productivity

  • How to take a real vacation from your business

    As a solopreneur, have you ever been on a real vacation? Learn how you can take a real vacation from your business without it coming to a halt.

    There’s a misconception that online business owners don’t have the luxury of disconnecting completely from their business. Well, I’m here to tell you, you definitely can! To make it real and practical I actually went on vacation so that I can share some of the practical things that I did for my business. I am hoping that by sharing these tips you’ll realize that you can take a real vacation from your business.

    I am sharing the things that I did to ensure that I enjoyed my well-deserved time off without being constantly tethered to my phone, trying to figure out what’s happening in my business. In order to take a real vacation from your business, you definitely need to do a lot of planning in advance.

    Reasons why you should take a real vacation from your business

    Rest happens in the resting phase

    I recently saw a post on Instagram, where someone asked; What if you actually needed to take time off to rest in order for me to be more productive? And that totally resonated with the book a have been reading i.e. the 5:00 AM club. The author, Robin Sharma talks about growth happening in the resting phase. Growth actually happens in the resting phase as opposed to the performing phase of your business when you are in the throws of the daily hustle and grind.

    Why is that? Reflect back to when you have come up with the most amazing ideas in your business. Think about when you have come up with those amazing kick-ass strategies that have seen you level up income in your business. When have those ideas come up and when have those plans come up?

    They’ve probably come up when you’re in solitude and quiet. As opposed to when you have been so busy working on that to-do list and trying to get all the tasks done. That’s why it is important to take time off to rest and to review and think of your business. You don’t need to do anything formal like writing down notes or work on your laptop.

    Use the time off to totally disconnect so that you can take time to reflect and think of;

    1.      What has worked well in your business?

    2.      What could you maybe do differently?

    3.      What are those ideas that you could come up with during that time of rest and minimal distractions from the outside world to make your business even better?

    It’s an opportunity to uncover your team’s strengths

    It’s also an opportunity to stretch your team and uncover strengths you never knew were there. Here’s how. You have a number of tasks that you do as the CEO that you’ve never delegated to your team members. Going on vacation is a great opportunity to know if they could actually do some of those tasks once you assign them to your team.

    You’ll be able to see what will work because they are going to have to do those tasks, whether you are there or not. And maybe they might not have access to ask you questions and to get clarification. It’s a really great way to see how they work under pressure and when they are stretched.

    You might come back and they’ll tell you that they actually enjoyed a specific task, which would be a plus for you. Because that would be one less thing for you to do. And one thing for your team members to do and to do really.

    Having fun

    You only have one life to live. If you are going to live your life, working all day, all week, all year long, where is the fun in that? Right. You want to be present as a mom if you’re a mom. You want to be present with your family if you’re going to taking time off with them. It’s the only way to enjoy the things in life that you actually started your business for.

    A lot of us started our businesses to get more freedom. Location freedom, time freedom and to have more flexibility. Now, if you are not taking time off, you are not having freedom. You just replaced your 9-5 with a business that probably takes away more freedom than when you had your 9-5.

    How to prepare your business for an actual vacation

    Tip 1: Plan, Plan & Plan

    The first thing is you want to do is plan your vacations well in advance for at least two to three months. That way you have time to make sure you’ve prepared your business for when you actually take that time off.

    Go through your list of tasks in your work management space, and it’s also an opportunity to do a task audit. This will help you identify the tasks that are solely on you to do, and what could you possibly automate or delegate.

    I know sometimes it’s difficult to know what you could automate because you don’t know what you don’t know. Maybe you don’t know that some of the tasks you’re doing manually can actually be automated. Feel free to reach out to me here once you’ve done your task audit and I could share a few tips and pointers on what you could possibly automate.

    Tip 2: Work on your tasks upfront

    Put in some time every single day for at least a month or two weeks to work on the tasks that you typically do upfront. There are a lot of tasks you can actually batch upfront without even having to delegate or automate them.

    And the one that comes to mind right now is content creation! Content creation can be done upfront you don’t have to do it on the go. You actually shouldn’t be doing it on the go, because that is when you can have a major content burn.

    Think of other tasks you can do upfront, like client deliveries. You could probably move the dates forward so that you can finish some of the deliveries in advance. Consider completing some of the milestones of your projects so that you don’t have to work on them immediately after you come back from your vacation.

    Tip 3: Systems to support your business while away

    Ask yourself what are the systems that your business could use while you are away? Systems are a long haul and a long-term game. It’s not something that you can wake up today and have a fully-fledged system tomorrow. It’s something you need to think of upfront.

    But there are certainly certain activities you can do upfront before you take a real vacation from your business. This will sort of set the wheels running in getting your systems in place. And maybe you already have systems in place. For example, a client management system that you use to automate your client onboarding and management process. But there could be certain things in your client management system that you could optimize to make it more efficient.

    If you don’t have any systems in place, think of some of the tasks that are critical in your business. Especially income-generating activities around lead generation, client management & onboarding and how you can potentially automate a few of those tasks upfront.

