LinkedIn Google+ YouTube RSS

Stop setting goals and do this instead.

Posted by in Productivity, Time management

Have you set your resolutions yet for the next 12 months? If not, join the club! If the thought of setting out another long list of projects and deadlines leaves you feeling overwhelmed and demotivated then perhaps it’s time to face up to the fact that goal setting isn’t for you. I’ve certainly come to the conclusion that there are far better ways to get stuff done than creating endless to do lists, which after a spate of activity, usually sit gathering dust on my computer until the start of another year. So if you’d rather walk over burning hot coals than create another action plan then here are the 7 key reasons why you shouldn’t be setting goals for your business – and what you should do instead. You’ve still got a load of tasks from the previous year that you haven’t completed yet. You’ve got a long list of projects and goals from last year that you’ve only half completed but you’re bored with them now and want to try something new. Solution: Review your projects from the previous 12 months and put them into 3 lists – ones you want to keep, ones you want to postpone for now, and ones you want to ditch altogether. You don’t plan your day. Your whole day is spent managing other people’s demands or getting caught up in time-wasting activities so you end the day feeling exhausted but no further forward than you were at the start. Solution: Begin each day with 3 tasks that you want to complete that day and order them by prioritiy. Set aside 20 minutes for each task using the timer on your Smartphone. You get caught up in other people’s emergencies and don’t know how to say no. You spend so much time pleasing everyone else that your own projects and requirements get put on the back burner and never get done. Solution: Write down a clear goal that you want to achieve in the next 6-12 months and then review every request against that goal to see if it aligns with it. Say yes if it does and no if it doesn’t – easier said than done sometimes but you need to be strict with your time. You are constantly distracted by emails and social media. You can’t focus on one thing and are constantly checking your emails or Twitter and Facebook updates and find that an hour has passed and you’ve not done anything. Solution: Be strict with your time. Set a timer for 10-20 minutes every time you check and read your emails or social media updates. Use apps such as Freedom to restrict your access to the internet when...

Read More

Are You Choosing Not to Get Things Done?

Posted by in Productivity, Time management

“Your life is the results of choices you make. If you don’t like your life, it is time to start making better choices” – Unknown. Let’s face it, it’s your choice what you focus on every day. If you’re not making the right choices then you’re not getting the right things done. We often complain that we don’t have the time to do this or that thing, but if we’re honest, that’s not really the reason why we don’t get things done. The real reason is that we spend time on doing other stuff because it’s easy, comfortable, and something that we know we can achieve. How many tasks do you have on your action list that you look at with a hidden groan? Perhaps it’s a difficult phone call you’ve got to make or a new project that you need to start. You know you should be doing it but there’s always something that distracts you. That little voice in your head that suddenly tells you that you need to just check your updates on Twitter, or catch up with Game of Thrones. But we’re kidding ourselves, right? Because all we’re doing is distracting ourselves from focusing on what’s really important – the more difficult tasks that need to be dealt with. And these distractions aren’t going to drive your business forward. So what holds you back from getting things done is down to what you choose to focus on every day. And if you keep choosing to focus on the wrong things then this is going to have a massive negative impact on your business. It’s a bit like when you’re on a diet – you know you should be eating that bowl of salad but your mind is telling you that all you want is a big fat chocolate doughnut!! Mmm… doughnuts… Well it’s the same with managing your time. You’ve got an important project that you need to work on but you’re struggling to draw yourself away from commenting on your friend’s cute baby pictures on Facebook. In fact, the right thing to do can sound downright dull and boring, and who wants that? Well chewing on some lettuce may not be as satisfying as biting into a mouthful of cream and chocolate (mmm….) but it’s all about what you are working towards and what it means to you. If you want to lose weight so you can look good for your two week holiday in Bali – that doesn’t sound dull and boring does it? And it’s the same with your action list. If you want to work on those projects that will help you to earn more money and get more clients –...

