Productivity

  • 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.

    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. 

    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%.

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

    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? 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. I don’t want you to get to that point because I know that you can hit your BIGGEST goals without getting overwhelmed in the process.

    The method I am about to share has been a game-changer in my business and work life. I call it the Power of 3. Which came up after realizing how easy it is for us as 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 work…again:

    Step 1: Brainstorm all the ideas in your head about your work 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 work load”. 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 workƒ 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!

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  • How to start time blocking and become extremely productive

    how to start time blocking and become extremely productive

    You may have heard of it, and you might even be doing it in some form or shape. Time blocking is a productivity method that sounds just like its name. It’s a way of blocking time in your calendar to get specific tasks completed. The same way people block time in your calendar for meetings, reminders, events, you can also block time in your own calendar to complete those priorities. Now that we have an idea of what time blocking is, lets talk about how to start time blocking.

    Time-blocking Vs To-do List

    So, is time blocking the same as working off a to-do list? The answer is NO!

    To-do lists almost always leave you frazzled wondering how and when you are going to get done with the 13854602 tasks on the list.

    Time blocking on the other hand, is a more strategic way of prioritizing your time. And getting the most out of the limited time you have in the day.

    I don’t know about you, but my to-do list never ends! You don’t want to be working off a list that never ends, because not only does that leave you overwhelmed, it also leaves you feeling unaccomplished.

    Instead, when you time-block, you choose the activities that are going to give you the highest return on your time spend.

    You get laser-focused on completing those activities within the time block that you have allocated towards it.

    You ditch the distractions and get over the consequences of overwhelm, which is usually in action.

    In short, these are some of the benefits of time blocking. It helps you:

    • Focus on the very important priorities – I call them the ‘Power of 3’
    • Minimize distractions
    • Release the tension and anxiety of trying to get everything done
    • Reduce mental fatigue and decision-making on what activities to work on (because you have already time blocked your calendar ahead of time)
    • Save time wasted on switching between tasks (studies have shown that it can take you up to 15 minutes to get back into a task after switching from another one)

    If you are convinced that time blocking will save your sanity and get you back control of your time, here is how to get started;

    1. Plan ahead

    As part of my weekly planning, I decide on my ‘Power of 3’. My most important priorities, and make sure I allocate time in my calendar towards these priorities.

    2. Paper or digital time blocking

    Decide on how you are going to block out your time. I have a free time blocking template which you can use to get started right away.

    Digital time blocking is also a great way of organizing your time blocks. I prefer using a paper time blocking template first, and then transferring this into my task management system, Asana. Writing it down first, helps me visualize my time better, and be more intentional about how I am planning out my time.

    3. Split your calendar into blocks of time

    Blocking out your calendar is one of my favourite tips on how to get started with time blocking. I like working in small blocks of time because I find it easier to talk myself into spending 20 minutes to get something done than an hour to do it. Split out your calendar into 20-minute blocks and allocate activities to the blocks.

    I make sure I leave out some time blocks blank deliberately so that I have extra time for any unplanned activities. This is also useful when you are working on a task and you are not sure exactly how much time you will need to complete it. 

    Generally, we tend to underestimate how much time we will need to complete a task. Creating the buffer space reduces the tension and disappointment of not completing a task in the exact time estimated for it.

    4. Block out appointments & meetings you can’t reschedule 

    I call them the big rocks, because these are activities that you can’t move around. These are activities that you must work around, like a big rock.

    Block out your big rocks at the start of the week, so that you have a better idea of exactly how much time you have for everything else in your life.

    5. Block out your business hours

    If you don’t set aside time blocks for your business, then working on your business will become something you do out of choice or when you feel like it.

    Instead, decide on which time blocks you will commit to your business consistently. And allocate your priorities to those time blocks.

    For example, I have two-time blocks everyday that I commit to my business unless I have a big rock that needs to go into that time block instead. I typically work on my business in the morning hours from 7-8 am in 20-minute time blocks, and I do the same thing from 8-9pm.

    This way, I know ahead of time, how much time I have for my business tasks, and that makes me realistically plan out how many tasks I can get done in a day.

    6. Schedule your power of 3 into your business hours

    If you don’t prioritize your time, time blocking will become a to-do list on your calendar. We don’t want this! 

    The whole point of time blocking is to schedule your most important priorities in specific time blocks in your calendar.

    You can use the to-do list matrix below to decide on which activities you should prioritize and time block first.

