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 🙂

The 5 Types of Goal Setters & Goal Getters

Everyone has goals. Fitness goals, diet goals, past-time based goals, and career goals. These are just a few types of goals you might have.

At Dragon Sisters, we have our own special set of business goals and each member of our team has their own personal goals. My goal is to become a published author.

Of course, I’ve had other goals, and I’ve had to make changes to my life accordingly as certain things changed. Which got me thinking about some of my old school mates, from high school and from university. Amongst them are some truly inspirational people and looking at all of them, I’d have to say there’s at least 5 types of goal setters & goal getters.

The Unwavering

This type sets themselves a goal and pursues it till accomplished; nothing seems able to deter them.

My friend Dayna is one of these types. I’ve known her since primary school and she’s always been super artistic. When we were in high school she decided she wanted to work in graphic design, and pushed herself above and beyond. She set her heart on RMIT University in Melbourne and poured everything she had into her grades.

I remember watching her work endlessly on her final assessments for year 12, and you know what? She did it, she got into RMIT and got her degree in graphic design, now she’s working in the industry and putting her skills to use.

The Realistic Dreamer

You probably know one of these yourself. They’ve got ambitions, but they’ve also got grounding.

These are the people who plot out a course and consider what’s happening in their life before shooting off after the impossible. Instead they pursue the possible knowing that it is the first stepping stone to the impossible.

Michelle Gately is one of these types, she’s a reporter for the Rockhampton Morning Bulletin at the moment and she’s also a book blogger, but one day who knows she might be working at Dolly or Bride to Be (she’s definitely got the writing chops for it).

I met Michelle when studying at Bond University. We were both journalism students, and we each wanted to focus towards magazines. As avid book lovers and writers, we bonded. Back then I still felt pretty confident in pursuing journalism, but unlike Michelle, that didn’t really pan out for me.

Michelle had wanted to work at her hometown’s paper straight from the get go so that she could help out her Dad. Yes, she wanted to eventually work at the magazines she adores, but no she was going to do things in a realistic fashion and start at home.

The Achiever

Some people seem to effortlessly achieve their goals. They set them and then next thing you know they’re achieving them. Of course, they do put in the effort, you can’t reach your goals without a little hard work, but it’s not always something we see.

My good friend Geordi Avila is one of these achievers, she works hard, but it also just seems like her goals fall into her palm (I know it isn’t so). I think the big reason for this is her amazingly positive attitude.

She’s always got a smile ready and a can do spirit. Geordi lived in the same campus dormitory as me when I was studying at Bond University. We lived in the same hall with just a few rooms between us, she became one of my closest friends at university, and I’m so happy to see her working at SKY News. Though I’m a little jealous how smoothly she transitioned from studying to real life (I’m still getting the hang of it all).

I fit Geordi in this category because even when we were at Bond she was an achiever, and yet she always seemed to have time for friends and social activities. I know she puts in the hours and the hard work, but it just looks easy for her.

The Procrastinator

A few of my closest friends fall into this category, they’ve got goals and they’ve got talent, but they just don’t seem to be getting there.

The people in this type can set goals anywhere from realistic to ambitious, but they always seem to still be reaching when you next check up on them.

Sometimes there are hurdles that seem to put kinks in their plans.  A friend of mine wants to be an actress but after just barely missing out with her first National Institute of Dramatic Art audition and then being looked over the next two times she’s spiralled off the path. Her goal is still the same, but she hasn’t made any strong efforts to try and reach it lately.

Another friend wants to work in graphic design (yes, I have multiple friends that are the artistic creative types). This particular friend took a hit to her goal as even though she was pouring everything she had into course work, failed one of her university classes, so she put her degree on hold and spent some time (a year or two) trying to figure things out. Now she’s finally getting back to her degree. Here’s hoping she gets to the finish line this time around.

The Ever Changing

Here is the category that I fall into. I’ve had a lot of goals and not all of them reached fruition.

Don’t get me wrong my life goal has been to be a published author since I was just a little girl having her Daddy read her books, but my career goals now, they are ever changing.

I’m the type that thinks they know exactly what they want and then later realises that isn’t quite right. I originally wanted to study teaching but was told by my high school teachers to study something else first, so I switched goals to journalism.

In university during my second year of study, it suddenly came to me, I wasn’t doing something that I wanted to do… of course, I was halfway through and could still use everything I was learning, so I persevered and got my degree.

After university, I really wasn’t sure where I was going in life. I did a stint as a tutor at my former high school (one of the most rewarding jobs I’ve ever done) and tried my hand doing some filler writing for a local magazine before deciding to go back to university and study teaching. That didn’t pan out as I quickly realised I’d finally reached my school quota, I couldn’t bear to read any more textbooks or do any more assignments.

That’s when I decided I wanted to really get into editing. I had all the necessary skills from my journalism degree, and I enjoyed going through other people’s work and correcting it. So finally, by joining the Dragon Sisters team, I was able to achieve one of my career goals. Now I just need to conquer my life goal.

What type of goal setter & goal getter are you?

Sasha

PS If you enjoy reading fiction, check out my short stories to feed the mind.

Coach vs Trainer – What’s the Difference?

What’s the difference between a coach and a trainer? A great question.

In fact, it was a question that popped up on the Dragon Sisters Facebook page when I shared my last post . That’s what prompted me to write this article.

Coaches and trainers are used in both sport and business.

Although the titles are sometimes interchanged, there is actually quite a difference between the two roles.

Business coaching has gained traction in recent times, and as I said in my last post, there seems to be an abundance of business coaches popping up everywhere.

