You are relaxing with family and friends...the sun is shining and you feel warm and glowing inside and out. You've just had another great year, you achieved everything that you set out to again and business is booming. You are a successful and respected business owner with a reputation for getting things done, building strong relationships and looking after the people who work with you and for you. Better still, you know that you have achieved this success without the stress, without the ridiculously long and frustrating hours, without ever feeling out of control. You've achieved it because you focused on achieving it...you focused on doing the things that would move you towards your vision, and got rid of, or handed over the things that didn't, to someone else. You remembered why you love what you do, and every day became a joyful challenge...you started to make every day count. You got your life back, your relationships have never been better. Life is good.
Can you picture it? Is this your future? Is this what you want for yourself?
Does it seem unattainable...a million miles from where you are now?
Maybe you had a great January, and you're feeling pumped up for the year...everything seems possible. And maybe you didn't. Maybe things didn't quite go according to plan...maybe you got distracted by your tax return...the miserable weather and short days got to you...you spent so long on planning and discussing your plans, that you never got round to putting anything into ACTION. You ran out of time.
Well ok...January's gone now...but February is here, and with a whole 28 days in which to Get Stuff Done. So how much do you want this?
I'm a huge believer that if you are truly passionate about what you are trying to achieve, then Getting Stuff Done comes down to one thing...having a strategy - having a system and processes that will help you to get organised.
If what you are doing doesn't excite you...doesn't get you out of bed in the morning...doesn't stop you turning on daytime tv, surfing the net or playing online games...then that is your problem...not a lack of time.
So here's your first challenge for February... Figure out what you're trying to achieve...and why it's important to you. What's the future you want for yourself?
Whatever you come up with, one thing's for sure...taking ACTION today will move you one step closer to it.
I was at a business meeting this week, where the people around the table were talking about their plans for 2014. It was both inspiring and frightening in equal measure.
While some had clearly spent a great deal of time time thinking about the coming year, reviewing wins and lessons learned from last year, setting themselves challenging goals, and planning what they would focus on and when...at least half the room had not. Wish lists and hopes were the order of the day, with lots of pre-prepared excuses for why things wouldn't work again this year.
There was lots of talk of how much there was to do, and how little time...the children, and lack of technical know-how were trotted out as blocks to success...lack of confidence, ignorance of e mail marketing, online gaming addictions, the list of reasons why not was seemingly endless.
Despite having great ideas with huge potential, they were prepared to sit on them, out of what..? Fear? Laziness? Procrastination? They were keen enough to come to business meetings, but not motivated enough to take action. It both saddened and frustrated me.
An idea...even a great one...is only an idea, until you act on it.
For those who ACT...those who plan...set targets...focus on priorities...get stuff done...the rewards are great and plentiful.
But you have to act...every day.
You have to be focused on your priorities...every day.
You have to get stuff done...every day!
It demands discipline, yes...it requires commitment, absolutely...and when you reach a target, when you achieve a goal...it requires wild celebration, most definitely!
You have to really want success to achieve it. You have to be passionate about what you do and 100% committed to doing it. You have to have enough drive and self discipline to get past your barriers and take action that moves you forward every single day.
2014 is the year of ACTION...be an ACTor and have your best year yet!
If you struggle to act...to manage your time effectively to get stuff done, then please contact me at email@example.com
I was going to call this post, ‘Beware the Ides of March’…you remember…the warning given to Julius Caesar before he was assassinated. But then I thought, what if you’re not Shakespeare fans, and you just think I’ve gone loopy!
The warning is valid though, since so many people effectively ‘assassinate’ the first quarter of their year by succumbing to the ‘start of year blues’ and find themselves at the end of March, having wasted ninety whole days being down, frustrated and grumpy. Those first three months, which are so full of potential and excitement, are often dreaded by those who hate the short, dark days, the cold and wet weather, the tax return that has to be done, and that feeling that another long hard year of book balancing stretches out ahead of them.
Even those of us who, like me are irritatingly positive, and love the promise that this time of year brings, can be daunted by what we have planned to get done, and no matter how much we love what we do - we also know how hard we’re going to have to work, to achieve the targets and goals we have challenged ourselves with.
So for the past two years, the first thing I have plotted in my calendar has been my holidays…and what a difference it’s made. It’s been a true revelation for me…and my thanks must go to Daniel Priestley (author of Entrepreneur Revolution) who suggested it to me in the first place.
