Power Down Procrastination

Procrastination and New Year resolutionsMy guess is that this week not so many of you are suffering with procrastination (if suffering is the right word!), we are still in the hype and novelty of New Year and resolutions and intentions.

So how long until the procrastination kicks in? When does the excitement wear off and you start getting distracted? I suspect not that long……

Are you a procrastinator? Or are you always productive and get everything done quickly and easily?

If I am honest I have sides of both, I can procrastinate for England if I am in that space! so believe me I know what I’m talking about here. Yet I can also be very organised and very productive when I’m in the zone. My challenge these days is often getting into the zone, getting going, once I’m there there’s no stopping me.

I think when I was younger, especially in the early days of my business, I had so much to do I really didn’t have time to be distracted or to not do it. I was definitely that busy person to go to if you wanted something done.
Over the years I think I have relaxed more and also changed focus in terms of what I actually do in my business, as well as what I deem to be important.

For more years than not since I have been self employed I have worked at home, so I have always had the potential for distraction.

And I think its all about how you manage it. I would always go to the gym during off peak hours because it was quieter, then at the same time I wasn’t working a straight 9-5 so I would still get everything done, just at a time to suit me.

Over the years I have definitely become more conscious of having a balanced life and sometimes it is taking this too far that leads me into procrastination. I lose focus on what I want to create and get caught up in minutiae. Or I take a break in the sun, which is fine, but then don’t limit it so I lose track of time and then don’t feel like picking up again.

And balance is definitely a big part of it, not only balancing work with the other parts of life, also balancing the things you want to do with the things you “have” to do, as its usually these we procrastinate over in reality.

And I know its all about focus because I prove it with my own actions, I know for me when I am focused and make a decision to do something I do it, whether it is moving country or doing my accounts at the end of the month!

So are you focused enough or can you drift into procrastination? In the next blog I will follow up with some tips to beat it…..

Focus Forward

Focus Forward by Julia McdaidSo here we are, the beginning of the New Year, resolution time. Did you make resolutions, or set intentions?

I set intentions for the year. I read recently a great way of distinguishing between the two, unfortunately I can’t remember who wrote it, but the gist is that a resolution is created to fix a problem and an intention is a focus on what you want to create. Which I think is a great distinction.

At the end of the day if you’re focusing on what you don’t want you still tend to get more of it. It makes much more sense to me to focus on what you do want, for example an intention might be to feel fit and healthy rather than a resolution to lose 20lb. Sometimes its just worth asking what the resolution is aiming to achieve, and then maybe you will be closer to what it is you actually want.

If you haven’t already done it I’d recommend giving yourself a little time to sit quietly and consider what you would like to create this year. How would you like your life to be? What difference would you like to make in the world? How do you want to feel? Who do you want to spend time with? What do you want your business to look like?
Take some time to meditate or journal on these or other similar questions and see what comes up, what you would really love. Then you can create intentions based on these findings.

If you know what you want to be celebrating this time next year it gives you plenty of focus to move you through the year.

And you know what’s really great, doing it this way you get what you would really love, not what you think you ought to do, or what other people think you should want.

Which do you do, if either, and how does it work for you?

Time, and the words we use ….

Words we use around time Have you ever stopped to think about the words we use around time?

How often do we get offered a “time saving” device, or hear someone offering to “save” us time?

You can’t “save” time. Time ticks on by regardless, you can’t put it in a box for later! The only thing that determines how much time you have is how long you live.

All we can actually do with time is spend it, invest it, use it. So the only way to get more done is to invest the time more wisely, use it more efficiently.

If ever we say “I don’t have time” what we are really saying is “I am prioritising something else” generally that something else is more important to us, which is great because it means we are focusing on what is important.

Sometimes it’s worth stopping to notice when we do this, as it does highlight where our focus is. Every now and again stop and check that the focus IS where you want it to be.

If not, adjust, as time waits for no-one 😉

Top Tips For Running A Successful, Purpose Driven Business

Top Tips from Julia McdaidToday is the day you can hear my interview on the Soulfully Successful Women Telesummit.

One of the things Kelly and I talked about in preparation for the Telesummit were my top tips to build a successful business from your passion and purpose. After thinking about this I came up with these, and I thought you might find them useful.

Firstly is follow your heart. If you are not familiar with the phrase, learn to understand what this means. To me it’s about doing it YOUR way, BEing you, being authentic and in integrity. Following your heart is about doing what is true for you, what you wnt deep down inside when yu stop listening to all those doubts and questions in your head! Its not what is expected or what you know. In fact I can’t emphasise enough, don’t just do what you know – unless it really is your passion and purpose.

The next thing I would say, which really follows on from the first is to connect with your intuition, and use it. It is your intuition which will guide you and tell you what is true for you, this is what allows you to follow your heart.

