Is your to-do list effective?

Is your to-do list effective?We all have them, they are dotted all around my house and office, but the question is how effective are they? Are they serving their purpose or are then hindering you more than you realise?
See on their own the whole concept is great, but often we do not use them to their potential!

The aim 

List writing is really easy to do yet can be so tricky to get the hang of, we all have a habit of scribbling down the things that pop into our minds on a piece of paper, or a new log if using an online system, but doing this we are not giving it a second thought, I know some of my entries will have a handful of words that mean something when writing it, but hour or days later I haven’t a clue!
And here is one of the problems, we are not being clear, concise and logical.

A few do’s and Don’ts 

Mix it up – don’t throw all those horrid jobs at the end of the list, as we all know by the time we get to the end of the list, it is either too late or you really can’t be bothered. Remember ‘DFT’ that I mentioned in my previous blog, use that time to push through those horrid jobs on your to-do list

Keep it visible – keeping it somewhere in view will help you stay focused on the job in hand, make sure that you review your list regularly too, don’t bury it and then not being able to find it, then having to start a new one, have it pinned somewhere you can get to it quickly.

Larger tasks – it is so easy to put something like “social media” on your list, but in fact that is a massive task, and probably when broken down its several tasks, try and break down the larger tasks into smaller, easier tasks, this way you will be able to cross this off quickly, as opposed to never or taking longer to cross off, which in turn just demoralises you. So put “Facebook posts” “Participate in a twitter hour” “run a competition” see that way you will cross those 3 things off yet you may have more to do another day.

Not everything needs to be done in a day – remember Rome wasn’t business in a day, so create your list to run over a week, then you can run those bigger tasks over the week, but still be able to cross things off as the week goes on.

Finally, find a list system that works for you, there are thousands of options out there, from pens and pads, Apps, books, list pads, you name it there is a system. Find what works for YOU!! By all means grab snippets from other people you speak to, in fact, you could incorporate bits from others into your own system. It’s what works for you.

I have tried loads, but for me currently, I use my Outlook calendar, in here I have a list of things that need doing, they are colour coded by client, and they are given a date of when it needs to be done by as well as a % of job done option.

This currently works for me, but I am always looking at new ways, once you have found your way, don’t be frightened to mix it up in the future if you feel it is going a little stale.

Let me know what way you have chosen to try out.

If you are struggling to stay on top of things, why not have a chat with me, I am happy to discuss outsourcing and how I can help you gain back sometime during your week.  Check out my latest freebie HERE

 

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Are you a habit creature?

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Habits

We have all read those articles where they tell you ‘wake up at 5 am to become a millionaire’  or ‘drink a green smoothie to become successful’ – I think I have at least one of these articles in my inbox each week, telling me what I need to be doing to become a successful business owner.

Now I can tell you I DO NOT get up at 5 am, that to me is still the middle of the night, and I personally don’t like anything green to eat or drink so a green smoothie will never pass my lips. Ok I can tell you now I am not a millionaire nor would I say I was hugely successful (yet!).  What I can tell you, is, my business is producing a wage and I am comfortable.

pinch of salt

I personally don’t think these lists of what you should do, will benefit you in that way, I think you need to read them with a pinch of salt and to use them to perfect your routines, to make you more productive and focused.  I think it is great to read these articles and ones alike to see if anything they do could fit into your lifestyle and business routine if it doesn’t then move on.

I believe in normal ‘Sleep and Food’ – I feel eating and sleeping better does improve your productivity levels, whether this will, in turn, you into a millionaire who knows! We all know that when you was based in an office that Friday afternoon slump would kick in about an hour after you and your work colleagues got back from the pub, you know after that massive burger and chips you ate! I know from experience that massive lunch would turn me into the most UNPRODUCTIVE person ever.

Pub burger and chips = unproductive

I also feel that a healthy balance of exercise will help you towards a more productive week. Mixing that with your sleep and food, you should see a massive difference to your attention span during the week.

But none of these things I don’t feel will make you more successful nor do I think will make you a millionaire, these will help you to move forward and become the best you can be, and if that means it helps you create more business, then great, but I do wish these gurus would stop telling us these quick and sure-fire habits will fast track you to success.

You are the reason you are successful, you are the reason your clients what to work with you, not because you have a green smoothie on your desk!

To be honest, if you eat healthily, you exercise regularly, and sleep well you should see huge results in your productivity, use that to your advantage if you find you have more umpfh then use it to benefit you and the business.

So don’t be fooled with all the habits and routines that famous business owners are doing, as that works for them, remember running a business is not a one size fits all.  You need to find the routine and habit that works for you and your business.

Right I am off to munch on some random piece of food that has become fashionable

 

Chat soon folks

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The power is in your hands……………Honest

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Hey everyone, in my last blog I mentioned to you above trying to find your self-discipline, how has that gone? It can be a tricky one to grab hold of and run with, because of so many distractions, I also gave you some tips on how to cope and deal with those distractions.