You see, once you have your holidays in your calendar…and booked…and deposit paid (so there’s no pulling out), you have a milestone to work towards. Particularly if you book one in the first half of the year and one in the second, you know that your hard work and achievements, will be punctuated and rewarded by a period of rest and relaxation.
Booking your holidays this far in advance takes less time too. I don’t know about you but I had previously left holiday booking to the last minute and it became a stressful, frustrating chore that ate up way too much time when I could least afford it. I booked this year’s holidays back in November, and trust me, the knowledge that it’s done and that I have my reward to look forward to, puts a real spring in my step and spurs me on to get everything done, so that I can completely switch off and enjoy it.
We all know the value of holidays. We all know how they re-energise both our mind and our body. We all know that when our brain is officially ‘switched off’ and not thinking about our business we are able to see the big picture far more clearly and have many of our best ideas. So why wouldn’t we take them? Why wouldn’t we plan and book them now?
Do it. Do it today, and reap the rewards of greater personal effectiveness.
If you struggle to plan and manage your time effectively, then please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
How often do you hear business people say, 'there just isn't enough time in the day to get everything done that I need to'? How often do we say it ourselves? Once a week? Once a month?
How often do we get to the end of the day asking where the time went, feeling frustrated that we didn't achieve what we set out to? Or miss deadlines that we set ourselves to launch a product, write a chapter of our book, update our website? How many times have we let friends or our family down because we were 'just too busy' to stick to plans we'd made to spend time with them?
It's a common problem, and a big cause of stress for many a business man and woman.
But it doesn't have to be.
Let me ask you a different question... How often do you hear the most successful business people complaining about a lack of time, or being too busy? How often do you think they miss deadlines, or break commitments?
So what's the difference between them and us...how can they run multiple-million pound operations, take several holidays a year, and find time for new projects and products, without breaking sweat, let alone feeling any stress.
Simple...they have a strategy...a personal system for managing their time and their workload. Something that they have developed through trial and error, and refined as their business, and commitments have grown. While we are bumbling into the new year with a half baked set of unspecific, anything but SMART goals, and a jumbled list of things 'to do'...they are following their carefully structured plans, sticking religiously to their daily disciplines, and celebrating the achievement of their milestones.
Time is money...and the most successful business owners don't waste a penny of it.
I have my own strategy too...bits of it are a takeaway from my time at McDonald's, bits I learned from modelling others, and some bits I've developed over time, based on what works for me and what doesn't.
There are a number of elements to it, but in a nutshell it consists of three things:
Regularly asking myself the killer question, 'What am I trying to achieve...and why.'
Planning and scheduling everything
Sticking to a set of daily routines that ensure that I get things done!
It works for me!
What works for you?
If time management is a challenge for you, then please contact me at email@example.com
It’s the start of another new year, and for me, after the roller coaster ride that was 2013, it’s the most exciting that I can remember! There’s so much to get done, so many new people to work and meet with, so much fun to have doing what I love...I hope it’s the same for you.
I love planning for a new year...twelve whole months stretching out ahead, full of opportunity and possibility. Developing a plan that is fully focused on the big game...the important stuff...the things that are going to move me and my business forward and build my personal and professional relationships.
Planning is crucial if you want to achieve...if you want to deliver measurable results. Yet so many of us head into a new year armed with only a broad set of goals and a jumbled list of tasks, and end up wasting time on irrelevant social media conversations and unfocused meetings and activities. Before we know it, we’re into March, and we’ve lost nearly a quarter of the year without achieving anything meaningful.
Getting your plan right starts with the big question: What am I trying to achieve...and why? and builds from there...goals, objectives, targets, deadlines, milestones, measures of success…are all essential elements in a robust plan.
After that, it’s down to your personal strategy for time management and personal effectiveness...your daily disciplines that are going to keep you focused on what you’re trying to achieve and why - those crucial first 90 minutes focused on business-building activity; the calls and meetings all scheduled...all with end times; the disciplined use of social media. Every one of us needs a system that works for us...one that we can be committed to...one that ensures that we feel good when we look back at the day.
I also believe that we need a keynote for our year...you might call it a motto, or maybe a rallying cry. For me this year, I’m going with something I picked up from the new Walter Mitty film...a line that really resonated with me. I’m going to live this year by the ABCs and be Adventurous, Brave, and Creative.
How about you? ;)
PS If you would like help in developing your planning system, or managing your time and personal effectiveness, please do get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be running an online Masterclass on Time Management & Personal Effectiveness later this month.
Marianne is the author of three books, and is currently working on her fourth, whilst regularly writing her blog, we hope you enjoy it :-)