Time Blocking to Achieve Your Goals

Time blocking is such a valuable tool that it is well worth spending the time to master.

Choosing how you set your time blocks will depend on what you are wanting to achieve, the nature of your business and personal circumstances.

The minimum blocks that I find myself always recommending are:

1. Me Time

Time dedicated just to you. Only you.

It’s at the top of this list because you must have time to recharge your batteries and do what feels good for you.

I use my “Me Time” to go paddling, sit down with a book, walk along the beach or chill out with Netflix.  I schedule these time blocks into my day.

“Me Time” can also mean a short break away for a few days when I switch everything off to simply refresh, reframe and relax.

2. Business development time

This is the time that you spend on developing your business.

You need to be spending time daily on business development because it is a way of ‘feeding your funnel’ and ensuring you have ongoing connections. Don’t just do this when you are searching for new business.

Remember that people like doing business with those they know,  like and trust. So maintaining and developing relationships is essential to your ongoing business success.

For Dragon Sisters, business development time includes catching up with former clients, spending time on social media interacting with other business pages, being a guest speaker, writing a blog post, newsletter, doing some phone catch-ups or investigating a business tool.

3.Work time

Just like it says, it’s all about getting your core business done – it’s about working IN the business.

It looks different for everyone. Some may have regular office hours, others may have flexibility. But whatever the case, your working time needs to be blocked out and you need to be sticking to a schedule.

If you’re a mechanic it means working on the cars, for a writer it’s the time you spend writing, as a coach it means the time you spend coaching or working on material, a B&B means this is the time you’re dealing with guests and making sure your premises are in tip-top condition.

4. Family Time

It is essential to be slotting in family time. What your blocks look like will very much depend on your circumstances.

Family time can take many forms, but the key ingredient is being present it the moment and putting work aside.

My children are adults, so family time for me means;  1:1 time with my daughter over coffee, time visiting my elderly parents every couple of days; dinner with my kids each night if we are all in the same house.

The rest of the time is flexible – according to your circumstances.

Time blocking is not easy

Yes, it can be a struggle to get the time blocks happening.

I’ve been there. The struggle with the juggle is real.

However, I also know from first-hand experience that unless you get this happening, you will struggle to achieve your goals. Being torn in too many directions without sufficient time blocks is not sustainable for the long term.

You may like this resource on How to Set Your Priorities.

To your success!

Michelle

Your Goals vs Your To Do List…avoid confusing the two

Your Goals vs Your To Do list is something that is often confused.

If you currently have a list handy, I want you to take a moment to go grab it now.

Are there items on there that are actually going to be sucking up your valuable time and diverting you from your actual goals?

It’s so easy to allow the words to-do and goals to become inter-changeable.  Yet, there is a huge difference.

Your goal is something you really want to achieve because it is going to bring you a long term benefit or is something you have been striving to achieve for some time.

Often smaller goals fit into the large goal.

On the other hand, your to-do list is things you feel you need to get done. Some of those items will be essential for you to handle, yet many others are just time-sucks and rabbit holes that are diverting you from your true goals.

Use 100-day goals

I absolutely love those! They are so tangible and…

Achievable!

100 days is just a little over 3 months.

The reason I love working in 100-day blocks is that you can actually see how you are progressing.

There is a finite timeline, and at the end, you’re going to see a result. Or more accurately, if you have actively been working on those goals you will see a result.

Here’s why 100-day goals work

The reason is simply this…because it’s not too far into the future. You do not have the luxury of taking your eye off the ball.

You are under the pump so the focus has to be on pushing to move forward each day.

This means you can actually see your progress – or if you slack off, you’ll have to rush to catch up.

100 days may sound like a good amount of time, but the reality is that it goes whizzing past!

Procrastinating is not an option.

To achieve your 100-day goals means being disciplined.

How you define those goals is what you take from your Strategic Plan. This way you are working with a bigger picture and eating the elephant one bite at a time.

