Productivity

  • How to have a CEO Day in your business

    Do you have a CEO day in your business? Having a CEO day plays a huge role in growing your business to new levels.

    Have you heard of CEO days, or do you have CEO days in your business? If you haven’t heard of CEO days, maybe you’ve been having back-to-back client calls, 12-hour days filled with busy work as you manage the day-to-day operations of your business. All this is normal.

    Obviously, there are ways to streamline your business so that you are not always in the hustle mode. But it is also important to have time for thinking and time for white space. White space happens when you take a step back to; strategize, think, reflect and plan, and not just always being in hustle mode. 

    Having a CEO day would be an amazing idea for you if you seldom have the time to slow down. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase that sometimes we just need to slow down in our businesses to speed up. Because, when we are always busy and on the go, it’s difficult to take a step back and see whether the work we are putting in is aligned with our long-term vision and strategy for your business.

    What exactly is a CEO day?

    A CEO day is a really amazing way of keeping yourself in check with that strategy. Basically, a CEO day time that you set aside in your calendar to work on your business, as opposed to in your business which is what we typically do most of the time. It is the self-care version for your business that you would typically have for yourself as a person.

    This is not about catching up with client work, batching your content, or catching up with your team and to make sure that everyone is doing what they’re supposed to be doing. This is “You” time for your business. 

    How to structure your CEO days

    Step 1: Pick your preferred day of the week

    You have to be intentional! CEO Days will not happen for your business if you don’t make time for it. In the same way that self-care doesn’t just happen for ourselves if we don’t make time for it. I like to block out a day in my calendar every single week, and it doesn’t have to be a full day. Especially, if you are running your business with a 9-5, it could just be one or two hours as a start. 

    So, block out some time in your calendar and make sure it is very clear what that time is for i.e., CEO Day. The other things I avoid doing my CEO days are meetings, team follow-ups or collaborations. I really just want to dial in and focus on my business on that day. And for me, my CEO day happens on Mondays!

    Step 2: Plan in advance

    Don’t wake up on your CEO day and just ‘wing’ it. Take some time the day before your CEO day, or after your CEO day and come up with 1-3 things you want to focus on the next CEO day.

    And if you want to elevate it and add some fun to it, you can even go somewhere quiet outside of your usual working space. You could go to a co-working space or make it a weekend solocation. Anything that will get you excited about your CEO day is a big plus!

    Step 3: Protect your CEO time

    The most important thing is to make sure that you are being very protective of this time. Because we don’t have the time to do that on a day-to-day basis. 

    Try not to postpone or procrastinate about it because this is really your business’s version of self-care. And if you’re not making that time for self-care, you are going to be in this constant spiral of being busy all the time. Remember, if you can’t take that time to take the step back and really have that overview of your business and where it’s going, no one else is going to be able to do that.

    11 ideas for your CEO Day

    Here are a few ideas on activities that you can do on your CEO Day. 

    1. Follow up with leads that you know you’ve had in your business, but you haven’t had the time to follow up with them.
    2. Develop with new product ideas. 
    3. Develop business growth ideas.
    4. Reflect on your strategy, performance & anything else that has been on your mind of late
    5. Plan out your next quarter. Especially if you only plan out your quarter when the quarter starts, which is not the most optimal way of planning. Learn more about quarterly planning here.
    6. You could also do some digital organization, maybe your digital workspace hasn’t had some self-care in a while. And your downloads folder is not looking good. This is a good time to do that. 
    7. Clean up your backend: Check that your systems are working properly. Maybe there’s a system or a tool that you’ve been wanting to incorporate in your business and you know it’s going to help you save some time. This is a good time to look into that. 
    8. You could even do some mindset work which is so key as a business owner. Take time to journal and take stock of how you’re feeling about your business.
    9. Anything you don’t like about your business that you want to change? This is the time to do that reflection.
    10. This is the time to check in with your overall long-term vision and see where you are at right now, in comparison to what you had planned for your vision at the start of the year or at the start of the quarter.
    11. Lastly, you could just take the time to rest. It has been proven psychologically that rest is an important part of being productive and being the best version of yourself. 

    I hope this inspires you to start having your CEO Days or hours. And I would love to know how it goes. You can share your experience with me on Instagram. Listen to the full podcast episode here.

    Do you have a CEO day in your business? Having a CEO day plays a huge role in growing your business to new levels.

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  • How to declutter your digital workspace

    Nobody likes a cluttered workspace. The same applies to our digital workspace. Here's a step by step guide on how to declutter your digital workspace.

    Today I want to give a few tips on something that I know we could all do better and it’s something we all need to do as well. That is how to declutter and keep a clean digital workspace. If you are a business owner, you probably spend 80% of your time working on your business.

    Most of which is within your digital workspace in one form or another. Whether it is on your laptop or on your Google Chrome, where you are toggling in between different tabs, you definitely spend a majority of your time in your digital workspace. 

    How does it feel to have a cluttered workspace?

