7 Ways to Use Less Time to Get More Done in Your Business (Read Time: 5 min.)

dear 3 amThere’s never enough time.  I know no other way to say it.

I get the Ford mantra, “If you think it’s hard, you’re right…” and the Wayne Dyer philosophy of “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change” but here’s the deal:

If you have major life commitments outside of your business (i.e. a family, going to school full time, a day job, a part time job, etc.), building your business means that you have less time to become MORE productive.

So how do you leverage what little time you have to get A TON of stuff done in your biz?

Here are 10 Time Hacks you can use to create entrepreneurial momentum and SERIOUS productivity:

Hack #1: Stop multi-tasking.  Multi-tasking is highly overrated.  #1- Studies now show that human beings don’t multi-task,  #2- Multi-tasking results in less done well.  Total waste of time.  Stop doing it.  Instead,  put WHOLE mind into PRESENT action.  In other words, whatever you’re working on, give it all you’ve got for the entire time you’re working on it.  Set a timer if you have to but be PRESENT.

Hack #2: Create a triggering ritual that starts your day off right.  What is one thing that you could do that would start your entire day off on the right foot?  For some, it’s exercise.  For others, it’s Starbucks.  Find that one ritual that wakes you up, gets you excited for the day and do it CONSISTENTLY.  Some-timing things doesn’t produce long term results.  It needs to be something that will become what Twyla Tharp, in a book she wrote called The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life,calls a “triggering ritual.”  It signals to your mind and body, “On your mark, get set, go!!!!!!!!!!!” and you’re off and running. Do it daily.

Hack #3: Sleep less.  Yes, I’m the big bad wolf here.  Yes, I know sleep is critical (books like Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder
and The Art of Extreme Self-Care: Transform Your Life One Month at a Time are champions of this and I agree with them).  However, when you are launching a business, when you are growing a business, and when you have many other priorities pulling for your time, guess what?  Sleep becomes a luxury.  I’m not saying sleep 2 hours a night.  Be smart about your sleep requirements.  Everyone has a sleep threshold (the minimum number of hours of sleep they can operate well on).  Whatever that threshhold is, apply it to a MINIMUM of 4 nights a week.  Try to get good sleep (7-8 hours) 2-3 nights a week.  Will your body’s sleep clock be off?  Yes.  Will your body basal thermometer readings look coo coo for cocoa puffs?  Yes.  Will this be short term if you do it right?  Absolutely!  Do what you HAVE to do now so you can do what you WANT to do later.

Hack #4: Hire help.  I’m bad at this one.  In fact, I’m trying to hire my first assistant right now.  The reality is: no woman is an island.  At some point, if you want to get to the next level, you have to DELEGATE.  For most of us starting out, the sentiment is “I can’t afford an assistant.”  What I’m quickly learning is that you can’t afford to NOT have one.  Go to Task Rabbit or post on a job board or get a referral from a friend but hire help.  And, yes, you will have bad hires the first few times you do it (all of my women entrepreneur friends who’ve been there and done that have told me MANY horror stories) but you’ve got to get up that learning curve.  Start hiring and decide to fail forward.  Eventually, you’ll get the process down and you’ll find the right people to be on your team.

Hack #5: Slash half of your To-Do list.  Ooooh… I know… Tough stuff.  Far too many of us love the feeling of a checked off looooooooong To-Do list but do we ask ourselves, “How important is each of these things to the overall success of my business?”  I don’t think so… Be super-vigilant about your To-Do list and keep it small (like 3 items a day).  What are the 3 MOST important moves you’ll need to make today?  Get those done and then figure out your next 3 steps…

Hack #6: Get a massage.  Weird, right?  Massage?  Business?  Massages relieve tension.  Relieved tension makes way for creativity.  Creativity fosters innovation and innovation produces results.  Use Groupon to find cheap massages or go to the local massage therapy school in your area and have massage students give you a one hour massage for cheap.  Either way, make this a once-a-week to once every two week REQUIREMENT.  Ease your mind, restore your life!

Hack #7: Keep family time CENTRAL and work time PERIPHERAL.  One of the most profound things I’ve ever read on this issue came from Jon Acuff’s book,Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average and Do Work that Matters.  In the book, he says, “Be selfish at 5:00 am… When you’re a spouse, parent, or caregiver, your time doesn’t just belong to you.  It’s in large part communal property, shared by the entire house.  But that doesn’t mean you can’t be selfish with some of that time.  You just have to know when you can be, which is why I mention 5:00 am.”