A coach is not a magician.

Each coach has their own style of working. There is no wrong or right way.

Different coaches will suit different individual.

Choosing the right coach to suit your needs is essential.

All good coaches will hold you accountable. They keep you on track.

Where you need to do additional learning, they will often suggest, and sometimes even provide resources to help you on your journey.

So what exactly does a coach do?

A coach helps you achieve your goals. If you are confused and unsure of what steps to take next, or unsure of which direction to head in, then a coach can help you sort through the chaos and confusion.

Having a coach will help you achieve more in a faster time space.

Your coach will move you forward. Of course, before starting off , it is important to know and to share what your goal is with your chosen coach; even if you goal is just to gain clarity!

Your coach will help hone your game plan.

When you have the right coach, you are increasingly motivated and more importantly, confident, that you are stepping in the right direction. This is especially true for solopreneurs and small business.

With a coach supporting you, it is easier to develop or hone new soft skills and put them into practice.

Why is a coach so valuable?

Because your coach helps you to understand different perspectives.

A good coach helps with clarifying your thinking. This allows you to start becoming more focussed on what steps you need to take and in what order.

When you’re working with a coach, you gain clarity, develop priorities and thereby increase your productivity.

A good coach will not tell you how to do things. Instead, they will be supporting you to work through your planning and decision-making processes.

When you use a coach, you are paying for their service for a fixed contract period. During this period there will be specific outcomes that you wish to achieve. Your coach’s job is to help you get there.

It is important to note, that as you grow and develop your skills, you may outgrow your coach.

A good coach always aims for their clients to grow to the point where they are surpassing their coach. It is at this point that you need to start to look for another coach to take you to the next step.

So what’s a trainer do?

A trainer imparts information. They train you in a specific way of doing something. In business, almost everyone has attended or experienced some kind of training course. These are usually delivered by an accredited trainer who frequently works from a manual set down by a higher authority.

Trainers work to a specific formula. For instance, a first aid trainer, an induction course, training on a new piece of equipment; it could be as mundane as a new photocopier or the very latest fighter jet. It’s training to a formula. A set way of performing specific tasks.

In a nutshell

A coach helps you to gain clarity – in your own way. The role of a coach is to help facilitate the journey from lots of bright ideas/your raw talent to a systematic, yet highly individualised approach to achieve your goals.

A coach will help you soar to the heights and fly like a dragon – free of a keeper.

MichelleDragon_Michelle.png

PS – You’re welcome to join me in The SMART Circle, our private Facebook group, where you can gain support, ask and have questions answered – it’s FREE – our way of paying it forward.

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.

 

 

Not So SMART!

Michelle and I were really excited to start a new closed Facebook Group – this one – The SMART Circle.

It’s a lot of fun kicking around anything new, big or small, and we finally settled on how we wanted the page to run and on our cover shot for the page.

I say ‘finally’, because we did ping back and forth between us quite a bit. We like pinging, it’s a creative little process.

So, we finally agreed and the page was good to go; just needed its cover photo finalizing. We both had a lunch time deadline – mine was a piece of work going to print, Michelle’s was a routine health check-up then a client meeting.

She was rushing off for an appointment at the hospital for a stress test (to see how your heart’s going). But we really wanted to put the page up this morning and two minutes before running out the door, Michelle got it onto Facebook.

Michelle had made me an administrator on The SMART Circle page. I spent a happy few minutes over my lunch sandwich dinking around with it a bit.

Not So Smart after all

I thought I’d be helpful and tidy up a couple of things. Then I got carried away.

I deleted the cover photo.

Oh cripes! How did I do that? Searched for it, but it was good and proper gone.

What if Michelle was sitting in the hospital waiting room, fiddling with her smart phone, merrily inviting peeps onto the page?

The page with the now broad hint on it: Personalize Your Group.

The page with a generic blue blank where seconds earlier there had been a lovely colourful cover photo.

She was going to kill me.

Or I was going to kill her. After all, she was waiting to go in for a stress test on her heart.

Would steam coming out of her ears affect the test result?

Hmmm … maybe … probably.

Then again, she’d be a lot madder if she invited folk onto our now boringly blank page. Better ‘fess up that one of my lofty Page Administrator digits had slipped. Inadvertently. Onto the delete button. Including the yes I am sure I want to delete that button.

The perils of putting a putz in a power position.

What can I say? It just went to my head.

Deciding that I’d cause less trouble if I owned up immediately, I fired off a quick text to Michelle:  It was great. (Past tense). You’ll kill me. I deleted it by accident Better tell them at stress test (So the inexplicable spike in your stress levels can be explained – as in, it’s not a medical problem. It’s my sister – she’s the problem).

Michelle: Deleted the page???

Yeah, just as I thought, she was hovering over her phone until they carted her into the clinic. They ought to surgically remove that device off her while they had her in there.

Does three question marks denote a bit of stress … ?

Anyhow, turns out it wasn’t a big deal. Clever Clogs breezed through her stress test (she’d been doing that for years, living with a constant source of stress – who me?) and she put The SMART Circle page back all pretty.

Michelle: No problem, I can replace. I’m going to change your status to moderator not admin then you can’t do it again!

Me (AKA Facebook Fool): Yeh not SMART enough lol

So, I have been demoted.

Like being bumped down from Head Girl to Hall Monitor. (The shame of it.)

This is me now: You’re Now a Moderator!
Moderators are like admins, but with limited controls.

Limited controls – like not being able to get out of control with a stab-happy-delete-digit.

I expect anyone who joins our group will find that a relief. Michelle does!

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.