Category Archives for Time Management

Time Scarcity and the Power Hour Solution

I read an interesting article about procrastination the other day.

Erm – yes you guessed it – because I was procrastinating about doing the things I knew I should.

It was fascinating. How our brains have evolved over thousands of years. Apparently we still have primitive ‘Rex’ instincts locked in a battle of wills with ‘Albert’ our inner consciousness, the voice of reason.

Apparently the problem is, ageing Albert who’s capable of great things, gets rather exhausted with energetic, impulsive Rex who governs our instincts, loves and fears. And when Albert gives up – then so do we, BIG time.

Yes, implementing those actions we know will change and grow our business, BOOM – all out of the window.

We use Albert to meekly reassure us it’s Ok. Inboxes stuffed to the gunnels, or pending vat returns, staff issues – too much to do, never enough time. We have to do that stuff first right?

Today I put Rex on a leash. I don’t need him bouncing round my head. I need to focus on what I MUST do rather what FEELS right .

I know (providing I don’t tempt fate by reading fascinating articles) Rex will listen to Albert.

Happily there are things you can do to tame your inner Rex and bring clarity and discipline to your life. I find a combination of techniques work extremely well for me and the clients I coach.

So here’s how to make AT LEAST an extra hour a week.

There’s the Pomodoro Technique, yes, Italian for tomato, bear with . . .

  1. This advocates working in 25 minute bursts. NO distractions. Close the door, off with the email and phone, advise staff that barring a REAL emergency you will be available for them and your customers once that time is up.

Anything occurs to you during that stint, write it down and leave aside for your next Pomodoro session.

Reward yourself with a 5 minute break in between each stint. After 4 stints, take a longer break.

For me that 25 minute time period is perfect. It may not be for you. Maybe it’s 90 minutes in one sitting. But get up and have a 15 -30 minute break afterwards.

  1. Time how many stints a daily task takes – this makes you so much more realistic about allocating the time required, which in turn is GREAT for easing the sense of guilt procrastination brings.
  1. Write down 3 things each night you will accomplish the following day. And make ONE of them something that’s difficult or (more likely) something you dislike and keep putting off.
  1. Find your most productive time of the day. For some it’s the peace and quiet of daybreak. If you’re a night owl like me, then use that time and energy to focus on your 3 things.
  1. Really, REALLY stop doing stuff that doesn’t have an impact on your Goals and KPIs. Remember the 5 D’s: Dump, Delay, Delegate, no Distractions and DO.

It’s the DOING which counts – Because Imperfect Action beats Perfect Inaction every time.

  1. And for extra focus and discipline, you could always don the headphones and listen to Focus@Will ambient music for study, work and concentration.

It’s amazing how energising working more productively can be.

So, quick maths, if you found an extra couple of hours a week that’s almost an amazing THREE weeks a year!!

Who says you haven’t got time to spend growing your business?!!

 

How To Do The Hard Stuff The Easy Way

Hands up who’s set a goal and failed to reach it? Yep, me too.

Done the 12 month plan, broken it down, got all the actions. So what’s the problem?

In a word Overwhelm.

It FEELS like too much and it gives you too many reasons to beat yourself up. For failing. FAILING to achieve this, failing to do that.

Then that negative little voice goes to work in your head. If you don’t want to FEEL like a failure why set yourself up for it in the first place?

So you get busy – very busy doing all the things you don’t need to do to avoid doing anything you’re actually supposed to be doing to get closer to your goal.

Success isn’t an accident. Achieving goals isn’t easy. IT. IS. HARD.

But we can do HARD stuff in an EASIER way if we stop getting in the way of ourselves.

First, Reconnect with your WHY and the WHAT becomes clearer. Your why is your motivation – personally and in business. It’s easy to confuse the two. So be especially clear in your own mind why you’re in business.

For me it’s because I want to motivate and inspire small business owners to grow their business by generating more leads online.

My personal why or motivation is to have financial freedom and create a portable online business.

The Whats are the actions you need to take to keep moving towards this vision.

Second, apply the KISS principle and focus on Less – because Less is More.

Third, focus on one goal and STICK to it. This is your compass and if you forget to check you’re on course, you will lose your way.

So, here’s one simple thing you can do . . .

Write yourself a 90 day letter!

Why a 90 Day Letter? Because life happens and a 12 month plan is too far out. Will you achieve everything you set out to do? Even with a 90 day plan? Probably not.

But it’s a guide, providing direction for the next quarter where you can hyper-focus on strategy, and implementation in 90 day increments.
Want to implement and write one of your own? Here’s the process:
Step 1: The Assessment

First, start by listing the top 4 areas of your life:

Business
Relationship
Health + self
Giving back
Very quickly write down how you would ‘rate’ these areas of your life. Keep it simple and don’t over-think it, just choose a number out of 10. Once that’s done, for each area, make some quick notes on what you can improve and at least one action item to make that happen.

 

Step 2: The Letter

Once you’ve assessed your current situation, start writing a letter to yourself covering these action items and what should happen in the next 90 days… be as specific as you can. The main focus here should be on your WHY – Why are you making these improvements?

 

Step 3: The Action Plan

Now that the letter has been written, turn over the page and write the specific things you are going to accomplish within the next 90 days. This is your action plan. More than a to-do list, this needs to contain strategy, methods of implementation and the results you’re looking to accomplish in the next 90 days.

Finally, add the date that you’ll open the letter and put it in your calendar.

By writing this letter, you’re committing to what you’re going to accomplish in the next 90 days.

The difference here is that it’s in smaller manageable chunks, allowing you to continue in the long-term direction you’ve set and actually accomplish what you set out to do.

Doing is key. Your actions might not be perfect, they might even be wrong. But don’t beat yourself up because you have achieved. Yes, you’ve learned a lesson and won’t repeat the same mistake twice. Simple actions continuously implemented WILL take you closer to your goal.

Your 90 day letter keeps you on course. Meaning, if an opportunity comes up that’s not in your letter beware of Shiny Object Syndrome!!
Of course we need to be able to react quickly to new opportunities, but it doesn’t mean we have to react to every opportunity. If it’s outside your 90-day direction, defer it until the next letter in 90 days’ time.  Otherwise we’re back to being unfocused, haphazard and getting lacklustre results.

So try the 90 day plan – and stop getting in the way of yourself!