None of these hacks are “secrets.”  They’re timeless strategies that work.  The key to making the most of them is CONSISTENCY.

Pick one of the above hacks and commit to implementing it for the next 30 days.

I’d love to know which one you pick.

Leave a comment letting me know which Hack you’ll be working on the for month of December.

Let the accountability begin!

Time flies

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Pursuing a Goal? Focus on the ‘What’, Not the ‘How’ (Read Time: 3 min.)

obstaclesGoals… They’re everywhere.  We all have them.  Some goals take the forefront and we wake up thinking about them.  Other goals are more like wishes and, from time to time, when an experience comes to remind us that we REALLY want that goal, we remember the idea and feel a deep (and fleeting) desire to accomplish it.  Whether your goal is near or far, the reality of goal achievement is simple: you only get what you’re willing to give.  In other words, going after anything in life is about putting your WHOLE self into its pursuit.  That doesn’t mean you become OCD and go for the goal at all costs.  It doesn’t mean you sacrifice the rest of your life and live only for that goal.

Goal attainment is all about clarity, focus, and massive action.  

The more of those three you do, the closer to the goal you get.

So, let’s say you have a goal, a dream, a deep desire and you want to get from A-Z on it PRONTO… or you have lots of goals but none of them materialize because you never invest enough of yourself for long enough to achieve it.

How do you go from goal setting to goal attainment?

Here’s one simple way to start:

Focus on the ‘What’, Not the ‘How’

Most people set a goal and then ask that dreaded question, “How am I going to achieve that?” WRONG question.  In coaching, if you ask the right questions, you get the right answers.  If you ask the wrong questions, you go down a path that’s ineffective, unproductive, and uninspiring.

Any time you find yourself asking “But how?” or “How am I going to do that?” or “How am I going to overcome ‘this’ obstacle to get over there?”, STOP IT… The ‘hows’ never get answered before you actually do the work.  Even when you think you have the ‘hows’ answered in the form of detailed plans, the plans change, you throw them out the window and you get to the goal in a totally different way than you expected.  The ‘how’ is completely irrelevant, especially if you use the landmine question of ‘How’ to keep yourself from pursuing the goal.

No more asking ‘How’.  Instead, ask, “What?”

In other words:

  1. What do I want?
  2. What do I need?
  3. What skills do I have that can make this thing happen?
  4. What’s next?
  5. What are my next three steps?  What are my next three steps after that?
  6. What resources do I need?
  7. What phone calls do I need to make?
  8. What people do I need to connect with?
  9. What will keep me motivated when I get discouraged?
  10. What will keep me inspired when I’m doing the work and it’s feeling like work?
  11. What will I say to myself to make myself take action when I’m not in the mood?
  12. What will I do to celebrate each milestone along the way?
  13. What will I do when this goal happens?
  14. What will I do the day after this goal happens?

I could go on but you get my drift.  The ‘what’ is about action.  It’s about getting beyond the decision of ‘Should I REALLY do this?’  When you’re focused on the ‘what’, it’s very clear that you’ve already made an unequivocal decision to go for the goal.  The ‘what’ is simply facilitating the daily actions you need to take to get to the finish line.

With the what, getting to the finish line is never in question.  

A ‘what’ mentality builds its foundation on the fact that whatever goal you’ve set, you will achieve.  That’s it.  No doubts.  No second-guessing.  No worrying.  There isn’t time for worry in the ‘what’ because by the time you’ve answered some of those questions, you have a To-Do list a mile long.

So there you have it.  You want to achieve your goal?  Focus on the ‘what’, not the ‘how.’

The First 6 Months of 2014 Are Gone. What will you do with the last 6? (Read Time: 3 min.)

goal setting 1Remember January 1st, 2014?  All the hopes, inspirations, dreams, and, ugh, resolutions?  Where did they go?  How much have you accomplished?  Better yet, how much have you NOT accomplished?

John Maxwell said it best when he stated that most people are exceptional at goal setting but mediocre at goal management.  Goal management is the name of the game.

Having a goal is cute.  Achieving a goal is FIERCE!

So… when you look at the last 6 months, ask yourself 3 important questions:

1) At the beginning of 2014, what did I want to achieve?

2) How has that changed? 

3) What do I want to achieve by the end of the next 6 months?

Here’s the reality of goal management: As you change, so will your goals.  The problem is that most people fail to take inventory over time and eventually wind up at a point (usually at the 6 or 12 month mark) where they realize that what they started the year wanting is not what they want right now… and then they get scared to change the goals in fear of being wishy-washy or non-committal.  Better to be non-committal to something you don’t want so you can clear the space to be open and focused on what you really DO want.

