One of the things I
ask the members of the Unnamed Productivity Club each week is “what
questions do you have?”
I encourage them to
write down the questions they have even if they’re not for me or the group.
This is because
before you can get the answers you’re looking for, you need to know the
question you’re asking.
But sometimes we
don’t go deep enough with our questions.
We think the
question is: how do I get more clients?
You might do a
search and find someone that’s offering something that promises you 10 new clients by the end of the month!
You sign up, or even
invest in a program, only to realize that the program is all about the sales conversation and this
doesn’t actually help you because you’re not getting people to a sales conversation.
question might be: how do I have more sales conversations? Or: how do I meet
We think the
question is: How do I find more time in my day?
But the question
might really be: How do I stay focused on the things I want to do today and not
What are the
questions you have?
If you’re not sure,
ask yourself what you need to know or learn for your business right now to
reach your goals (or to reach your goals a bit faster).
Then, go a bit deeper and see if you can find the question behind that question.
PRODUCTIVITY FOR SOLOPRENEURS: INSIGHTS TO GETTING THINGS DONE #118
come up in a few conversations over the last couple of weeks is the question
“How do I make sure the important stuff in my business gets done?”
And this question
isn’t coming from new business owners. The ladies who are asking have run their
profitable business for at least a couple years or so.
This generally leads
to a discussion on time blocking.
It’s tempting to
make this a BIG project in an attempt to do it right.
To sit down with all
your to-do’s and goals and think about what categories things fall into and how
you want to divide your time throughout the week into those categories.
This is a great strategy.
But it can cause you not to do anything because you don’t have the time to sit for two hours and go through the goal setting, brain dump, and time blocking process.
So you don’t do
And you continue to
be frustrated that the important things keep falling to the wayside.
Let’s take a
What are the smaller
tweaks you can make that will move you closer to the goal of working on those important things?
Look at what’s not
working and ask yourself what some things are you could do to have time for
Can you block off time each day or week to do it?
You don’t have to
create time blocks for EVERY category or thing you can think of.
Just create one time block for that particular project or
Put it in your
schedule and see how it goes.
At the end of the
week take a moment to notice what worked, or didn’t work about that time block.
You might need to
change it or do something a little differently.
I’ll share a
I end most days with
checking email and social media and then planning the next day.
The problem was by
the time I finished with my email and social media, I was spent and really
ready to end the day. Which meant the next day didn’t get planned. And having
my day planned before I walk into my office keeps me on track and on task.
Or I’d schedule
meetings right up to the end of my day. And I wouldn’t have much time for any
After I thought
about it for a while I realized that if I gave myself an hour or two at the end
of every day I could tie up loose ends from the day and do my email and social
So, I added a
reoccurring appointment every day from 4-6 for “daily tasks,” those
things that I want to do daily.
This is my time to
make or return any phone calls I haven’t already done, tie up other loose ends,
check my email, check-in on social media and plan the next day.
This helped, but I
still wasn’t always planning the next day.
One more small tweak
helped immensely: I planned the next day before I checked email or social
Does this mean that
I’m always caught up on email and social
media each day? Nope. Those things will still be there the next day.
But this works for
me many, many more days then it lets me down. And the added benefit is I know that I have time built into my schedule
so I spend less time the rest of the day trying to squeeze some of it in.
You don’t have to do ALL your time blocking at once. You can do it for one thing.
If there is something you’re continuously running out of time for, create a time block for that thing. It might be two hours a week, one hour a day, or something else.
Put that time block on your calendar every week/day so you don’t schedule other things at that time.
Take a moment each week to review and notice what is and isn’t working for you with that time block.
Adjust your time block as needed.
PRODUCTIVITY FOR SOLOPRENEURS: INSIGHTS TO GETTING THINGS DONE #117
Have you ever seen an event or training that you wanted to go to but you were just too busy?
You tell yourself
that it’d be a great thing if you could
go, but being away for even a day is super hard.
You’re just too busy.
A year ago, I was invited to attend a group that meets every Tuesday morning.
It was right up my
alley, something I really wanted to attend, but it meant losing a morning of
work every week and it wasn’t business
I was just too busy to not be working every Tuesday morning.
A couple of weeks later, I was thinking about this group and wishing it met in the evenings so I could attend. I was really interested in it.
Then I realized, that one of the reasons I started my own business was so I could go to groups like this if I wanted to!
I’ve been attending
this group for over a year now. It’s very personally fulfilling and I rarely
We all have personal
values and priorities.
This weekly group lined up with one of my top personal values and when I realized that, it made it much easier to make attending this group a top personal priority.
And that made my too busy reason disappear.
I often find that
when I say I’m too busy to do something,
what I’m actually saying is that thing isn’t a higher priority than the other
things I’m doing.
Or, I’m choosing NOT to make that a higher priority.
