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, busts 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. Details of upcoming sessions are always on our Facebook page.

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 to consciously work on maximising your time, you’ll be surprised at how easy it can become. 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 the 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 🙂

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 to mine – but there is a commonality to all plans…

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

PS – need help with your own Strategic Planning? Get in touch and I’ll guide your through creating your plan.

 

 

 

Why “Me Time” & Self-Care need to be a priority in your life

Practising self-care and taking time out for yourself is something everyone should be doing.

The importance of “Me Time” should never be underestimated. Yet so many women in business fail to take care of themselves first and foremost.

It makes no sense and yet it is such a common practice.

Why is this?

We operate in a busy and demanding world. I understand the outside interferences that can make it tough to carve out time for yourself.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the hectic day to day. And then what happens is that we often put ourselves last on the list of important things to take care of.

I’ve been there myself and it’s definitely not a good way to operate.

Making yourself a priority is not a luxury. It’s an essential.

So why do we do this?

Feelings of Guilt & Fear

At a subconscious level you may be experiencing a feeling of guilt. And of fear.

For instance, it’s common for working mothers to be feeling that time at home needs to be spent with their kids, or doing something for the family – things like cooking, baking a batch of cookies etc…you get the picture.

And, dare I say it, a sense of inability to leave “the team” to cope?  I mean your family, your staff and colleagues.

Does this sound familiar? If it does, you are not alone!

But, guess what? They’ll manage. You are not indispensable – no one is.

Yes, we are each unique and valuable, but that is not the same as being indispensible.

The world will go on without you

Yes, it really will.

I learnt this first-hand many years ago when I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Before my diagnosis, I would feel guilty leaving the family. I felt I needed to be there for them all the time.

Time to pursue my own activities would be once they grew up; my daughter was 3 and my son 12 at that time.

I was a mother, a businesswoman and a homemaker. My life was busy and I was needed everywhere – I was the glue holding everything together.

Being diagnosed was a slap in the face and a case of a very rude awakening. The reality that I might not actually live to see my children grow up made me realise…

I was doing them no favours by making myself indispensable to the family.

Plus, I was also cheating myself out of my life. All those things on hold might NEVER happen. A very frightening thought!

Suffice it to say I went through an emotional roller coaster over the course of my treatment. It was no picnic.

But… as I emerged out the other end of the treatment tunnel – a dark and lonely place – I knew that I needed to make time for me. For lots of different reasons.

The world will not end if you step away for a few days.

In fact, being constantly “on” does no one any favours. Not you, not your Board, not your team, not your clients and definitely not your family.

Sure you might be there in body.

But being present means a lot more than just your physical presence.

You need to be there in mind too – to be able to enjoy and concentrate on the moments you are in.

Being on auto-pilot is cheating both yourself and those who you are with.

Me Time

Taking time for your own self-care is absolutely essential. It’s not always easy, but you know what?

Where there’s a will…there’s a way.

Nurturing yourself makes sense on so many different levels.

After all, if you’re not in tip-top condition – how will you service your clients or look after your family?

Making yourself a priority is fundamental to being happy in your life.

Happiness comes from within

No matter what surrounds you externally, it is how you feel within that makes you happy. It is not about money, other people or possessions.

People, places and things do not make you happy.

Yes, they might be giving you a short boost but it does not last…because it is driven by external factors. If you do not value yourself enough to create “Me Time” and practice self-care, you may appear outwardly happy, but internally it is a different story.

Part of being happy, at least in my experience, is making a date with yourself for “Me Time”.

It comes down to making a conscious effort to devote a part of each and every day to self-care. Time dedicated to you.

Using Your Me Time

How you choose to use that time is very much a personal decision.

It’s got to be a space or activity where you get to still the chattering monkeys in your mind and replenish your energy.

Speaking personally, I have a very busy schedule that includes travel, family to care for and a business to run.

This means I need to use a range of techniques that are quick and easy to practice depending on where I am. It’s not a lot of time, but it is some time each day and that is the key.

My Personal Practices

I usually practice 10 minutes of meditation when I first get up, go walking or paddling. Depending on where I am and what my schedule is like that particular day will determine my daily practice.

I never listen to music, podcasts etc as I walk. I like to be in the moment and absorb what is around me and allow my mind to just be. Nothing to think about.

I journal and write regularly as a way of clearing the brain, and I also take time out to sit outside for lunch whenever I can.