    Now, how does it feel when you know that there is a cupboard or a room in your house, which hasn’t been organized or cleared from things you don’t need? It brings some sense of anxiety or unease, right? That’s how I feel as well when it comes to my digital workspace when I know that I haven’t cleaned it up.

    Or when I know that I have 1,001 files in my downloads folder that are disorganized and I probably won’t use or open half of those ever again. It kind of gives me this feeling of unease like there’s something that I know needs to be done, but I just keep procrastinating on it. And I know one day I will have to open that download folder and look for a really important file or folder. And I kind of dread when that time comes.

    So, it is totally okay to feel that sense of unease or overwhelm or not even wanting to think about that cupboard that is just going to come tumbling down when it comes to your digital workspace. Whether that’s your downloads folder or your camera roll on your phone, or even the 1,001 tabs that are open on your phone or Google Chrome on your laptop.

    The effects of ignoring your digital clutter

    However, ignoring the digital clutter that is clouding your mind and keeping you feeling unease in your business, is just going to make the problem worse. Because at some point you are going to have to deal with it. At some point, it is going to stop you in your tracks from making progress. It could even result in habits that we do not want you to pick up. 

    Some of these habits include multitasking and having the multi-tabs syndrome. For me, that happens a lot! Because I am trying to look for things and then I have so many tabs open and then it’s so easy to get distracted. And then after half an hour, I’m like, okay, where did the half an hour ago and what have I done? So, we do not want that to be happening as a result of digital clutter. 

    Another thing that it could be causing, which you may not be aware of is the time that you are spending toggling between those tabs trying to find a file. And sometimes it could sound like it’s such a small amount of time. I mean, it’s just one minute, right? It really won’t make a big difference. However, when you start to add up the time, you’re spending toggling between those tabs, trying to find that file that you worked on three days ago, those minutes add up.

    I did a bit of math to just see how much time we spend trying to find files or toggling between taskbars. And how much time is wasted from doing these type of activities? And we really shouldn’t be wasting that time as the CEO in our business. Because we could be using that time on revenue-generating activities. 

    Let’s say you take two minutes every single day to find files or toggle between taskbars to find that one specific file that you need. Or to scroll on your camera, looking for that one specific graphic you want to post on your social media page. Two minutes doesn’t sound a lot.

    However, when you add it up, on an annual basis that comes to 32 hours. That is a whole work week that is spent every year just trying to look for files or trying to toggle between taskbars. And I’m not even counting the time that is wasted because of the habits that kick in. Such as, multi-tab syndrome or multitasking, which really wastes even much more time and really reduces your productivity.

    I hope you are now convinced that you need to declutter your digital workspace every so often. And I know it’s not the easiest of things to do. Just like decluttering your house isn’t the easiest of things to do. I know I have one or two cupboards out there that I have been procrastinating on for the longest time. But hopefully, I will get it done soon and this is a pep talk to me as well.

    Here are a few tips I would like to give before I even go into the process of how to actually detox and declutter your digital workspace.

    1. Don’t try to do it all at once.

    Even if you give yourself a day to do a digital cleanup exercise, you will not have finished everything by the end of that day. So, tackle it one step at a time. You could even declutter one area of your digital workspace at a time instead of trying to do it all at once. Give yourself some grace, because digital decluttering is something that we all have to do.

    There is no one who has this all under wraps and perfect. Every one of us has some form of digital clutter that needs to be dealt with. So do not beat yourself up because you have to do this. What I would say you should do is get into the habit of doing it often. So even if it’s just once a month, get into the habit of doing it. 

    Then you can even just commit to one hour a month for starts to do a digital cleanup. And there are people who are actually organizers of digital workspaces. So, if you want to just hand this over to someone else by all means do so. But if you do not have that ability, or want to get into the habit of cleaning up often, then commit yourself to just one hour a month to do a digital cleanup and organization.

    2. Compartmentalize the process

    Next, compartmentalize the process. In the same way, you don’t want to say, I am going to do a cleanup of my house and a decluttering exercise this weekend. And then what happens on Saturday morning? You just go back into bed and you’re like, maybe it will happen next weekend. But today I really don’t feel like doing it. Versus if you just thought of it in terms of one room at a time. So just think of it as I’m going to deal with the master bedroom today. And it is going to be a big, big win if I can actually do it. That sounds and feels so much less overwhelming and so much more doable than if you try to do the entire house at once. The same thing goes for your digital workspace. 

    The process of decluttering your digital workspace

    1. Cleaning up your offline workspace aka folders

    The first thing you want to do to declutter your digital workspace is cleaning up. When I am decluttering, I remove things that I don’t need from my downloads folder and cloud drives. I also delete duplicate photos and uninstall apps that I do not use. Well, that is clutter that can be easily cleaned up.

    This can take a long time if you haven’t done it in a while or you haven’t done this at all since you started working on your business. However, you want to do the cleanup first, before you start organizing things. Because if you start organizing amazing things that you don’t even need, I mean, that doesn’t make sense, right?

    Have you watched home decluttering and cleaning TV shows? The first thing they do removing things and cleaning up the mess. Removing things that haven’t been used in the last probably six months and getting rid of things that they know won’t be used again.