Discipline is the secret

Think about it, it’s really easy to waste a few hours here and there.

For example, spending too much time on social media, allowing your routine to be interrupted without a valid reason, neglecting to switch your email to offline mode, and so the list goes on.

With 100-day goals, you are on a countdown timer. There is a finite amount of time and you have set your goal to achieve.

To get there needs discipline.

No excuses.

No time to go down rabbit holes – and yes, there are a zillion rabbit holes waiting for you to end up down.

There is no time for saying could have, would have, should have.

You just need to get the show on the road by taking the steps to move towards your goals.

Your goal must be measurable, achievable & progressive – MAP

Every action you need to take towards your goal needs to be mapped out.

If you don’t follow your MAP, it is highly likely that you’ll deviate or get totally lost.

The key to succeeding and achieving is by being disciplined and setting smart  goals that you work towards one step at a time.

Need help setting your priorities? Here’s a method that will help you – it’s aptly called How to Set Your Priorities.

Implement this method week by week and you’ll soon see pretty amazing results.

To your success!

Michelle

 

Confused by social media and how it applies to your business?

Confused by social media and how it applies to your business?

You are not alone!

Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest …and the list goes on.

You know you need to be on social media – at least that’s what everyone tells you, but do you need a Facebook page or a group?

Maybe you should get on LinkedIn – or Pinterest?

Too many choices and lots of advice from all sides!

Social media and time investment

I’m not a digital native – that means I did not grow up in the era of computers and smartphones. I was well and truly working before these entered my life…but I’ve been using social media for well over a decade.

There’s been a lot of trial and error including a few rabbit holes I managed to run down – relate to those?

I am not a social media expert by any means but I do understand exactly how it fits into a broader business strategy and that’s what is important.

You have to have a reason for what you are doing on social media – there must be a strategy – otherwise, you’re just off down a rabbit hole and when you emerge many hours have gone by!

My 5 Social Media Top Tips

1) Consistency is key – turning up consistently is essential.

You can’t just pop in and out as the fancy takes you or when you decide you want to “sell” something.

You need to consistently be present to create a relationship with your audience. It is not there to sell from but to get conversations going.

2) Set goals and stick to them – decide what your goals are for social media and make sure that your expectations are realistic.

Is it to create engagement?

To make sales?

To get referrals?

Each of these requires a different approach.

Once you know what your goals are it is much easier to create your social media strategy.

3) You don’t need to be everywhere – being “everywhere” is not necessarily the right thing for your business.

Be strategic.

Identify where your target audience hangs out.

4) Focus on key platforms – once you know where your audience is you need to be active on those platforms.   The focus should be on interacting and gaining their attention by being active, insightful and supportive rather than salesy!

5) Manage your time wisely – plan out what you are going to share, when you are going to be active and how you will keep audiences engaged.

Set aside time to look at insights, and spend time analysing your results for the effort you’ve invested.

Your time is also an investment, not just the $$ you spend.

My Channels

I tend to stick to Facebook for my business running both groups and pages.  I also use LinkedIn.

I do have accounts on Twitter and Instagram but I am not altogether comfortable with them. More importantly, that is not where my audience hangs out so I have not invested time in learning how to effectively “work” them.

LinkedIn keeps me in touch with my professional networks, and Facebook helps maintain a presence that is on a more ‘friendly’ level.

Monitoring

In the online world, algorithms are rapidly changing so the landscape is ever-evolving when it comes down to social media.

This means it’s really imdata is the key to knowledgeportant that you continue to be monitoring what you are doing. Note where you are getting the best results and be on the lookout for trends.

 

It’s not a case of set and forget.

Understanding how it applies to your business means making sure you are abreast of your channels and any changes being rolled out.

It’s a confusing world out there and the more we can help each other the better!

When I learn something new, I share with my audiences via email. Sometimes they are already aware of the changes but other times it’s a new discovery – it’s all about paying it forward and helping each other out. You can sign up as a subscriber here.

