Category Archives: Anywhere with WiFi

4 Productivity Tips Savvy Entrepreneur Swear By For Making the Most of Your Time

Productivity Tips Savvy Entrepreneurs Swear By

One of the biggest things I struggle with in my business is productivity. I wake up, get breakfast, and sit down at my desk with the best of intentions for the day. Then, I get sucked into the social media rabbit hole, or a plethora of emails and clients requests, and by the end of the day am left wondering where the day went. Sound familiar?

Productivity Gets Destroyed When We Go Off Course From The To-Do List

The truth is, it’s not enough to dream of success. It’s not even enough to set goals.

The only way to truly achieve your dreams and build the business you’re meant to build is to sit down and just do it.

And that’s where many of us struggle. It’s the doing that trips us up more times than not.

We overbook our calendars until today’s to-dos become next week’s past dues. We procrastinate on the things that are important while attending to things that are merely “nice to do.” And sometimes we simply take on too much—even when we know better.

The answer? Embrace these four productivity hacks that savvy entrepreneurs use to get more done in less time.

  1. Rituals and Habits: Simply put, a ritual or habit is a consistent way of doing something. You have a morning ritual (wake up, brush your teeth, work out, shower, and head to your office), evening ritual (check homework, tuck the kids in, watch the evening news, and hit the sack), weekend ritual (sleep late, mow the lawn, catch a movie, visit your mom), and many others.

    The trouble is, if you’re not careful with your rituals, they can turn into productivity killers. Is checking Facebook or email a part of your morning ritual? Is turning on Skype a part of your at work ritual? Distractions such as these can turn even your best intentions into hours of wasted time.

    Take a good look at your rituals. What are you doing that you should not be—or that should be moved to another part of your day? Make your rituals more efficient and you’ll automatically get more done.

  2. Calendar Management: Want to know how much time you really have available for that new project? Try blocking off time in your calendar for all your existing projects. Fill in all your client calls, your business administrative tasks, time for meals and breaks, outside appointments, and everything else you’re committed to. What’s left might just shock you.

    Make it a habit to block time in your calendar for every commitment, and you’ll never again over-promise or over-commit.

  3. Learn to Let Go: Here’s a news flash. You do not have to do everything in your business. You can (and should) hand off those low-level tasks to someone else. Hire a VA to create your documents and manage your calendar. Let your tech support person manage your blog and email. Turn over your bookkeeping to an accountant. The time you free up will allow you to work on what’s truly important—and that only you can do.
  4. Work Hard, But Play Harder: You are not a machine. You cannot work all day every day and hope to be at your best all the time. You need time for those creative juices to replenish.

    Take a day off. Get some rest, or relax on a long, slow hike. Take a friend out to lunch. Go shopping with your kids. See a movie or a play. Do something—anything—other than work.

    Not only will you return to the office feeling much more refreshed, but you’ll find yourself more creative and productive than before as well.

    Bonus tip!!! Focus on ONE thing at a time: Multi-tasking is impossible. You cannot efficiently create a new coaching program while you’re simultaneously surfing Facebook, keeping an eye on the kids, and answering the phone every time it rings.

    Instead, use your calendar to block time off for important tasks, then turn everything else off so you can focus on that one thing at a time. No phone, no Facebook, no kids or husbands or neighbors or pets demanding “just a minute” of your time. Tune everything out, and you’ll find your work getting done much faster.

Managing your time and turning up your productivity is not something that comes naturally to most people but when you learn to master this skill, you’ll find your business grows right along with you.

Also check out my recent post “How You Can Turn a Dream Into a Workable Plan.”

Want to learn how to launch a business you can run anywhere with an internet connection? Check out The Suitcase Enterpreneur by Natalie Sisson! Click the book photo to purchase now {aff link}
Turn Your Big Dream Into a Workable Plan

How You Can Turn a Dream Into a Workable Plan

How You Can Turn a Dream Into a Workable Plan

As an entrepreneur, it can be difficult watching many of your fellow entrepreneurs making big strides in their business. If you’re anything like I used to be, your first instinct may be to get jealous. Or worse, you go into a downward spiral of sadness feeling as though you may never be able to achieve what they have.

Sound familiar? You’ve dreamed for so long about creating a solid, sustainable business, and yet, you aren’t moving forward. You’re still asleep in dream land.

You attend conferences, sign up for free webinars, buy paid training, and sometimes even work with a coach or two. And yet week after week, month after month, year after year, you fail to make any progress toward your dreams.

Are you just lazy? Of course not! It’s something worse. You don’t know how to move from a dream to a plan and you’re stuck.

If this sounds like you, fear not! Below is the best way I’ve found to turn a dream into a workable plan. Then, once you have a plan, work the plan, and your dreams will “magically” start coming true! 

Start with the long-term dream, but don’t let it overwhelm you!