    2. Cleaning up your online workspace

    Then you want to do a cleanup of your online workspace. So, the folders are more of your offline workspace. Your online workspace includes; Google Chrome or Safari or any other browser you use. Do a cleanup of that.

    The first thing you can do is clear your browsing history, clear the cache, and then remove any passwords that you do not use. Remove any bookmarks and shortcuts that you do not use. Just clean it up completely. And if you haven’t used it in the last three to six months, chances are you are not going to use it again. 

    The same goes for your email inbox. If you have 1,923 unread emails mark them all as read. This will help you organize your inbox easily. Should you want to go back to those emails later, they’ll still be there. But chances are, you are not going to go back to them. That way, you don’t have that number staring at you and making you feel a sense of anxiety.

    3. Organizing your files

    The next step to declutter your digital workspace is to organize your files. Have a consistent hierarchy across all your different folders or all your different workspaces where you save and store files.

    I have a hierarchy on my Google drive that I replicate on my laptop in terms of the main folders. Have the same folder structure across your business so that you don’t have to think twice when you have to try and locate specific files.

    How I do it is I use the four core areas of the business to organize and create that hierarchy. In my case, the four core areas of business that I have replicated onto my folder structure is; Operations, client management, marketing and product & service delivery.

    I have a main folder for each of these core areas of business. And then within those folders, I do have some subfolders. But the main aim is to make sure that your files all have a home to stay in. You do not want any files that are just hanging and lurking around. That could cause you unnecessary overwhelm or anxiety.

    Nobody likes a cluttered workspace. The same applies to our digital workspace. Here's a step by step guide on how to declutter your digital workspace.

    How to ensure you stick to the organization hierarchy

    1. Changing your browser download settings

    The next thing is to ensure that you actually stick to the organization hierarchy. One of the things I noticed last week, is to make sure that every time I try and download something from Google Chrome, it asks me where I want to save it.

    Instead of just clicking download and it goes straight to the downloads folder. Otherwise, that just clogs up your downloads folder and creates even more anxiety, especially when you’re trying to find something. 

    Change your Google Chrome settings so that every time you try and download a file, it asks you where you’d want to save it, and immediately save it to its rightful home. 

    2. Email Inbox Management

    Managing your inbox is vital when it comes to decluttering your digital workspace. At this point ensure that you have marked all your old unread emails as read, and you have tried to delete the emails that you know, you’re not going to look at.

    The next thing you want to do is to, unsubscribe from any newsletters that you have not opened in the last two to three months, even one to two months. If you haven’t opened it, chances are you won’t open it. Or it is just not useful for you at this point in time.

    And you can always resubscribe to people’s newsletters. Unsubscribing from someone’s newsletter now does not mean you are divorcing them forever. It just means that it’s not the right time for you to be consuming their content. So why do you want to clog up your inbox with their content when you are not even consuming it?

    3. Creating filters  

    Then you want to make sure you create filters for emails you receive often for them to go to a specific folder. If you know that you do not need to read that email, but you know, you need to receive it create a filter. For example, invoices that are coming through, create a filter and have a folder for those invoices. And then at the end of the month, you can deal with them or your accountant can deal with them if you have one.

    PRO TIP:

    You can actually create an automation such that for every email that comes from a specific person, the files that are in those emails are saved onto a folder in Google drive. So, you never have to even open those emails. 

    4. Reduce the number of times you check your email

    Then as a general rule of thumb, reduce the number of times you check your emails on a daily basis. Try and start with two times a day and then gradually reduce that to once a day. Because you do not need to be in your inbox all the time. I know it kind of feels like fear of missing out but there is nothing that is so urgent that requires you to be in your inbox more than twice. 

    Set auto-responder if you want to keep people at ease when it comes to your response time. Set an autoresponder in your email that lets people know that you only read your emails once a day. You could also include some frequently asked questions in the autoresponder.

    This could instantly save time because maybe someone is sending an inquiry and your FAQs section on your autoresponder could actually give them the information they need. At the same time, people will know and expect that okay, she’s not going to look at my email immediately. But if she hasn’t responded within the next 48 hours, then I can send a follow-up. That way, it’s a win on them because you’ve managed the expectations. It’s a win on you because you’ve minimized the time you are in your inbox and you are spending that time on more productive activities.

    5. Set a specific time to act on your emails

    Lastly, try and have a specific time when you act on your emails. You could be looking at your emails once a day. But the fact that you are reading your email does not mean you need to do that action immediately. Instead, you could create a task in your task management tool to act on that email at a specific time in the future. When you know it is going to be the time to be working on those specific tasks. So never ever feel that you need to act on emails immediately. This is especially if you’ve already managed the expectations of the people who are sending you emails by setting that auto-response.

    In conclusion,

    I hope you have found this helpful. Remember, take it one step at a time. Just commit to one hour a month, or even better one hour a week to declutter your digital workspace. Also, try and do it as often as possible so that you don’t get into that phase of overwhelm and you don’t adopt unneeded habits. Because being in your inbox all the time all is not a CEO activity. Multitasking across different tabs is not something that CEOs who are scaling their businesses do.

