Making the Most of Your Time: 5 Productivity Tips Top Coaches Live By

Making the Most of Your Time: 5 Productivity Tips Top Coaches Live By

Making the Most of Your Time: 5 Productivity Tips Top Coaches Live By

Emma O'Connell

4th May 2020

It’s not enough to dream of success. It’s not even enough to set goals.  

The only way to truly achieve your dreams and build the business you’re meant to build is to sit down and just do it.  

And that’s where many of us…….well, fail is a strong word. But it’s the doing that trips us up more times than not.  

We overbook our calendars until today’s to-dos become next week’s past dues. We procrastinate on the things that are important while attending to things that are merely “nice to do.” And sometimes we simply take on too much—even when we know better.  

The answer? Embrace these five productivity hacks that top coaches use to get more done in less time.  

1. Rituals and Habits

Simply put, a ritual or habit is a consistent way of doing something. You have a morning ritual (wake up, brush your teeth, work out, shower, and head to your office), evening ritual (check homework, tuck the kids in, watch the evening news, and hit the sack), weekend ritual (sleep late, mow the lawn, catch a movie, visit your mom), and many others.  

The trouble is, if you’re not careful with your rituals, they can turn into productivity killers. Is checking Facebook or email a part of your morning ritual? Is turning on Skype a part of your at work ritual? Distractions such as these can turn even your best intentions into hours of wasted time.

Take a good look at your rituals. What are you doing that you should not be—or that should be moved to another part of your day? Make your rituals more efficient and you’ll automatically get more done.

2. Calendar Management

Want to know how much time you really have available for that new project? Try blocking off time in your calendar for all your existing projects. Fill in all your client calls, your business administrative tasks, time for meals and breaks, outside appointments, and everything else you’re committed to. What’s left might just shock you.

Make it a habit to block time in your calendar for every commitment, and you’ll never again over-promise or over-commit. 

Being really productive isn’t something that comes naturally to any of us, but if you learn to master the skill, you’ll find your business grows along with you.

3. LEARN TO LET GO

Here’s a news flash. You do not have to do everything in your business. You can (and should) hand off those low-level tasks to someone else. Hire a VA to create your documents and manage your calendar. Let your tech support person manage your blog and email. Turn over your bookkeeping to an accountant. The time you free up will allow you to work on what’s truly important—and that only you can do. 

4. work hard play hard

You are not a machine. You cannot work all day every day and hope to be at your best all the time.

Take a day off. Get some rest, or relax on a long, slow hike. Take a friend out to lunch. Go shopping with your kids. See a movie or a play. Do something—anything—other than work.

Not only will you return to the office feeling much more refreshed, but you’ll find yourself more creative and productive than before as well.

5. Focus

Multi-tasking is impossible. You cannot efficiently create a new coaching program while you’re simultaneously surfing Facebook, keeping an eye on the kids, and answering the phone every time it rings.  

Instead, use your calendar to block time off for important tasks, then turn everything else off so you can focus. No phone, no Facebook, no kids or husbands or neighbours or pets demanding “just a minute” of your time. Tune everything out, and you’ll find your work getting done much faster.  

Managing your time and turning up your productivity is not something that comes naturally to most people but when you learn to master this skill, you’ll find your business grows right along with you.  

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Emma O'Connell

Emma O'Connell is a productivity + systems coach from the UK. She teaches female entrepreneurs how to simplify and systemise their business, so they can maximise their income and impact without the overwhelm. I firmly believe is working smarter not harder, setting yourself up for success and spending more time with the people that matter most.

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The Importance of Self-Care For Busy Business Owners

The Importance of Self-Care For Busy Business Owners

The Importance of Self-Care For Busy Business Owners

Right, so who is prepared to hold their hands up and admit that you come at the bottom of your own priority list? I think this is even more so the case if you happen to be a mother as well as an entrepreneur.

When tend to be all systems go, all of the time, running around focusing on everything else, rarely taking time for ourselves. But does this really affect our ability to run our businesses well?

ABSOLUTELY.

A number analogies spring to mind right now, but the best one has to be….“Put Your Oxygen Mask On First”. This isn’t a nice to have option, its an instruction because you are no good to anyone else if you are dead! If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of your business or if you are a mother, you can’t be the best mum you want to be. Stress, resentment and overwhelm begin to creep in when you are doing #allthethings.

Take a moment to have a think about the last time you took care of YOU.

When you think of self care what springs to mind? A day at the spa? A manicure? A weekend away? A yoga retreat? Whatever your definition of self care is, remember that it is doing something that refuels us, something that makes us happy. Not something that makes us unhappy. But how the hell do you make time for some down time, when you are just so busy and  when there is so much going on?