    Like I said earlier in this blog, you don’t know what you don’t know. I would love to have a chat with you once you have figured out the priority tasks in your business. The tasks that you potentially need to have automated and tech to help you support your business while you are on vacation.

    Business activities that could be automated

    Email Marketing

    Email marketing is an area that requires system support while you take a vacation is your email marketing system. You can definitely schedule your emails to be sent out to your email list while you are away.

    Lead generation & tracking

    You can set up an automation so that your lead generation spreadsheets are updated while you are on vacation from your business.

    Inquiry Management

    Set up an automation to manage any inquiries made about your services while you are away. Your business doesn’t have to come to a halt just because you are taking time off.

    As a solopreneur, have you ever been on a real vacation? Learn how you can take a real vacation from your business without it coming to a halt.

    Tip 4: Automate and or delegate

    Be very careful around delegating versus automating because there’s no need to delegate tasks that can be automated. That is going to be a waste of time on your team while you are away. Try not to delegate tasks that you could automate. If you aren’t sure that you can automate them, let your team members research and see if there’s any way, they can automate some of these tasks.

    There’s one thing that we recently automated in my business. At the back of my mind, I knew that it could be done I just hadn’t done it. Every member that joins our Facebook group they are meant to get added on to our email list. Previously, the process was manual where we had to copy and paste that information from Facebook group onto our email list.

    So, a few weeks ago as I was preparing to take a vacation from my business, I created automation with Zapier and Flodesk i.e. my email marketing system. Now every time someone joins our Facebook group, they automatically get added on to our email list. And now my VA has saved close to an hour of her time every week trying to do this.

    It’s so important to also look at your systems from that point of view. That way you can free up time with your team and have them focus on the more higher-level activities that actually require human interaction and engagement.

    Tip 5: Set an autoresponder

    The next step is to set your autoresponder responder.  Make sure you have a solid, auto-responder. Be very clear on when you will be away and who can be contacted while you are away. If there are any frequently asked questions around your services, include them in your autoresponder.

    Include details on where they can find out about your services by adding a link to your website. You can also embed your service guide or just attach it to your autoresponder so that people can have a look at your services while you away. And make sure it is very clear whether you are going to be partly available or not available at all.

    When I started in my career, I was terrified of including that I wouldn’t be available for emails on my out of office email. I then realized that if you do not set your boundaries right, people are going to step right over your boundaries.

    And if you indicate that you won’t be available for emails, that doesn’t mean that you’re going to lose out on potential clients and leads. That could actually be an indicator to your potential leads that you’re actually a woman of integrity. And you know how to manage your business and they might want to learn how you’ve been able to do that.

    Don’t be afraid to set your boundaries in your autoresponder or on your out of office email. Because that is literally going to set the tone for how you enjoy your holiday or not.

    Tip 6: Communicate with your team

    Communicate with your team and let them know what you are going to do upfront and what they need to do. Delegate your tasks as early as possible, lean into your SOPs. If you don’t have SOPs create simple loom videos. These will help your team members understand what the tasks are about. That’s probably the fastest way you can delegate tasks in a way that there are not going to be left trying to figure out how to do it on their own.

    When you come back, make a point of creating documented SOPs around these activities. That way that the next time you take a vacation from your business, it will be easier. And you won’t have to do a lot of legwork upfront.

    Tip 7: Trust your team

    Trust your team members to handle things while you are away. I know a lot of us are superwomen and supermoms we want to do everything our way. Sometimes we don’t have sufficient trust in our team members to be able to handle things. But trust me, everything is going to be okay.

    Trust and empower your team members and they are going to deliver. And most likely they actually going to over-deliver and you will be blown away at what your team members can do in your absence. So, don’t be afraid to delegate.

    Tip 8: Set your boundaries & eliminate guilt

    Make sure you set your boundaries when it comes to your team. I’ve already talked about setting boundaries in your autoresponder but make sure you set your intentions and keep them.

    For me, my intention is at least in the first three to four days of my vacation, I am going to completely switch off from social media. And my VA is going to manage my social media platforms on my behalf. Your VA can help you engage with people on your behalf, they can help you manage your Facebook community if you have trained them upfront on how to do it.

    My plan when I take a vacation from my business is to switch off completely from social media. This allows me to zone in to just being present. I zone into thinking and reflecting on my life, my business and anything else I want to reflect on while I am away.

    Eliminate guilt by doing work upfront. A lot of times we don’t set boundaries because we feel guilty! We feel guilty that if we don’t check our emails or respond to a client inquiry within a certain period of time, things won’t work out or things are going to fall apart.

    But if you do the work upfront, you will be able to set your intentions and boundaries and keep them. You’ll remain true to your intentions while you are away on vacation from your business. And while you are.

    Tip 9: Take a day off once you’re back from your holiday

    You don’t want to return from your vacation and the next day you are back in the throws of the day-to-day activities of your business. Take time to ease your way back into work. And this is something that I was intentional about. On the first day, I eased my way back and I took the day off from my 9-5 as well.

