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

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 Smarter Not Harder – the key to succeeding

My daughter came home from school this afternoon, with her exam results. Ellie was pretty happy with them all except for one subject. Though she was philosophical about the one disappointment.

Not because she has a ‘whatever’ attitude (I want to slap anyone silly who says that in my hearing), but because she knew she could expect no better, learning that the last two years of high school are nothing like what went before, realizing that, as she said, “Grade 11 is different, it’s all about time management and working under pressure.”

In other words, it’s getting into the realm of the real-life work environment. Ellie knew she had sacrificed one subject to excel in the others; moreover, she knows she can’t afford to do that.

Only 24 Hours In A Day

Like you and me, my daughter has only so many hours in the day to get her work done and to do it to an acceptable standard. Plus, there’s the work-life balance thing to juggle: family, friends, sport, Saturday job, chores and, just stuff.

At the end of her first term in Grade 11, she asked me, “Do you think I should give up basketball?” With travel, training and matches, it pretty much wipes out two nights a week.

Answer: “No! You just have to work smarter, not harder.”

Read: work hard but be strategic, rather than working longer.

After all, I don’t want to end up with a pale, pasty, nerdy kid, who looks and feels, like a rat on a wheel. Time enough for that when she joins the workforce! Though hopefully, she’ll be good enough at making her own ‘luck’ by then to find work she’s passionate about, rather than put upon in a job she’s as enthusiastic about as the last lemming over the cliff.

Not just a school thing

It dawned on me that Dragon Sisters really grew out of exactly Ellie’s predicament.

Time-poor people, turning to us to help them strategize and execute the most crucial aspect of their business: how to connect, convert and sell to their target market.

In other words, we found our niche market which matched up with our experience and expertise. Before that, we spent a lot of time running very hard (visualizing that rat on a wheel?), for way less results.

Once we found our niche, things got a lot easier for Michelle and I. We learnt to work smarter not harder. But back then, we thought it was normal to have not a nanosecond to ourselves. Because, as we all know, SME owner-operators are amongst the hardest workers in the world, right? Right!

One of the first priorities to slip down the slippery slide of being sooo busy, is not having enough time to do a good enough job of creating and maximising opportunities for your business. Like Ellie, that’s not something you can afford. Dropping the ball on that one translates to one thing: loss of sales revenue. Eeek!

There are many reasons that small businesses start talking to us. But the common denominator is this: they are feeling the pain.

Now, unless you’re stuck in the ‘80s and a fan of Jane Fonda’s Feel The Burn school of thought, you’re unlikely to be enjoying the sensation of pain, burn or anything else that smacks of subjecting yourself (and your business) to the less than pleasant.

The pain point we’re most familiar with at Dragon Sisters, is when you’re worried that you’re losing your market share, or that you’re not getting the results your business needs and wants, or you’re just not able to take your business to the next level successfully. We know how that feels. We’ve been there! So have many others …

A similar story

I want to share with you, an article published in the Sydney Morning Herald, by Bhakthi Puvanenthiran, last August, entitled Working smarter not harder: How to avoid small business trends in western Sydney. Mr. Puvanenthiran wrote:

The study by NRMA Business Insurance found that business owners in the west take fewer leave days, feel more stressed and don’t sleep as well at night. So how do you escape that cycle and still stay a small business person? Northmead tradie turned agent, Allen Cetinic found a way out.

“Yes that used to be me,” the former renderer told Fairfax Media.

“I used to work eight hours as a tradie and then three hours in the afternoon or evening doing invoicing, chasing money, doing website and legal claims and throwing emotional energy into that. I used to work weekends. My quality of family life was really deteriorated,” he said.

Twelve months ago Cetinic left rendering, which he had been doing for 15 years, after spotting a gap in the market.

Sound familiar? Whether you’re a tradie or not, live in western Sydney or not, (and Dragon Sisters is neither of these), the message resonates with every small business person, don’t you think?

If you want to read the full article, it’s here.

We’re all in the same (dragon) boat – from Grade 11 onward – you’re not on your own that’s for sure!

Need helping to figure out how you can work smarter and not harder? In this FREE Baseline Workbook there is a great section on working out how you are spending your time.

Fly like a dragon!

Yvonne

PS – part of working smarter means having time to enjoy what you love, like walking the dog along the beach at sunset. Don’t you just love this photo?