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, 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 🙂

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

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

 

 

 

5 Simple Tips to Improve Your Writing

Do you love to write?

If you do, then you’re just like me!

If you don’t…. you’re not alone.

Whichever category you fall into, these 5 simple tips will help.

Before you take to writing that next piece of yours, whether it be a blog post or a business report, here are some quick tips to help you shine.

1) The Daily Habit

Get in the habit of writing each and every day; start a journal or a diary, write to a pen pal, just get yourself in the habit of writing.

It might seem like a lot of work but it isn’t.

*A really good way to practise this is to write 2 pages in a notebook each morning. Even though I am a writer,  I’ve just started utilising this tip that I learnt from a LinkedIn post and it is working wonders for me.

If you’re in business, chances are you’re already writing every day. You might not think of it as writing, but no doubt you send off countless emails each day?

2) Broadening your vocabulary

Get a word calendar or download an app on your phone like Dictionary.com.

Putting new words into your vocabulary is a great way to make your writing more powerful.

Often, when expanding your vocabulary you’ll also improve your knowledge on spelling and the correct use of words already in your vocabulary.

*I personally love learning new words and use them often to improve my personal writing.

3) Keep using those tough words.

Everyone has words they struggle to spell.  Don’t let that stop you.

I recently found a recipe book and I’d written one of the simplest words wrong.

I was mortified, but you know what? That’s just proof of how reliant we’re getting on the computer spell checking for us.

If you struggle with certain words keep pushing yourself to use them. Eventually, you’ll spell them so often that you’ll learn to spell them correctly.

*Whenever I misspell something on my computer before looking for the correct spelling I go back and try to spell it again. Nine times out of ten I’ll spell it right on the second try.

4) Don’t always listen to the computer

Microsoft Word is great, don’t get me wrong.

I’m always looking out for those red and green squiggly lines, but it isn’t always right.

Sometimes computers don’t understand the context of how a particular sentence should work, so it’ll underline the whole thing with a green line. This doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with the sentence.

Before taking on board the computer’s recommended changes always give it a second or third read over.

See if it flows.

If it flows and you don’t detect anything wrong there probably isn’t an issue.

Also, bear in mind that not every word is registered in the Microsoft Word dictionary. If a word is really old or comes from another language Word will just keep on telling you it’s spelt wrong, even when it isn’t.

5) Write it ALL down first.

I used to always edit as I went, so if I misspelt a word I would immediately change it and if a sentence didn’t flow I’d spend ages re-writing it.

However, that isn’t the most efficient way to write and edit.

The most efficient process is to write everything out and then do a re-read for editing.

Trust me it saves time.

A helping hand

If you need a helping hand with any aspects of writing or editing…

Simple emails, sales funnels, website content reviews through to book manuscripts, blogs and ghost writing are all in a days work for us at Dragon Sisters.

Need some help…..reach out to us.

To your success,

Sasha

Sasha Hanton – a graduate of Bond University with a Bachelor in Journalism. Sasha possesses high caliber skills across a wide genre of writing, editing and multi-media content creation. Sasha’s achievements include the Sally A White Award for Investigative Journalism 2013.

 

When A Dragon Flies

Things have been hectic recently and, as the front woman for Dragon Sisters, especially so for Michelle.

She’s the one who does all the interstate and international travelling for the business. Her kids are adults. Mine isn’t.

Makes sense, yes?

Plus, she is a fantastic speaker, whereas I have the public speaking presence of a bratwurst. I’ve made one tiny appearance on Facebook Live – kind of a cowardly cameo – and I’m as eager to do so again as stabbing a fork in my eye.

A few days ago, I arrived to collect Michelle for an airport run. I gave the horn a quick toot, popped the boot and hopped out to give her a hand with her luggage. I heard her front door slam, so I knew she was bang on time and I headed up the path to meet her.

Her diminutive form came scuttling towards me, holding up an A4 piece of paper, like chauffeurs do at the airport arrivals gate, when they’re meeting someone they wouldn’t recognize from a bar of soap.

My first thought was that she was having a laugh.

