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

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.

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

 

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 🙂

 

 

Achieving Goals

Achieving goals comes down to knowing what you want.

But knowing what you want is not enough.

Once you have your set goal, it’s then time to get down to planning out the way you’re going to achieve it.

Regardless of whether it is in your personal or business life the reality is that strategy really does play a huge part on the journey to achievement.

Defining Strategic

Strategic (adjective) as identified by the Oxford dictionary is defined as – Relating to the identification of long-term or overall aims and interests and the means of achieving them.

If you want to achieve a certain outcome then you need to have a very measured approach.

A pathway. A series of stepping stones that take you forward towards your goals.

Without that pathway.

The map.

The strategy.

Life tends to just wander along in and before you know it a year has flown past!

Without strategic direction, there is less chance of achievement and satisfaction.

You may like the FREE Introduction to Strategic Planning Workshop that is here. Strategic planning is all about aiming for what is right for YOU and for your business.

You are unique and your plans will be different from mine – but there is a commonality to all plans…

You can read here how I utilised strategic planning to achieve my personal goal of living and working in Europe for 12 months.

Strategic Direction

As you move along with your business/life/career you NEED to know the direction you are heading in and WHERE you want to end up.

Why? Because without clear goals it is impossible to tell if you have actually achieved your goals.

You will not know when you have arrived.

And knowing that is super important BECAUSE it is what helps you feel motivated.

The sense of achievement, as you tick off each goal, helps keep you fueled with positive forward momentum.

Naturally, goals can and often do change as you move through life. That’s part and parcel of business growth and life in general.

Fly like a dragon  Fly like a dragon

Michelle




COMPARISON – THE THIEF OF JOY

“Comparison is the thief of joy” Theodore Roosevelt

And the new trial by Facebook in Australia to reduce comparisons by removing the visibility of LIKES on a post is music to my ears.

With social media being such a dominant part of our daily lives, it is all too easy to get suckered into the vanity metrics.

Thanks to this move by Facebook content that is being posted should be a lot better quality and more authentic rather than a contest to get the most LIKES.

What you should be comparing

From a business perspective, it is important to measure your own progress and run your own race.

When you focus on comparison to others on a regular basis, you’re on a sure-fire track to go right off course.

My dragon boat coach used to say “momentum goes where attention flows” and he is right!

If you’re so busy looking around at what everyone else is doing, it’s impossible to concentrate on running your own race.

Your efforts become sloppy because your focus is elsewhere – I’ve seen this happen a zillion times in a dragon boat. Especially with excited new teams who feel they have to “watch” the competition to beat them!

Where to Focus

It’s your own race/business. Unique.

Once you’ve got your race/business plan bedded down, the focus should be on how you/your business is progressing against your plan.

Compare where you are today to where you were 6 months ago, a year ago, 5 or even 10 years ago.

These are the statistics that are meaningful as they are very specific to your own journey/business development.

At the end of each dragon boat race, the coach would review what went well, where we could tweak and improve. That would then be written into the race plan.

It’s the exact same with your business – move towards those goals/milestones. As you reach each goal, stop. Check how you are tracking. Decide where you may want to tweak a strategy but first run your race.

Engagement not comparison

Engagement means paying attention. In the dragon boat, we paid attention to each team member, to what each was bringing to the team in terms of commitment and effort in order to win the race.

In the business realm, this translates into a focus on what you are offering your audience – whether it is on social media, a blog, via email or in person.

The quality of your content and your service delivery is what leads to success.

Fly like a dragonFly like a dragon!

Michelle

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Here’s why you need a strategic plan – or an action plan!

Here’s why you need a strategic plan – or an action plan.

Whilst the words might make your eyes glaze over and conjure up images of boring boardrooms stick with me here….promise, you’ll gain an insight that will be super valuable.

A good strategic plan is not a large and boring document. It’s user-friendly and simple to read.

It lays out your pathway. A pathway that should be measurable, achievable and progressive.

It’s a tool that you should be regularly referring to because it shows you WHERE you are going.

Check out this FREE introduction to strategic planning.

Unless you have your directions clearly written down it is pretty much impossible to tell if things are on track and when you have arrived at a goal.

This is extremely valuable when you are tempted to go after a shiny object. You know something new comes onto the market, you hear a great pitch and decide immediately it might be perfect?

This is the time to look at your plan and check if it aligns with your goals.

If it does great!

If not, then move on and keep your eyes firmly on the goals you have set.

Being strategic means being specific

It is important to be very specific about your goals. As an example, writing down “gain new business” is not clear. It is not strategic in the least. It’s a general statement.