    Everything else can be time blocked if you have spare time towards the end of the week, or if you complete your tasks in a shorter space of time than what you had planned for them.

    how to start time blocking and become extremely productive

    7. Take stock of your progress

    The best way to make time blocking even more effective is to keep track of how you are using your time in your time blocks. This way, you can start to

    • pick out what tasks are consuming more time than estimated
    • Identify what your distractions are, and how to tame them
    • Pick out when is your best time to do certain activities
    • Review your results for the week and use this to improve your time blocking for the next week

    I love using the Toggl time tracking tool to track how much time I am spending on different activities. It’s a really useful way of tracking whether I am actually doing what I had planned to do and whether I am overestimating or underestimating how much time I need to complete certain tasks.

    Top tips to make the most of time blocking

    1. Batch similar tasks

    This is one of my favourite productivity hacks. Instead of repeating the same task throughout the day or week, batch the task and do it once. This way, you are not toggling between tasks unnecessarily, and you are saving mental space. 

    I batch my content creation to one time block in the week, typically Saturday mornings from 6-7.30am. This way, I don’t spend time during the week creating content, and instead, I can focus on other high-level activities for my side hustle.

    2. Batch your days

    The same way you batch similar tasks, you can also batch or theme your days. A typical theme would look like this:

    • Mondays – pitching & meetings
    • Tuesdays – FB Groups
    • Wednesdays – learning
    • Thursdays – coaching
    • Fridays – admin & email

    This way, you know that if the day passes without you working on the theme of the day, you will have to wait until next week to get it done. So it keeps you focused and stops procrastination.

    3. Use your timer

    I use my timer when I am working on my time blocks to help me be aware of how much time I have spent on a specific task.

    My timer also keeps me focused on the specific task that has been allocated to the time block. Multitasking and time blocking don’t go hand in hand, so your timer is an important part of getting the most out of your time blocking approach.

    It also reminds me to take breaks in between time blocks so that I don’t get burnt out or spend too much time seated in my chair without moving.

    4. Quick fire tasks

    Ask yourself: can your task be completed in less than 10 minutes?

    If yes, allocate that task to those extra pockets of time that you get in between meetings or activities that have taken less time than planned.

    There is no need to time block quickfire tasks if they can be completed in less than 10 minutes, otherwise, you will take up the entire block of time when it wasn’t necessary.

    5. How many tasks to complete a day

    If you are just starting out, your best bet is to cut down your planned tasks for the day by half. Focus is the priority here, so the less you have to complete, the more focused and productive you will be. 

    You can start adding to your tasks for the day as you get more comfortable with your time estimations but start with your Top 3 priorities before even thinking of doing anything else.

    How to time block your day and boost your productivity

    Create buffer time for mishaps. Especially as a working mom, unplanned things will always come up like a visit to the doctors clinic or a child who needs to be picked up from school earlier than planned. 

    Less is more. Piling your time blocks with many activities is only going to leave you overwhelmed and disappointed when you don’t accomplish what you have planned for the day. Always start with few and very important priorities and build it up from there.

    Be flexible. With time, you will need to switch up your time blocks, maybe even make them longer depending on your working style, block out even more time for the big rocks, etc. Be flexible and adapt as you go along

    What’s your favourite time blocking tip?

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  • How to rock your morning routine like successful people

    Morning routine for successful people

    I used to convince myself that being a night owl was awesome! It meant that I could work into the wee hours of the night, and not have to worry about waking up early. This all changed when I had my twins and realized that if I didn’t have a proper morning routine, I would never have time to myself. I indeed needed to rock my morning routine like successful people.

    When I started becoming more intentional with my morning routine, I noticed that I was sleeping earlier and longer hours. Overall I felt so much better about myself and had more energy throughout the day.

    It also meant that when the twins would wake up, I already had a headstart to the day. I get to spend some time with them before heading to my 9-5 office. So, I get to be present and in the moment with them without feeling overwhelmed that I haven’t gotten anything done or planned for the day.

    Being a corporate side hustler also means that you don’t have the whole day to work on your business. In fact, you only have a few hours in the morning and a few hours at night (depending on how tired you are after work) to make any progress.

    My morning hours are the most productive hours where I am also at high alert. Without a successful morning routine, I wouldn’t have an extra hour to work on my side hustle. This extra hour is literally how I have built my coaching business (and a few more hours on Saturday mornings too).

    If you are not yet convinced, here are other reasons why a morning routine is important.

    It gets me in the right mindset

    Mindset is everything if you want to be that 6-figure mompreneur. You need to wake up with the right mindset to handle the challenges of juggling corporate life + motherhood and a side hustle. The best way to do this is to create a solid morning routine.