Now’s the time to get clear on where you are.  Six months are gone.  Six months are left.  Take a few minutes and answer the 3 questions above.  Follow that up with the 6 questions below:

1) By December 31, 2014, when I look back on my year, what do I want to be able to say I accomplished?

2) What specific goals and timelines am I committing to from this moment forward?

3) Where, in my schedule, is time allocated to accomplish these goals?

4) What are my next THREE steps? (Don’t worry about the whole plan.  Take care of the 3 next steps and then ask the question again.  Remember: WHOLE MIND in present action).

5) Who will be my accountability partners?

6) How often will I check in on these goals and make changes when needed?  Are these check-ins scheduled ON my calendar?

Follow through on these 9 questions and you’ll find that the next 6 months will be WAY better than the last 6.  Go for what you want!

Get Your Fire Back! (Read Time: 3 min.)

wild onceIn children, we reward ‘nice’ and punish ‘wild.’  In adults, we applaud ‘outstanding’ and criticize ‘weird.’  In animals, we nurture ‘cuddly’ and quarantine ‘fierce.’  Isn’t it funny how we seem to ask everyone and everything to be tamer than what they were meant to be?

There comes a moment when you have to decide that your life isn’t about pleasing the crowd, fitting into ‘normal’ or accepting society’s standards of behavior or their road map to mediocrity.  What makes you brilliant is the same thing that makes you strange.  What makes you capable of taking your life to the next level is the exact thing you are trying so hard to push down and out of your psyche.  There is no carbon copying greatness because the kind that’s in you isn’t in anybody else… So why don’t we use it?  Why do we squash the fire within and build up the dull, flat appearance of normalcy?  Because we’re all afraid… We’re afraid of who we’ll be when the truth gets out.  We’re afraid of what people will say when we no longer have the desire to play small.  We’re afraid that if we get out of the “box”, we’ll never be small enough to get back in…

And guess what?  All those fears are right!

If you let the fire back into your life, you will be someone different than you are right now.

If you let the fire back into your life, people will talk about you, behind your back, and to your face… and tell you things you probably don’t want to hear.

If you let the fire back into your life, you will get out of the box and the REAL YOU will be too big to ever go back there again.

So what?

The fire within you won’t go away no matter how much water you pour over it.  Rather than spend your life fighting to be someone that you’re not, struggling to live a life that’s way too small for you, doesn’t it make more sense to give up the facade, unleash the fire, and live an untamed life?  I think so…

Try it… You’ll have more fun that way 🙂

Stop Weighing the Risk- It all works out anyway… (Read Time: 3 min.)

other side of fear 2If I told you how many sleepless nights I spent weighing the pros and cons of a particular decision, it would amaze you… and what I’m discovering is a really profound, freeing truth:

It all works out anyway…

Sounds trite, doesn’t it?  It’s absolutely true.  So often, we play out decision trees in our minds: “If I do this, then that could happen…” or “If I go in that direction, then what if this happens?”  But there’s no crystal ball to give us the specifics.  Yes, we can pay for psychics and astrologists or we can run our numerology charts (by the way, I love numerology) but, at the end of the day, the lives we live are based on the daily choices we make and every choice will lead you to exactly where you are supposed to be.  Now, if you’re like me, you’re saying to yourself, “Yeah, I get that but I’d rather get to the Promised Land without the 40 years spent wandering in the wilderness, thank you very much.”  Agreed.  Why spend three straight years in the spiritual 6th grade if you don’t have to?

But, let’s reconsider this resistance to learning…

What if you get more from your wanderings than you do from your arrivals?  

What if the ‘in betweens’ of life (and so much of life is the ‘in between’) is so priceless and so precious to who you are becoming that you could never get to your level of greatness over there without feeling stuck ‘in between’ over here?  

What if God knows exactly what He’s doing and the only thing  He’s waiting on you to do is have faith and keep it moving?  

What if life is a safe, friendly place that you can put your trust in and boldly step out on? 

What if the mistakes don’t matter? 

What if the choices are more than you could ever imagine but each one takes you to the exact next step you need to be at?

What if your fear wasn’t a signal for you to stop but a sign for you to reconsider, re-stratregize, and boldly try again? 

What if you are strong enough to fail forward?

What if you are brave enough to create the life you really wish you had?

And what if all the non-sense and all the drama and all the setbacks were really signs saying, “Babe, your standards are too low… Go higher!” 