Working across time zones makes routines a challenge so I need to maximise my business days. My small daily self-care activities keep me in a positive mindset and allow me to rest and empty my brain sufficiently to have the space to give more of myself to those I am working with and looking after.

Need help getting started?

So often I hear “It’s alright for you Michelle, but I can’t do that”.

My answer is “YES, you can – if you really want to. ” 

It all begins with EMPOWERING YOURSELF! If you need help understanding HOW to do this – reach out to me for some additional tips.

Are taking care of yourself first and foremost?

Fly like a dragon!

Michelle

Success…being successful – what does it take?

Success and being successful, whether it is in life or in business, means having a mindset that enables you to move ahead towards your goals.

A bunch of obstacles will always put themselves in your way. That’s life. What separates those who achieve success from those who don’t is how obstacles are handled.

In my experience, one of the biggest obstacles is often of our own making.

It’s called procrastination.

Procrastination presents itself in many different guises. The secret to avoiding being caught by this sneaky little disease is…

Being organised and….being disciplined!

This applies to both your personal and professional life.

Controls need to be in place to help maximise your time. This way you’re moving forward toward the results you want.

By being 100% honest you can easily pinpoint where you can cut down, chop out or build up your schedule.

When you truly want something you make time for it.

How much time do you spend on social media or watching TV, YouTube clips etc?

Ask yourself these two questions and be HONEST with your answers:

1)   Is it really necessary?

2)   Is my business really benefitting from this?

Sure we all need to have time out to refresh, reframe and relax BUT…

Spending a bunch of time watching and reading about what others are doing to move their businesses forward is not really helping you.

Think of it like this…they are telling you what they have achieved, persuading you to buy from them…their business is moving forward, but is yours?

Taking Action

Unless you are actively taking ACTION, rather than just consuming content, you are wasting your precious time.

When I started my career, many moons ago, there were no social media channels online.

Yep, I’m a dinosaur.

Instead, there were hard copy newsletters, conferences and key business events where there would be some top quality speakers. They were expensive – very expensive – so it was important to choose wisely.

BUT…here’s the thing…

Once the event was over, there was no Googling more information, listening to more Podcasts, watching more YouTube clips and more experts.

The conference, the piece you read in the newsletter or the event you attended would inspire you to take ACTION.

And that my friend, is the secret of success…taking momentum building steps each and every day that moves you forward towards your goals. Watching and listening is not ACTION!

This is why being organised and disciplined is so very crucial.

Getting organised

This means knowing what you need to do and when you need to do it.

In the early days of my career, I had a young family at home. Today I have adults in my life that I am caring for. My schedule needs to accommodate the time to go shopping for them, to spent time engaging in meaningful conversation and to take care of my own health.

Unless I am able to organise my work time, family time and “Me Time” there is no chance of everything getting done.

My secret weapon? It’s not exactly a secret…

Creating a plan and then using a MAP – measurable, achievable and progressive steps.

Having a MAP helps you keep on track.

It’s easy to meander – and hey, we all do this from time to time. That’s where the power of the MAP lies – getting you back on track after a meandering moment.

Just like all journeys, you need to plan your route. You need to know how you will get to your destination. By mapping out the key milestones, rest points, the quick look around and linger longer stays on your personal MAP you’ll be able to achieve your goals.

It doesn’t need to be highly complicated. Simple is best. The key is following that MAP once you have laid it out.

Time Management

Unless time is used wisely it slips away unnoticed – just like when you’re driving along and not paying attention. It’s so easy to miss a turn-off, especially if you’re on a busy highway with all the hustle and bustle of traffic flying past. You get in the zone and before you know it…

Darn! Missed your turn-off. You end up travelling further down the wrong road before you can come back in the right direction.

There’s a myriad of different tools and methods to choose from depending on what aspects of your time you are needing to manage. Different systems work for different people.

100-day blocks

One of my favourite methods is working in 100-day blocks.

Why?

Because it is enough to make sure things get done, and not too long that I am able to procrastinate – at least not for too long!

It means deciding in which blocks of time I’ll be implementing ideas and actions identified in my business journal.

It’s quite amazing what pops out of that journal. It’s my incubation spot.  Ideas pop into our heads very regularly.  If you’re like me, then you may not always have the time to implement them, but when you’ve  written them down, they are never lost.

Writing them down gets them out of your mind. It leaves you free to concentrate on tasks at hand. Writing your ideas in a business journal keeps them all in one place. Saves you losing them or having to hunt through a bunch of sticky notes or notebooks.

Concentrating in the present moment not only affords great productivity but allows you to fully focus on what you’re working on at any given moment.

