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

 

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

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

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




PRODUCTIVITY vs ACTIVITY

Productivity is not a by-product of lots of activity. 

It’s really easy to look busy, to bustle about from one activity to the next, but it is important to recognise that being busy does not always equate with being productive.

This is exactly why is it so very important to be consciously aware of what you are investing your time in.

A great example of this is time spent on social media – it’s got to be one of the biggest time wasters around.

Yes, social media is crucial when you’re in business. If you are bootstrapping it is even more important to harness what is available at no cost.

Conscious Awareness

BUT…we each need to be consciously aware of avoiding the rabbit holes that social media temptingly offers as we scroll through newsfeeds.

Sponsored ads, powerful tempting images with great headlines are popping up in our feeds.

It’s clever.

The advertisers are tempting us to click away from whatever it is that we are doing.

It’s a real trap that is so easy to fall into – and I’ll confess it has got me several times!

The solution?

Focus on Productivity

When you’re looking at the productive habits of highly effective people, it all comes down to…

Staying focussed and being disciplined.

Productivity comes from knowing where you are going. And taking those measurable, achievable and progressive steps.

Steps that are moving you along the path to successfully achieving your goal.

No matter what that goal is – large or small – the formula you follow for productivity is exactly the same.

The teachings of the late and great Jim Rohn suggest asking yourself:

Who am I around?
What are they doing to me?
What have they got me reading?
What have they got me saying?
Where do they have me going?
What do they have me thinking?
And most importantly, what do they have me becoming?

When you stop to ask yourself those questions there is a shift in perspective.

Have you taken the time to ask yourself these questions? If not, take a moment now and run through them.

Love you to let me know in the comments how you ensure you’re at your productive best.

Fly Like A Dragon

Michelle

PS Curious to know more about me?  Check out my LinkedIn Profile AND let’s connect 

 PPS – if you enjoyed this and would like more productive tips sign-up for my newsletter here




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.

 

Procrastination the enemy of productivity – are you guilty?

Procrastination. Everyone is guilty of procrastinating once in a while.

You put off doing that one important task in favour of washing the dishes, doing the laundry, or playing a game. We all have some form of procrastination activity, but it’s the enemy of productivity and in business, there’s no time for it.

Encouraging Productivity

I’m a terrible procrastinator, and I hate it. So over time, I’ve tried to find ways to be productive and also to FEEL more productive.

There’s a plethora of books and articles that will tell you how to be more productive but a lot of the time those tips don’t work for me.

And even when I’m being productive I often don’t feel like I am.

Now I’m not saying what works for me will work for you but here’s what I’ve found helps:

Check Lists

When I have a checklist to mark off I’m able to tell if I’ve been productive and that in turn encourages me to be more productive.

It also works as a bit of a pseudo-reward, I love that feeling of accomplishment when I mark off a task.

There’s an App for that

And of course, in this technological age, there’s an array of apps for monitoring productivity and encouraging productivity.

Personal I’ve got two apps on my phone and a separate program on my laptop for this and I find them so helpful in avoiding procrastination.

My favourite is Habitica which a friend recommended as a way of tracking productivity.

It’s super helpful in that it’s designed to be a little like an RPG (Role Playing Game).  You get experience points and coins for completing tasks so you go up in levels and can purchase new equipment for your avatar.

For me, this format is really encouraging.  It feels familiar and even though the rewards are simply virtual I find them a great incentive for upping my productivity.

The other apps I use to keep myself productive are Anti-Social and Cold Turkey.

Forced time offline

Social Media and the Internet, in general, are some of the biggest tools for procrastination.

We’ve all had that moment where we go to check something on Facebook and then, one hour later, we haven’t gotten anything done. That’s why it’s so important to be able to take time off.

To unplug.

Although often times your work may require you to remain a little plugged in – emails need checking, research needs to be done etc.

For that reason, I’ve made blocking apps a part of my work habit. When I really need to buckle down and focus I turn on the apps and block off all access to social media.

Removing the temptation is a great way to push forward. If I slip up (and I do sometimes) I just get a pop-up that says the site is blocked – a great deterrent!

I’d love to hear about your productivity secrets, so leave me a comment.

Sasha Hanton

 

MAXIMISING YOUR LUNCHTIME

Maximising your lunchtime makes great business sense. And, I don’t mean having a sandwich at your desk as you pour over reports or jumping on LinkedIn, Facebook etc.

Making time to have lunch, to step away from your desk/place of business is essential to maintaining a helicopter perspective.

When you’re leading a busy life, especially if you’re running your own business, it can be really tough to squeeze the extra time out of your day.

BUT…here’s the thing…you need to eat!

So maximising that time for your own benefit makes good sense – right?

Put down your phone – at least stick it in your pocket or handbag – stand up and walk out of the office.

Walking down the street, stopping to say hello to people and having a quick chat. Sitting quietly in a park/at the beach and absorbing nature, or having lunch with people outside of your normal circle all serve to help either ground or stimulate you.

What you choose to do each lunchtime depends on the outcomes you’d like to achieve.

The key is to make a conscious choice to utilise your lunchtime wisely. After all, it is time. Time is a finite commodity and once passed cannot be recovered.

Alone Time

Choosing to spend time alone, to sit in the park/at the beach will give you silence.

In that stillness, you have the chance to reflect quietly. You’ll often get to hear your inner voice that has been drowned out by the chattering monkeys.

Many of our clients who work in front-facing roles that demand they are “on” for most of their business day love these kinds of lunch breaks.

Actively Being Out & About

If you’re working in isolation, then getting out and about helps to switch off that intense focus your work demands.

Walking down the street and stopping to chat with a couple of people can often provide that human connection that is so important to people who work alone all day.

Alternately, if your work causes lots of pent-up frustrations, bursts of physical activity like a brisk walk, jogging or working out at a gym full of people can be a great tension reliever.

Group Lunches

Getting together with a group of like-minded individuals, from different industries is another productive way to spend a lunchtime. You gain a different perspective which is so very valuable.

I’m not talking about a boozy lunch at a fancy restaurant. You know, where everyone talks about how great they are and no one remembers anything much afterwards. I’ve been to a few of these over the years. Enjoyable but really very unproductive.

Rather, I mean a quiet place where you actually get to connect with authenticity and help each other out through the sharing of information in a supportive environment.

Lunch & Learn Sessions

Lunch and learn sessions are common in large corporations. Often used as a means to minimise downtime, and maximise employee engagement.

Now, if you’re a small business or solo operator you won’t have this luxury BUT… a group lunch and learn for others in the same boat is not too hard to organise.

We know because we’ve facilitated quite a few over the years.  Topics are always varied so attendees choose which they are interested in.

The objective is always that participants leave having learnt something of value – not just had a great lunch.

Scheduling

The key to successfully maximising your lunchtime and being able to get away all comes down to scheduling.

Consider it an important appointment with a very important person. Yes, that’s you!

If you are struggling to get started with this habit, begin with a day a week, and gradually increase it over a period of a month.

Once you start consciously working on maximising your time, you’ll be surprised at how easy it becomes. More importantly, the benefits that you gain are invaluable.

Speaking from a personal perspective – my lunchtime habits are one of the ways that I have been able to keep sane during challenging times. As an added bonus they’ve also brought Dragon Sisters new business connections.

Fly like a dragonFly like a dragon!

Michelle

PS – let me know in the comments how you spend your lunchtimes – I’m always curious 🙂