How do you handle keeping up to date? Let me know in the comments.

Fly like a dragon!
Michelle

Working from home – why a routine is essential

Working from home means a routine is essential.

It begins with making a point of getting up at a fixed time, showering and dressing in your work clothes every day that you are ‘working’.

The act of getting dressed and going through your “routine” helps with getting into the right headspace for your day at the office.

It’s also got the huge benefit that you won’t be caught short if someone drops in for a Facetime or Zoom call.

A good work from home routine

Having a good routine is essential to your productivity, mental and physical health.

You know… taking regular breaks to stand up and walk around. Stretch.

Play music or burn incense if that’s what works for you.

Stop for lunch and definitely don’t eat at your desk! Sometimes I get caught on this one, but it is the exception rather than the norm.

Before the lockdown got so strict I used to walk to the beachfront in my lunch break, sit down under a shady tree to refresh, reframe and relax. It worked a treat!

Challenges

It can be challenging when it comes down to overseeing and giving clear instructions to remote team members. Shared Google docs and other wonderful little tech pieces are super valuable and user friendly too.

I have a favourite little tool called “Snag It” that I use whenever I need to send visual illustrations of what I need to explain – it’s magic!

You can use it to record little snippets of “how to” and it also has the benefit of making you a little more connected and personal.

Family and friends need to be educated that you are ”at work” and cannot be disturbed just because you are at home.

A Back-Up Plan

The technology may fail. A backup plan is essential!

That means using regular, automated backup for all your work, and having a second device to access Skype, internet etc.

For me, this means having a tablet, a smartphone and a laptop as well as paying for Dropbox and having auto-sync happening.

The changing workplace

The workplace has changed enormously since the early days of my career. But the biggest change I’ve seen is in working remotely.

The current situation we find ourselves in means almost everyone is working from home.  Thanks to the ever-expanding information technology capabilities it’s actually fairly easy.

Don’t you just love wi-fi and smartphones? I do!

I love working from home and remotely – so much so that it’s been the bulk of my business for a few years now.

I’m not saying it’s easy. It does require discipline, but it can be truly wonderful once you get the hang of it.

Michelle

Michelle Hanton is a multi-award winning bespoke business strategist, working internationally as a consultant, coach, speaker and writer. She has a keen interest in the not-for-profit sector and is the former CEO of Lifeline Top End, and founder of Dragons Abreast Australia, a national charity dedicated to the promotion of breast cancer awareness.

The Key to Achieving Your Goals

The key to achieving your goals is often seen as the holy grail – something that seems to evade many and yet for others appears super simple.

We all know those people who state an intention and actually make it happen.

These are the people who have an idea or a dream and manage to turn it into a reality.

Actually it’s not so easy. It might LOOK easy, but looks are deceptive.

Is it luck?

People often tell me that I’m so lucky to have been able to achieve what I have.

I often hear “Oh, it’s easy for you, Michelle”  or “I wish I could do that”

The truth of the matter is that anyone with the right mindset can do exactly the same.

So what is the secret?

The secret is discipline.

Staying focussed and in your own lane.

It comes down to being an effective goal setter.

You need to know exactly how to construct your goals and understand how to go about achieving them.

The good news is that goal setting and goal getting is something you can learn.

I use the formula constantly and I love teaching others how to use the same formula.

Why we need clear goals

Having goals helps you to work effectively because you set your priorities.

By having clear goals together with a pathway to achievement comes down to :

Progression
Empowerment
Growth

The acronym is PEG.

The dictionary defines a peg (noun) as a pin of wood or other material driven or fitted into something, as to fasten parts together, to fasten parts together, to hang things on, to make fast a rope or string on or to mark some point.

A peg on a clothesline is something we use to hold up our clothes as they dry.

If we choose weak pegs, they will always be snapping and breaking. Our washing will be fluttering off merrily into the breeze or dangling askew on the line. Perhaps only just hanging on.

