One of the things that I MOST want to help my clients achieve is to have a successful business, while still having a life! I talk to women all the time who just feel overwhelmed, overworked – and have started to wonder why they’re doing all this in the first place. I get it! We’ve all gone through seasons of our lives and businesses where we feel that way. I had to go put some systems in place to get better control of my life! I’m still FAR FROM PERFECT in all of these all the time, but every single time I feel like my life is out of control, I find that I can make it better if I review where I’m having a breakdown in the systems below!
Plan your week on Sunday.
As business owners, we have things coming at us all week long! There are tasks, projects, client needs – it’s never-ending. If you plan your week – batching like activities, and setting themes for the day – you can get into specific energy – and stay there. For example – in my business, Mondays and Wednesdays are sales call days. Tuesdays are for existing clients. Thursdays are for content creation. I’m not saying there isn’t a bit of overlap. But week in and week out – that is the flow of my week. I know that on Monday morning, I need to be well-rested and ready to support prospective clients. I know that on Thursday, I will be turning on some music, turning off my phone, and sitting down with my computer in a chair and creating content! It helps me be better focused!
Establish a daily routine.
I start my morning the same way every single workday (and with only a small modification on weekends). I bring my coffee to bed and I sit and read for a while, then I write my gratitude, and my journal. It allows me to start fresh – and focus on the positive. When you start a day with gratitude, it’s hard to be upset, angry or stressed out. As things come at you, those feelings may creep in. But by starting with some quiet and my journal – I am able to set the tone for my day!
Stick to the tasks at hand. Don’t multitask.
We’ve all been trained to believe that we should be great multitaskers. It wasn’t until my mentor, Todd Herman, explained the dangers of context switching and how much productivity we actually LOSE by switching tasks that I realized how detrimental that was to my business! So, now when sitting down at my computer, I turn off my phone. I sit down and work on just the task that I sat down to work on. When the task is done, I get up and walk around, and clear my head. This allows me to move my body, and to consciously switch from task 1 to task 2. It also allows me to actually get something DONE – versus jumping between a bunch of tasks – and having things all 80% done!
Automate your business
I’m AMAZED at how many business owners do A L L T H E T H I N G S! They think they have to do it all. They don’t have systems set up. They don’t have organizational control of their business. They are so busy handling the alligators closest to the boat that they can’t even imagine the possibility of stepping off the hamster wheel. What do you do in your business over and over again? I send a questionnaire to certain prospects before their initial consulting call. I used to do it all by hand. Then I went and created sequences that corresponded to their client journey – when they first opted in for a free resource, they got an automated email with the free resource. Then they received a series of educational, high-value emails. Then they would be offered the ability to book a consultation. They did this directly through my scheduler. Then I’d get an appointment confirmation and they would start another sequence – with the questionnaire and a series of educational pieces customized for our call. This way I wasn’t starting with someone who knew nothing about what I did or how I could help them. It also helped them to have good and SPECIFIC questions about their business! It made our calls SO much more productive! It allowed us to really get them answers to their concerns. Then after the call, they entered a sequence based on their personalized recommendation! It CHANGED my business! It resulted in more clients. It resulted in more qualified prospects. It resulted in me having more time in my business! It just completely transformed my business! What are YOU doing in your business that you can automate?
When I hired my first productivity coach almost 9 years ago, she taught me about batching. It completely changed my LIFE! I am NOT exaggerating! I used to be the person who was doing everything. If my phone rang, I’d drop everything to handle it. If I received an email, I was responding right away. And I was switching from task to task to task. It was EXHAUSTING! Fortunately, she taught me that I would get more done, have more clarity, and be more content with my tasks – by batching like activities. Much like the daily routine, and sticking to the task at hand, when you batch activities, you get into a state of “flow.” For example, today as I’m writing this, I’m doing “content creation.” I have found that I can create more content and better content, when I focus on content creation for a large period of time, instead of trying to hammer out a blog post in between client meetings! So, when you’re planning your week, also plan your day. Even if you can’t make an entire day for content creation (or client meetings), plan a few hours of each task. This allows you to get into the mindset required for the tasks at hand – and allows you to actually get things done!
