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 🙂

100 day goals

I love 100-day goals.

Why? For the simple reason that 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 expecting a result.

Why it works

The reason is simply this…it’s not too far into the future. You do not have the luxury of taking your eye off the ball.

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.

Procrastinating is not an option.

100 days may sound like a good amount of time, but the reality is that it goes whizzing pass! It is also far more tangible than setting 6 or 12-month goals

To achieve 100 day goals means being disciplined.

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 a set goal ahead of you.

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 set goal.

Measurable, Achievable & Progressive – MAP

Ever action you 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 realistic goals that you work towards one step at a time.

Daily Habits

Yes, habits. Things that you do every day.

One of the worst habits is timewasting, blaming and procrastinating. To achieve your goals these habits need to be shut down.

Good daily habits need to be adopted if you want to move forward.

Actionable steps need to become a part of your daily routine.

Breaking your business days into time blocks works wonders.

Time Blocks

Choosing your time blocks will depend on what you are wanting to achieve and the nature of your business.

The minimum blocks that ones 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 it’s vital that you 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, our 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 absolutely essential to be slotting in family time. What your personal blocks look like will very much depend on your circumstances.

My children are adults, so family time for me means;  a girls night with my daughter once a week, time visiting my elderly parents every couple of days when I am on Bribie Island; dinner with my kids each night if we are all in the same house.

It also means running my 16-year-old niece to basketball if I happen to be on Bribie. The driving time is a valuable bonding time. I listen as she chatters away about whatever is happening in her life/on her mind.

Family time can take many forms, but the key ingredient is being present it the moment and putting work aside.

The rest of the time is flexible – according to your personal circumstances.

It’s not easy

Yes, it can be a struggle to get the time blocks happening.

I’ve been there.

As a result of my personal experience I also know that unless you get this happening, you will continue to struggle to achieve your goals.

This is where having someone on your side who can keep you accountable is invaluable.

Keeping on track

By disciplining you will have no problem keeping on track simply by using simple techniques like lists, journals and prioritising.

If you are finding it’s a struggle you are not alone. There are different types of goal setters and goal getters.

Now here’s the thing – the 100-day goal method works for everyone. That’s right. It really does work.  Why? It works because it is finite.

Click here for a tip sheet on choosing the right coach or consultant

Talking to a supportive manager, finding a business coach, or being part of an accountability circle are some of the best ways for developing the key skills to move you along the path to keeping yourself and your business on track.

Fly like a dragon!

Michelle

 

 

 

Nothing is all Lattes and Laughs …

The Truth About Being Your Own Boss

On Wednesday Michelle and I sat down together for the first time in over three weeks. Being your own boss is awesome when you can kick back over an excellent fresh ground coffee to shoot the breeze. But we were working. Honest!

Shooting the breeze is a weekly event, even if only via Skype sometimes (which I love because Michelle can’t see my fluffy Pokémon slippers).

It’s when we check out what’s going well, what’s to be improved (for Dragon Sisters as well as for our clients), what’s to be ditched or tweaked. And, best of all, it’s a big fat brainstorm on what we want to do next.

Read: what the business needs next. Or sometimes, right this minute!

One massive advantage of being a small business is that you can make fast decisions and get them happening quicker than Superman can put his tights on.

Being small means being agile is a breeze.

I like to think that whilst we’re Mini in size, boy are we Ferrari fast! By lunchtime, we were ready to launch a new product. For a new market.

Exciting!! Had this been Skype my Pokémon’s would have been doing their Happy Pokémon Prance.

This evening, as I was pondering the subject for this week’s blog, it occurred to me that many of our readers are just like us. Some, are making their first foray into being an SME (small to medium enterprise). And I thought, this really hasn’t been a breeze. Ten years on, it’s easier, but let’s be honest, nothing is all Lattes and Laughs.

The difference between working ON your business and working IN your business

Michelle wrote a very real view on The Truth About Being Your Own Boss last year.

It has some insightful tips, like the difference between working on your business and working in your business.

Plus, 5 Tips for Working ON Your Business. Super easy, super do-able tips you can use now – cos you too are Ferrari Fast.

She also mentions one of our private Facebook groups, which you can check out, and join us there if you like the idea of an authentic Q&A platform with folk just like you and us. You can also promo your business, share and get ideas, and even on occasion, Opportunities ?. You know how I love the O word!

Fly Like A Dragon

Yvonne




The Truth About Being Your Own Boss

Maybe you’re already your own boss, or maybe it’s something you aspire to be in the not too distant future.

Unless you’re totally cut off from the online world and social media, then you’ve no doubt read stories or seen ads popping up in your social media feeds featuring “successful” entrepreneurs posing in fancy cars, jets or sitting on a beach sipping cocktails.

The internet is overflowing with these kinds of success stories – they are everywhere – LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and the list goes on.

