Productivity Hacks

Running a business amidst chaos

Running a business admist chaos

 

The last few days have been a challenging few. Right now I should’ve been sitting by the pool at my hotel in Austin.

Instead, I am sitting on my sofa at home, cramming in some work before my husband wakes up.

2 days ago, just as I was starting to pack for my month long trip, someone rung to let me know John was in an ambulance on morphine, and on the way to hospital.

I won’t go into all of the details, but he’s now home – with a broken collarbone – and we’re navigating the next steps of surgery, healing and whether he can look after himself while (if) I’m away.

And you see this is just the way it is to be an entrepreneur. Life happens. There is no boss to ring as say ‘I won’t be in today’, there is no sick leave… there is just you.

And while the freedom of working for yourself is honestly such a gift, when life goes crazy, it is equally important to keep the wheels turning.

If we stopped working every time something came up in life, business would simply never grow. You see NOBODY has 24/7 free-time to work on their businesses. We all live in this messy, fast-paced life and learning to how to BEHAVE as an entrepreneur is something we don’t talk about enough.

For me, I really believe that learning to work in flow THROUGH life’s chaos has been one of the KEY reasons for my fast business growth.

In January I was going through another wave of chaos – this time directly in my business.

I was amidst moving my entire business to a new (and complex) system, using a new team in a different timezone. The project had got so behind that it spilled into my launch period of UPswing Mastermind meaning the set-up team had to run the launch.

In what was possibly the most important few weeks of my business year, the system was broken, mistakes were being made (daily) - blank emails were being sent, replays for webinars which hadn’t even aired were going out – and there was just 1 hour a day the team was able to help me due to timezones. Then one of their staff quit and the owner went on holiday mid launch... And I had no control over any of it as I was yet to be trained on the system. I could go on… but it makes me cringe remembering it!  Let’s just say it was chaos behind the scenes.

In the past, I would have either burnt out or crumbled in an emotional mess and given up under such circumstances….

So when I tell you that those same 6 weeks saw me do $250k in sales, you might think I’m telling you a different story!

How did I stay focused on what mattered and block out the chaos to ensure my most successful launch yet and on-boarding of the loveliest group of women I’ve worked with to date?

At the time I had just started working with Todd Herman in his 90 Day Year program. Todd not only guided me on WHAT I needed to focus on during that time, but even more importantly, HOW to work efficiently, effectively and productively – no matter what chaos is going on around.

I credit the behaviour Todd taught me to that launch success, and my entire work habits have been completely transformed this year from working with him.

He teaches how to work from our ‘Oww' or 'Wow' brain and this understanding has not only helped me achieve so much more, but more importantly for me, by working less. For me, with my background of Adrenal Fatigue, I am not willing to sacrifice my health for success as I see so many other ‘success stories’ doing – and so learning how to work SMART has been life changing for me.

2016 has seen me work with so much more EASE. I have so much focus. I work less hours than ever before. And as a result I have had so much productivity! (Let alone the income which has naturally followed)

And when chaos hits, as it has this week. Yes of course it has thrown me around, but knowing my priorities and my own most effective work habits has meant I've been able to keep the important pieces running and for the most part step back to take care of my husband.

If you struggle with overwhelm, prioritizing or productivity as an entrepreneur then I’d love to share with you Todd’s free training course. I am going to be working through it myself again in the next few weeks and would love to offer you the chance to do so as well for free.

Listen and learn his methods for free here >>

 
 
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2-Steps to Super Productivity for Getting Sh&t Done

2 steps to super productivity for getting stuff done

 

I’ve dabbled in many different time management and productivity techniques over the last few years as an entrepreneur - self motivation is something I've wrestled with a lot if I don't have a strict deadline in place. I think it's a retaliation against years of a boss standing over me, timsheets to fill in and unnecessary 'emergency' deadlines causing stress in the corporate world - but as much as those things strangled my freedom at the time, I must say, they ensured I got sh&t done. Working for myself isn't always so easy...

It's not that I don't 'want' to work - I LOVE what I do - but it's more a matter of focus. When 100's of emails come in constantly all day everyday and there are multiple hats to juggle as an entrepreneur, it's all too easy to fall into the trap of being 'busy' but not really getting anything important done.

The Pomodoro Technique and Working Dates are two of many productivity techniques I've tried before with mixed success but when I decided to make 2015 the year I mastered working 'smarter not harder' these were the first techniques I pulled back out.

I've read a zillion times about working on the 'Important' tasks before the 'Urgent' tasks, but only recently did I make the decision to finally implement that advice for good. And I realised that my habits had to change in order to really Get SH&t Done without working around the clock.

 

 

Step 1: The Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management/productivity theory whereby you set a timer for intervals of 25 minutes ‘on’ and 5 minutes ‘off’.

You can either use the standard timer on your phone, or there are dozens of free apps to download to keep your Pomodoro timing on track. (I use the iPhone App '30/30')

I have a pre-written list of 'important' tasks to do for the week and each time I sit down for a Pomodoro session I don't waste time reviewing my to-do list or coming up with a new one (sound familiar to anyone else) - nope, I just choose the next one on the list and DO IT!

It seriously amazes me how much I can get done in smaller and more focused bouts of time. Every single time I shock myself at how quick the tasks are to complete that I have put off forever, when I actually just sit down and do them - no distractions! 

Step 2: Accountability/ Working Dates

I add to the potency but adding my second step which is meeting a buddy for a work date each Wednesday afternoon so there is no cheating!

When Sam and I first started meeting for working dates we used to end up chatting for hours and getting no work down - so in came the Pomodoro technique to hold each other accountable. That’s double accountability - and guess what - it WORKS!

(Click here to read about some of my favourite cafes to work from >>)

At first it is quite funny to watch myself naturally try to avoid tasks by flicking to Facebook to reading my email, but with my accountability partner the guilt kicks in way too quickly and I settle down and get on with the task at hand.

(Case in point, half way through writing this blog post my clever ego decided it needed some raw cacao chocolate. If I was working alone at home I would have taken 'just a minute' to go get that... but with Sam sitting opposite me right now I catch myself and keep on writing)

Pomodoro Technique + Working Dates = SUPER Productivity

Most weeks I now find I get most of my 'working on my business' done on Wednesday afternoons alone - and the more I do this, the more I trust that I don't have to 'push' the rest of the week as long as I turn up and take action on Wednesdays.

And the last few weeks we have added a twist by also meeting on a Friday afternoon for a cheeky Pomodoro session followed by an end-of-week celebratory drink.

Since implementing this powerful combo I am getting so much more done is way less time. My husband actually looked confused at first when he started arriving home and I was off my computer before 5.30pm.

Because the truth is when we just DO the tasks at hand we really can choose to stop creating ‘business’ in our business. We can close the office door at 5.30pm and walk away - there really isn't any need to be on email/facebook/instagram all night long justifying that it is 'work'...

Implementing the 'Important' tasks in your business is the key to working smarter not harder. Operative word = IMPLEMENTING.

And hey, because I am now dedicated to the these 2 'implementation' steps you get a new blog post today that otherwise would have got lost amidst 'urgent' emails and endless to-do lists. That's a much more joyful and beneficial use of my time and energy.

Let me know in the comments below your top productivity tips for Getting Sh&t Done!

 
 
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