As a Online Business Manager it is my job to know what everyone is doing with their time and how to improve the efficiency of not only my business but the ones I serve.
For years I have managed my productivity and I have put systems in place to reduce distractions. I don’t allow any notifications except text messages to come through to my phone. There are literally only a handful of people that have my number. If they text, I pretty much want to reply back! I go on Facebook on my phone when it suits me. I reply to Instagram comments when it suits me.
I check my emails when it suits me.
You are seeing a pattern right?
So how did I get hooked on Facebook?
I use a Mac and a Laptop for most of my work. I have an iPad which I only use at indoor soft plays. I actually have to use Facebook for business. This could be checking in on a Facebook group, adding people to a group, replying to business messages. However, I was always so good and going in and getting done what I needed to and then moving on. Over the last few weeks I had noticed that my time on Facebook had increased considerably. However my billable hours didn’t reflect that.
You see I use Toggl to track my work. I only put the timer on when I am doing client work. When I am done I turn it off. So I was getting done what I needed to and I would get this itch to carry on looking on Facebook. I hadn’t seen what had changed. I literally couldn’t help myself, a few wasted seconds turned to wasted minutes and then minute turned to wasted hours. I was literally distraught. What has happened to me? I am like a drug addict. I can’t get enough. I want more even though I KNOW it isn’t good for me. Just this list time… 5 more minutes won’t hurt… All the excuses you can think of I used to justify my wasted time. Not to mention the unearned £££s that I had thrown away.
Why and How?
My Kill News Feed browser was not working. You see if I remove it on my Mac it does it to my Laptop too. I am not sure how it happened but I know it had a massive impact.
I have reinstalled it now and I feel better already. Without the temptation of the news feed I don’t feel I need to keep scrolling and scrolling.
It is the huge FOMO that makes us keep going. If I stop now, I might miss that really important thing that I really needed to know… It sounds stupid now, but at the time you cannot stop yourself. The only way to reduce your wasted time is to put the systems in place to ensure you don’t waste your precious time.
Here are some other things you can do to make sure Facebook doesn’t get you hooked too:
Install Kill News Feed right now on whatever browser you use
Have set times to login and logout for interaction – use a time
Turn off all notifications on your phone so they do not distract you
Keep your phone in another room so you don’t get tempted
Use a Pomodoro time to keep you focused
Set boundaries with your clients and use a communication tool like Slack
Do you have any other productivity tips to help you keep off the Facebook crack?
We all feel like it’s the end of the world when the Internet goes down right?
Or we go somewhere and the WIFI is poor, we would moan about it on Facebook if we could…
So I thought I would put together a list of productive things you can do when you have no internet.
1. Catch up on your Instapaper reading. Instapaper allows you to bookmark and download articles that you would like to read later but don’t have the time right now. If like me your 4G on your phone is none existent it’s great to use this app when you are on the training, in a waiting room at the docs or in an awkward social environment that you want to avoid! A bonus is that you can actually link your Instapaper to your Buffer account and share posts easily to your social media. Also another cheeky hack you can use is IFTTT.com and set it that for every article you ‘heart’ it will automatically share to your Buffer queue.
2. Put together content ideas and bullet point a few main ideas for each point. These could be blog posts ideas, social media posts, eBooks and VLOGS. Choose one per week and pop into into your calendar/diary so you know what you are writing for the next few weeks, instead of winging it! The great thing about knowing in advance is that say if you write on a Wednesday, you can plan to research your topic further on Tuesday and have some facts and figures to hand when you come to create your content.
3. Take a Braindump. Do you constantly have ideas swimming around your head but nothing seems to happen with them? Even if you don’t want to take action on these ideas in the near future you have the idea out of your head and on paper. This way you can return to it when you have time to implement it and it will give you more head space to work on your current projects.
4. Sort through images on your phone. Delete old ones that you don’t need. Uploads images to your ‘iCloud’ or ‘Dropbox ones and label and sort so they are easy to locate in the future. Whichever way you choose to backup your photos, if you don’t do this add it to your todo list as it can be a lifesaver if you ever lose your phone.
5. Declutter and File – Keeping on top of admin is a must but mostly put to the back of the todo list. It soon adds up when you put things off a few times. The ideal time to get on with this task is when you have nothing better to do! With no internet you are limited and you will feel better once it is done. Things like filing receipts, invoices and filling in the relevant spreadsheets with the information will mean you are more than grateful come tax season!