    I use this time to check my emails, plan out the rest of my week, review anything that I need to review, check-in with my team members and my clients. This way you don’t have to have that sad feeling that your vacation has ended and you are back in the day-to-day hustle and grind. Just ease your way back in and feel more in control when it’s time to get back to work.

    In conclusion,

    I hope this blog inspires you to take a real vacation from your business soon. Plan out your vacation and spend time with your family and friends and yourself too.

    Listen to the full episode here.

    READ MORE...

  • 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.

    READ MORE...

  • 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.

    READ MORE...

  • How I use Asana to manage my coaching business

    Do you have a task management system to help manage your business? I use Asana to manage my business and it's been a game changer. Here's how I use it.

    Here’s one thing I can say for sure since I started using Asana: I have spent way less time toggling between tabs trying to multitask and remember what I need to do next. Managing my business with Asana has made it so much easier to stay focused on the things that actually matter while keeping everything in one place. 

    Basically, Asana has become the control tower in my business. And the best thing? It’s free! While Asana does have a paid version, the free version has a number of powerful features and functionalities that will see your productivity go up significantly while saving time that we all need more of.

    If you want to start setting up your Asana workspace, check out this blog post where I give all the steps to getting started with Asana within a day.

    Here are just a few ways I manage my coaching business with Asana:

    Client Management

    I manage all my client projects and interactions within  Asana. For each client, I create a new project within my Asana workspace and then invite the client as a collaborator. This enables them to view, edit and complete tasks that I assign to them.

    It’s also easy for me to share resources with them through the Google Drive integration that comes with Asana. This way, we only stay in one digital workspace. And my clients know that all communication with them should go through Asana.

    I use Asana to create reminders for our client calls and assign homework to them ahead of time. They get to ask questions for clarification through the tool and can share their completed homework on Asana. As a result, we stay out of email exchanges and increase our productivity overall. It’s a win-win for me and my clients!

    Other benefits of managing your client’s on Asana:

    • Create template projects that can be re-used for each client
    • Saves time in the onboarding process
    • Keeps communication in one place
    • Easy to automate accountability & follow-ups with client

    Content Creation & Repurposing

    Content creation is a big component of every online business. However, it can be extremely time-consuming without a proper system in place.

    This is why I manage this aspect of my business in Asana. I have created a content creation team and a number of projects within it on my  Asana workspace, including:

    • Content creation workflows
    • Content bank
    • A Content calendar

    I have workflows for each type of content so that I don’t have to create the process from scratch every single time. This helps save mental space and speeds up the process of creating content. 

    I can also assign steps within the content creation process that don’t require me to do, to my virtual assistant. With Asana I can easily track the tasks that I have assigned to someone else. 

    There is also a messaging functionality within each task that makes it easier to communicate about specific tasks with my team members.

    The calendar view option in Asana allows you to view your tasks in a calendar format. Making it a great tool to plan and schedule all content in one place. I have a single project that I use to schedule all my content, including my podcast, blog & Instagram content.

    This also allows me to easily repurpose content across my platforms, saving me even more time without having to create content from scratch for each platform.

    Live launches

    Launching can be extremely stressful without a clear plan and a way of keeping organized and tracking what’s going on.

    I manage all my launches within Asana. Whether it’s a new website, project, a Facebook challenge, my podcast, it all goes in Asana.

    I use Asana to assign tasks to people on my team. And any contractors I outsource work to before the launch. I can easily see what’s happening on a calendar, and drag and drop tasks while in Calendar view, to manage my workload on a daily basis. Dragging and dropping the tasks in the Calendar view automatically updates the due date to the date on which the task has been dropped.

    Team Management

    Say Goodbye to back-and-forth emails. Asana is the only app you need to communicate with your team members. I still use Slack, but 80% of our communication is within Asana, which makes it easy to track and follow up.

    It’s important to give your team members an orientation of how your business works, how you manage your team members and any other important information they need to know. You can create a workspace with general information about your business within Asana, making it easier for everyone to access one source of information.

    You can also create a hub for your Standard Operating Procedures and Operating framework within Asana. This way, your team members don’t have to waste time trying to find out how specific tasks are done, they can easily find the relevant SOP within Asana.

    If you need help setting up your SOPs and becoming a more organized business for your team to thrive in, let’s hop on a call and see how we can help you.

    Additional Team Management Perks

    Asana also makes it easy to manage your team members by;

    • Assigning them tasks & easily following up on them
    • Viewing and tracking all messages sent to you in a separate ‘inbox’
    • Ease of tagging team members in tasks
    • Use of the message feature functionality to communicate with everyone in a specific project, without having to mention them individually

    Pro tip: You can connect Slack with Asana, and use Slack as a primary messaging tool with your clients. Once you connect Slack and Asana, you can refer to tasks in Asana through Slack or vice versa. Making it easier to track communication and tasks related to the communication.

    Want help setting up your task management tool? Check out my VIP day where we map out your processes and create a systems setup plan to get your Asana workspace set up in 30 days.

    Do you have a task management system to help manage your business? I use Asana to manage my business and it's been a game changer. Here's how I use it.

    READ MORE...

  • 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

    READ MORE...