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

 

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.

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

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

366 Days of Opportunities

366 days of opportunities – yep, 2020 is a leap year.

Each day is a new dawn and a new opportunity.

What has past is gone and whilst you should learn lessons from the roads travelled and experiences gained it’s also important not to spend too much time looking at the doors that have closed.

As we were closing our December, I took my Mastermind members through a 2020 Self Accountability Workbook.

Opportunities

Opportunities need to be identified.

It then comes down to time management and accountability.

Because we are all unique, we each have different working habits but the key formula is the same regardless of what industry you are in. Download a copy of

The Self Accountability Workbook that members complete individually is a valuable exercise.

The best thing about this method is that by taking the time to think, and by writing it all down, you come to a position where you have much greater clarity.

That clarity allows you to step forward with confidence.

To make the most of those 366 days of opportunity  – even if you do drop a few balls along the way.

And with the workbook completed, it becomes your guide, one that you have written for yourself, that goes alongside your strategic plan.

When you get the wobbles, it’s there to look at.

You can see in black and white exactly what the problem is.

You see at a glance if you’ve been going down rabbit holes. Not been keeping your promise to yourself to prioritise your time. not taking enough time out for your own self-care and so on goes the list.

Most importantly of all, you can see the planned solution and that is what will get you back on track.

It’s what will keep you on track for 2020.

Making the most of opportunities

Making the most of opportunities is what makes the difference.

Yet it can be so hard…where to start.

Sometimes you just need to get out from under the pile of stuff on top of you, or climb out from the hole you seem to be sinking deeper and deeper into.

This is what I hear over and over.

I know first hand what that feels like (see my personal blog here) and I am the proof that the strategies I teach for overcoming this work.

Are you on track?

Are you confident that you’re on track for your 366 days of opportunity?

Or would you like a little bit of support and guidance – a dragon in your pocket kind of thing?

Check out the Mastermind Membership where I help confused and overwhelmed folks get clear on the steps to take to achieve their goals through group strategic guidance to a crystal clear pathway.

Want to have some fun?

Tell me in the comments what you are saying YES to in 2020.

Fly like a Dragon!

Dragon head image

Michelle

Managing Your Time

Managing your time wisely is the key to achievement.

Knowing where you are going, being present in the moment and being focussed are your cornerstones.

I’m pretty sure we’d all agree that this is often easier said than done? So many bright and shiny objects litter the path (internet) to lead us astray.

Think of it like this – when you know where you are going you move forward with a laser focus.

It’s easy because you’re super clear about where you want to get to. You have clarity on exactly what you need to do and are smart enough to know that staying in your lane is a key essential….because

Time is finite!

You never get back time once it has passed. Sure you can extend a deadline, BUT the truth, plain and simple is this…

We each have an allocated amount and no matter how much money you may have it is impossible to buy extra time.

This is one commodity money cannot buy.

My #1 Dragon Discipline is to be curious, be interested, be open to ideas and possibilities. However, this is never at the expense of taking the focus away from goals that are already set.

Staying on track and in your own lane is paramount to achievement. You may like to check my blog post Top 7 Tips to Manage Your Business Day

Reviewing Your Progress

As we come to the close of 2019, I’ve been spending time talking to my clients about a “Walk Down Memory” lane from the perspective of their business.

I’ve done the same exercise with my own business.

The exercise makes it super easy to see where you have done well, where you could have done better. Most importantly, you’re able to see a pattern emerging.

Although I have gained recognition for my work through being the recipient of multiple awards, it has never been my goal to win any award…in fact, I never really thought about their existence.

I know from talking to others in the Awards Alumni, they also never had that goal.

The common element was following a passion.

When you are passionate you are focussing, staying in your lane with your eyes fixed firmly on the finish line.  It is a single-minded determination.

Prioritising Time = Achieving Goals

Like so many other things in business, there is a simple formula to follow.

I learnt this some years back and have been teaching it to my clients for several years now.

As we leave 2019 behind, I’ve compiled it into a short e-guide to share with anyone who needs help with prioritising time.

It is 100% free and you are welcome to download here. 

Dragon head image
Fly like a dragon!
Michelle

Let’s Talk Turkey

Let’s talk turkey is highly topical given we are in the season of Thanksgiving and Christmas fast approaching. But I am not talking about succulent, yummy stuff and roasted turkey…

No, sorry. Definitely not the one you probably plan to eat over the Festive season – although I do have a GREAT recipe for stuffing that’s been a guarded secret, handed down through the years. I finally got my hands on it last year!

I mean talking turkey about your business. Being serious. About what can be achieved. What has to be done and what can be left aside.

Getting down to business

Yes, it’s about stuff in your business. Or more precisely what you should and should not be stuffing into your calendar.

Social media, and likely as not your inbox is going mad right now with loads of special offers – Black Friday. Cyber Monday. Bargains Galore.

Everyone is wanting to sell you something.

Tips to still the noise

1) Choose wisely who you want to hear from. Unsubscribe from what you are not seriously in need of or who you do not genuinely enjoy hearing from.

2) If internet distractions are a big problem when you sit down to work there’s a great app called Cold Turkey! In the interest of full disclosure, this is Sasha’s affiliate link.

It’s a blocking app you can install on your PC. There is a free and a pro version which allows you to turn on a timer which will block off access to all webpages that are frequent distractions.  It is very powerful and works wonders for time management!

FOMO – Fear of Missing Out

It’s easy to get caught up in the hype. FOMO is real!