    If you have any questions specifically on decluttering and detoxing your digital workspace, drop them here.

    Listen to the podcast here.

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  • How to maximize your productivity with cycle syncing

    I’m so, so excited about today’s interview, because I have the amazing Sarah Blake as my guest. I’ve always been curious to understand and learn what working in flow has to do with your hormonal cycle. This is why I invited Sarah as she’s able to share with us about what cycle syncing has to do with productivity in our business. Sarah Blake is a cyclical living guide and she teaches female entrepreneurs how to harness their hormonal cycle and the cycles of nature. So, they can create lives and businesses with less force and more flow. 

    Hi Sarah, so excited to interview you today. Tell us about yourself and your business 

    I am a cyclical living guide. What this means is that I help women to connect to their menstrual cycle and also the cycles of nature to understand how their energetic ebbs and flows work. For them use that to plan their lives and businesses with more flow. 

    It takes a lot of energy to start or even run a business on a full-time basis or as a side hustle. And it can get to a point where you really resent your business, if you are not being smart about the way you use your energy. This is why it’s vital to understand how your energy works in a cycle. I think this is just such important and powerful information and it’s really what I teach, share and guide people through.

    What exactly is cycle syncing in relation to productivity?

    Cycle syncing with your productivity and business is all about, first of all, understanding how you personally feel in each phase of the cycle. Then adjusting your activities around that. Overall, the cycle that we experience; we have a low energy phase, a rising energy phase, a peak energy phase, and then a decreasing energy phase. Of course, the low energy phase is when we’re menstruating. 

    The ovulation phase is our highest energy phase. And so, what we can do when we understand that roadmap is that we can plan our highest energy activities. Activities such as interviews, running launches and doing promotions. We can do all of that when we know we have our highest energy. 

    Then we can plan ahead so that in our lower energy time, we’re doing more inner work. We’re doing more big picture visioning and everything that comes in between. 

    It all starts with the awareness of the phases. Then it goes to understanding how you personally feel, because I can’t tell you exactly how you’re going to feel and what your energetic capacity is going to be. I can only give you an overall picture of it. 

    But what I’ve found is really powerful with my clients, students and my programs is that they make it personalized. Because we all have different businesses. Some of us have these really big, energetic launches maybe like a few times a year. While others are selling things regularly, because let’s say we have more of an evergreen model. And so it’s all about figuring out what works best for you, but with the foundation of knowledge about our bodies. 

    How exactly does the level of our different hormones impact our creativity and productivity? 

    Let’s start with the menstrual phase, cause we’re all familiar with that.

    Menstrual phase

    We all know what it feels like to get our periods. And for some of us we have a better or worse relationship depending on our health history and things like that. But most of us are familiar with being a little bit more tired, being a little bit less interested in doing the heavier work. What’s actually happening in this phase is we have our lowest concentration of hormones. And that actually is why we experience these energetic lows. 

    And so what that means is when we have really low hormone levels which is natural in that phase. We’re more tired, so we’re not drawn to productivity. We’re drawn to rest. What’s so interesting is that in our brains, we have this unique connection between both hemispheres of our brains. Which are the thinking side and the feeling side and that allows us to be really intuitive at that time. 

    What’s so beautiful about this phase is that we have the ability to really go inwards.

    Create visions and think about what we really want and not necessarily take action. But just do an evaluation because we have these low hormones supporting us.

    Follicular phase

    And then in the next phase, as estrogen rises, estrogen is really that like creative juice that we run on. A couple of days after our period, you’ve probably experienced this where you feel your energy returning, right? YES YES! And, and you suddenly are like, okay, I’m ready to start things. A lot of people characterize this as feeling like spring. It’s like springtime, energy coming to life again. 

    What’s so wonderful about estrogen is it allows us to be really good at starting and taking action and putting that energetic output out there. It’s also really good for some of the more spatial activities such as design and planning things. It’s really good for us to kind of see the whole picture and figure out how the pieces go together. So that’s really useful because it’s like we have this beginning, low energy phase. We’ve had our evaluation and now we’re ready to start projects.

    Ovulation phase

    During the ovulation phase, we have testosterone come in at this time. Testosterone is what we usually see as a more masculine hormone. But it allows us to be a bit more of a go-getter. And this is a great time to sell. Because we are very good at communicating. We have these high communication powers and we’re also a little bit more assertive. 

    We feel good about it! Because we feel like we have the hormonal support to talk to people, to communicate, to sell our offers and promote ourselves. 

    Luteal phase

    Next, we have progesterone come at the end. After we ovulate, progesterone is the hormone that comes in. This is also known as our luteal phase. This is that fall energy. Because it’s about shutting things down as we prepare for another menstrual phase and our energy decreases. Well, progesterone is really wonderful at helping us to be focused and detail oriented.