If you’ve ever been on a job interview and were asked, “Where do you want to be five years from now,” you might have thought it an odd question. But as a business owner, that might just be the most important consideration you can have.

Without knowing where you’re headed in the long term, it’s impossible to create a map to get there. You need to know what your destination is, so that every day, week, month, and year you can check your progress to be sure you’re still headed in the right direction.

However, remember that just because you’re thinking about the long-term, you shouldn’t let it overwhelm you. Instead consider this – the distance from Tampa, Florida to Los Angeles, California is 2,525 miles. But, even if you drive just a few miles a day you’ll eventually arrive at your destination. Which brings us to the next point…

Reverse engineer your long-term dream, and create milestones to use as momentum to keep going

Once you know your ultimate destination, you can draft a plan for getting there, and create the interim goals that will help you stay on track.

For example, if in five years you want to be free to travel for 8 weeks every year, then you need to have a few pieces in place before that can happen:

  • Enough income to cover travel costs
  • Passive income to sustain your business while you’re not working
  • A staff who can manage the business while you’re away

With this list, you can then work backwards from your five-year goal, and create milestones along the way. If you know you’ll need to earn $150,000 annually in order to fund your travel plans, and right now you’re earning $60,000, then reasonable milestones might look like this:

  • Year 1: $70,000
  • Year 2: $85,000
  • Year 3: $105,000
  • Year 4: $125,000
  • Year 5: $150,000

With these milestones in place, it’s much easier to figure out exactly what you need to do to achieve them, by setting monthly, weekly, and daily goals.

Create smaller goals to get to the big wins over time – and you will get there!

If you say to someone, you need to move from $60,000 to $150,000 in five years, that’s a pretty overwhelming task. After all, it’s a $90,000 increase and most people will look at that and immediately dismiss it as impossible. It’s big, so it feels scary!

But when you break it down as I have above, and then again into smaller steps, it suddenly doesn’t look so daunting.

In the first year of the plan I have outlined here, your income needs to increase only by $10,000. That’s less than $1000 per month! Surely that’s easy enough to accomplish!

You can further break that down by week: $1000 per month is just $250 per week. If you sell just one more $250 group coaching package, or five more of a $50 training program every week, you’ve already reached your milestone.

That might mean sending one more email to your list, or investing an additional $20 per month in Facebook ads, or perhaps reaching out to one more JV partner. The point is, reaching this much smaller goal is far easier than thinking about that five-year plan.

Over to you – get real about your dream

So what’s your big dream? How can you reverse engineer it into achievable milestones, workable goals, and finally, daily and weekly tasks? If you can do this (and you definitely can), then you can achieve anything in business and in life.

Who knows? You might even become more successful than the people you’re envious of right now. Do yourself a favor and only compete with the previous version of yourself. From now on, focus on what YOU need to do every day to make your dreams realities, and slowly, but surely, they WILL become realities.

Simple Steps to Working Smarter Rather Than Harder in Your Business

In our business lives, we hear the saying all the time. “Work smarter, not harder.” But, how many of us do it? Or for that matter, how many of us know what working smarter actually even means. The problem is knowing something and implementing it are two very different things. If you are facing this problem of knowing that you could be working smarter rather than harder, try the pointers below to help you get more productive with your time and create more profits overall.

Now you may not get to implement all of these ideas, particularly not all in one go. However, if you start with one and build on that, then you are at least moving forward.

Work on what is relevant and most profitable.

This may seem obvious, but what seems obvious is not always easy to implement. Do a self diagnostic test to see what takes up the most of your time, and you will likely find it is the part of your business that is the least profitable. It may be time to outsource that element, so it costs less time and resources and moves it off your plate. Or, you may just need a better system in place for getting it done faster giving you time to focus on the more profitable projects or components of your business.

Manage your projects more efficiently.

Once again, easier said than done. Still, you should try to build structure into what you are doing. Many people have so much going on in their day-to-day, that they are continuously jumping from project to project with little focus. What you should do instead is finish a task completely before starting another.

No, this doesn’t mean completing entire projects in one time period. I’m a realist and I understand that this isn’t possible for every project. What I do mean though is that you should chunk your projects down and complete an entire chunk at a time before moving on to the next chunk of whatever project you want to move forward on. Bonus points if you document where you left off on every project so that you don’t come back to it wondering what’s next!

Set deadlines for everything.

How many times do you set a deadline to get something done and make sure it is done? You have client deadlines I’m sure, but have you ever created self-imposed deadlines for yourself to ensure things get done in a timely manner? Doing this triggers a sense of need to get it done now, rather than allowing ourselves the “luxury” of putting it off until tomorrow. Just knowing you have a deadline regardless of who set it will inspire your brain to complete it now, not when it’s actually due.

We all know how much we can get done the day before we go on leave or a nice well earned vacation. Apply the same principle to what you do on a daily basis.