When you focus on one particular aspect it’s very rewarding to see exactly how much you start achieving in a very short space of time.

What Success Looks Like

It’s really important to identify what success looks like to you. The reason being is that unless you know what it is that you want to achieve you will never be able to tell if you have got there.

You need to be able to measure and to identify when you have reached the goals you set for yourself.

And yes, goals can and do change over time.

It’s perfectly okay to set new goals but you must keep track of the ones you have already set, rather than dash off on another tangent. One step at a time is the key.

Life is very frustrating if you keep chasing something that always lies over the rainbow. You must enjoy the moment you are in. By embracing small successes along your journey you’ll start feeling so much more fulfilled, motivated and inspired.

A 360-degree successful life, to me, means being able to have the time to enjoy precious moments.

Moments to spend time with my elderly parents discussing garden plans and reminiscing. Time spent in conversation with my adult son. Girls sessions with my daughter. Going paddling, walking the dog and short sojourns devoted exclusively to me – that’s 360-degree success.

Having happy clients and feeling fulfilled by my work is integral to that life.  The fact I’ve received great testimonials, awards and recognition for my work is just the icing on the cake.

What does success look like to you? Let me know in the comments.

Fly like a dragon!

Michelle

PS You may like to join my private Facebook group The SMART Circle – a place dedicated to helping each other by sharing our knowledge and experiences. It is not a place where there are things for sale or a course to push. It’s simply about authentic connections.

 

Happiness – what makes you happy?

20th March (yesterday) was International Day of Happiness. Today, we are celebrating Harmony Day in Australia. It’s a day where we celebrate cultural diversity and the wonderful multiculturalism that makes up Australia.

I thought this would be a great day to give a big shout out to all my wonderful friends, family, clients and colleagues that I’ve worked with from all corners of the globe. You have contributed to my happiness metre. Knowing you has helped me develop, grow and become the person I am today.

What does happiness mean?

Happiness, in my book, is being contented with living in the moment. It’s all about embracing what you have and being grateful for each and every opportunity that comes your way.

Yes, I have experienced some tough times in both my personal life and business life. But each moment that I’ve been through has grown me as a person. It has made me who I am today.

If you are one of my clients or students, you’ll know I often refer to FAIL as First Attempt In Learning. If we do not fail, then we often miss out on extremely valuable lessons.

The biggest happiness lesson

Happiness is not measured by how much you have or by where you are. Rather it comes from within.

You and I are each responsible for our own happiness. We cannot blame others if we are unhappy, nor can we expect them to fix things for us.

I’ve met so many people with so very little in their lives, yet they are happy. In contrast I also know people surrounded by abundance, with not a monetary care in the world, yet they are desperately unhappy.

Of course our happiness metre can increase when in the company of certain people or doing certain activities, but that is just a short-term boost.

If you constantly feel unhappy, you may be suffering from depression, and there is no shame in that. There is help available and I would encourage anyone who has been feeling low for more than a couple of weeks to seek out professional support. You do not have to travel this road alone.

Happiness and business

Being in business is tough. Being in business for yourself is even tougher. It can be stressful. Heck, it is stressful.

BUT, it does come down to your attitude and outlook. Being willing to reach out, by maintaining a positive outlook and being prepared to adapt and change to suit circumstances all contribute to your internal happiness with your business.

Setting achievable goals, working with a business plan, utilising expertise and mapping out time for yourself to refresh, reframe and relax away from your business are all contributing to your happiness equation.

I’ve had my back to the wall, struggled to pay bills and had to negotiate payment plans. What I teach and espouse is all based on personal experience.

My personal experience is what has added to my knowledge base. It has actually been of benefit because I have gained capacity to truly understand the needs of my SME clients. I did not learn just via a course or text-book, but in the school of life, and this is what now affords me testimonials like these:

I have found working with Michelle to be very valuable. She provides clear, easy guidance with keen insight to your particular business needs.

Linda Emslie

Helping others

You may feel that in tough times you need to tighten your belt. Yes, you do.

But that does not mean you cannot afford to help others. Donating your time is one of the most valuable gifts of all.

As a business, at Dragon Sisters, we have always offered pro-bono support rather than cash. Our inkind services are far more valuable than any cash contribution we can afford to make, and as a result of the pro-bono support we get a nice warm and fuzzy feeling inside. It makes us feel happy to have helped someone else.

You can help out in so many different ways, a few hours a week, a month or a year. It’s all valuable and valued.