6. Tidy up your PC! Start with your desktop, this seems to be the place where everything is dumped when you have no idea where else to put it! The next port of call is the Download folder. Sort through everything and file and label them accordingly. Delete what you no longer need or you are no longer going to use. Use Dropbox to store your images and eBooks for future reference. You could have a folder for things that you want to take action on and next time you don’t have internet you can head there and get started.
7. Use the time to check in with clients and touch base with ex and prospective clients. Don’t look to sell to them just so see how they are getting on. You will be surprised on how many people will have been meaning to get in touch with you themselves but haven’t got round to it yet. So go grab your phone and get texting.
8. Write without distractions! Whether it be a blog, a sales page, an eBook or some emails, when you have no internet it is an ideal time to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard! Before you know it you’ll have written an epic blog, a week’s worth of emails or the first chapter to your first book! If you have always wanted to write your own book, you could use internetless times to brainstorm ideas and then take every opportunity you can do write.
9. Read – I know we have already mentioned Instapaper, but if you are anything like the business owners I know you have a bookshelf full of books you keep meaning to read! Perhaps you have downloaded a book from Audible but you haven’t listened to it yet. Business books are great but don’t underestimate the power of fiction. It’s a great way to escape the real world and boost your imagination.
10. Last but not least is exercise! It should be a major part of your life to get active but more often and not people put their work before their health. However, there is no job in the world that will not allow you a quick 30 minute workout. Working out will improve your productivity, energy levels and focus when you return. It’s a great use of our time and you’ll reduce stress, burn calories and you’ll feel good too!
We often feel that when the internet is down there is nothing we can do other than nap. Yes I am a big fan of napping, but only when your work is done! It’s the ultimate reward for me! SLEEP!
The next time your internet is out, use it as an opportunity. I would say working 1 hour without internet being 100 % focused can be with 3 hours of distracted work with internet.
Want to get more done in your business without burning out?
Outsource to a Freelancer
If there’s tasks that need to be completed that you may not have the skills or desire to do, then find yourself a great freelancer you can outsource them to.
Here’s a small list of the benefits outsourcing can bring to your business:
Outsourcing frees you up to work on your business and take on even more clients
And of course, when you increase your client base, that means you increase your earnings
A freelancer can bring things to your business that you may not already have. For example, if you’re not tech savvy and the thought of creating a website fills you with dread, then the smart thing is to outsource that task!
It will also save you time and money than if you took on an employee
Delegate to your VA
Your virtual assistant is there to help with the smooth running of your business. Figure out what you will delegate and give your VA for SOP for those tasks. Look, I understand that it’s hard to give up some of what you used to build your business but if you want to be productive and get more done, then learning to delegate is vital.
Concentrate on One Thing
You may think that multitasking is the only way to get lots done in a short space of time. Well, quite simply, it’s not. How can you expect yourself to give 100% to a task if you’ve got 10 other things you’re doing at the same time?
Focus on one activity and do it well. If your mind is elsewhere you’ll probably miss out on a few things that you’ll have to come back to later.
Use a Pomodoro Timer to Maintain Focus
The Pomodoro Technique involves working in 25-minute intervals followed by a 5-minute break. A Pomodoro timer will help you stick to these blocks of time, meaning you’ll get more done in short bursts and drive through any distractions.
Automate Simple Processes
You might not think that a simple task like posting to your Facebook page or answering an email will take up much of your time. But we are only human and can become easily distracted. The answer to this is automation! There are lots of tools and programmes out there that will let you automate all sorts of processes. Rather than posting on your social media pages multiple times each day, set aside some time to fill your scheduler and let that do the work for you.
Set up an autoresponder for your emails so that anyone who is trying to contact you will know that you’ve received their message and will get back to them later.
Why would you waste so much time on tasks that can be easily taken care of automatically?
Systemise your Business
You probably know by now that systems are ‘my thing’. I have a system for everything and you really should work on creating your own too! Download my freebie here to help you do this!
Follow these ideas and start getting back more time in your business.
The only person responsible for saving you is YOU!
I have been known from time to time to be called Wonder Woman. Unfortunately, it is not due to our similar looks, physique and strengths.
A little bit of background
My husband had been away for 6 months, give or take a day or two. And although it wasn’t easy, the house and business have been run as they should have.
Did I do it alone? HELL NO!
Did I have things in place to help? Hell YES (wine being top of the list)!
In order to keep myself sane, I needed to form habits, create systems and set a routine to keep me going.
Every military wife will tell you, it is the ROUTINE that saves them when hubby is off galavanting and saving the world.
This is the schedule that I followed during the week:
Each Monday I would plan for the week ahead. I would sort out anything that needed sorting, figure out where I needed to be and most of all get as much done as I possibly could.