    What’s great about that is all the projects we started in our follicular phase, in that springtime energy, now we have hormonal support to help us finish things. And we finish them right before we go back to our resting phase, which is the menstrual phase. It’s so beautiful. We have this entire roadmap of resting, starting, communicating, and selling and promoting, and then completing. And that’s built into our bodies! 

    What’s the best way to balance our masculine ways of working with structure and femininity, where we work more in flow and with less force?

    Here, the key is that your structures are supporting you. Not that your structures are just another way to tick off a bunch of boxes. Sometimes we feel very beholden to our structures. Like if I don’t do these five things today, then I’m a failure. And the reality is. The reason we have systems and structures and processes is to make things easier! Actually, the structures are there to support the flow.

    Whether your structure is a certain way that you organize your day or whether it’s an automation set up, or you have a way that you plan out your launches, all of those things are there to help you. 

    I really believe that we’re not there to support our structures. Our structures are there to support us. When thinking about creating plans and containers for the way you approach your day and business, you always want to be thinking of it from an angle of, is this going to help me to be in my flow? It’s not about just doing a thing to do a thing. There are those of us who haven’t heard about this and are used to hearing about the masculine hustle kind of way of approaching things. 

    We may just be used to achieving to achieve. Just to show ourselves that we’re doing things. I know you talk about this in your content too. Just because you’re doing something doesn’t mean you’re actually being productive. You have to figure out which activities are really helping move the needle and with the highest leverage for you. And I think that’s where we align really well. It’s about, is the structure making things easier for me or is it making things more stressful? 

    How do you balance the traditional ways of working and doing business around your menstrual phase? Most of the times, the ways of working are structured around the male ‘cycle’ where you are expected to be at peak productivity and performance all day, every day?

    This is a really good question because it’s so grounded in reality. 

    I think sometimes when people “just bring more flow into your life”. 

    They think “How is that possible?”

    It can feel like it’s so out of reach. What I’d like to say about the corporate culture and the corporate aspect is; Some of us have this expectation to perform at the same level every day. What I think is really important and something I teach is at least structuring your self-care around your cycle. Meaning that you’re sleeping more. Or you’re having more restful, nurturing self-care in your lower energy phases. 

    And then in your higher energy phases, you’re allowing yourself to be more social. Maybe to get on sales calls. Because you might find that in your ovulation phase even at the end of the day, you still have some energy left in the tank. Maybe you could go live on Instagram. Or write a blog post or whatever it is that’s helpful. It’s really important first to just make sure that you’re aware of your phases, and that your self-care and expectations are around your cycle. 

    Something else to note is having support from your partner and family are really important too. If you have your partner or husband let them know you are at a lower energy phase. Meaning you’re going to need more help because, you have to prioritize your time and energy. A lot of men don’t really know about these phases they don’t experience them. They’re not really clued in unless we communicate it. I think that the support is really important.

    Finally, you can structure your business, like we were talking about earlier. Where you allow yourself to do more inward and sort of relaxed, low energy work in those low energy phases. Then do most of your high energy work in your higher energy phases. What can happen is that, you naturally go along with your body and you just show up at the level of energy you have that day. Some days you’re not going to have high energy. That doesn’t mean you don’t show up for your business. You just show up for your business at 50%.

    I have also been a piano teacher for several years. This is something I do in addition to my work with cyclical living. I teach piano in the same schedule every single week, no matter what phase I’m in. And sometimes my students get the highest, most enthusiastic version of me. And sometimes they get me at my lower energy phase. 

    The reality about that is I think it’s actually beautiful. Because it sets up an expectation for my students and for your communities and everybody that we serve that we don’t have to be so on fire all the time. Sometimes we can still show up and we can still be in our lower energy state and allow that to be enough. It’s all about just feeling like what we’re doing is enough.

    How can we start putting all this great information about cycle syncing and our productivity, into practice?

    It’s so important, to get started by really understanding your cycle and tracking it. There are different apps that people use. Some people still like to use some sort of calendar system. Whatever system you use, I often find that what women do is. They use it to know when their period is coming up or when they’re ovulating. But they don’t use it to check in about how they feel. What I really encourage women to do at the beginning is; to not only track what phase you’re in, what day of your cycle you’re in, but also make a note at the end of the day of how you felt that day. And specifically which tasks felt really good and felt like, yes, I can handle this. And which tasks, maybe you had some resistance towards. 

    But you need to figure out for yourself. I highly suggest spending one cycle, taking note of how you felt that day. That way, you can at least start to see the pattern. Then with this information what’s really helpful is that we plan to do our launches and release important projects into the world in those high energy phases. What I really like to encourage my students and clients is that they take the rest during their menstrual phase. And then they get into promotion mode right after.

    Often people do launches for one to two weeks. So, what you can do is that you do all of your pre-launch activity is in the high energy phase beforehand. For instance, let’s say we have a six-week plan; So, you’re putting all the content out and you’re promoting in your high energy phase currently. And then you take a little bit of a break. 

    Maybe you still have content going up, but it’s already been created and automated, take a little break. Then when you open the cart, try to have that open cart time or open doors time during your high energy phase. 