Your happiness metre

It’s a little place inside you.  A place where you store up all the wonderful feelings and experiences.

Each good thing you do, each experience and each achievement, all feed your happiness metre. The more you feed the metre, the more reserve you have to tap into when there are tough moments to encounter.

Wishing you happiness today and everyday.

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 Value Of Using A Journal

Are you one of those people who uses a journal?  Or do you hear the word journal and immediately thinks diary?

Sure, a diary is a daily record of your life, thoughts, hopes and wishes or, in the business sense it can be a record of your appointments and movements.

A journal, whilst similar to a diary, does not need to be written in each day, although you can if you want to.

A journal is your personal record of the journey that we are taking in our life. Each of us is at a different point in our life journey, so we will each have varying needs at different times. With a journal, there is no wrong or right way.

It is entirely up to you as to the type of journal you keep. There could be aspects of your life that you want to change, explore or expand upon. Once you have begun identifying the area, then you’re ready to begin your journal journey.

Download my tip sheet to get started with your own Journal Journey 

So what kind of journal should you keep?

This really depends on which areas you feel the need to work on and is very much a personal choice.

For instance, if you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed, a “Me Time” journal could be in order. Consider a “Relationship” journal if you need to work on your relationships, or perhaps a “Memories” journal to help keep a record of special people and special moments.

If you are unwell or facing a difficult illness, then a “Healing” journal can offer immense value.

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I started to maintain a wellness journal which was so valuable in the sense that I was able to reflect back at the end of each week and month to see how far I had progressed.

I was able to visibly notice how much better I was coping with each dose of chemotherapy. Yes, it was making me sick, but with each dose, my recovery time was shorter rather than longer. As I reflected and read back over the entries in the journal, I felt more empowered. More in control over my own health. I was also able to pinpoint the activities that had taken place to make me feel better or worse.

In the workplace

If you’re self-employed, or a first time manager a business journal is also another great way of holding yourself accountable and debriefing.

Your business plan is the official roadmap, but your journal is the place where you have the luxury of exploring how you are travelling in terms of personal feelings, experiences and fears.

Writing a journal is a wonderful way to slow down and take the time to analyse situations and our reactions to them. The mere act of sitting quietly and handwriting helps to still chattering monkeys of our minds.

Thoughts should be allowed to flow unbidden onto the paper in front of you. They do not need to be in a specific order.

Once the mind has emptied itself, you can go back and read over what has been written.

It’s quite incredible what insight you will often gain by re-reading your own words.

Discipline

It’s not always easy to get into a new habit and finding time to journal can often be a challenge.

The secret lies in being disciplined.

Set yourself up for success by allocating a set time to journal.

First thing in the morning, last thing at night or during a lunch break are times that seem to work well for many. Allocate the time in your calendar and stick it.

Taking Control

A journal is a great way of taking control, being empowered and keeping track of where you are heading in your life, your business, and even your relationships or finances.

The way you chose to use a journal is very much a personal choice.

There are many products on the market that provide visual prompts for your journal. They come at various price points, and it is very much a personal choice how you choose to journal.

Often simple is best. A blank notebook and a quality pen are all that you need to start your journal journey.

There’s also a great article here on the 10 Surprise Benefits you’ll get from keeping a journal.

Do you currently keep a journal? I’d love you share your experiences of the benefits you’ve discovered in the comments below.

Michelle

Download my tip sheet to get started with your own Journal Journey

Time out – are you craving it?

Do you need time out? Ever look around and feel that you want more out of life? Feel like having a tantrum, stamping your feet and screaming at everyone?

Hey, it’s okay to admit it. You’re not alone!

If you’re in a busy career, a high-pressure job, or just generally undergoing some serious stress in your life it’s pretty normal to feel that you’re going to have a meltdown. The pressures of day to day living can really mount up.

Maybe you’re juggling a family.  Kids, partners, elderly parents or perhaps all of those. Maybe your workplace is putting on extra pressure.

Whatever the reason…..

It’s important to give yourself permission to get off the crazy train. Permission to take time out.  Time to be kind to yourself. Time to refresh, reframe and relax.

In my own life, I am constantly juggling a series of demands placed on me by family and business obligations.

I avoid the crazy train by carving out time for myself each day.  Time to meditate, time to reflect and to journal as well as several times a week getting out on the water in the dragon boat. It’s my personal self-care plan, and how I refresh, reframe and relax.

It’s not an easy thing to do. To make time for yourself. It takes discipline and cultivating a habit.

