As part of my job as a strategist I spot patterns and opportunities by observing what is going on the world. While this is great for clients, I’ve realised it has actually been holding me back in my own business.
It often goes something like this:
First I notice a huge gap in the market for a new project. Then I research lots until I have convinced myself to give it a go. I get frustrated when my other work/projects/life gets in the way of me being able to do this new project. Then I shelve project until I have more time/find a way to clone myself. i.e forever.
My time is limited as it is so I need to be focused to get stuff done.
After realising my lack of focus and over-abundance of ideas was sabotaging my attempts to reach my business and personal goals, I made a few changes to help me get back on track.
1. Check email no more than 3 times per day.
A while back I cut down on email checking but I found I was creeping back into the habit of checking it all the time again. I now check it around 9am, 2pm and 6pm and I work with the project management app Asana to stay in touch with current clients. This eliminates much of the email back and forth involved in longer term projects as we’ll just message and upload files within the app. I’ve also turned off notifications of email on my phone.
2. Limit social media to 3 times a day.
I found this harder to limit because it is so easy to use social media to fill in dead time, like when I’m waiting for the kettle to boil or sitting on the bus. I find too much social media draining though so, limiting my time on it helps keep me sane . If I come across an article I want to share, rather than going into Twitter and getting sucked into to conversations and even more articles, I’ll queue the tweet in Buffer using the browser extension.
3. Limit information consumption
While I do need to read a lot of info for my job, I’m changing how I do it. I now limit myself to scanning news headlines in the morning and after the kids are in bed. If I’m in the research phase of a client project, I’ll reach much, much more but I’ve started tracking my time to make sure I don’t get lost down the rabbit hole of article after article.
4. Stick to the plan
Last year I readjusted my business model and decided to make some changes. I now work to a six month plan which I will reassess in July. If one of my new ideas doesn’t align with my short or long term goals then I don’t follow it up.
5. Simplify business systems.
In order to reach my goals for the business I needed to set up business systems that allow for growth. For me, this meant documenting the steps of every process I undertake from client intake, project workflow to packaging systems for Happy Piece. I still have more to do but it’s helping me become more efficient and will help hugely when I take on team members in the future.
So there you go. Hopefully some of these will help you!
Have you limited your distractions lately? Have any tips to share?
As part of my work I need to know what is happening in the world. Whether it’s popular culture, trends or the latest celebrity gossip (yes, really!). I consume a lot of information and assimilate it to work out the best way forward when devising strategies for clients.
I’ve bookmarked so many business resources that I think you would find helpful so I’m going to try sharing some of the best videos, books, blog posts and anything else I can think of that may help you, on the blog every Wednesday.
One resource that has had me going back for more whenever I get a spare moment has been Inc’s Founders Forum. It’s a set of video interviews with some of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs.
Some of my favourites
Two entrepreneurs that are inspiring me right now are Marc Ecko, founder of Ecko Unltd and Neil Blumenthal of Warby Parker. Both have built brands that are authentic to them, with both starting out as underdogs of their industry.
Marc talks about authenticity, how you are your best brand and over coming obstacles and fear.
Neil talks about the importance of branding, authenticity and strategy to grow your business.
Watch and learn.
In January I set myself a challenge to write every day with the hope of sharing more thoughts in this space. I managed to write a lot but nothing ended up here. So when I saw my friend Patti was taking part in NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month), I decided to join in. I’ll be posting every day for the month of April. To make sure I complete it, I won’t be sticking to a particular theme but instead I’l post whatever is on my mind that day.
30 blog posts in 30 days doesn’t sound that much of a challenge if you are a frequent blogger but it is rare for me! I’m hoping this challenge will get me back into regular posting schedule.
When was the last time you set yourself a creative challenge?
Bye bye 2013. Hello 2014. I have a feeling you’re going to be a special one. Not because of all the things I might achieve but because of all the things I’m going to savour this year.
One of my goals is to live in the present. I want to feel and experience every moment.
I don’t want to rush through life trying to get to the finish line, missing all the things that happen in between reaching big milestones or achievements.
LIFE is what happens in those moments in between. Those moments when we’re waiting or working or resting or playing.
That is life.
That is living.
So le’s make the present the best it can be. Let’s savour those little moments because those moments ARE your life.
Your life doesn’t start when you reach your goals, your life is right now.