    Essentially, you have one high energy phase for warming people up and pre promoting things and just getting people aware. Then allow yourself a little break in between where, you just have automated posts.  Or maybe you have your team helping you or a virtual assistant. And then have the doors open again during that follicular and ovulation phase and then close the doors at the end! What’s so beautiful is that you’ll be in your luteal phase. Which is the time that’s all about finishing things. In that time, you’re just welcoming people into the program, closing things down, you’re slowing down a little bit.

    I think planning the peaks of our energy in our launches around those high energy phases. Then take time to evaluate what went well, what didn’t go well. A lot of us miss the evaluation. A lot of us kind of jumped to the next thing without evaluating, and sometimes we have really important information there. Take the time to evaluate. 

    During the next cycle again, you can choose what kind of promotion high energy activity or creation you’re going to do.  If you’re creating a course, think about the course during your menstrual phase. Then start planning it out during your follicular phase and then maybe fill in the content during your ovulation phase. This is also a great time to show up on video, doing Instagram lives or anything that requires us to be visible. Since we also have a beautiful glow that often happens during ovulation because our skin has higher collagen. Then in your luteal phase, you can finish things up. Maybe put them all into your course platform and then you’re done!

    We can use this whole process to plan anything. So it’s just about, knowing when is that going to happen for you? When are those different phases and what project are you working on and what different activities are required to execute that project? How are they going to fit in with your energy at that time?

    I think it’s so beautiful because it’s such a clear framework. Yes, it does require at least one cycle of just getting used to tracking and noticing and paying attention to how you feel. And, and then it allows you to anticipate for the future. 

    I love the way I launched because I’m pretty much always launching during my ovulation phase. It makes it so much easier. I’ve had like the most easy and fun launches. Because I plan them at a time when my energy is high. So, I don’t feel stressed or burnt out. And that’s been so supportive. And I think a lot of the time we may have the strategy and the mindset of what we need, but if we don’t have the physical energy…That’s something missing. That’s why the energetic support and what I teach is, is really one of the missing pieces. It’s like the final thing we put into place to really feel aligned with our business. 

    Thank you! Where can our audience learn more about you?

    Instagram: The best place to connect with me is on Instagram. I am there at Sarah0blake

    Website & Program: I also have a link to my website there, and there’s a button to the waitlist for my program; Flow create. It’s a program where I really walk women through this whole process of understanding their cycle. Also understanding things like nutrition and exercise. And how that goes along with sync cycle support. 

    Then I actually help them to plan their next project or launch in a very interactive way. I love this program because I do run it live, which I think is so important because a lot of the time this can be confusing if you’ve never done it before. Getting someone’s support and helping someone to walk through it with you is, has been really beneficial. If it’s not open when you read this, you can get on the waitlist and you can get more information there. 

    Listen to the podcast interview here

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  • What are Standard Operating Procedures and why you need them in your business

    Why you need standard operating procedures for your business

    So SOPs? Standard Operating Procedures? Do you have them? The word itself just sounds so corporatey. But what exactly are standard operating procedures for business? Why do you need them, when you’ve only ever wanted to escape the corporate life to run a business your way?

    Here’s the thing. At some point, your business is going to grow and your responsibilities are going to grow with it. Depending on your vision for your business, you are going to need to lean into systems and human resources. To help you manage your business. Otherwise, you may find yourself trapped in a hugely successful business, with no control over your time, or with even less time off than when you had a day job.

    The truth is, without standard operating procedures, automating, hiring and delegating becomes extremely difficult, and costly too.

    What are SOPs?

    Standard operating procedures are really just a way of doing things in your business. They help you ensure things get done your way. They are like a recipe book to get the most ideal results you want for your business.

    SOPs help you ensure that activities that can be done by a machine, get done by a machine. And not by you or anyone else you end up hiring in your business.

    And if you are looking for a formal definition, a standard operating procedure is a procedure specific to your business operations that describes the activities necessary to complete tasks in accordance with industry regulations, provincial laws or even just your own standards for running your business.

    Why SOPs and what are the benefits for your business?

    First of all, I want you to change your mindset about processes, operations or even SOPs. A lot of people think ‘boring’, ‘must-have, ‘restrictive’ when they hear these words. And this is completely not true. SOPs are one of the building blocks to a strong foundation in your business. So see them as an investment in creating a business that will last. 

    Time freedom

    Yes, exactly! Not what you thought right?

    A common thing I hear entrepreneurs say is how they have the blueprint of their business in their mind. They’re the only ones who know what is supposed to happen when, but no one else knows what’s in your mind besides yourself. 

    While this is definitely something worth bragging about, it isn’t the best way to build a business that gives you time freedom and flexibility. You started your business because you wanted control over your time. Without putting the processes, steps and activities of your business on pen and paper, you won’t be able to create the systems that give you that time freedom. Your business will continue to be your ‘baby’. And so it can’t survive without you constantly being there to make sure it survives.

    Your SOPs are going to help you create the systems to support you and your team. So that you don’t have to continue trading time for every dollar you make in your business.