Invest in yourself
Did you know that the most successful athletes in the world have coaches? Did you know that someone like Tom Brady has his football coach Bill Belechik, but he also has a personal coach/trainer? Did you know that Serena Williams has a tennis coach to this day? Did you know that Tiger Woods has a coach? People who get to the top of their fields understand that no matter how great you are, you have blind spots. We tend to do things the way we have always done them before. A coach helps you see the things you’re missing! They help you identify the things that you don’t see. They help you see yourself and your business from a different perspective! When I was in finance, my boss had a business coach. Many of our clients had coaches and mastermind groups. When I launched my first business in 2010, I hired a business coach, and have had at LEAST one coach and mastermind each and every year. I truly believe that this is one of the key factors in my success. I surround myself with people that are smarter than me or people that have already gone where I want to go! That helps me avoid the pitfalls they already experienced – or learn the lessons they already learned. It also helps me get an outsider’s perspective on my business – something that we ALL need! Are you investing in yourself?
Do the things that will accomplish your goals first.
When you get up in the morning, do you start with checking your email? Then do you jump into action handling all the things that people asked of you? That’s the way most of us behave. (And to be honest, I STILL fight that urge to check my email and respond to everything – taking care of everyone else’s needs first.) But if you start with your email and all the “things”, then you allow the things that are important to YOUR business success to get pushed aside – possibly to another day – never to get done! When I’m not getting results in my business, I have to look at my priorities. Am I creating my list of my 3 things that need to be done that day? Am I allowing myself to be pulled off course? Almost ALWAYS, that is the case. I haven’t protected my one thing – my thing that will help me MOST accomplish my goal! In my case, I set three things – in order of importance each day! But I try to always identify my one thing – and get started on that first. If I don’t, it doesn’t get done – and I don’t get to where I want to go. What is the ONE thing that you most need to complete to accomplish your biggest goal? Are you putting that one thing first? Are you protecting that task – and ensuring it gets done? If so, you’re probably achieving your goals. If you aren’t protecting that task, you’re probably struggling to achieve your goals! What is YOUR one thing?
Turn off notifications
A study by tech company, Asurion, states that the average American checks their phone every 12 minutes – or about 80 times a day. If you’re checking your phone every 12 minutes, do you really think you’re getting anything done? Just as you’re getting into “flow” and getting something done, you check your phone or your email and then have to get back into focus for the task. It’s HARD to focus when your phone or computer is buzzing you telling you that you have a new phone call, email, text message, or notification! I have set my phone and my computer to turn off all notifications until 3 pm each day. This way I can sit down and complete my tasks without my technology buzzing me every few minutes. It’s amazing how much more I can get done when I focus on the TASK at hand. On content days, I even put my phone in a completely different room – so I can’t even be tempted to check it!
Don’t sacrifice your health
This is one of my own personal struggles. Because I’m so focused on getting things done, I will often sit at my desk for HOURS without a break. Last year, I asked my husband, Mike, to get me an Apple Watch. Now, my watch buzzes me every hour and reminds me to stand up. It tracks my steps, so I can determine how I’m doing. Now when I’m on a call, I try to walk around the house to get some extra steps in! I get a short work out in most mornings before I sit down at my desk. I plan my meals out a few days in advance so I make better choices. If I don’t – everything goes haywire. I focus on my business. I lose sight of my health. And ultimately, it hurts my physical health – AND my mental health (bringing about depression or lack of motivation). I’m far from perfect in this area. But I am very aware of this struggle and try to stay very mindful of my own personal health, knowing that if I let it go unchecked for too long, that it spills over into all aspects of my life! Are you making your health a priority?
Save your email for the middle and end of the day.
Do you check your email all day long? Do you have your computer set to provide notifications when you get a new email message? When we get email and texts, we get a small dopamine hit, making us feel good because someone needs us or wants us. But ultimately it is like an addiction. We keep checking and checking – to see if someone likes us! The best way to control this struggle is to turn OFF your email. Check it in the middle of the day and again at the end of the day. Don’t allow it to derail your progress through the day. Very few things in most of our businesses are truly urgent. If you program your clients that you are available all day every day, they expect you to be available all day every day. If you let them know that you check emails at noon and at 4 and respond appropriately, you set their expectations – and protect your time!
I know some of these tasks seem daunting and overwhelming. You may not be able to implement all of them right now. But you can absolutely pick three and focus on implementing them for the next month. Once those become a habit – pick another one or two. Eventually, you’ll see that you have completely taken ownership of your schedule, your life, and your business!
What can you implement today to make a difference in your business and your life? Tell us in the comments!