Conversely, when we are using pegs that are strong and solid, they hold things firmly even if there is a strong breeze.

At worst, in a strong breeze the clothes might get twisted and tangled up, but they do stay on the line.

I always say that achieving your goals comes down to visualising your goals as the items hanging on a clothesline.

They have to be neatly laid out and…

Goals must be firmly pegged

Consider the kind of pegs needed to secure these in place so no matter what comes along, your goals remain firmly on the line, even if they may get blown about.

They may even get a little tangled and twisted. BUT, they will still be there providing the pegs are strong.

Gusty storms are part of life and I’ve experienced a few.

Here’s what I’ve discovered …..

As long as your goals are there in front of you, firmly on your individual line they can be retrieved and straightened out after a gusty storm has passed.

It all comes down to staying in your own lane.

You do this by having a Strategic Plan. 

Not the boring corporate kind that sits in the back of a cupboard.

Achieving Your Goals Requires

A plan that is real.

That is user-friendly.

One that comes with a simple actionable plan that keeps you moving in the direction you want to be going.

Actionable. Trackable. These are the keys to a great strategic plan.

You may like to check out my FREE Introduction to Strategic Planning Workshop which will give you a little more idea around setting out your plan.

Fly like a dragon

Dragon head image

Michelle

Michelle Hanton is a multi-award winning bespoke business strategist, working internationally as a consultant, coach, speaker and writer. She has a keen interest in the not-for-profit sector and is the former CEO of Lifeline Top End, and founder of Dragons Abreast Australia, a national charity dedicated to the promotion of breast cancer awareness.

Referrals are gold!

Referrals are gold and in business, there are generally two types of referrals. One is formal and the other informal.

The informal referral is golden as it is 100% authentic.

    No money changes hand and no coupons are sent out.

The referral comes as a result of good service, quality product, personal experience and a willingness to assist.

4 Reasons Why Referrals are Gold

  1. Customer acquisition costs are a bare minimum.

Your happy customers are doing your marketing for you.

Of course, this only happens if you give good service, and are attentive to your customers’ needs.

  1. Customer retention rate is higher.

Think about what it costs to gain a customer and it immediately makes great business sense to do everything possible to retain them.

When people are happy with your services, they are most likely to keep doing business with you.

  1. The market place is generally crowded so it’s hard to be noticed.

This makes getting your message to stand out from the crowd difficult. Investing in advertising is one way to get noticed, another way is to build a referral network.

We listen to people who we know and trust, hence word of mouth referral is so valuable.

  1. Conversion rates are higher.

A prospect introduced to your business by someone they trust is far more likely to convert into a new client/customer.

Making the Ask

Knowing when and how to spot a potential referral opportunity is a good way to kick-start your referral system into gear.

However, unless you specifically ASK for a referral, it may not be made. People are happy to help when asked, and if you don’t make the ask, they simply may not think about sending more business your way.

When a happy, satisfied customer comes along and gives good feedback, grab the opportunity to ask them to spread the good about your business.

Are you harnessing the power of referrals? It’s never too late to start and if you need some help framing the ask reach out to us in the comments.

Fly like a dragon!

Dragon head image

Michelle

PS Enjoyed this article? Sign up for my newsletter every Wednesday – direct to your Inbox – to help you connect, convert and sell!




Michelle Hanton is a multi-award winning bespoke business strategist working internationally as a consultant, coach, speaker and writer. She has a keen interest in the not-for-profit sector, is the former CEO of Lifeline Top End, and founder of Dragons Abreast Australia, a national charity dedicated to the promotion of breast cancer awareness.

Does technology solve your communication problems?

Does technology solve your communication problems? Clever advertising and marketing might have you think so.

The temptation to grab a new app, invest in a new piece of software or hardware can be all very tempting…BUT it is not a magic wand.

Let’s be honest, life gets pretty hectic – both in the personal and professional sense.