Are they true? Maybe. But that’s not the point.

My point is this…the stories are all about chucking in boring jobs, starting their own business, making millions and sitting on a beach watching the money roll in.

Sounds like a dream life. Right?

It’s absolutely true that when you start your own business and work for yourself you have the freedom to do as you like.

You have no one else to answer to except yourself. Total freedom.

Hmmm, …idyllic BUT not quite that simple.

Even for those who are at the very top of the tree, there’s still a ton of work to be done behind the scenes.

Yes, it’s definitely true that you have freedom in the sense you get to choose what to do and when to do it. But… only to a certain extent.

I currently have my own business and have owned a couple of others prior to starting Dragon Sisters 10 years ago. I do, on the surface, have freedom and flexibility to do as I like.

The Truth

However, the reality of being your own boss is a little different.

The bottom line is this … It all comes down to your own efforts to succeed. You are in the driver’s seat and 100% responsible.

You are your own hero.

The truth is, as someone who runs their own business, the onus always lies on you to bring in the $$.

Of course, the more successful you are, the less pressure there is on bringing in the basics to cover the day-to-day essentials.

However, here’s the thing…

No matter how successful you are, you still need to be out there smarketing.

You need to be paying attention to your strategy, sales and marketing.

For instance, coming back to my own example, even when I’m fully booked up I’m still out there adding in workshop dates, interacting on social media and attending a couple of face to face events.

I’m actively keeping my brand out there.

Why do you need to do this?

No matter what your product or service is unless you continue to pay attention to your profile in the marketplace, you cannot stay front of mind.

This is why all the top names spend time and money doing tours, running workshops, marketing via social media and much more. They are constantly on the lookout for ways to stay ahead of the game, to be at the forefront.

When you stop and think about this, it makes absolute sense. The world moves at a fast pace today and there is so much competition for attention.

The Danger Zone

As you start to get ahead you begin to feel confident. That’s a great feeling. Things are going in the direction you want, so you start to relax a bit. After all, you’ve done the hard work.

This is the danger point.

Unless you have robust systems in place, you cannot expect to just take off and leave your business to tick along.

I’ve seen this happen all too often. Good people going down the tubes because they’ve failed to famine proof the business by having systems in place. Their radars are not alert to nuances of change or to opportunities for growth.

NOOO! I want to scream out. Sure, take a little break to refresh and relax, but you must also reframe your thinking.

Yes, take a holiday. Yes, take time for yourself, but have a plan in place for things to be managed while you are away.

Make sure you are personally looking over reports, check in on your own social media channels and keep your radar alert for anything that is out of the ordinary.

It makes me want to cry when I see people who have spent months, perhaps years, building businesses to a point of success and then taking their foot off the accelerator when the pressure to succeed eases.

I have made this very mistake myself, and I speak from experience and lessons learnt.

Keep the focus on your business no matter what.

It’s the old adage “momentum flows where attention goes.”

If your attention is not on your business then it loses momentum.

Notice I used the word ON rather than in?

This is a really important differential.

When you work ON your business, you’re taking a helicopter perspective. You have a vision, you see opportunity and you maximise wherever you can.

Working in your business means your head is down, occupied with the detail and minutia. You cannot see the woods for the trees.

As your business grows, it is vital to take the time to work ON the business, as opposed to in it. This is what those highly successful people sitting on the beach are doing. They’re working on their business – always.

The being your own boss formula is simple. Put in the time and your business will grow.

If you love what you do and have a real passion for it, then it no longer seems like work.

6 Tips for Working ON Your Business

1) Set aside 20 minutes a day (5 days a week) dedicated to your personal marketing activities.

This does not mean pushing out brand messages. It means interacting. Remember, people buy people so you need to maintain your presence to stay front of mind.

2) Be consistently attentive

People remember those who bother to respond personally. Don’t fall into the trap of only responding or reaching out when you want something.

3) Regularly view your business revenue streams.

What can you tweak? What should you ditch? What can you add?

4) Delegate/Outsource.

Consider what tasks can be handled by others freeing you up to concentrate on what you do best.  This FREE tip sheet may be helpful when it comes to choosing a consultant to outsource to.

5) Actively listen to your marketplace.

Be truly attentive to what they are saying in order to meet their needs. It’s not about selling your product or service, it’s about offering a solution to their problem.

6) Set aside time for yourself each day – to refresh, reframe and relax.

This is not an indulgence but essential to your personal well being. Time for yourself means you have a chance to allow still the chatter in your mind. Meditation, journalling and walking are some of my personal favourite ways of grabbing “me time” each day.

Nurturing your success

Starting your own business is an adventure. One that comes with many ups, and downs, but brings with it many rewards.