Set clear boundaries

If you are like many and a bit of a people pleaser, you may find setting boundaries far more difficult than those who aren’t. Some of us are actually recovering people pleasers, but we’ve usually be put in a situation where enough was enough and we’ve finally taken action. Wherever you fall into in the people pleasing camp, know that you really need to put your big girl pants on or alternatively grow a pair of balls (men are so much better in general at setting boundaries) and learn to say no (of course, with a polite thank you thrown in too), a lot more often than you probably are.

Only say yes to the things and people that are important to you, the things that light you up, the people that light you up. And start saying no to the other stuff.

By saying no more a lot more, you will soon find that you have more time to focus on the important things, get more shit done and have a lot more time for you as well.

Schedule time in each week

The key is to schedule in non-negotiable ME time each week. Mark it as an appointment in your diary, like a client meeting, and don’t let anything get in the way of some YOU time. It’s important, because you can’t bring your A-Game if you are running around on half empty, tired and heading for burnout.

Self Discipline

I know its tempting to keep working until the early hours of the morning, just to put the finishing touches on that eBook, new online course or changes to your website. Trust me I have been there, but you need to learn to switch off and step away. Although hard to begin with, you will actually find that you end up being more productive because you don’t have as many distractions.

Here’s a little confession, I am actually contemplating taking social media apps off my phone and having them on my tablet instead. So it forces me to step away and switch off, and when I wake up in the middle of the night I am not tempted to go hand out on FB, Instagram or Pinterest.

Outsource as much as you can

The one thing I hate more than anything is cleaning. It takes forever and bores me to tears, mainly because I struggle to finish the task as I get distracted by something else!! (Did I mention that I’m an aquarius, a creative and get distracted by starting the next new project before finishing the current one I a working on, it’s a never ending challenge, but that is a whole other story).

Make a list of the things you really don’t enjoy doing, business and personal and if funds permit, hire people to take over these tasks to free you up. Don’t waste your time doing things you hate, life is just too short and there are too many people to serve.

If you are struggling with setting boundaries in your business and your life, you can sign up for the PROTECT YOUR ENERGY WITH BOUNDARIES email series here. And as a BONUS For a limited time only, you can also get access to the HOW TO PROTECT YOUR ENERGY WITH BOUNDARIES WORKBOOK for busy female entrepreneurs by signing up.

3 Steps To Manage Your To-Do List and Boost Your Productivity

3 Steps To Manage Your To-Do List and Boost Your Productivity

3 Steps To Manage Your To-Do List and Boost Your Productivity

Writing a To-Do list is supposed to help your manage your time and move you towards achieving your goals. But we often have so much to do on our “To-Do” lists that in actual fact we get less done because we are so overwhelmed by the sheer amount that needs doing.

I will happily hold my hands up and admit that in the past there have been things sat on my to-do list for months, they just keep getting copied over to the next list. Can you relate?

The reality is they are not essential to moving your business, so they really need to go on a different list. Our “To-Do” lists have in fact lost their main function and focus of helping you get shit done. Instead they are a dumping ground for everything, ideas, projects, notes and just end up becoming a NEVER ENDING LIST.

Fear not, I have a really good system that will help you to re-prioritise your actual tasks so you can start moving forward in your business, reducing the stress and overwhelm.

Step 1: Brain Dump

Sunday is my planning day and part of my ritual includes a brain dump. I love a good brain dump. It gets everything out of my head on to paper so I can focus on what needs to be done, rather than all the things going round and round in my head.

Grab a pen and start writing , get everything in your head onto paper. Keep writing until you have everything out. You can choose to do this weekly or daily, I find weekly works best and things that crop up throughout the week get added to the brain dump and NOT my to do list.

Step 2: Organise + Categorise

Let’s turn your brain dump into a more organised and structured list. We are going to rank them 1-3. The key here is to be RUTHLESS and very honest. This is how you break your To-Do list into manageable chunks and start getting more done.

Rank 1: Do-it

These are the tasks that take top priority. They are super important, urgent tasks that only you can do. And they need to be done to move your business forwards. Mark these tasks with a star and the no. 1.

Rank 2: Delay or Delegate-it

These are the tasks that are important, but that don’t need to be completed immediately or could be handed off to someone else to complete.

HINT: If it isn’t an income generating task, then it can be done by someone else.

If you are really serious about building a sustainable, profitable and productive business that you don’t work 16 hour days in, then you need to learn to delegate. You might think you need to do everything or that you are the only one capable of doing it right, but that simply is not true. Be brutal, it’s time to get stuff off your plate so you can get more done.