    Brand consistency

    Have you ever been to a Macdonalds and your fries were a different size to what you are used to? Ever bought a shoe from Nike and the size 5 in the store in UK felt different from the size 5 in Bankgok? The reason why you have probably never had such issues is that these businesses have strict standard operating procedures that everyone must abide by. The same applies to your business. 

    You want all your clients to experience the same quality of service delivery. The right processes and SOPs are going to help you achieve this. You want your content to be created and promoted in a certain way that suits your style and brand. Regardless of who is in charge of this activity in your business. The SOPs you create will be a key ingredient in ensuring that things get done a certain way, the same way, all the time. This is how you scale a business, and how you can replicate success efficiently.

    Delegate like a boss

    If you have been putting off hiring someone to help you because ‘nobody can do it like you do’, then SOPs are your new best friend. Through SOPs you can literally put down the operations of your business and strategy. And someone else can execute them for you.

    Now don’t get me wrong. Not everything in your business can be automated or delegated. But you will be shocked that a fairly large percentage of activities can. And that’s why SOPs are going to help you.

    Your SOPs will include things such as when certain activities should be performed, how frequently, what tools are available to aid in completing the activities, what are the steps to completing the activity. 

    Having a well-documented SOP will make it so much easier for your team to execute according to your expectations. This will reduce the amount of back-and-forth or questions from your team as they try to get things done. 

    They can also focus on executing the task because they have a clear guide, and save time while at it. So not only are you getting better quality work, but you are getting more output for the time they spend working on your business.

    Business continuity

    What happens if your wing-woman Virtual Assistant decides to leave your business? Or has to take time off for personal reasons? Would you be able to easily get a replacement without having to hit pause on the ongoing projects in your business?

    Your business success should not depend on a specific person. And SOPs are going to ensure that anything related to your day-to-day operations is clearly documented and explained in a way that someone else with the same level of skills can understand and execute.

    Not only for your team members but even for your own eventualities. If you had to take 3 months off from your business (e.g having a baby or going on your honeymoon). Your SOPs will be the only guide that your team will have to ensure that business continues as usual even while you are away.

    Automate

    Once you have your standard operating procedures for your business in place, automation becomes an easier task to manage. Because you have clarity on what you are going to automate and what specifications are required to meet your needs.

    Before you start shopping around for tools or paying an annual subscription on a tool that you are not even sure will meet your business needs, take some time to set up your SOPs and map out your processes. The answer will become much clearer to you when you have clarity on your operations.

    Quality standards 

    You want to have the right standards of quality in your business, and this is a key part of building a strong brand.

    Once you have your SOPs in place, you and your team members have a clear guide. This ensures that quality standards are met when you are creating content, or interacting with potential clients or even during the service delivery process.

    As a coach, if your business model is around 1-2-1 private coaching, the only way to scale this model is by hiring more people. Your SOPs are going to help you ensure that the assistant coaches you hire are meeting the client’s needs at the same level of quality as if you were the one delivering the service.

    Increase revenue

    A lot of people think ‘boring’ when they hear the word ‘operations’. It just doesn’t sound as sassy and exciting. But if you are struggling to keep up with the influx of new clients, or if you have a long waiting list of clients, these are good problems to have and SOPs can help you solve them. 

    The only way to scale your business and breakthrough an income plateau is to invest in systems or human capital. Both of these investments require your business to be set on the right foundation if you want the highest return from them. And your SOPs are going to be part of that foundation. So why not create your SOPs and set yourself up for long-term success?

    And if you feel like you would rather outsource this to someone else, You don’t have to do this alone. Let’s chat here in a free Systems to Scale Audit about my VIP intensive where we will create your operations strategy and processes, and get you on a great start. 

    Where do you start with SOPs for your business?

    1. First things first, read my 4A Systems method blog to get the building blocks of your standards of procedure for your business right.
    2. You will then need to do a thorough task audit. 
      • Organize your tasks
      • By core area of business
      • Using the Like vs.. Don’t like
      • Using the Task Priority Matrix: Do, Automate, Delegate, Ditch, Prioritize, Postpone
    3. Starting with the tasks you don’t like that are the most, time-consuming, create SOPs for them. You will want to automate or delegate these so you can free up your time for the tasks that come more naturally to you.
    4. Document all the steps you take in completing these tasks. Have a notepad next to you the next time you complete the task, and take note of the steps you take and any important detail as you perform the task.
    5. Use my SOP template here to create your own SOP template, and share it with your team members. Make sure you check out my next blog where I will be talking about how to organize your SOPs

    Found this useful? Drop a comment below and let me know what’s the next SOP you will be documenting.

    Why you need standard operating procedures for your business

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  • How to Use the Power of 3 to Get Things Done

    How to use the power of three to be extremely productive in your business

    Do you wake up wondering when that magical day will come when your to-do list is shorter at the end of the day than when you began? Or the overwhelm of being an online business owner gets too much, and the excitement of starting your own business and being in control of your income is slowly dying? Those ideas that are lying around in the dozens of notebooks on your desk, unused, because you can’t keep up with all the ideas, and you don’t really know what to focus on, a.k.a shiny object syndrome?