Why do you want new business? Is it because you want more $$ in the coffers?

If it is just $$ ask yourself this question – could you gain these from existing clients/customers? Be clear on the $$ amount that would equate achieving that goal.

For instance, having 10 new customers at say $5000 each is not the same as having a goal of $50,000.

Which is it the 10 customers or the $50K?

The 50K could potentially be reached with just 5 solid contracts.

Here’s another example from my own life. To be able to live in Europe for a year.

Without being retired or having the capacity to afford a year without income, this was not an easy task to achieve. But I did!

How? By using my own personal strategic plan that involved an end goal and many mini-milestones to get there.

Want to learn how to formulate your own strategic plan?

Reach out to me as I’d love to help you just as I’ve helped so many others. Promise! Don’t take my word for it…check out what others have to say.

Fly like a dragon!

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.

 

CREATING BUSINESS GROWTH

Creating business growth is essential to the survival and success of your business.

If you’re one of those lucky ones who always has more than enough – well done! You don’t need to read any further…unless you’re just curious.

Creating business growth is something that has to be something you consciously work on. Not an afterthought. A regular part of your business life.

It all starts with developing a specific mindset. A smarketing mindset.

The smarketing mindset encompasses sales, strategy and marketing rolled into a system that becomes a part of how you work, and everything that you do.

Smarketing = Business Growth

Smarketing is all about knowing how to recognise, create and maximise opportunities that present themselves to you each and every day.

Problem is, more often than not, you may not recognise the opportunity.

You are not alone!

Smarketing is a mindset that is all about creating business growth.

The good news is that developing a smarketing mindset is not hard…if you really want to learn.

The starting point

It all starts with knowing exactly WHO your audience is.

If you want to grow your business you need to know who you are serving.

Ask yourself these three questions:

1. “Who is my message important to?”
2. “How will it add value to their lives?”
3. “Will it help solve a problem they are facing?

Once you know the answer to these questions, you’ll be able to more effectively communicate to the right audience for your business.

A targetted approach is far more effective than a random splatter of information.

Why? Because it is deliberately aimed at a particular group.

Ongoing learning

Smarketers are always open to feedback, have a willingness to keep digging deep, to tweaking and measuring results. When you’re smarketing you are always learning.

This can be challenging but it’s also very rewarding because once you nail it, the results speak volumes.

Measuring ROI, lead generation, industry, countries, client feedback, sources and a whole bunch more is all a part of smarketing.

Not only is gaining feedback an interesting exercise from an information perspective, but it’s essential to the survival and growth of your business.

Smarketing, is a combination of strategy, sales and marketing – it is part of the formula to famine proofing your business.

Not sure where to start?

It can be daunting when there are so many balls to juggle. The list of things to do is never ending but…STOP.

MAKE time…take time to discover what will work best for your business.

Fly like a dragon

Michelle

PS – Check out my FREE guide to help you build your LinkedIn Profile


Strategic Planning = Achieving Your Goals

Strategic Planning is most often associated with a business.

Yet, if you stop and think about it… when you need to reach personal goals, it becomes so much easier with planning.

Strategic (adjective) as identified by the Oxford dictionary is defined as – Relating to the identification of long-term or overall aims and interests and the means of achieving them.

Putting time and thought into how we go about achieving both business and personal goals is equally important. Yet this is not something very many of us tend to do. At least not consciously.

For the most part, we often don’t think of our personal lives in terms of strategic planning. Yet strategy really does play a huge part in each of our lives.

Achieving Outcomes

If you want to achieve a certain outcome then you need to have a very measured approach.

A pathway. A series of stepping stones that take you forward towards your goals.

Without that pathway. The map. The strategy. Life tends to just wander along in a leisurely (or perhaps chaotic) fashion.

There is no firm direction.

Without strategic direction, there is less chance of achievement and satisfaction.

Strategic planning is all about aiming for what is right for YOU and for your business.

You are unique and your plans will be different from mine – but there is a commonality to all plans…check out this FREE workshop “Introduction to Strategic Planning”.

Strategic Direction

As we move along with our business/life/career we each NEED to know the direction we are heading in and WHERE we want to end up.

Why? Because without clear goals it is impossible to tell if we have actually achieved our goals and arrived where we want to be.

Naturally, goals can and often do change as we move through life. That’s part and parcel of business growth and life in general.

So many times I speak to women who have achieved an enormous amount in their lives and yet still feel a sense of lacking.

A sense of lacking

The sense of lacking can often be as a result of lack of clarity. The clarity is missing because there is no clearly defined goal.