It’s a standing joke that it’s a wonder Michelle knows where she is half the time, given that she often wakes up on an aircraft just in time to bolt out of the airport and into the first meeting.

But when I noted that she was talking at the speed of a fax machine – apparently to herself – I did wonder if she’d lost the plot.

Poor lamb.

It’s all been a bit too frantic perhaps.

Jabbering to yourself and charging about holding up a sign … before you’ve even left home base; well, that’s not normal.

Added to which, Michelle looked like she was having an identity crisis, or at the very least, a fashion victim moment.

She was wearing a jumper with a big penguin on the front of it and a pair of large mouse ears.

She looked like an escapee from Walt Disney’s sketch pad. Destined for the scrap that idea waste paper basket, before he came up with Minnie Mouse. (Who started out as Michelle Mouse – not a lot of people know that).

I peered myopically at her sign.

From a distance.

Not keen to get closer than I had to. Whatever was up with her could be catching. Sisterly support has its limits.

Then I read: on Skype with Exxxxxx.

Exxxxxx is a client in Europe. Obviously, the time worked for Exxxxxx in his time zone and Michelle was squeezing in a consult on the run.

Her mouse ears were bluetooth headphones.

And since she was travelling through the night, she was wearing the closest thing to pyjamas she could find.

I’ve always been in awe of Michelle’s time management skill. No one I’ve worked with has ever packed more into a schedule than she does.

Michelle – respect!

Shame I can’t say the same about your penguin outfit, but hey, Exxxxx couldn’t see it and I’m sure the Qantas flight crew have seen greater oddities. At least you weren’t wearing your onesie with the fluffy feet attached ?.

If you’re time challenged too, you’ve maybe already read our tips on the subject, so for a change, here’s a great article for you from Kristi Hedges writing for Forbes.

Fly Like A Dragon!

Yvonne

PS If you’re looking for great accommodation for a good price we always use this site

“Pull Up Your Knickers and Go to Bed”

Editor’s note:   Yvonne’s latest post is rather cheeky, but I’m letting it go up. Let me know if you enjoy it!
Sasha.

It’s 12.48 a.m. on a weeknight and I’m sitting at my laptop.

Crazy? Well, that’s how I roll.

Sometimes.

And it’s not because I have just rolled in from a wild night out on the tiles. If you’re a Dragon Sisters client reading this, please note that I don’t mean that I am actually crazy.

If you’re sniggering, then you’ve probably been with Dragon Sisters a looong time.

I’m still up at crazy-o’clock, because my daughter is swotting for an exam. Since I’m no Marine Science whizz, I’ve been pretty much hanging around for moral support, supplying essentials like cups of tea and chocolate.

Michelle and I have been playing phone tag all day, so when the text ‘you still up?’ comes through, I ring her. She’s been out all day and so have I.

She’s in The Northern Territory. I’m in Queensland.

For our out-of-Oz friends, that’s a distance of 3424.5 km. If you drive your car with an average speed of 112 kilometres/hour (70 miles/h), travel time will be 30 hours 34 minutes. I know because Google says so. That’s assuming you don’t catch a kangaroo on your fender or run down the night roadworks Stop sign guy. If you’ve ever hit a kangaroo, you’d know which one you’d wear better.

At this hour, I don’t feel particularly like being politically correct. Ho hum.

The one thing that is great about working with your sister, is that there’s no P.C. code to observe; nor office hours.

If we’re up for bouncing around ideas at a ridiculous hour, we can. So, we spend a happy forty minutes nattering and nutting out some campaign ideas and off-the-wall marketing strategies.

It’s perfect. I’m just about bouncing off the wall with my in-take of caffeine anyway. Clients don’t know when you come up with your best stuff or that your creative muse was a midnight snack.

It doesn’t matter that the creative process is interspersed with give-aways like the sound of me foraging in the fridge like a mole after a maggot, having told Michelle off for talking with her mouth full.

What are you eating?”

Crackers! Not as in she’s crackers.