If you’re not in tip-top condition then how can your business thrive? How can you be expected to look after your family? How can you make solid decisions?

Make a little time for yourself today

5 minutes to meditate, 10 minutes to journal, 20 minutes to go for a walk.

Whatever you can manage. Anything is better than nothing.

Do one or better yet do all of these things. The main point is do something for yourself.

Go on, give it a go and see if you feel any different. I bet you will.

If you’d like to discover more about looking after yourself why not join me in beautiful Bali for 5 days dedicated to Brand YOU?

A sacred time out where you’ll discover how to make time each day for yourself, how to stay on track in your busy day to day life by empowering yourself each and every day.

Our sojourns take place twice a year and have been put together by Andrea Wicking, and myself especially to help you refresh, reframe and relax. 

Michelle

If you are experiencing a crisis Lifeline is available 24/7 on 13 11 14

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.

Is Brand YOU in Tip Top Condition?

Is Brand YOU looking a little frazzled around the edges? Perhaps you’re feeling a little overwhelmed?

If you’ve answered yes to either of the above questions, then it’s time to start thinking about taking time out.  Time dedicated to Brand YOU, refreshing, reframing and relaxing.

If you’ve got kids and family to look after it’s not always so easy to get away. I get that. I know there’s often that feeling of guilt when leaving them behind. Going off without them. Or if you’re in business perhaps not wanting to leave the business.

You know what?

You need ME Time. We all do.

ME Time is dedicated to looking after your own needs because if you’re not in tip top condition, then you cannot look after your family or your business properly.

Time away – dedicated to Brand YOU

Have you ever considered a retreat?

There are many different kinds of retreats. But the common element is that a retreat is dedicated to focussing on yourself.

It’s usually means everything is taken care of for you.  No need to worry about being alone to fend for yourself in a strange place.

No meals to think about, no pressing deadlines – just time to be in the moment dedicated to yourself.

Some retreats are dedicated to weight loss, natural foods and all that other great stuff. Some even have curfews and no talking times. It’s horses for courses BUT that’s not my kind of a retreat.

If you like being pampered, eating delicious meals that you didn’t have to prepare,  perhaps sipping the odd glass of bubbly, a cocktail or two and… learning new things then we’ve got something in common!

Doing your homework

There are some great retreats around the world, but before committing your money it’s important to check out the organisers.

Do they have solid business reputations? Are their behaviours ones you respect? Have they got integrity?  You’ve got to know these things as you’re spending time with them! To be able to relax and know you’re in good hands is so important.

Bali is widely recognised as the Island of the Gods. There are the real touristy sides but there is also a whole other side to this country.  Andrea Wicking of Salty Plum Events really knows Bali well having been there countless times!

Andrea and I are combining my experience teaching, training and leading groups of women on travel adventures, with her wonderful event management skill, attention to fine detail and deep knowledge of Bali.

The result is we’ve put together a delightful sojourn in Bali, planning every little detail to ensure the very best experience!

Designing the sojourn especially to refresh, reframe and relax has been paramount.

Pampering massages, a bit of shopping, delicious dinners each night and your own beautiful double room complete with ensuite – no twin sharing – in a tranquil private villa.

You do as much or as little as you like! The perfect way to revive Brand You!

There’s also the opportunity of working one on one with me.  You can have your sessions focussed on personal or business development in total confidentiality.

Sound interesting?

Discover more about joining us for 7 days dedicated to Brand YOU.

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.


Number One Tip for Better Time Management

Do you struggle with time management? If you answered yes, do not despair.

The good news is that you’re not alone.

Time has a habit of running past all too fast. When you’re in business it is essential to have great time management skills and the reason is simply this – time is money.

Good time management can be achieved through discipline.

It’s not easy, but it is doable and like anything else it takes training.

The more you do something, the more you are training your brain into great habits.

So here’s the thing …..

One of the best way to wrestle more time is to take control of your inbox.

When you control your inbox, as opposed to it controlling you, you’ll soon notice that you’re able to achieve a lot more.

Trust me, this works!

How to gain control

You must TAKE ACTION!

Your own action. It begins with switching off your inbox.

Switching off  your inbox is NOT closing it down.

When you switch off, means you are in offline mode. No new emails can drop in to distract you.

Gain control by working in offline mode.

If you’re not sure how, here’s a little demo clip.

The benefit of offline mode

You still have your inbox open.  This means you can action and refer to the content while working.

You can even write responses, but the responses won’t be sent till you go back online.