A simple starting point is to chunk down your top 5 tasks and create the deadlines you can set around these. The deadlines must be realistic, however. Otherwise you are going to burn yourself out trying to reach them, or you’ll do a piss poor job of accomplishing the tasks to the best of your ability.

Employ people that have strengths where you have weaknesses.

This is really about leveraging your time. If you are not good at doing something, but you still need it in your business, get someone else that is an expert in that area to do it. Then, let yourself get on with the next task in your business. You can either do this by hiring virtual assistants part time or full time, or by hiring contractors for one off tasks as frequently or infrequently as needed.

Manage time interruptions.

Think about the number of times you are trying to get something done that will help with the profitability of your business, when your phone rings or someone knocks on your door for a “quick catch up.” It’s imperative you become more structured in managing these interruptions. Let the phone go to voicemail and set aside time to return all the calls, for example. Ask people to book in time for you so you can manage your day, and not have their interruption mess up your entire schedule.

Remember, time management is not about trying to manage time; there are only 24 hours in a day. It is about managing yourself, your sanity, and the moving parts in your business. For some people time management is easy and effortless, but for many of us it’s a daily struggle. As you work on it though, you’ll build habits for better efficiency in your life.

Additional ideas for getting more done in your day include:

Activity Logs: If you often wonder at the end of the day where your day went, create an activity log to start logging how much time you spend on your various activities. Only once you know where your time went can you change anything.

To Do List: Yes, having a to-do list is important, but if you’re spending too much time on creating lists, you’re not going to get anything done. Keep them short and simple with your top 3-5 things you HAVE to get done each day, and then try to do them before you do anything else.

Create a schedule, and actually plan your day: Unimportant, but time-consuming tasks can end up consuming a lot of your time. Schedule your most important things first, and leave plenty of buffer time for each item. Prioritizing enables you to focus your time and energy on the important things. You can’t successfully manage and grow your business if you can’t successfully manage your time.

Unpaid Writing Positions- That’s NOT a JOB!! (RANT ALERT!)

Warning! This is not a warm and fuzzy blog post. If you are looking for warm and fuzzy go google sweet cat pics or something. This is me being sick and tired of writers (and all artists for that matter) being asked to work for free. I’m over it! This trend of websites popping up all over posting job openings for unpaid positions ticks me off!! In my opinion they should not be allowed on job boards because unpaid= not a job in my book!

What prompted this angry blog post from me? Welp, I’ve been trying to get more writing work because my husband is planning on going back to school in the fall and I am going to need to take over more of the money making responsibilities. I’ve been filling out lots of applications and stumbled onto a website similar to one I’m already getting paid to write for. So, I sent an email to this writing website because I heard they too are seeking new writers. In the email I listed my credentials, how long I’ve been writing and ended with an inquiry about compensation. Was promptly emailed this:

“Right now, we are only inviting people to join our writers community, which offers a link and Google+ authorship, but they are not paid positions. It’s a steadily growing group of writers who want a bit more exposure with their work. If you’re interested in that, you can read more and sign up at (website redacted).”

Below is the response I WANTED to send back to the company but instead opted to not respond at all.

Dear evil company that plans to make money off the backs of unpaid writers,

Most writers don’t need exposure. For the most part, we all get plenty of exposure by excitedly sharing what we write with friends, family and our social networks via facebook, twitter, LinkedIn and more.

What most writers DO need is rent money, food money, gas money and money to pay the rest of our bills. Would you expect your dentist, your plumber, your landlord/ mortgage loan officer, your doctor or any other service provider to be paid in word of mouth advertising? I highly doubt it, so why can’t you pay a writer for their services?


No, I’m not interested in working for your company and I sincerely hope other writers will refrain from writing for your company for free as well. Continuing to make websites and publications think it is okay to not pay us is unacceptable and needs to be stopped. However, as I’m not a jerk, I do wish you good luck in your future ventures.


All the best,
Ashley Grant

My Obsession with The Suitcase Entrepreneur

 

If you follow me on facebook you have likely heard me mention The Suitcase Entrepreneur at least once or thrice 😉 I LOVE this book so much I’m reading it for the third time. The idea of the book is to build a mobile business that can be run from anywhere in the world. This as many of my friends and family know has been a desire of mine for YEARS.

Over the past few months I’ve been getting closer and closer to being able to run my business from anywhere but like any dream I have had a few setbacks along the way. In the last month my desire to make this dream a reality has gotten stronger than ever and I’ve been coming up with plans and ideas to cut the cords and finally hit the road with nothing but my husband, my laptop, my camera and my suitcase.

I’m anxious to see where my next steps will take me. I’ll post updates on my goal as time goes on 🙂

Do you want to create a mobile business that you love with the freedom to work from anywhere in the world? I highly suggest you check out The Suitcase Entrepreneur today!

This post contains links to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.