    I’ve been there, and I totally can relate to how you are feeling. In one way, this is probably what led me to close my first online business, an online boutique. I don’t want you to get to that point because I know that you can build a business without overwhelm. You can scale it without getting stressed out or self-sabotaging because you now resent what it has become.

    The method I am about to share has been a game-changer in my business and life. I call it the Power of 3. Which came up after realizing how easy it is for us busy moms to get into the habit of being busy, and not necessarily productive. I realized that the fewer things I had going on, the faster I could get them done. And move on to the next thing on my goal list.

    The Power of 3 method is simply restricting yourself to just 3 things that you want to accomplish each day, week and quarter.

    There is a lot of science and psychology behind prioritizing and selecting just 3 things to focus on. This is why I hate to-do lists and multi-tasking. The evidence is already out there that these habits inhibit your productivity and keep you distracted and unfocused, making it even harder to hit your goals. 

    So instead, here are 7 steps to using the Power of 3. This will help you start hitting your side hustle goals without overwhelm or trading family time for business…again:

    Step 1: Brainstorm all the ideas in your head about your business and what you want to do to hit your goals, starting with your quarterly Power of 3

    Pick 3 of those ideas that you think will give you the best outcome for the effort you will put into them. You also want to list them in order of their priority.

    Why 3? The brain easily grasps and remembers things in 3. Once you start adding more to 3 things, it can be easily overwhelming and difficult to remember.

    Instead, we want you to have bite-size results and success every week. And the Power of 3 is a super-effective way of achieving that.

    PRO TIP: Write out your power of 3 before the week starts. I like to do this on a Sunday evening. Before the noise and clutter of Monday comes and hijacks my list. This way you are putting down things that are actually moving you ahead instead of things that have suddenly become extremely urgent. Such as checking mails, replying to comments on Facebook groups.

    How do you know what you should prioritize? Ask yourself “what 3 things can I focus on this week to get me closer to my overall goal for the month”? Most often, these 3 things are income-generating activities like marketing or content creation or working on a new product. 

    Always keep in mind that your 3 activities are the 3 things that will get you 80% of the result you are looking for.

    Step 2: Turn your big 3 for the quarter into your power of 3 on a weekly basis.

    I typically go from 3 main things each quarter to selecting one of those 3 main things each month.

    I will then have 3 priorities each week to help me achieve the 1 main thing I am focusing on for the month.

    Ask yourself: What can you do to prepare for the 3 items that you must complete this week that are non-negotiable?

    Step 3: Turn your Power of 3 into result-based activities. 

    So instead of saying “5 Customers next month”, say “Pitch & convert 5 leads into paying customers”. 

    Instead of “I want to learn more about Trello”, say that “I want to have created 1 new board in Trello to organize my business”. This will register in your brain more clearly as to what the next point of action should be. As opposed to keeping it vague.

    A result list is way more effective than a to-do list. Because at the end of the day, being busy does not translate into success. Doing the right things that will get you the results you want, is what we want to focus on.

    Step 4: Time block your Power of 3 RESULTS for the week into your schedule

    After doing the time block exercise, do you have enough time to work on your Power of 3? And you can get your free time blocking template here. Have you overscheduled yourself? Do you need to reduce your Power of 3 to maybe 2 or 1 result-based activity? This is based on how busy you are with other areas of your life in the upcoming week.

    Check out this post or this post for more tips on time blocking. And some of my best time management tips.

    On a daily basis, you will break down your weekly 3 into action steps that you can work on and chip away with as little as 20-minute time blocks.

    Step 5: Check if you are time-good or time-bad

    Once you have time blocked out for these activities, you can then assess if you have any spare time left to work on your wishlist, aka to-do list.

    First, leave a buffer for any overspills. We tend to underestimate how long it will take for us to work on these result-based activities, so I would always

    • Leave buffer time
    • Block out twice the time you think it will take to complete the activities

    Step 6: Review the past week + Adjust/Learn

    At the end of the week, don’t just go into the next week without 

    Reviewing what went well, and what didn’t

    What could you do better?

    Which distractions came in the way of achieving your top 4

    Doing a time audit to see how your time was spent, and whether there were any distractions that stopped you from achieving the results you wanted to see

    Adjust as necessary for the next week

    Step 7: Always practice gratitude. 

    It may sound like a woowoo thing to do, but trust me, you will be so glad you did it! It keeps you motivated and gives you even more confidence that you can totally achieve the results you want. Both for your business and even your personal life, the more you get those wins

    Never underestimate the power of completing just 3 result-based activities. If you do this consistently for one year, you will get to over 1,000 activities done and dusted. Imagine how that would feel and where that would take you in terms of your big goals?

    Next steps
    Use the time blocking template in this free guide to put your Power of 3 into action for the upcoming week. Let me know in the comments how you feel after completing this exercise!

    How to use the power of three to be extremely productive in your business

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