You feel like you have a million things to do – and yet – it feels like nothing gets done. SOOO frustrating.
You’re so busy helping your clients you let internal goals slip away. That new product still isn’t launched. ???
You’re constantly working for your business – rather than on your business.
You swear that there aren’t enough hours in the day to work, cook dinner, shower, sleep, and have time to watch the new Roseanne.
FACE THIS FACT (sorry in advance): You have time, but you’re honestly just not using it well. Worse – your time mindset is broken.
How do I know? Well – in the interest of total transparency, here’s a list of things I messed up due to MY huge time management & mindset problem…
- I’ve been totally horrible about keeping in touch with you via this email list. Horrible. And that’s because I’ve been putting everything ahead of working on my business.
- I became hesitant to lean on team members to help me get work done because I was afraid I’d overwhelm them (…even though they’re totally fine.)
- I spent almost entire days chained to my inbox, replying to emails that wouldn’t. stop. coming.
- I’ve been feeling guilt and shame about my lack of availability on Wednesdays. (Yes, really guilty.) I actually have a personal, family-related obligation that takes me away every week and have been afraid to say that out loud until now.
- I’ve been known to miss lunch and avoid taking breaks in order to get more done – even though my doing this meant getting LESS done.
- I was working at night (breaking a cardinal rule) and, sometimes, was editing my podcast on the weekend.
- I’d be so overwhelmed that I’d developed physical symptoms of anxiety – like dropping my makeup down the sink, stubbing my toe on the bed frame, tripping up the stairs… (you picture it.)
According to the Atlantic, “DeskTime, a productivity app that tracks employees’ computer use, peeked into its data to study the behavior of its most productive workers. The highest-performing 10 percent tended to work for 52 consecutive minutes followed by a 17-minute break. Those 17 minutes were often spent away from the computer, by talking a walk, doing exercises, or talking to coworkers.” [ see full article ]
So, NOT taking breaks makes you less productive – and yet, we punish ourselves with our never-ending to do lists – which creates a daily stench of failure. Which, obvi – stinks.
Let’s fix your time issues by asking these 3 questions >>
Q1: “What am I not delegating? WHY am I not delegating it?”
For me, I was resistent to delegate things if the answer was, “Well, that takes me two secs.” The truth about this dangerous time mindset minefield is that if you’re doing a bunch of things yourself that you feel “take only two secs” means that you’re using many “secs!” The time it takes to switch gears between tiny tasks plus performing them yourself can add up to HOURS every week. Do the math and you’ll be shocked. This blew me away – so I’ve ditched that mindset and if I can outsource something, I do it almost every time. You don’t save money by not delegating. That’s totally wrong – so if you believe that, you’re just wrong. So STOP.
One last point here – every time you say something takes two secs, it’s the same as saying, “Just one more email,” before you take a lunch. That is a dangerous habit that can force you to always eat lunch at 3:30pm. Stop this, too.
Q2: “What is stressing me out right now in my business?”
If there’s a certain general category you can apply to the stress, you’ll have a better chance at damage-control. For me, I know I complained I didn’t take any breaks – and that too many people emailed me. Make a list of your stressors and talk to your assistant or a trusted colleague for ideas on possible solutions.
Q3: “What are my goals that I genuinely want to see happen?”
Just write down big-picture ones for now.
Once you have this stuff on paper, I’d love to also share these 4 practical, actionable techniques to triaging your time-sucks…
#1 – Close email when you’re working on actual projects.
The same goes for closing Facebook in the background. This will be SO hard for you but it will be SO good for you. I’ve cut my email time down to only a few check-ins per day. My clients genuinely haven’t noticed a difference – the only difference is I’ve found I get things done inordinately faster.
#2 – Try using the Pomodoro technique.
I use the Pomotodo app for iPhone to help me practice the Pomodoro technique in real-time. The technique stipulates that you work 25 minutes and take a five minute break — and the app will actually time you and remind you when to stop. Once you start taking breaks, you’ll be amazed at how much more productive you are – and how much more relaxed you feel! Bye bye, overwhelm.
#3 – Run a time audit.
When I have a metric ton of crap to do, I always do a time audit. I’m practically addicted to this! For info on how to do a time audit, I have a huge post here. Essentially, you log all of your activities throughout the day which boosts accountability, follow-through, productivity, and REDUCES overwhelm!
#4 – Delegate.
Whatever is taking you away from revenue-generating activities NEEDS TO BE DELEGATED to a team member. Yes, even if you can do it yourself. Yes, even if it “takes two seconds.” The fact is the energy of doing small tasks is energy taken from closing deals and connecting with leads. Don’t be a dummy about this – this is the #1 mistake I see people make!! It’s heartbreaking!
If you do lean on your team more, it’s important to make them feel heard – so implementing a monthly kick-off call is huge for having everyone be on the same page and boosting your morale.
#5 – FIX your to do list.
Not all tasks are created equal. Mind-dumping a to do list feels good, but then tackling the items is IMPOSSIBLE! Why? The sheer quantity. Then, to feel productive, we do EASY stuff first. No, no, no. Enough! We have to make one to do list of revenue-generating activities and one to do list for mental clutter. You know which one to tackle first. 😉
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