Rank 3: Ditch-it

Hmmmm, the tasks that are making you busy for the sake of being busy. They either don’t need to be done at all, most definitely can be completed by someone else, or are an idea/project to come back. More often than not, you will find that these tasks don’t need to be done at all, leaving you more time to focus on what really matters. You can always come back to these when you’ve actioned everything else.

Step 3: Write Your To Do List

You now know what needs your attention, what is a priority, what needs to be handed over to someone else and put on hold, so let’s write your To Do list.

Start with listing your top 3 priorities for the week (ideally 3, you can go to as many as 5, BUT absolutely no more than 5). Then list the tasks that need to be done, but can be either delayed or delegated until the no.1 tasks have been completed. Make sure you have a space to capture any notes, ideas, additional things to do in a separate space. Your focus for the week should solely be on your new revised and 100% focused on the task in hand To-Do list. Nothing else.

If you really want to make an impact, you could take your to-do list and schedule in the tasks you need to complete for the week into your calendar, blocking out time to complete each one and setting reminders if you work better in this way. Otherwise, simply keep your list to hand and take action daily.

Then simply repeat the exercise week after week and watch your productivity soar.

Obviously though, let me caveat this by saying like all things, you need to find a system that works best for you and your business. BUT you need to at least give this system a try, test it out for a few weeks and see how you get on. What works for one person may not for another, but the brain dump exercise is a great tool to use, so I highly recommend you make that part of your routine. It will help to eliminate some of the stress and overwhelm and if your brain happens to be anything like mine and is sometimes hard to switch off completely, brain dumping onto an A4 or even an A5 page really helps.

The key to being really productive is finding a system that works and consistently following a routine. It will help to keep you focused and to streamline identifying the most important tasks on a weekly basis, so you can keep moving your business forwards.

Let me know how you get on. Leave a comment below.

Is Too Much Tech Costing You Money In Your Business?

Is Too Much Tech Costing You Money In Your Business?

Is Too Much Tech Costing You Money In Your Business?

When I speak to clients and ask them about what tools and systems they are using in their business, I often discover that they are using multiple tools to do the same job, over complicating the process and then getting distracted by testing out yet another new one in the hopes that it will solve their problem or challenge. It won’t. It will just end up costing you money.

How many software tools, subscriptions, memberships etc… do you currently have in your business?

Do you know?

I bet you have a fair few tools, so grab a pen and let’s get started.

  • Write a list of all the software tools, memberships, subscriptions etc…. that you currently have.
  • Now, next to them write a list of the ones you are paying for and how much you are paying a month.
  • Circle the ones you use. Be honest, which ones do you use EVERY DAY or at least EVERY WEEK?
  • How many are you paying for and no longer using?

I am guessing that after doing this exercise you have indeed identified that you are spending money (or kindly donating it even) for at least one tool, software company, membership programme, [insert other], that you aren’t using AT ALL. It’s time to stop, cancel and SAVE yourself some money.

So Much More Than Just Money

You are now more aware of what you are spending and how much the tools you don’t use have been costing you. That’s the first step. The next step, is realising that too much tech is costing you money in other ways, such as your time and energy. Over complicating running an online business with too many tools and software programmes is costing you money, in the sense that you are spending too much of your time on the things you shouldn’t be spending your time on! For example, if you spend 2 hours a week scheduling social media across multiple platforms using different tools for Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook you are wasting time. Precious time you could be using to focus on other things. Either invest the money you have been wasting on software and subscriptions you aren’t using in a Virtual Assistant, or sit down and really look at your process and ask yourself….could this be simplified? Are all these tools really necessary?

Audit Your Business Tools

Which brings me nicely on to doing a business tool audit. I recommend doing this at least a quarter, if not every 6 months. Our needs, and the needs of our business change as we build, grow and scale. Sometimes free software won’t cut the mustard, so we need to upgrade to paid software which has greater functionality, scope and scalability.

The trouble is, as entrepreneurs we tend to fall foul of shiny object syndrome every now and again. We’ve all done it, someone mentions a great tool, you aren’t overly happy with the one you have so you set up a new account to test the software out and then end up paying for it after the trail period whilst you aren’t really using it to its maximum potential because you haven’t had the time to move everything over to the new piece of kit.

It’s time to stop. Get brutal. Cut your losses. Start keeping things simple. You don’t need to over complicate processes and systems by having too many tools that do the same thing. This duplicates effort and the task ends up taking 10 times longer.  It also causes confusion if you want to grow your business and start hiring a team.

Simplified systems are the key to success. So remember K-I-S-S…..keep it simple stupid!!!

If you need help, book a BE FREE session with me and let’s get your unstuck and moving forward with the right tools for you and your business.