Read More

3 Productivity Tools You Probably Didn’t Know About

Posted by in Productivity

As I mentioned in my previous blog, Are You Investing in your Time or Just Spending It?, there is a big difference between investing in how you spend your time and just letting the hours and minutes slip through your fingers each day. Think about it – if you’re running your own business then every working minute that you spend not focused on what’s going to drive your business forward can have a serious negative impact on your ability to generate income. So how you spend your time is important. And for a time-strapped entrepreneur, it’s about finding the right tools to help you stay focused on your tasks, overcome procrastination and make you feel like you’ve achieved something at the end of each day. The only problem is that there are so many productivity tools out there, it can be a full time job searching for the right one and then setting it up. Well from my years of experience as a business owner, I’ve found that there are 3 essential tools that you can use to help you get more done. And the best bit is that none of them will cost you a lot of time, money or effort to set up and use. So read on to discover the 3 productivity tools that you probably didn’t know about but will put a spring in your step when it comes to completing tasks off your to do list. Pen and paper.  If I had a pound for the amount of time I’ve spent researching and setting up various productivity tools, I’d be an extremely rich woman!!  Online productivity apps do work but the main drawback is that you can spend a lot of time and effort in setting up the app rather than focusing on actually working on your to do list. Which is why there’s a great benefit to using simple pen and paper.  You don’t need to learn how to use it or set it up; you can take it anywhere whether you have an internet connection or not; and it’s a quick and simple way to capture your tasks and thoughts as and when they come to you. In fact I find that using pen and paper is one of the best ways to keep track of the most important tasks that I need to work on each day. I recommend that you focus on no more than 5 daily tasks, list them out on a piece of paper along with the amount of time you’re going to spend on each one, and then tick them off as you work through them. Kitchen timer.  And once you’ve got your important tasks written down,...

Read More

The Number One Reason Why’re Not Getting Things Done

Posted by in Productivity

As you and I know when you’re running your own business, trying to juggle all the competing demands on your time can be a full time job in itself.  You’re a wearer of many hats – CEO, CFO, marketing director, receptionist and tea lady/man – and if that isn’t enough, you’ve also got some people called clients to look after! Being your own boss can be great fun but it can also be a royal pain in the neck because a lot of the time every major decision you make for the business is down to you.  And there are times when you look at your to do list and groan at all the projects and tasks that you want to get done. Now you’ll read a lot of advice on how to get these tasks done – the latest app that you can use, routines that you can put in place, tips to help you stay productive. But the one thing that a lot of productivity advice leaves out is a vital ingredient to the successful completing of your projects – and that ingredient is YOU. In fact when it comes to creating projects and setting actions and deadlines, we tend to look at things rationally and work out logical steps to get us from where we are now to where we want to be, which may involve a series of processes and procedures that we need to help us get there. These are all necessary but they won’t work if they don’t align with your own ways of working and doing. For example, some people will tell you that if you really want to complete your projects, you need to get up at 5 o’clock every morning so you’ve got a couple of hours where you won’t be disturbed.  Now this is OK if you’re an early bird but it won’t work if you’re a night owl.  All you’ll do is end up wasting a lot of time (and drinking a lot of coffee!), and then feel terrible by 9 o’clock because you’ve been up 4 hours and still haven’t got anything done! If you want to successfully complete your projects with little effort and a lot of ease, you need to be working in flow. Trying to force yourself to do tasks when your energy levels are low or you’re not in the mood won’t work.  Sitting in front of a blank screen at 7 o’clock in the morning trying to get inspiration for a blog post is a recipe for disaster and demotivation if you’re someone who’s more creative in the afternoons. In fact, working in your own natural flow by taking into account your...

Read More

Keeping Your Energy Levels up When You’re Feeling Low

Posted by in Productivity

Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can. ~ Arthur Ashe I’m writing this in January in London – the start of a new year with short days, long nights and cold grey skies; when all you feel like doing is wrapping a big woolly blanket round you and snuggling down on the sofa – with a tube of Pringles or a box of chocolates within easy reach. In fact, the winter months can be a real challenge when it comes to keeping motivated – all you want to do is to turn into a hedgehog, curl up into a ball and find somewhere warm to while away the time. And yet you get bombarded with endless emails and blogs telling you how to set up your resolutions so you can start the year with a bang.  Get up earlier, lose weight, take up running, become more focused – all good advice but to be totally honest, you can find it exhausting in itself before you’ve even poked your head from under the duvet and given the new year a bleary eyed shrug. As we all know, setting resolutions doesn’t work.  In fact, every time you don’t follow through on a new project, fail to complete a goal, or give up on a commitment, you end up feeling worse about yourself. Is it any wonder that with a combination of long nights, cold grey weather and broken resolutions, we end up feeling demotivated and demoralised? So how can you keep your energy levels up when you’re feeling low – especially during the winter months? Well here are 7 key actions that you can do to cast off that cloak of sloth and put on your rocket powered boots to get you fired up for the year ahead. Accept what is.  This is one of the best pieces of advice that I’ve learnt since being in business.  Beating yourself up over what’s happened in the past, whether that’s unfulfilled projects or broken commitments, will just leave you feeling demotivated and won’t move you forward.  Just accept what’s happened, learn from it and then let it go.  What matters is starting from where you are now – deciding what you can do with what you’ve got and then taking that first action step. Know where you’re going.  It’s difficult to get energised if you have no idea where you’re going or what you’re trying to achieve.  Know your mission – what you’re doing, why you’re doing it and who you’re doing it for.  Then set your actions around that mission – by being focused in this way, you will have far more energy because you have a...

Read More