Tuesdays would involve studying and working late. Then I would reward myself, usually with crap TV shows, like Geordie Shore, Love Island, Ex on the Beach, etc.
Every Wednesday was a tidy-up day, which meant getting the house ready for the cleaner to come in and do her thing.
All the washing would be done on Thursday, ready for the ironing lady to do her thing!
This was my wind-down night. And then the weekend would be for Jess and me to spend time together, with a little work for me.
Daily Habits that Helped
Creating and sticking to daily habits ensured that I did what needed to be done. For example…
Getting the school uniform out and ready each night.
Only allowing Jess to use her iPad when she was dressed and ready for school and her room was tidy.
Jess has daily medication to take, so this would be done daily just before her hair was done (this trigger meant it was never forgotten because you never sent your girl in without her hair done).
If Jess had a cooked lunch at school, she would have a small tea. If she had a packed lunch at school she would have a hot dinner.
Between 3-5 pm it was all about Jess. So this would usually entail soft play, going to the park, movies or shopping.
Why am I telling you this?
I’m telling you this because we all have multiple responsibilities we need to manage. This schedule and these habits are something you can adapt for your business too.
Remember, you are defined by your daily habits and the success or failure of your business will be down to what you do day in and day out. And your goals determine your habits.
What are your goals?
Figure out what is important to you to you and what it is you want to achieve.
My Goals Included the Following:
I wanted Jess and me to have quality time together
I wanted her to eat well
I needed to stay on top of her meds
I wanted her to have fun and help me where she could (tidying her room, sorting the dishwasher, good listening, etc.)
I wanted to keep on top of things and not feel overwhelmed
Our daily habits reflected what we wanted to achieve and if we hit them, we rewarded ourselves accordingly at the end of the week. Jess preferred the cinema and cuddly toys. I was more inclined towards gin, wine or new outfit.
So ask yourself…
What do I want to achieve?
What am I willing to do consistently to achieve it?
How will I measure my success?
And finally, how will I reward myself for taking consistent action?
Use those answer to draft your plan of action and get out there and accomplish your goals!
Do you want to get systems in place, build new habits and smash those goals?
Systemise your Growing Business in 5 Simple Steps
Reclaim your freedom, sanity and lifestyle
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You could literally have hundreds or thousands of emails in your inbox. Getting it sorted once is all well and good, but you need to keep on top of it.
You can achieve this and become an email ninja with these simple steps.
Sort your inbox
First of all, sort through your inbox, either by sender or by topic, whatever works best for you. For any emails you want to keep, create a folder and put them in there. Archive the emails you don’t need. Yes, archive them! If you were going to do something with the email you have done so by now
Organise your folders
I use three folders religiously: @action, @read, @pending for storing emails I need. You may decide to use different names but adding ‘@’ will put them at the top of the inbox. Using folders like these will keep your inbox at zero and if you don’t put things in place to keep you at zero, you’ll go back to square one.
Sort your subscriptions
You are probably subscribed to lists that you have completely forgotten about!
To prevent your inbox from filling up with loads of unwanted emails, go to unrollme.com and unsubscribe to all the lists that you don’t currently read consistently.
Stay subscribed to between 5 and 7, but these should be your ‘must reads’. Then create a rule that they get sent to your ‘@read’ folder when they come in. Then you can read them when it suits you.
Create an email schedule
You need to run your email, not the other way around! If you use Google Chrome, go to inboxpause.com and download it. You can set this up to pause your email.
However, if you don’t want to do this, set up an autoresponder explaining that emails are checked at set times and in case of an emergency to contact you another way. Check your email at a set time that works for you and deal with it accordingly. Stick to these times!
The 2 minute rule
If a task can be done in 2 minutes or less, just do it and get it done. The same can be said for email. If an email is going to take you less than 2 minutes to deal with, deal with it there and then. Even if it’s just to confirm receipt of the email, the sender will appreciate it. And if you’re not going to do anything with it, delete it.
It takes a lot to remember to do things all the time, whether you write it down or keep it in the back of your mind.
Remember, being reactive helps you get more done.
Stop keeping ‘data to lata’
If an email is going to help grow your business, use it now. Why hold onto for later? Chances are if you leave it, you will be too late as things change quite quickly in most industries.
So, you need to ask yourself that if you needed to or really wanted to, could you get hold of this email again? Could you re-sign up to a list? Could you get it from someone else? If yes, delete!
Turn off all notifications
You don’t need them. They only distract you and change your thought process. After all, you want to be in control of when you deal with your emails.