Goals are not set and so there is the constant sense of needing to strive for more because it’s never clear that the destination has been reached.

Think about it… we experience the truest sense of achievement when we know we have actually got something we were aiming for.

In my own life, I have received lots of accolades, but these did not really provide that sense of achievement. Other people may have defined these as achievements, and yes, in a way they are right.

BUT …because these were never my goals I did not gain the sense of having “arrived” anywhere. It was a bonus to be recognised for a job well done. It was never a goal to achieve personal recognition.

Personal achievement

For me – one of my most recent biggest senses of achievement came when I was able to spend a year living and working in Europe.

It had been a goal I had for many years.

Planning out how this could be possible without enough language skills to operate at a corporate or community business level and still earn enough money to live on was a challenge. A big challenge!

I made it a reality by putting together a 4-year strategic plan that would get me there. The plan involved ticking off each of the steps one at a time.

Small goals. Bit by bit.

The result was achieving my “sabbatical” year in Spain.

Fly like a Dragon Fly like a dragon

Michelle

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Changing things up…for business growth

Business growth means changing things up.

But change is not a natural state. It’s something that often brings resistance.

Our natural state is to want to stay within our comfort zones. It’s what we know, it’s usually predictable. We’re not taking any risks and it’s…

Boring!

Comfortable

There is comfort in waking up each day knowing exactly what you are going to do.

It’s nice knowing what’s going to unfold. How the day will play out. No hidden surprises.

You know what you’re going to be facing when you step into your office/business. You can handle whatever the day is going to be throwing your way. Sure there may be a few little waves of disruption, but that’s okay…you can handle it.

This kind of comfort comes from the familiarity of a set routine.

It’s mundane and certainly not a challenge. It is not an atmosphere for growth!

Challenge

Facing challenges makes you grow, develop new skills and expand your horizons.

I know from personal experience that it is during the times when I’ve been facing the biggest challenges that I’ve really grown.

One of the biggest challenges I ever faced and that had a huge impact on my future business pathway was…speaking in public.

I was always the one in the background. I was happy doing research, speaking to people one on one, writing speeches etc.

I had the wordsmith gift but I was missing an essential ingredient… the confidence to stand up in front of a live crowd. TV and radio were okay because the audience was not actually right there. Not sitting right where I could see them.

For many years I was able to coast along and avoid public speaking.

However, this all changed in 2004. I won the Telstra Business Woman of the Year (NT) Award. Part of the expectation was that I would be willing to speak in public.

It frightened the daylights out of me…

Embracing the Challenge

I listened to experts on how best to tackle the problem of overcoming nerves and what a good speaker needed to do. Tell a joke, warm the crowd up etc and so on went the advice.

I am not a natural at telling a joke. I’m hopeless and forget the punch lines every time, so no way was that going to work for me. I also tried (in the privacy of my home) practising a bunch of other techniques.

The very best advice I got was from a very unlikely quarter.

It came from Veronica Macauley Cross (dec). She was the Queensland representative for BCNA at the same time as myself. Her advice was simply this…be yourself, and don’t ever let anyone try to tell you that catch in your voice needs to go. It’s the emotion that you convey that makes you such a powerful speaker.

It was also empowering to know that people genuinely wanted to hear what I had to share. Veronica passed away in 2007 (she was living with advanced breast cancer from the first day I met her) but I vividly remember Veronica and the very solid advice she gave me.

I changed things up by becoming a (reluctant) speaker because the business needed me to do so. The message needed sharing and there was an eager audience spanning the globe who were all waiting to hear what I had to share.

Business Growth

My work as a breast cancer advocate and founder of Dragons Abreast Australia was definitely business. The business was promoting awareness of breast cancer.

A business can only grow when you are willing to embrace change.

You need to have systems in place. Without systems, it’s a struggle to keep the performance level high – it’s also impossible to effectively grow.

No matter what kind of business you have – regardless of whether it is for or not for profit it is absolutely essential that you are willing and able to embrace change.

Change = Opportunity. Opportunity = growth.

It often means stepping right outside your comfort zone.

The challenge is being willing to step out, to step up and to make changes. To learn. To adapt. To release a little control through automating, delegating and outsourcing… so you can achieve your business goals.

It’s often just a few small tweaks to the way you’re doing business that can make a huge difference in your results.

It can be tough to work out what you need. But, it’s definitely worth spending time on.

If you are not sure where to start and need some help figuring it out…reach out to us...you’ll soon be creating and maximising opportunities to take you to the next level. Promise! Don’t take our word for it…check out what others have to say.

Fly like a dragon!

Michelle