Your ongoing nurturing will ensure your business continues to thrive.  You’ll be able to sit on the beach and your efforts in working on the business are helping it become famine proof.

If you want the freedom to follow your passion, then owning your own business and being your own boss is fantastic. I have never looked back. Sure there are hurdles to overcome at times, but I love what I do.

The photograph I’ve used for this post was taken with fellow Telstra Business Women’s Awards alumni – Denise Dunn from Slappa’s Thongs and Nathalie Hernandez from Ella Bache Palmerston .

To your success,

Michelle

PS Need a little support or got questions? Feel free to connect and ask your questions on our Facebook page

 

The Truth About Being Your Own Boss

How often do you hear stories of people chucking in their jobs, starting their own business, making millions and now sitting on a beach watching the money roll in?

All the time. The internet is full of these people.

Sounds like a dream life. Right?

Hmmm, not quite that simple.

Even for those who are at the very top of the tree there’s still a ton of work to be done behind the scenes.

It’s absolutely true that when you start your own business and work for yourself  you have the freedom to do as you like. Being your own boss and having no one else to answer to is great!

Yes, it’s definitely true that you have freedom in the sense you get to choose what to do and when to do it. But only to a certain extent.

I have my own business. I’ve owned a couple of others prior to starting Dragon Sisters 9 years ago. Sure, I do, on the surface, have freedom and flexibility to do as I like.

The Reality

However, the reality of being your own boss is a little different.

The bottom line is this –  it all comes down to your own efforts to succeed – you are in the driver’s seat and 100% responsible. You are your own hero.

The truth is, as someone who runs their own business,  the onus always lies on you to bring in the $$.

Of course, the more successful you are, the less pressure there is on bringing in the basics to cover the day-to-day essentials.

If you love your what you do and have a real passion for it, then it no longer seems like work.

However, here’s the thing – no matter how successful you are, you still need to be out there smarketing.

For instance, coming back to my own example, I’m currently fully booked up .

But, I’m still out there …adding in workshop dates, interacting on social media and attending a couple of face to face events.

I’m actively keeping my brand out there.

Why do you need to do this?

No matter what your product or service is, unless you continue to pay attention to your profile in the market place, you cannot stay front of mind.

This is why all the top names spend time and money doing tours, running workshops, marketing via social media and much more. They are constantly on the look out for ways to stay ahead of the game, to be at the forefront.

It makes me want to cry when I see people who have spent months, perhaps years building businesses to a point of success, and then taking their foot off the accelerator when the pressure to succeed eases.

They’re starting to get ahead, can pay all their bills and are feeling confident. So time to relax a bit – after all they’ve worked hard and deserve it.

This is the danger point.

Unless you have robust systems in place, you cannot expect to just take off and leave your business to tick along. That’s the road to ruin.

I’ve seen this happen all too often. Good people going down the tubes because they’ve failed to famine proof the business. They’ve relaxed too much.

NOOO! I want to scream out.

Sure, take a little break to refresh and relax, but you must also reframe your thinking. Keep focussing on your business no matter what. Yes, take a holiday. Yes, take time for yourself, but have a strategy in place.

It’s the old adage “momentum flows where attention goes.”

If your attention is not on your business then it loses momentum.

Notice I used the word ON rather than in?

This is a really important differential. When you work ON your business, you’re taking a helicopter perspective. You have vision, you see opportunity and you maximise wherever you can.

Working in your business, means your head is down, occupied with the detail and minutia.  You cannot see the woods for the trees.

As your business grows, it is vital to take the time to work ON the business, as opposed to in it. This is what those highly successful people sitting on the beach are doing. They’re working on their business – always.

The being your own boss formula is simple. Put in the time and your business will grow.

Do what you love and it hardly seems like work.

6 Tips for Working ON Your Business

  1. Set aside a minumum of 20 minutes a day (5 days a week) dedicated to your personal marketing activities – remember, people buy people so you have to maintain your presence.
  2. Be consistently attentive  – respond to emails, calls etc.
  3. Regularly view your business revenue streams. What can you tweak? What should you ditch? What can you add?
  4. Delegate/Outsource tasks that can be handled by others.
  5. Actively listen to your market place.
  6. Set aside time for yourself each day – to fresh, reframe and relax.

If you are already successful, your ongoing nurturing will ensure your business continues to thrive.  You’ll be able to sit on the beach and your efforts in working on the business are helping it become famine proof.

Starting your own business is an adventure. One that comes with many ups and downs, but brings with it many rewards.

If you want the freedom to follow your passion, then owning your own business and being your own boss is fantastic. I have never looked back. Sure there are hurdles to overcome at time, but I love what I do.

Are you your own boss?

Need a little support or got a questions? Drop me a note, or join my private Facebook group which is supportive, motivational, aspirational, refreshing and talented –The SMART Circle –

To your success,

Michelle