I would also suggest doing this for your social media accounts!
Create rules and templates
This is a must if you want to keep your inbox at zero.
Create rules for the places you often buy from. For example, automatically get all emails from Amazon sent to a specific folder.
Create templates for emails you send regularly and create a signature so you can just select it and send rather than typing out a brand new email each time.
This is super simple to do and will free up a load of time!
Set strict rules with your clients
You need to set some boundaries or ‘rules of engagement’ when you first start working with your clients. Explain to them that you answer emails at set times and not 24/7, and in case of emergency, give them another way to contact you. However, make sure you give them the justifications of an emergency.
The rules are up to you but I would suggest they give you as much notice as possible for changes. Ask for short and sweet emails and if it’s longer than a paragraph, schedule a call. You could also open a VIP email for your clients that only they have access to.
If you set a precedent that as soon as an email comes through you answer it right away, they’ll come to expect this in the future. Set the rules early and let them know when you can and can’t be contacted.
Start implementing these steps today and get your inbox at zero. Having a clutter-free inbox equals having a clutter-free mind!
You probably wanted more freedom and time for the things you love. You wanted to be in charge. You wanted to have more time to spend with family and doing the things you love.
When it comes to running a business you want to be able to get a lot done in a short amount of time.
Today, I want to share with you how I do this and how you can do it too.
But first, think about the time you’re wasting
It’s a lot, isn’t it! When you consider the 80/20 rule (i.e. 80% of what you’re doing doesn’t bring in income!) it’s easy to see how many hours you’re wasting each and every day.
So, what can you do about this?
The answer is: systems!
Systems are the only way to create freedom in a business. Yes, it will take time and effort to create them but it’s worth it!
How can systems help you in the long-run?
Once you have systems in place for each area of your business it’s easy show to others how to reach your standard if you ever need to take a step back.
Outsourcing the tasks that you are not the best at will free you up to do the more important activities in your business. In order words, there’s a step-by-step process for completing each and every task, so you and the people you work with will know exactly what to do.
However, before you decide to outsource, you need to create your systems!
Take a look at the systems I use in my business and see how you can implement them in yours.
Take a look at your finances before you look at outsourcing. Will outsourcing allow you to bring in more clients and more money?
2. Content Repurposing
Having a system for your content is a fantastic way to get the most out of a particular piece of content all whilst saving time. Create a system for your content that your virtual assistant (or other freelancer) can easily follow. You can create it and then have your VA run with it. Their role can involve repurposing it into different forms. For example, with one piece of content you can create blogs, Facebook Lives, videos, tweets, and social media images.
Create a system for your content that your virtual assistant (or another freelancer) can easily follow. You can create it and then have your VA run with it. Their role can involve repurposing it into different forms. For example, with one piece of content you can create blogs, Facebook Lives, videos, tweets, and social media images.
Their role can involve repurposing it into different forms. For example, with one piece of content you can create blogs, Facebook Lives, videos, tweets, and social media images.
3. Sales and Marketing
Have a steady stream of leads coming in through your sales funnel. Do this by creating leads through ads, social media and more, and nurture them by creating great content, engagement and becoming their ‘go-to’ person.
4. Upsells and Cross-Sells
If some is already your customer, then they are more likely to buy from you again. This is something that can be automated through email marketing. If they like and trust your services or products, they’re going to want to come back to you again.
There’s no point in trying to get new clients if you can’t keep a hold on your current ones! How can you do this? Give them great customer service and ask for feedback! Try to provide as much value to them as possible and have a system in place for keeping the lines of communication open.
If a client has left you previously because of a change in circumstances, then they are the easiest way to get a sale. Reaching out to them will show them they are appreciated. They’ve worked with you before and will likely spend more than the average client!
7. Build and Engage your Audience
Build and nurture your platforms so you can expand your reach and scale your audience so you’re growing your business. Provide value to your audience so that you can position yourself as an expert. Remember, people will buy based on your reputation!
You should have SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) in your business so that your VAs will know what to refer to when they have to do a particular task.
9. Client Onboarding and Offboarding
Use systems and workflows to deliver what you promised to your clients. Follow the same process with each to ensure you cover everything that needs to be covered.
Give great customer service so they won’t want to leave you and if they do decide to leave try to find out why. This is probably something that you can work on further!
10. Get the Best out of Freelancers
Stop trying to do everything!
When you take on a freelancer determine what tasks you want them to do, offer proper training, provide and encourage regular updates and teach them your systems.
Systems keep you consistent in your business and when you do something consistently people will start to notice.
Start developing those systems so you can create freedom and time in your business.