    I get to have self care time

    I didn’t read as much before I started having a consistent morning routine. Since starting and being consistent with my morning routine, I have gone through at least 1 book a month, simply by spending 10-15 minutes in the morning to catch up with my reading. 

    Quiet time before the kids wake up! 

    I am sure you miss the days when you had peace and quiet for long hours. You can have that today! You just need to wake up and get your consistent morning routine before the kids wake up. 

    During my morning routine, I can think clearly and make some progress. Especially with the high-level tasks that need my full concentration, without a baby screaming for attention in the background.

    How to start a morning routine like successful people

    Getting into the habit of a consistent morning routine is not easy. But it’s definitely worth it once you start to do it and see how it makes you feel both physically and mentally.

    First of all, here are a few tips to help you wake up on time for your morning routine:

    Tip #1: Sleep 15 minutes earlier today

    I know you were probably wondering if this was a typo or not, but YES. The secret to a morning routine like successful people have consistently, is to sleep early. Sleeping earlier will give you enough hours of good quality sleep so that you are ready for the early wake-up call. Start by sleeping 15 minutes earlier than your usual bedtime, and incrementally sleeping earlier every week. Do this until you get to the point where you are getting 7 to 7.5 hours of good quality sleep.

    The work that you weren’t able to do the day before, can wait. You will get it done much faster and more efficiently if you sleep early and well enough. Just schedule it for your morning hours.

    Tip #2: Build on your morning routine incrementally. 

    If you have never had a consistent morning routine, don’t start with a 1-hour morning routine. Start with a 15-minute routine for 1 or 2 items from my 3G method below. Once you have consistently completed your routine for at least 3 days, you can start to increase the amount of time you spend on your morning routine. For every 15 minutes you sleep earlier, you should be able to increase your morning routine by 15 minutes.

    Tip 3: Work in small pockets of time

    I got this tip from the book, The 5am club, which you can get here.  The mistake we make as humans is to overestimate how much we can achieve in a short space of time. For example, instead of thinking about the number of pages you want to read in a day, think of the amount of time you want to spend reading. That’s a much easier and realistic way to set your morning routine goals and increase your time spend, as you become more consistent.

    All you need to do is devote 20 minutes to each pillar from my 3G method, which I have broken down easily for you below:

    Growth: 20 minutes

    This is the time you can dedicate to your personal growth and development. One of the things that almost every successful person I know of does, is to READ. You cannot pour from an empty cup, and you cannot share what you don’t know.

    If you want to be successful, then you need to commit to creating a morning routine like successful people do. Through my 3G method, I have been able to go through 10 books in the same year that I had my twins! Before that, I barely finished 3….

    The secret to this method is being consistent, committing to waking up early and getting your 3G’s done before the day begins.

    Gratitude: 20 minutes

    I can’t emphasize enough the power of prayer, meditation and journaling. I struggled with negative mindset and self confidence throughout my adulthood, and starting an online business from scratch only made it worse. 

    Once I started putting in the time to journal, do my daily affirmations and show gratitude for everything happening to me and around me, I started to show up for my business in a different way. 

    I cannot overstate how important it is to take time for gratitude, and the inner self work that is needed as part of a morning routine. 

    Go: 20 minutes

    Do your workout in the morning and forget about it. I don’t know if your 9-5 is as unpredictable as mine, but waking up earlier to do my workout has made me feel more energetic throughout the day.

    Whether you workout plans get derailed or not, you know that at least you have gotten 20 minutes of exercise. Imagine how fit you will be by the end of the year, if you got 20 minutes of daily exercise, that’s 7300 minutes of moving your body!

    What makes a morning routine successful

    • Plan the night before, so that in the morning you are all systems go
    • If you have a workout, remove your clothes so that you see them when you wake up
    • Prepare your breakfast the night before (smoothies and overnight oats have been my go-to breakfast on-the-go)

    In conclusion, 

    My morning routine has completely changed my way of life, for the better, I

    • Complete 1 book a month just through my morning routine
    • Got disciplined in getting my kids to sleep early, and sleeping early myself
    • Wake up feeling much more refreshed and ready to slay the day
    • Get 20 minutes to work on my business before I start my 9-5
    • Get some quiet space to meditate, journal and visualize the success I want to have
    • Feel better about myself because I have my workout, and a good breakfast to start the day
    • Have some (actually, lots of) peace and quiet before the kids wake up!

    Do you have a morning routine? What’s your favourite part of your morning routine?

    Morning routine for successful people

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  • How to set boundaries in your business and avoid mental fatigue

    How to set business boundaries in your business as a solopreneur.

