We all know that dreaming, planning, and discussing only gets us so far. A successful personal and professional life-plan does begin with a thought. The thought is possibly to, at long last, start paying attention to your financial numbers more carefully, hire and collaborate with more people, or strategize for a more targeted marketing and communications campaign. It begins here, but it can stop here too. In fact, these four things could be a detriment if they keep you from the one catalyst to massive action.
What is that one thing and how do other things serve as barriers?....
Do the important things first? In my last post, I told you not to worry about the most important things. I just want you to start doing ANYTHING and start crossing things off of your list. Working on feeling accomplished and creating momentum is key to getting things done. However, there are some IMPORTANT things you should do first.
Let me define important...
Important is NOT that project you've been putting off; it's not checking your email to make sure you don't have any fires to put out today. Important is any activity or task that creates energy for you rather than draining it. Energy creating activities include drinking water, taking herbs, stretching, exercising, meditation, making art, journaling, brainstorming, or anything else that raises your vibration. Meeting a colleague or friend for coffee, going for a challenging hike, taking a long hot shower... These are the MOST IMPORTANT things to do first. It just takes a simple shift and a tweak.
I am an AVID reader of time management books and I am constantly researching new time management methods. Ever since I was 11-years old, I have studied this subject. My mother passed away when I was 12-years old but was sick a lot of my childhood. In order to help manage my household, I was home-schooled for grades six through 12. So, at a very young age, I had to learn how to manage a household, take care of myself, and get through school. Needless to say, I learned to be VERY disciplined. It was through the study of time management that I learned to be self-sufficient. 30 years of study has taught me a lot! Today's post is all about time management (as part of a series).
From paper day-planners to apps, there are literally dozens of time management tools to help you go from chaos to organized. But many of my colleagues and friends still report finding it hard to manage daily tasks; to truly stay organized AND have enough time left in the day for all the things.
Systems Will Save You
Not long ago, I was struggling to keep my head above water, trying to manage WAY too much. Unfortunately, this predicament isn't something that happens to me only. I know MANY businesses, organizations, and individuals that are currently under incredible stress, and exhausted due to juggling too many hats.
Sometimes it seems there just isn't a way out of the chaos. Hiring someone is not feasible. There's no time to recruit an intern. And volunteers, though great, just don't have the right skills.
So what CAN you do when you are on the verge of "drowning?" Create systems! With the right systems in place, you can eliminate quite a bit of reinventing the wheel. Also, systems provide a framework for hiring someone or recruiting an intern or volunteer. There is a clear expectation of what needs to be accomplished, and less time spent orienting because documented systems can serve as training material.
Here are the top 3 systems I recommend you put into place as soon as possible...
By the time Friday afternoon rolls around, I feel like I've hit a wall. My focus starts to go onto other things like baking, sewing, house shopping, hiking, getting the garden ready....anything but business-related tasks. Though I'd LOVE to dive into these more meditative projects, there is an endless list of things I need to address for my company. Apparently, we're supposed to work until 5 pm, AT LEAST, if we want to advance our careers. Or so we are told in "Lean In" according to Sheryl Sandberg COO of Facebook. But, all I want to lean into are the red forest cupcakes that I'm dying to make!...
The last tip of this series was delayed a bit. There just aren't enough hours in the day, right?! Well, in all honesty, I knew that I would be writing this entry late in the night. My day was pretty planned out, all-in-all. Mommy duties put a few hiccups in my schedule but most everything fell within schedule.
So why did the blog get left for the last hours of the night? Because I write more thoughtfully and clearly when I am relaxed and I knew that if I had all the MAJOR tasks done, I would feel relaxed. And therefore more capable of writing a worthy entry...one worth posting! I was aiming for 10 pm, but it's closer to 11 pm now. That's okay. I've learned that when it comes to managing time, there are often days when you have to roll with the punches and just go with the flow.
Being an entrepreneur demands flexibility. And so I am. But being flexible isn't just relegated to entrepreneurs. It is a mindset and spirit to be adopted by everyone trying to make a difference in this world, whether a non-profit, a small business, or an individual. I like to call this the Entrepreneurial Era. We live in a time where we all need to think and act much like entrepreneurs. Consider this an invitation to start taking the entrepreneurial approach in life, business, and the pursuit of happiness. So what does that look like exactly?...
Development of time management skills is essential when you are running your own business. Over the years, I've read nearly every book written on time management. You could say I'm sort of obsessed with the topic. I do actually enjoy reading about the various ways you can carve out time to do the things you need to do. Almost every book I've read has had some relevance to it.
When I became a mom, boy!...did that time management knowledge come in handy! I will confess though, there were days where nothing I learned or knew helped. I just had to give in to my day and let it take me where it needed to go. But overall the biggest thing I learned is to make use of every minute of my day.
As many moms out there can relate...I'm not JUST running a business, I am a mom, first and foremost. And then I have a house I need to keep clean and orderly as best as I can. Finally, there are other responsibilities like taking the baby in for her shots, getting the groceries, etc... Completing ALL of my tasks for the day requires lots of pre-planning. So, here are the top 4 time management tips from the tip jar. But the BIG tip from the jar today is...
Engagement can seem hard, especially when it comes to social media. How do you engage and build relationships with large numbers of people you will never REALLY know? Well, let me say that the hard part is not the engagement. A few tips from me and you can become great at engaging your fans and followers. The hard part is finding time and motivation to do so.
My goal with this tip from the tip jar is to help you shrink your social media marketing tasks down to a few minutes each day. You might even save time and do it all over a few days. Whatever you choose to do, I intend on helping you make it a little easier. You do, however, have to do some work upfront that may require an hour or so...
When I was first starting my business, getting tips on how to effectively run and market my business were so valuable to me. I would take every piece of advice and collect them like tips in a tip jar. These pieces of information were as good as getting paid, because they helped me to land some of my first paying clients!
So, I want to share my tip jar with you. Today I gave a presentation to a circle of moms who are looking to re-evaluate their skills and see how they can earn money while staying at home with their babies. Some of them were already in the midst of creating business plans or even launching their businesses....