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Productivity for Solopreneurs: Insights to getting things done #117 / How do you make sure the important stuff in your business gets done?

How do you make sure the important stuff in your business gets done?

Something that’s 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 anything.

And you continue to be frustrated that the important things keep falling to the wayside.

Let’s take a different approach.

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 those things?

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 goal.

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 personal example.

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 of it.

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 media check-ins.

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 media.

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.

Quick recap:

  1. You don’t have to do ALL your time blocking at once. You can do it for one thing.
  2. 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.
  3. Put that time block on your calendar every week/day so you don’t schedule other things at that time.
  4. Take a moment each week to review and notice what is and isn’t working for you with that time block.
  5. Adjust your time block as needed.

PRODUCTIVITY FOR SOLOPRENEURS: INSIGHTS TO GETTING THINGS DONE #117

Productivity for Solopreneurs: Insights to getting things done #116 / When to make time when you're too busy

When to make time when you’re too busy

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 related.

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 miss it.

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

Productivity for Solopreneurs: Insights to getting things done #115 / 5 quick tips for updating your yearly goals

5 quick tips for updating your yearly goals

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 new folders.

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.

  1. 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.
     
  2. 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).
     
  3. 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.
     
  4. 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.
  5. 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

https://youtu.be/PDSKoipZn_k
Productivity for Solopreneurs: Insights to getting things done #114 / What's right and wrong with having only 3 things on your todo list

What’s right and wrong with having only 3 things on your todo list

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 project.

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.

  1. They’re not clear that they don’t mean individual tasks
     
  2. 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

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