This month

I want to talk to you about the importance of staying in touch with your crowd, we all know we can stay in touch via Social Media, but sometimes it’s just not enough is it.  I have got into a good routine of keeping a check on my insights on my social platforms, I post at various times, some when my crowd are online and other times when they are not active, most of my crowd are online late afternoon/early evening, I do schedule posts for that time, but I do like to do things in real-time too.

In March’s newsletter, I spoke about the amazing competition that I won back in October 2016, which was run by the A.M.A.Z.I.N.G Emma Holmes of Coaching Rockstars. I had seen her posts on social media and a few friends through business had shared her post too, but still, didn’t feel compelled to enter it as I felt I wasn’t lucky enough.  Then I had a Rockstar newsletter hit my inbox which went into more detail, with all the relevant links, it just spoke to me, I felt it resonated with me and the situation I was in at the time, it was that email just pushed me into entering, and how glad am I that I did! I have managed to spend time with some AWESOME, inspiring, knowledgeable women in the industry.

The power of e-marketing is huge and can have such an amazing effect on your business.  You can reach out to your crowd with a push of a button, you know it will land in their inbox when you ask it too, and it will be filled with great content, you can get your message over in more depth, as on social platforms you don’t want to flood your crowds timelines nor make it too long.  This way you can create that eye-catching content.

Winning this competition has change my business completely, and it landing in my inbox gave me that push to enter myself

I think how Emma ran her competition and made sure it landed in the right hands was amazing, she clearly knows her crowd and she knows how to make you feel that she is reading your mind. This IS something you can learn over time, but you need to start somewhere, so being in touch with your crowd regularly via a newsletter is key. You can grow your list with sign-up boxes and links to freebies, these are things I will be talking about in future blogs and newsletters.

Growing your list won’t happen over night, think back to my favourite saying “Slowly Slowly Catchy Monkey”

On the Social

Over the last few weeks on my page we have celebrated International Women’s Day, it’s a powerful day, and one that should be celebrated.

Also, I shared a video from Eric Thomas who claims there is no such thing as procrastination, he says people get it confused with something that is of no interest to you, so in turn have no desire to do the task, what do you think?

I also touched upon a subject that is close to my heart and to a few fellow Virtual Assistants, over recent weeks I have seen a few small business owners getting frustrated that people are either late paying or the next worst thing asking for a discount! As I stated on my page, I do not give discounts, I have packages that benefit my clients, I may give a discount should they recommend me, but I will not give a discount off the cuff! You can read that post HERE

Build A Door!

Why wait? I asked my followers why wait for that business to find you, sitting in your office behind the PC isn’t going to pay the bills, you have to be active looking for business, you need to get yourself out there, be bold, be bright, be seen (I’m sure that’s a tagline for crossing the road!) If opportunity isn’t knocking then build a door! What do you do? do you go networking, or have another avenue you go down to generate leads and business? share with us what you do.

Build a door, why wait

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If you have anything you need help with or want me to discuss then leave me a comment, I have a huge list of thigs that I want to share with you over time, so do let me know as I could be doing a series that could benefit you.

Don’t forget I have my freebie – What to ask your Virtual Assistant, I created this to help those that are hoping to hire a VA in the near future or maybe changing to a new one, its just a small guide to help you.

If you are struggling to stay on top of things and wondering if outsourcing is the way forward for you and your business, I am happy to have a chat with you to help you decide.  It suits some but not all.

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Find your…..Self discipline

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Dig Deep

Being a business owner comes with many hats and guises, you have to dig deep to get done what you have to get done, and even deeper when it’s something you just don’t want to do.  Have you found yourself writing list upon list of things that you have to get done on a certain day/week? I know I have and have often failed to cross much off due to daily distractions.

If you are lucky enough to be working away from home, then those distractions maybe less (I say maybe in a light tone), I know for me I work from home, and I use to have a million distractions in my working day, from my online shopping being delivered, the odd person who sees my car on the drive and pops in for a cuppa as I’m home (forgetting that my home is my office), housework, and the biggest distraction is the kids! I am fortunate enough now to have my office out in the garden, so I am away from those daily household distractions.

I now have my set working hours each day of the week, and I now have a set period of time each week that is focussed on my business, but as you know working from home you can’t help yourself but get distracted.  

This is where self-discipline comes into play, what can you do to stop yourself being distracted, how do you get that discipline into your working life?

Have a coffee and jot some notes

So grab a pen, pad and a coffee, here are some tips to help you:

* ‘Distraction Free Time’ Try and block 20mins a day, or better still 20 mins in the morning and 20 mins in the afternoon, set that time as pure DFT time, turn your phone to silent, turn off the programs you are not using, those pings and little red notification dots are hugely distracting, and one that needs to be removed from your DFT block.  It’s something about your phone and those notifications that can waste a lot of your working day.  So for this time that you block out its best to remove the temptation.