By working offline, you are no longer distracted by emails as they drop in.

Yes, yes, I know – you have will power, but that’s not exactly true is it? I mean to say, out of the corner of your eye you will see that email icon. You’ll register at some level that there is new mail.

By being in offline mode you won’t be tempted to take a peek.

Here’s how peeking wastes your time

The moment you peek, you become distracted. When you’re distracted your attention is no longer focussed on the tasks at hand.

Peeking at emails means you spent at least 2 minutes each time (and it’s usually more than 2 minutes) trying to regain your though pattern and get back into the ”flow”.

This is not productive.

Imagine you do this for 10 emails over the course of the day – that 20 minutes you’ve lost.

20 minutes just getting your thoughts back into the flow.

Then there’s the time you spend reading, and I’m betting you didn’t action it immediately, so will go back later and deal with the matter.

So can you see how you’d pretty quickly waste 60 minutes?

That a scary thought, because if you repeat this pattern each day (and you get more than 10 emails) you’ll be clocking up several hours a week of wasted time.

This precious time is something you will never get back. So don’t waste it.

The beauty of good time management

With good habits, you’re freeing yourself up to have more hours to spend on things that really matter.

Stuff like family time, getting out with friends, or just precious time for yourself to veg out with a good book, Netflix or whatever takes your fancy.

When you carve out time for yourself, your business grows and thrives.

The reason is simply this – you are in a better frame of mind. You are relaxed and refreshed, so you are more focussed when you are working.

From a personal perspective, I’m as guilty as the next person of wanting to peek at emails. BUT, I control this urge by working in offline mode – it’s part of my secret sauce formula for day-to-day self management.

How often should you look at emails?

This very much depends on how your work comes in and your day flows.

I suggest 3 – 4 times a day.

I work across the globe, so my routine has to factor in the time differences in the US, Europe  and Australia.

Work out what works for you and start to establish your own routine – there is no one size fits all – because each place of business is somewhat unique.

I guarantee you’ll love this way of working once you get into the habit – although it might scare you a bit at first to be offline.

Got questions about trying this routine? Ask!

I’ll personally respond to each comment and query, so go ahead and leave one.

To your success!

Michelle

PS – you may like to check out the helpful FREE resources on our website.

HOW APPEALING IS BRAND YOU?

Staring down the barrel of the of the last quarter of 2016 can be daunting.

We’re coming up to the year-end sprint finish. Time to turn on an Olympian effort. I’ve got to say I’m feeling less Usain Bolt and more Used Up Burnt.

I need a holiday.

Hah! Fat chance. I’m as likely to get one of those as I am of beating Bolt off the blocks. Snowball in Hell stuff.

I’ve got commitments. A stacked Inbox. A backed up Task Manager. Things to do. People to see. Deadlines to meet.

I’ve got to be on point. Too bad if I’m feeling less than rapier sharp.

Rather than cutting a swathe through it all, maybe I’m bashing along with a baseball bat, but it gets the job done. Perhaps with less panache than I’d like.

But hey, it’s been a big year and I’ve got enough bags under my eyes for a trip to Bali. Eye luggage only.

Truth is, Brand Me is looking a bit tired.

Like a billboard poster left out in all weathers. Not a great advertisement. And I’m not the only one.

Bali RetreatAlmost all my personal and business friends are muttering about needing a break.

So why don’t we take one?

Because we’re women with an inbuilt martyr syndrome?

Because we’re control freaks who won’t trust our associates further than we can throw them?

Because we are our business?

We are our brand.

When was the last time you looked at a brand, one with a weather worn billboard and thought, that looks great, sign me up, I’m in!

Answer – never!

Whether you’re working for someone else, or for yourself, people buy people.

They buy in to Brand YOU. Always.

Maybe we can’t justify a break. But shiny new brand development?

Now we’re talking!

Dragon Sisters & Salty Plum Events have teamed up to run a unique retreat, focussing on Brand YOU refreshing, re-framing and relaxing.

These gals know what they are doing.  Click here to learn more  about what they’ve organised for invigorating Brand YOU!

Yvonne

Yvonne Toering is a business development consultant who has worked with leading organisations and brands including Securicor Group, Vodafone Group, ASDA as well as most of the UK’s major high street retail chains including Marks and Spencer Plc, the National Health Service, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Mars UK, and the Grand Metropolitan Group, owners of Burger King, Smirnoff, Samuel Webster Brewers, Haagen Daas, Cinzano and other iconic brands.