Have you ever sat down to start a new project only to feel the need to get up and clean your house? Or maybe it’s emptying your downloads file, or better yet wash the windows in your office? Feeling like if you stay organised you’ll be able to get stuff done faster. You know it’s not really necessary to wash your windows right then and there, right? A clear mind has space to create, a cluttered mind is often in a state of overwhelm, which leaves no space for creation.
How do you fix it?
Create boundaries and guidelinesOne of the first things I did when I took the leap back into full-time CEO’ing was putting together some boundaries around my work. Running a business doesn’t mean that you need to be contactable or working 24/7. If you’re available all the time it’ll mean that you will be constantly interrupted throughout the day with ‘quick questions’. By setting boundaries for yourself and those around you it means that you are creating a clear relationship. Which is good for everyone involved. A few of the boundaries I have set for myself are:
- no client appointments on Fridays, this is my time to create content and product development
- emails are answered daily at 8.30am and 1.00pm
- I don’t share my phone number with anyone, all calls are via Zoom so I can allocate time and – more importantly – my attention to the client.
Plan and then doThe most important part of the plan is the action taking, without the action a plan is just a dream. Planning sessions are a beautiful time to visualise and create new products or services but without taking action there will be no traction. I plan for 90 day sprints in my business to prevent myself from feeling like I need everything all planned before I start taking action. Also, things change very quickly, I’m sitting here writing this blog in August 2020…did we really think the world was going to look like it does right now? A 90 day sprint allows you the opportunity to do the plan, schedule the work, and make changes should you need without having to undo a year’s worth of work. It allows you to stay nimble in a forever changing market.
Build processes & systemsSystems and processes are the secret behind scaling a business, they allow you to create repeatable actions that can be tested and tweaked depending on your results. But I know that often the biggest block between implementation and adding to the rainy day list is the overwhelm of doing. Planning can seem like a job that’ll take months to get done and when there are more important things to be doing, like actually earning money, setting up systems and processes tends to get moved to the bottom of the list. What if I said it actually only takes about 10 mins to start the process? I give myself about 10 mins today to document any processes that might need to be done. And, happily, most days now I don’t need that 10 minutes. Now it means that I have a whole library of document processes, clear workflows, and integrated systems so that there is no longer a bottleneck in my workday from trying to remember how to get a task completed.
Create a dedicated workspaceCreating a dedicated workspace is like creating boundaries in your business. I love to sometimes read or write from bed but it’s not the place to actually work, it’s terrible for my posture, but it’s also creating subconscious messages about work life balance. I have a dedicated office space that allows me to open and close the door to start and finish the day. But it hasn’t always been this way. In my old house I worked out of a cupboard for a while and before that at a desk pushed into the corner of the games room. If you don’t have a desk, maybe it’s the dining room table. It actually doesn’t matter, but having a space that is your work zone creates a signifier in your brain to say it’s time to work (also helps you teach others it’s work time too!) So by having a dedicated workspace you’ll become more productive because you’ve taught your brain to recognise when it’s time to work and stop work.
Use a block calendar systemThe members of The Profit.Able Project know how much I love a block calendar system. A block calendar system is designed for you to work in blocks of times vs a task list. A task or to do list can feel overwhelming and therefore it leads to procrastination – or in my case – cleaning! If you allocate blocks of time for particular task, you’ll then have a time it needs to be done by, having and due time means you’ll be more likely to get it done vs putting it off for the other items on your to do list. Also having scheduled recurring blocks for task will mean you’ll be able to start getting more of those ‘projects’ done by building a specific action time for you to do the job. Some of the things that I have as blocks are – content creation……. It’s happening right now! Also accounting, every Friday afternoon I have a block of time to give my numbers some love, and finally I have project development blocks so that all those amazing product and service ideas I have in my brain actually come to life!
Get out of your inboxDays can be lost in our inbox if we aren’t careful, it’s easy to see the notification that we have mail and then that we need to immediately jump into our inbox and answer that question. As a rule, if I can’t answer your email in 3 mins or less, your email will be moved to my Asana and then allocated as a task to complete. Even without having a system like Asana (but if you would like to know more about it check out my training video here) you can schedule email time in your block calendar system. As I said before I answer emails at 8.30am and at 1.00pm because this is a block of time I’ve created on my calendar to get it done and ticked off the list!
Outsource or automateFinally, and probably most importantly, the way to stay organised is not to do it all! You aren’t an expert in all areas of your business, that’s OK, nor am I! Hire people to do the things that you don’t love doing or don’t do well, while there might be an expense to outsourcing, think about how much you are charging yourself out at and therefore how much you can save by only doing the things you are good at. If you are in a place to start building a team then automation is the next best thing. Here are some of the things that I’ve automated in my business.
- Social Media posting
- Scheduling appointments
- Onboarding clients
- Off Boarding clients