Managing a pretty packed schedule; juggling business commitments, making sure to spend quality time with the family, as well as plugging in some “Me Time” is pretty much part and parcel of daily living these days.

It’s one big juggle.

By strategically embracing a few key pieces of tech it can be easier to keep all the balls in the air.

Note I said easier, not easy!

But it can also be a burden around your neck as you wrestle to get your head around how it operates and the intrusion it can often make into your life.

Technology makes it easier

Smartphones, tablets, laptops, Skype, WhatsApp, Trello, Dropbox, LinkedIn and…

…the Nespresso machine is part of our daily toolkit.

In a world where you have virtual assistants,  independent freelance experts, speech recognition and a myriad more timesaving options to choose from there is one thing that jumps out at me…

Despite all the changes and the new technologies at our fingertips, there is one thing that never changes.

That is the need to master the simple art of communication.

Communication

The need for strong communication skills remains as vital today as ever. In fact, you could say that this is even more important today.

And here’s why…

BECAUSE despite all the time-saving devices, fancy ways to send and receive messages,  the impactful way to connect comes down to genuine, authentic, respectful communication.

Communication is a two-way street

The need to feel connected is a strong human emotion.

We communicate with words and the words we choose can make or break a connection.

Choosing the right words can only be done when we understand our audiences, their perspective, their needs and the nuances of different demographics.

When we listen, we start to understand and that’s when the magic starts to happen – real communication that runs two ways.

Technology is wonderful, but nothing beats a face to face conversation, picking up the phone or doing a live interactive video call.

Being able to relate

If you stop to think about it, the need to connect on a relatable level is why things like Facebook live and video communication is so popular.

The audience gets to see you which helps them relate. As they hear you speak your words they feel directly connected provided you are using words that resonate with them.

Communication styles can be developed and honed with practice, but they always need to sound natural.  Building a relationship is something that needs a human touch no matter what kind of technology is being used to deliver your message.

If you’re struggling with making connections you may like to grab my FREE e-guide The Five Essential Steps to Networking & Creating Connections .

Fly like a dragon,

Michelle

 

AUSTRALIA DAY 2020 – A REFLECTION

Australia Day sees me sitting at my desk and reflecting on how I came to be here in Australia.

I wasn’t born here, but then again, neither were so many others that call this country home.

There’s lots of controversy around the celebration of this day and it can all get a bit political.

It depends on who you talk to as to their perspective. From my own perspective, I see it as a day to take stock and to think about what it means to be able to live in a country that is free.

The first visit

I first visited Australia as a 19-year-old.

Like so many other young people’s journeys, it started by travelling overland from London to Athens on a bus – a nightmare of a trip with 2 flat tyres but we were young and resilient! Then a flight via Bangkok and Singapore to Sydney and then on to Canberra where I spent a few months before travelling to Darwin to visit family.

Little did I know that Darwin was going to play a big role in my future.

Settling in

It took a long time for me to become comfortable living in a country that was so totally different from where I spent my childhood.

I’d grown up in the Middle and the Far East; although I went to the UK for my final years of schooling.

I felt like a fish out of water for many years.  Australia was so culturally different from what I was used to.

On reflection, I was lucky to have ended up in Darwin as it’s undoubtedly the most multi-cultural city in Australia. A tropical melting pot where everyone lives side by side and there are no enclaves of particular ethnicities.

I didn’t really identify as any particular nationality and even though my passport said British I was not born in Britain.

The lucky country

Today, I consider myself extremely fortunate to live in a country that offers wonderful opportunities and provides, a predominantly, safe environment for children compared to the places where I grew up.

I am blessed that my entry to Australia was relatively easy. There was no citizenship test and I didn’t need to sit any IELTS exams, apply for sponsorship or come on a boat seeking asylum. 

Australia has been good to me. It’s the place that I call home.

Happy Australia Day!
Michelle

Emails sucking all your attention?

Emails sucking all your attention?