As in, she’s driving me crackers because it sounds like someone is driving an ice-breaker through my ear-piece. Michelle is enjoying cheese and crackers, more than I am, hearing her enjoying them. But it has made me hungry, hence, pay-back, in the form of rustling every bit of refrigerated packaging I can find in close proximity to the microphone. Ha! Take that!

By the time we’ve chomped and guzzled our way through the duration of our conversation, we’re pretty excited about our new ideas. Which, naturally, will be presented to each client in rather more style than their inception. Which is just as well …

As I’m about to ring off, I hear the tell-tale toilet flush. I bid good-night to my sedate sibling, “Pull up your knickers and go to bed.”

Too much information?

Ah well, sorry about that.

Don’t worry, we hatched your marketing strategy in a stereo-typical meeting room, over bottles of Perrier. Really.

Fly like a dragon!

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.

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

Do you control your inbox?

Do you control your inbox or does it control you?

If you’re ending up your week with a backlog of things you plan to get around to reading, a host of emails to reply to and a bunch of “look at later” stuff your inbox is out of control!

Living in a digital world it’s all too easy to lose control. Unlike a physical pile of paper you can see, with emails, it’s so easy to hoard them “just in case” or “I’ll get back to it later”.

How it happens

It sneaks up on you.

Scrolling through your emails and not actioning them is easy to do.

Similarly, if someone has a really great advertisement, you might be tempted to click, hand over your email in return for some kind of giveaway.

If you’re growing your business, starting to get your head around concepts and new ways of doing things or working in sales and marketing, then you’ve probably signed up for a cheat sheet, e-book or something similar.

But then…WHAM!

Email Overload

You’re inundated with emails.

Like every couple of days.  Or even every single day.  Worse still, a couple of times a day from some of the really aggressive ones.

It’s out of control.

I mean, I’m all for email reminders of an event I registered for, but not for a daily blast trying to sell something or telling me how I’m missing a great opportunity.

Have you also noticed there are a number of  “experts” all busy cross-promoting each other? Some are excellent, but most are pretty average.

There were a couple of people I really liked. I enjoyed their newsletters but then they overloaded me with messages cross-promoting stuff from another expert, then another.

The result? It turned me right off.  Instead of turning me on to their product, which I had been considering buying, they actually sent me heading for the hills!

For a while, I hung about watching on in fascination at this bombardment system. I wanted to see how far they would go.

It was basically overkilling, out of control emails.

No way in the world was I going to have time to read everything being sent. At least, not if I planned to get any work done!

Taking Control

Your inbox can and must be controlled.

  1. Unsubscribe from all the email lists that you do not have the time to read, or no longer have an interest in.

You’ll be freeing up more time for working on your business and concentrating on important stuff.

2. Concentrate on moving yourself forward, not whittling away the time absorbing what everyone else is doing and saying.

You must TAKE ACTION!

Let me be really clear – action does not mean reading all the guff that pours into your inbox.

Action means dedicating time for your own activities and avoiding electronic rabbit holes. Check out my post  7 Tips for Maximising Your Business Day

You’ll find that by adopting these two simple tips you’ll have more time. Precious time to spend with your family and on looking after your own sanity.

If you’re already on one of our lists you’ll notice we don’t send out too many bulk emails. We use our blog (the one you’re reading right now) and Facebook to share stuff  – allowing you to choose when and what you’d like to read from us.

Michelle

6 Steps to Managing Your Social Media

You can love it or hate it, but the bottom line is, on a business level, we need to engage in some way or other with social media.

If you’re lucky enough to have a dedicated social media manager, you won’t need to worry, but for smaller businesses and solopreneurs it’s all too easy to become overwhelmed.

A common dilemma

What to post?

How often?

These are questions so many people ask themselves.

You can end up wasting heaps of time on a daily basis flicking through social media looking for inspiration.

Precious time that you could be dedicating to building your business and serving clients.

Social Media Connections(1)Our latest tip sheet 6 Steps to Strategic Social Media Posting will save you heaps of time. It’s totally FREE as are most of our resources.

Process = progress. Nail down the process (as outlined on the tip sheet) and you’ll find yourself making much more progress, plus saving heaps of time!

Michelle

PS – as always, love your feedback

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.