Another thing that many of us as women need to learn, because we are not very good at it, is to learn to receive. We women are naturally givers and often find this hard to do. Again this may need more explanation and understanding, I know it would have meant little to me when I started out. Here I’m referring to allowing your feminine side out, to allowing things to come to you, to be graceful and gracious and open in the way you interact. When you start thinking about attracting the right clients and people to you it pays to know how to receive (not dismiss things without thinking!).

I think it is great to remember to keep things balanced too, although this is enough to be a blog in itself and I have written about it before. Part of this is knowing you are number one, put you first. Then also think about masculine & feminine energies in the business, and in you; about having time for the non work aspects of your life, the people and things that are important to you.

And a couple of more practical tips for you:

Get the right support network around you. This will allow you to play to your strengths. so look at advisors, mentors, peers, the people you interact with and look to for help. Plus your business structure, you can set this up so that it works for you and your lifestyle, delegating where appropriate and so on – learn to delegate well. This one is still on my “must do better” list I will be honest, I find it hard sometimes.

And when it comes to using people outside of the business to help you, especially if you are paying them, don’t use advisors who only have corporate experience, because they won’t get you and they won’t understand the peculiarities of small business, whatever they might say. This is one I learned the hard way.

And finally, this kind of ties into where I started, do let go of the “shoulds” and “ought to’s“. If you are running a purpose driven business it’s about your passion, your purpose, you and your clients, it’s not about what somebody else who doesn’t know those things says you should do. Yes there are some things you have to comply with legally, every business does, outside that its your business, your way, always.

I hope you find some of these tips useful and if you have any good ones, please do share them 🙂

How To Make Best Use of Your Time

Authentic Edge - juggling workIt’s an age old problem isn’t it? Especially for entrepreneurs, who always have too much to do.

One of the easiest things to do to manage time well is to decide what is most important, and then do it. In other words always put first things first. Because really its not time you need to manage , its you! “Time management” is actually about prioritising the time you have.

Start by writing up a prioritised “To Do” list every day, it’s a good idea to do those at the end of the day ready for the next morning.

To help with prioritising, look at each item on your to do list and ask yourself whether it will move you closer towards achieving your goals. If the answer is ‘no’, then only do that task after you have done the other tasks that will.

Don’t procrastinate – especially with jobs that might seem difficult or unpleasant. You have no doubt heard the quote ‘If you have to eat a frog, don’t look at it too long!’ Work out the time of the day that you are most creative and productive and use that part of each day for your most important tasks.

Remember the 80:20 rule… ie that 20% of the effort usually generates 80% of the results. Make sure you identify (and do) everything in that 20% group.

According to Sir John Harvey-Jones, “leaders should only do what only they can do”.

So ask yourself the question ‘How much of my time is spent doing work I am over skilled for?’ Multiply that figure by how much your time is worth an hour (remember manual workers like mechanics are regularly charged out at £40+ an hour) to calculate the money you are wasting every year by being ineffective at delegating. And then multiply that figure by the number of years until you retire to give you an estimate of the money you can save by becoming a really effective delegator.

If you have terrified yourself at the thought of all those hundreds of thousands of pounds going to waste, invest a couple in The One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey (Ken Blanchard, Harper Collins). It will show you how to simply, quickly and easily reclaim the time and money that is rightfully yours by mastering the art of delegation.

Once you master the art of delegation yourself, help everyone else in your business to master it too. That way everybody will be able to delegate large parts of their workload – saving you an enormous amount of money and creating a much more satisfying work environment.

A couple more ideas to help you:

Make meetings quicker, more effective and less wasteful by: holding them standing up (where appropriate), holding them at 5.30pm (will tend to be much shorter than 10am meetings!), circulating a written agenda beforehand (makes objectives clear and allows people to opt out if not relevant) and agreeing an action plan before departing.

Invest in a small handheld dictating machine, or better still get a decent App on your mobile, then you will always ahve it with you. Whenever you are on the move, use it to dictate letters etc and (even more importantly) to capture all those great ideas that tend to crop up at the least convenient times.

If you actually apply some or all of these ideas, your days should have more time availble for the things you love to do and the things that you want to do. Are you willing to make that effort?

Five quick tips for making the absolute best use of your time

As a busy business owner time will always be at a premium. So how do you manage things to be as productive as you possibly can?

Planning your prioritiesHere are five things you can do to be more effective.

1. One of the easiest things to do to manage time well is to decide what is most important, and then do it. In other words always put first things first. Sounds obvious but its easily missed.

2. Write up a prioritised “To Do” list every day, it’s a good idea to do those at the end of the day ready for the next morning.

3. To help with prioritising, look at each item on your to do list and ask yourself whether it will move you closer towards achieving your goals. If the answer is ‘no’, then only do that job after you have done the jobs that will.

4.Don’t procrastinate – especially with jobs that might seem difficult or unpleasant. You have no doubt heard the quote ‘If you have to eat a frog, don’t look at it too long!’ Difficult jobs have a way of losing their power when you just get them out of the way.

5.Work out the time of the day that you are most creative and productive and use that part of each day for your most important tasks.