Notifications pinging into your inbox, on your phone?

Looking at your emails as they drop into your inbox is a sure-fire way to waste your valuable time.

Your time is a precious and finite resource – once it’s gone, you never get it back.

One of the simplest changes you can make to start to take control of your email habits. By getting strategic in how you manage your emails, you can actually free up several hours a month.

Imagine what you could do with 3 extra hours each month? And when I use this figure of 3 hours a month, I am being ultra-conservative.

My clients tell me, and from personal experience, I can confidently say most people save an extra 8 hours a month – that’s a whole extra business day!

3 Email Management Tips

1) Set designated times – for checking your emails.

First thing in the morning, midday and before you finish for the day works well for most businesses.

If possible, shut down your email in between those times. That way you are not tempted to peek at them as the notifications come in. Because no matter what your intention is, you’ll spot it out of the corner of your eye.

The saying “momentum goes where attention flows” is spot on.

Even if just for a few seconds those distractions soon add up over the course of the day. Imagine how much time it adds up to over a week and a month!

2) If you need to refer to information in your emails – switch to offline mode.

This will allow you access to all your information whilst also ensuring you are not distracted by incoming email.

3) Quick flick tasks – when going through your emails, if there are some that you can deal with via a quick response, do this immediately.

It’s quicker than flagging for follow-up and then having to come back to it later.

What will you do with the extra time you save? Hit reply and tell me in the comments.

Fly like a dragon!

Dragon head image

Michelle

PS – if you’d like extra tips for how to set your priorities and stay in your lane – download my free e-guide which has proven strategies that really work.

 

Do you really need all the latest gadgets?

Do you really need all the latest gadgets?

You know gadgets like – new computers, cameras, phones, apps, software and gizmos are pretty much wherever you turn these days. Okay, maybe they are not strictly gadgets, but for the purpose of this article, I’m lumping them together.

Advertisers are smart. They know exactly how to make that emotional tug. You know how it goes…

This product will give you…more time with your family, more status, increase your confidence, increase productivity, save you time…

And so on the list goes.

Guard your time

Time is a finite commodity. Once the time has passed, you can never get it back.

The time you spend learning how to use a new gadget/gizmo like a phone etc or even just looking into something can often be better spent working on your business.

If you’re always time-poor, think about using that time for some much needed “me-time”.

Investing time in yourself by taking a little bit of rest and relaxation is a smart move. It means you take time to make sure you’re in tip-top condition to run your business, look after your family etc.

Confusion

It’s super easy when you first start in business to get confused about where to focus your attention.

Marketers are a pretty savvy and innovative bunch – they know how to make irresistible offers that will have you reaching for your wallet.

Now here’s the thing…when it comes down to being innovative – you too can be super innovative by… ignoring the new shiny objects and keeping your eyes firmly on your own goals.

Although I have been in my own business for over 20 years, the online world of courses is relatively new to me. It’s only in the last 4 years that I have started to venture into this space.

When I was looking at a hosting platform for my online courses, I got so confused because I spent my time listening in to advice from other course creators.  I also wasted quite a bit of money chasing shiny objects.

Gaining Clarity

In hindsight, what I should have done was written out a list of what features were important to me and my clients/students. Instead, I focussed outwards.

Had I created my own “shopping list” based on my individual needs, I would have been able to choose the right platform with a lot less time-wasting.

In case you’re wondering where I ended up – I finally chose to use Podia. It’s not as “pretty” as some, but it is easy to use, the right price point for me and gives me the important features I need to deliver my courses.

I can tell you lots more stories on this topic about how I wasted both time and money, but that’s going to take way too much time 🙂

Three lessons learnt

1) Focus on your own forward momentum, even if it is baby steps.

2) Find trusted mentors to help you explore what is right for your business.

3) You achieve more when you set your own priorities and stay in your lane.

Do you have some lessons learnt to share?

Fly like a dragon!

Dragon head image

Michelle