    The truth is, as a mompreneur, you never get to a point where your task list is completely clear. This is exactly why you need to set those boundaries in your business fast. So that you can give yourself the self-care and self-love outside of your business, and burnout-proof your business.

    Why you need boundaries

    You need to rest

    Planning ahead of time ensures that your business will still be intact if you take a weekend off or even a few days away. You can do this even when you are running your business as a solopreneur! The most important thing is that you are using the available systems and tools to automate what you can, and you plan for the time off, ahead of time. Don’t plan to launch a new product a few days before your vacation!

    Boundaries help others respect your time

    Imagine if you replied to all your emails and texts within minutes of receiving them. You immediately create an expectation that you can be contacted on any day at any time. And an instant response is the bare minimum that your clients should expect from you. When you set your boundaries, then others around you know the limits and will work within the limits. 

    Just like any game has rules, your business should also have rules. Anyone who is really interested in working with you will be respectful enough to play by these rules.

    It is a form of self care

    If you don’t set boundaries, you will always find yourself working into the wee hours of the night. Just like corporate work, there will be season where you may find yourself working a little bit more than usual but this should not be the norm. Find a way to balance your business with you.

    Avoid burnout and overwhelm

    I see so many mumpreneurs getting into the trap of overworking themselves thinking that more work means more sales. This only leads to overworking themselves even more, eventually leading to burnout and falling out of love with their business. 

    When you have clear boundaries around your business time and your personal time, you find a way to make your business work within those boundaries.

    When should you set your boundaries?

    Immediately!

    Don’t get into the habit of not having boundaries, thinking that you are losing out on sales and potential clients. 

    The very opposite is true. The more often you can take a break away from your business, the more time you can spend thinking about the bigger picture, vision and direction of your business. And making those CEO-level decisions without getting distracted with the busyness and everyday tasks.

    5 Ways to establish your business boundaries

    Set your office hours

    The same way you have office hours at your day job is the same way you should set office hours for your side hustle. You could even include these in your email so that people know when you are online and able to reply to their messages.

    Plan ahead of time

    Pencil in your holidays and leave on your business calendar so that you don’t have important business projects ongoing close to your time off. 

    If you work with other people in your business, then it would be a good idea to share your Google calendar with them. By sharing your calendar they know when you will be away. It is also courteous to drop them a reminder at least 2 weeks in advance before you take your time off.

    Plan your finances

    The truth is, there is no business that can generate 100% of its income passively. For a solopreneur some work definitely needs to be done to ensure that your business generates enough cashflow while you are away. You might want to host a promotion or a launch before you go on leave, so that the cashflows can sustain you when you are taking your time off.

    You also need to be aware of the minimum cash expenditures you should set aside before you go on leave, just in case your business generates less sales than expected while you are away. This will reduce the level of stress and anxiety that you might experience if you don’t plan ahead of time.

    Be clear on your accessibility during your time away

    Inform your team and your customers as to when you will be out of the office and how they can reach you in case of any emergencies. It’s always best to make it clear that you intend to rest, and that you should only be contacted for urgent issues. This way, your time off won’t become a working holiday, which happens commonly when boundaries are not clearly communicated.

    Unplug from social media

    Create your social media posts before you take your time off. That way your page remains fresh with new and valuable content for your followers, while you take time to rest. Use apps like Canva and Planoly to schedule your posts. Enable automatic posting if you want to be 100% off social media during your time off.

    One of the best pieces of advice I have come across is to simply delete social media apps from your phone. Do this over the weekends, and this applies too when you want to completely unplug. Resist the temptation to check a thing or two (which often leads to mindless scrolling) by deleting the apps. Then reinstalling them when you are ready to get back into the grind.

    Your settings will remain intact so don’t worry about losing anything if you delete your social media apps.

    When you are on social media, set boundaries between your business time and your social time. During social media business hours, the end goal should be very clear as well as the maximum time you will be on social media. Make sure you know what you aim to achieve so that you can hold yourself accountable to it.

    Respect other people’s boundaries

    You have to respect the boundaries other people set. This is one of the things I have learnt from some of the leaders I have worked with in the corporate world. You can’t expect people to respect your boundaries if you are constantly treading on theirs. 

    Final thoughts on how to set boundaries in your business

    If you don’t know how to set boundaries in your business, you are likely to go through overwhelm and burnout more often than is necessary. Take the time to determine what your ideal business hours are, and your ideal working style. Set boundaries to protect your time, and respect your boundaries as well.

    If you need more tips on how to maximize your productivity, check out this post or this post, that I wrote recently.

    Do you have boundaries? How do you ensure that they are not broken or compromised?

    How to set business boundaries in your business as a solopreneur.

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