again, your schedule and to-do list are meant to help guide you and make your day flow smoothly.

They are not a ball and chain that keep you tied to your office or computer.

If you’re treating them like that, step back, get curious and ask yourself why.

Leave a comment letting me know when was the last time you said yes to an impromptu visit.

And if your schedule and to-do list feel like a ball and chain or if it feels impossible to say yes to an impromptu visit, then reach out and let’s talk. The easiest way to do that is to leave a comment or fill out the Contact Me form here.

PRODUCTIVITY FOR SOLOPRENEURS: INSIGHTS TO GETTING THINGS DONE #113

My head keeps telling me to do more things

What are your gut feelings about what you should be focusing on or doing this week, month or quarter?

Have you taken any time for yourself (real time for yourself) to notice?

I’ve noticed a desire to slow down right now.

Why?

Saturday was the funeral for my father-in-law and it was a beautiful time of remembrance of his life.

People keep asking how I am and I respond with “good” and “fine”.

I respond this way not because I want them to feel better, but because I really am good and fine.

I’ve noticed part of me thinking that because I am “good” and “fine” I should jump right into “normal” life.

My head keeps telling me to do more things, update my plan for the first quarter with ideas I’ve had in the last 10 days, and put solid dates and plans into the calendar for 2019.

And yet, I’ve felt the desire to slow down.

The desire to slow down comes from a deeper place.

From this deeper place, I’m being asked to put a hold on the PLANS I want to create now because they’ll change in a week or two.

From this deeper place, I’m being asked to recognize that even though I really do feel good and fine, I need some time before I jump back in 100%.

From this deeper place, I trust that taking this time now will serve me better than PUSHING through and DOING-ALL-THE-THINGS.

There won’t be a Wednesday LIVE with Evie this week and it may not return until February.

However, I’ll still be showing up here each week with a note like this one.

And while today’s note isn’t an overt productivity tip, it is a productivity reminder to listen to your intuition and notice what you need.

YOU are the driving force of your business and taking the time to notice and honor what you need is important.

What guidance does your intuition (or gut or whatever your name for it is) have to share with you about the upcoming weeks?

If you would like to share I’d love to see your responses in the comments below!

Were you scrambling too?

Last week I did a Q&A in my Facebook group. You can find that here. You’ll only be able to see it if you’re IN the group. So, it’s the perfect time to join us!
One of the questions that was asked was this:

How do you keep up with bookkeeping when EVERY tax season you promise you’ll do better next year and next year comes and you’res till scrambling to update the bookkeeping?

And I’ll admit it, this was a problem for me this year too!

In the Q&A I shared a strategy I learned from the book Profit First by Mike Michalowixz that I’m implementing this month. And last week I challenged the Productivity for Women Entrepreneurs group to implement it.

The book suggests you only do your bookkeeping twice a month (and not whenever you have time).

Staying on top of your bookkeeping is one of those things that you can do now, or you can take a really long time to do later. Believe me, experience has taught me that staying on top if it is worth my time. AND saves me time (and sanity) later.

So, join me for Wednesday LIVE with Evie at 1pm CDT tomorrow for things that will save you time later.

I’ll share a bit more about why Profit First suggests doing your bookkeeping only twice a month and other tasks that will save you time (and sanity) later.

What are things you do that save you time later?
Or what is taking you forever that you wish you could save time on?
Comment below and tell me.

The role of failure in business

I was reading through posts in various Facebook groups I belong to and start reading a longer post.

In the middle of it I see this statement, “People don’t fail, systems fail.”

I found myself smiling and saying aloud with love, “OH honey, I fail All The Time. It’s a good thing.”

I own my failures.

The times that I’ve failed have been incredible teachers to me.

Have my failures sometimes been a system failure (or lack of system)? Yes.

And I’ll still own them as MY failures.

Because they are.

The biggest problem I see (and have experienced) with failure is when we use it to beat ourselves up.

Let’s maybe stop doing that (yes, much easier said than done).

So, this week for Wednesday LIVE with Evie let’s talk about the gift and necessity of failure.

You can find that replay here.

What are your thoughts about failure? Do you think it’s necessary?
Comment below and let me know!