But, to be successful in your goals…, it is VITAL to still the noise.

To be able to work out what is valuable for you and your situation right now.

“Experts” with bright shiny websites are there to tempt you with offers to make you a millionaire.

Truth told – much is smoke and mirrors. It’s clever marketing.

I do have a free tip sheet on choosing someone to work with – it’s right here for you to grab if you want it.

SOS – Shiny Object Syndrome is alive and well, which is exactly why using FOMO  tactics works so well.

But here’s the thing…when you get to a certain point in your life you realise it all comes down to…going cold turkey.

Planning ahead

2020 heralds the end of the teens. A new decade lies ahead.

A time to be grown up and take your business by the horns rather than ‘stuffing’ around.

Without a plan written down, that is measurable, achievable and progress, you’ll find yourself floundering around. Been there and done that myself!

No, I am not a rag to riches story – I have lovely parents, had food on the table every night and was well educated with nice clothes on my back.

Failures

That said, I’ve also had my share of failures, of making bad decisions because I did not know any better.

It’s my lived experiences of failures that have brought me success.

Mistakes I made include growing too fast, spending money on tools I was not ready for (and did not really know how to use!) BUT I learnt many lessons!

Successes

My biggest successes have been on the roughest terrain with lots of bumps in the road but thanks to having a MAP I’ve been able to navigate those bumps that have included tight budgets, people letting me down, unexpected twists and turns that meant a quick pivot.

Those lessons are what I now use to guide my clients to success.

Write it down

Here’s a quick tip – when you write something down it becomes all the more real. It becomes a commitment to yourself.

Make it real! Let me know in the comments what the first action is that you’re going to take towards a successful 2020.

To your success!
Michelle

PS My Mastermind Membership that starts on 1 December 2019. If you’d like to be considered for a scholarship entry (Value $297 for 6 months) drop me a note to michelle@dragonsisters.com.au and tell me why you’d value a place 🙂

 

 

LIVE – Learning Experiences

LIVE Learning Experiences – LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube and Webinars.

Each of these platforms encourages “going live”.

Being live offers amazing opportunities to reach a much larger audience.

BUT, you do need to be comfortable with:

1) Putting yourself out there

2) The tech side of things

Although I regularly use Zoom there is one small drawback. It’s the fact that your participants have to download Zoom.

This can be an issue.  As I am often working with individuals who are not technically minded – and although it’s simple once you know how – it can be a challenge.

Now, although I ‘ve done lots of online teaching, I have never done an online workshop – at least I hadn’t up until last night.

Because I didn’t want to have folks getting all flustered before they even arrive at my workshop, I decided I’d try out a new platform.

Choosing a platform

Here’s where it gets confusing.

There are soooooo many choices. AND there are so many differing opinions of which works best.

I’d pretty much decided on Webinar Jam (I already have EverWebinar) until I started to check out some of the recent feedback – glitchy and not so fantastic from tech support.

I ended up choosing to try Demio – they offered me a free trial – all good 🙂 – and that pushed me across the line. After all, if they are confident to offer that, they must believe in their product.

How did it go?

It looked super easy.

I enrolled, set up and sent out the link to my attendees. Created the meeting room and uploaded the workbook.

Nice going. I’d had a couple of queries, but tech support was right there within 5 mins to help.

Cool.

I’m good to go and have time to spare.

As always, there’s the temptation to make last moment tweaks -and this is where it all started to unravel.

I know, I should have known better!

BUT…

I made my tweaks – just a couple of tiny ones. Not really necessary but I wanted to do it.

This was in beta mode (my participants knew this) but I wanted it to be the best I could make it.

I’d said up-front there was the possibility of some glitches.

I was uploading my presentation slides an hour out from the workshop.

First little glitch – not possible to load them except as a PDF or as a YouTube. Maybe I had been told this – maybe not. I don’t recall.

Okay – not a problem…Plan B is to share my screen.

Let the games begin 🙂

Time to go Live. Participants got in really easily.

No sound. Easy fix. I just needed to click a box.

I’m feeling a tad flustered. I share what is happening in the conversation with attendees – I mean they can see me on screen – and goodness knows what they are thinking!

Share my screen to launch the presentation. They can’t see it properly. Sizing is not right.

Fiddle. Fiddle. I get it working BUT not as I wanted it to.

It’s not flowing and appearing as it did in my run through.

Maybe I should not have made the tweaks!

Actually, I definitely should not have made those tweaks.

Fortunately, I know my subject – Strategic Planning – really well. At least I am not panicking about what to say.

The results?

Participants engagement was high – I think my “comedy show” (think Faulty Towers!) at the beginning helped create a real “authenticity” factor.

I always tell my clients they need to be authentic as people relate to people.

Well, this was definitely authentic. No doubt about it.

The chatbox worked well. My wonderful assistant did a fantastic job of writing down the answers from the chatbox and running them into me.

Note to self – need to make sure I have another monitor beside me so I can see the questions.

The recording feature was excellent. I now have a recording I can share. But… I’m not going to send it out. I don’t think the comedy show will be as funny if it’s not live.

Feedback

The quality of the information presented and taught went over very well. Participants said the pace was good and I didn’t cram in too much.

They’ll be back for Part II next Wednesday. In the meantime, I’m going to be re-running Part I so I get a decent recording to send those who could not show up for the live.

How often do you experiment with new technology?

If you have a tale to share, I would love to hear it in the comments.

Fly like a dragonDragon head image

Michelle