* ‘Natural productive time’ everyone has it, I am not a morning person, if my children wake me too early I go green! so setting my alarm to wake before the kids to do work it’s just not in my DNA, but I am a late person, so for me my most productive time of the day is evenings, I find that knowing the kids are fed and in bed, we have had dinner, there are no further distractions (apart from The Walking Dead!), so I know that its head down and get on with my work.  This is MY natural productive time, I do however get lots done when they are at school.  But my content is normally written of an evening when my productive time is at its best.  So you need to find out when you are at your most productive! you might be that person that does love that hour before the house wakes up if so you need to incorporate it into your working day.

* Procrastination! Ok, I am going to jump outside the box on this one, and instead of saying it’s bad it’s this and it’s that, I will simply say embrace it! Shock Horror!!!!!! why embrace it, well I find that if you can pinpoint what it is that makes you procrastinate, once you have figured out why you can almost learn how to deal with it.  For an example, I hate anything accounts based, so I often find when I’m sat here having to do that type of work it takes me much longer to do it, I keep trying to put it off, in hope that the accounts fairy will come along swish her wand and hey presto it’s done or failing that tomorrow it will become more appealing, which sadly neither happens.

We all procrastinate

 

So I have now learnt to schedule it into either my DFT or do it during the evening when I’m at my peak of productivity.  Don’t shy away from those jobs that make you the world’s greatest procrastinator! We are all procrastinators, it happens to all of us at some point during our week.  If they are jobs you have to do find the best time to do them, or failing that outsource!!

Ready to outsource?

* As I happened to mention ‘Outsource’ this is something else that can benefit you and your self-discipline, if you can offload work to someone else this will free up your time to do what you are good at in your business, but you have to be disciplined to outsource, you need to figure out what is taking up too much of your time, and find someone you can outsource to like a VA, but you need to be strong and let that person do what you have given them!!!

If you are wanting to outsource but haven’t a clue where to start, then check out my free download, this gives you the top things to ask a potential Virtual Assistant, we know what it’s like when you get on the phone, those questions vanish, and when you hang up you remember! 


Be strong, stay focused and remember this is your business, run it the way you want to run it, but get the best out of your time, hopefully, some of the above tips may help.

What tips would you offer a new business owner? what have you found has worked for you? Leave a comment below you never know it may just help a newbie in their self-employment dream.

Take care

Claire

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Learning something new………

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Remember the days of employment, when HR would send you an email saying something like:

Dear Claire, Here at XYZ Ltd, we like to keep on top of the latest trends to grow our business, with this in mind HR and your Line Manager Mrs Blog feel that you would benefit greatly by attending the 2-day intensive course.

Do you remember getting those through, and how the thought just filled you with sheer boredom! I remember them well, and for me, it was things that I had no major interest in but it was to the benefit of the company more so than me.

On the week running up to this 2-day course you would have to cram all your workload into a couple of days to cover you being out of the office, and then off you trot to this course that was always miles away, participate in the breakout sessions, lunch with random’s and stuck travelling home again to have to do it all again tomorrow.

I know I paint a dismal picture but some of those offsite training days for me were a nightmare, we always had a tonne of work on and they always fell at the wrong times.  But it was always something extra to put on your C.V. 🙂

Why is it different now?

So you are sitting there wondering why the heck have I titled this ‘Learning something new’ well you see this time you are learning to benefit YOU and YOUR business, I know it sounds selfish and probably ungrateful that any of my employers paid out money for me to attend these training courses, but learning something new now as a business owner, is something that interests you, and let’s face it, if you have to sit there and learn at least learn something that you want to learn.
Learn something new

I vowed to myself this year that I was going to learn a new skill or perfect an old skill each year, or if I am lucky maybe 2 new skills, this will not only benefit me but my clients too, I have since started my own business gained experience in many new fields, ones that I had no clue on as previously I would have had a department to call to sort the problem out.

So ask yourself a question, if you could learn a new skill or perfect an old skill for your business this year what would it be?

For me, I want to get to grips with basic photo/video editing, I have started to incorporate video marketing into my business as I feel this will help me get a step up in the small business world, as we as humans are so visual, we like to see or watch something over reading 80 pages of the same content, it’s just how we are.

Tell me in the comments box below what would you like to learn this year?

Don’t forget if you are struggling with your admin, or have tasks that you really just don’t want to do, why not contact me and see if I can help you.  You never know we could plan your future success together.

Also, why not sign up for my downloadable freebie, ‘Top tips for delegating to your Virtual Assistant’ a quick guide of an easy way to let go of some of your precious work.



Take care

Claire x

 
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