I’ve learned that anytime I hear myself saying I’m too busy to do something, it’s time to step back and look at my priorities.
It’s easy to use too busy as an excuse to stay in my comfort
zone, not leave my house (home is my favorite place), or not learn something
new (that will give me more things to do).
So, going back to
seeing an event or training that you want to go to but are too busy for, is it something that you need to
make a priority?
There are a number
of reasons it might be a priority, here are three:
The topic is something that you want/need to learn more about
You already know about the topic, but know that hearing it again will bring a new level of understanding
It’s a great networking opportunity
Next time you find yourself saying I’m too busy, ask yourself, take a step back and check-in with yourself just to see if it’s something that’s a high enough priority to make room for.
If this is something that’s tripping you up in your business and you want some help with that, 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 #116
Where I am, most of the kids started their new year of school last week.
When I was a kid,
this time of year meant a new planner for the academic year, new notebooks, and
As an adult without kids, this time of year means I get to take advantage of back to school sales just for me.
Which I did last week and bought a couple of new notebooks and pen sets (yay colored pens!).
But I digress.
While it is a great time to take advantage of sales, it’s also a great time to re-evaluate your goals for the remainder of the year.
You probably have a pretty good idea about how to evaluate your goals and set new goals or update your previous goals for the year, however, I want to share some things for you to think about or consider as you do this.
Your goals for the year are not written in stone! You can change them to better reflect where you are now and what you’ve learned this year.
Don’t forget to review what worked and didn’t work this year. So often we want to jump into the planning and we forget to give ourselves credit for the things that we already accomplished (regardless of what the goal was).
Brainstorm! Think about the things that you’d like to experience or achieve through your business before the year ends. This doesn’t mean you have to do them. Sometimes one idea leads to a really fun or cool idea that you might not have thought of if you jumped right into setting goals.
Know the difference between intentions and goals. Intentions are what many people call goals. They’re things we want to happen, we intend them to happen, but we can’t actually control them. They’re things like how much money you want to make, how many clients you want to work with, etc.
You can’t force someone to work with you, that’s a decision the other person needs to make.
However, you can do any number of things to encourage those intentions to occur.
However, you can do any number of things to encourage those intentions to occur.
Those are goals.
Goals are how many phone calls you’ll make, how many networking events you attend, how many social media posts your business page posts in a week, etc.
You can control the outcome of your goals.
Know how you’re motivated. If you’re motivated by BIG intentions, then, by all means, play big and double or add a zero to that income intention.
If BIG intentions paralyze you or feel impossible, DON’T DO IT.
Instead, think about doubling the goal – make more phone calls, do more of the things that encourage those intentions to materialize or manifest.
Doing this can mean you meet your income intention sooner in the month, then you can decide if you want to continue the work and make more money, or if you want to adjust your focus to something else. It also can be helpful when something unexpected happens, like you get sick. You won’t spend the last week rushing or trying to force things to happen.
Next week is the last month in August and a great time to plan September and take a peek at your 2019 goals.
Intention and goal setting is something we do every month in the Unnamed Productivity Club. If this would make a huge difference in the success of your business, I invite you to join us for a month! The minimum commitment is a month. If it’s not for you, you can easily cancel.
If you’re not sure the Unnamed Productivity Club is a good fit for you or you have any questions, 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 #115
I keep seeing this recommendation to only have 3 things on your to-do list a day.
The first time I
remember seeing it I wondered if this person spent A LOT of time in meetings
and had extremely little time to do anything else.
After all, a VERY common piece of productivity advice around to-do lists is to break things down into individual tasks. In other words, don’t have projects on your to-do list.
So, if you’ve broken
your projects into individual tasks, how is it possible that someone would
recommend to only have three tasks to accomplish each day?
Again, are they
spending A LOT of time in meetings?
What I found is when someone recommends having only 3 things on your to-do list, what they actually mean is to have 3 small projects or 3 large tasks.
A small project might be “write blog post.” This is a small project and not a large task because there are multiple steps to it. Generally, you’re going to write the blog post, create/find an image for it, edit it, add it to your blog, schedule an email with it to go out, and create/schedule social media posts about it.
That’s a small
Your three things in a day might be: 1) write blog post, 2) go to networking meeting, and 3) have client meeting (or do client work).
I don’t disagree
with having three small projects or large tasks each day. I think that’s
probably a good goal.
But there are still some things missing.
They’re not clear that they don’t mean individual tasks
They’re not including the things you do on a daily basis like checking and replying to email, business social media check-ins, phone calls, or planning.
Even though they say to only have 3 things on your to-do list, that’s not really accurate.
The guideline of having three small projects or large tasks on your to-do list each day is good.But also remember to have the steps for the small project written down too AND the things you do daily.
PRODUCTIVITY FOR SOLOPRENEURS: INSIGHTS TO GETTING THINGS DONE #114