What if, at the end of your life, you could look back and see that not only did you achieve your goals but you lived your dreams… and had happiness all the way through the process?

Yeah, you can do that… Stop weighing the risk and go for the gold.  The moment to do it is… you guessed it… RIGHT NOW…

Are You Playing It “Safe” in Life? (Read Time: 2 min.)

back turnedYour job is good… but not great.

Your relationships are solid… but not exhilarating.

Your health is decent… but not vibrantly amazing.

When someone asks you how you’re doing, you say, “Fine” or “Okay” or “Alright.”

What if you woke up today and decided to stop playing it “safe” in life?  

What if you decided to begin living an extraordinary life right now?  

What would have to change about how you live in and react to your world?

You could easily start by changing your response to the question, “How are you?”

Next time someone asks you how you’re doing, give them an extraordinary answer, “Amazing”, “Awesome”, “Unstoppable” cause guess what?  You’ll surprise them and you’ll amaze yourself.

Playing it “safe” is the easiest way to not live your life.  Focusing on security and having things be “ok” is the fastest way to grow old before your time.

If you want an amazing life, start living one.  Act as if everything that happens today is brand new, something you’ve never seen before.  Treat the people you come in contact with today like the rock stars they are (even if they aren’t) and give yourself the star treatment of kindness, care, and respect as you move through your day (not rushing but basking).  Try it for 24 hours and see what happens…

Baby or Business? (Read Time: 4 min.)

mother 2The more time I spend on this journey to having more children, the clearer it becomes that conceiving a baby and birthing a business have opposing needs.  I know there are women who’ve been where I am, building the business that I’m building, and have gotten pregnant, carried twins, and given birth, all while keeping the company flag waving… but I am having trouble keeping 100% dedication to birthing a business AND a baby.

This post is for all the women breadwinners out there who are considering having a baby (first, last or somewhere in the middle)…

I want to get my body geared up for pregnancy… really I do.  But the idea of 7-9 hours of sleep a night, giving up caffeine, getting plenty of sunlight, rest, reducing stress, cleaning up my eating, and following a regular exercise regime all feel and seem contradictory to what it takes to build a 7 figure business as you have other children, other priorities, and other commitments.  I keep waiting for more time to open up… it doesn’t.  I keep hoping I’ll find that “magic pill” or that “magic book” that will give me the 4 hour workweek I need to get it all done… hasn’t shown up yet.  And the one thing that keeps radiating inside of me is something I’m refusing to listen to:

Something’s gotta give…

Yup, I hate that.  I remember when I wanted to conceive my second son.  I lived that truth.  I wanted a baby so badly that I changed my life, my eating, became a personal trainer, dropped 70 pounds, gave up coffee, and got in the best shape of my life just so I could have a shot at getting pregnant… and I did get pregnant… twice.

But, now, years older and with less biological clock time than I had before and more goals than ever, I find myself at a crossroads about what to do.  I’m constantly running the different scenarios in my mind and asking, “Can I REALLY put A down to make room for B?”  And I’m on the fence about it…

At some point, I’m going to be 80-something years old and I’m going to sit in my rocking chair and look back on my entire life… and what will I see?

Will I care, at 80, about the various blog posts I didn’t put up on the site?

Will I be concerned about all the extra hours I didn’t put into the business?

Or will I look back and regret the fact that I gave up my most fertile, reproductive years in pursuit of a level of professional attainment that I had the rest of my life to attain…

See, that puts EVERYTHING into proper perspective.

So I know what I need to do.  I know WHY I need to do it.  The question is:

Will I listen this time and do it?

The jury’s still out on that one.

#tobecontinued…

Women Breadwinners & The Crazy Question (Read Time: 4 min.)

thinking 1For all the talent, strength and experience women breadwinners bring to the table, it’s amazing that many women breadwinners still stay up at night grappling with the same question:

Am I good enough?

It’s a crazy question taking up so much mental space that it’s time to deal with the issue RIGHT NOW.  Insecurity comes in many shapes and sizes.  A person can feel confident in their physical appearance and insecure in their intelligence.  A woman can feel great when she’s speaking in front of a crowd and lousy when she’s talking to a person one-on-one.  The variations of insecurity and self-doubt are countless but the root of all self-doubt is the same:

You believe a lie about yourself so strongly that you make it the truth.

How do you stop asking the crazy question, “Am I good enough?”

How do you stop feeling stuck in a certain spot in life because you’re not “worthy”?

How do you let go of your what your mother, father, brother, sister, or some long ago teacher said about you, the thing that stuck in your brain as a child and is now wreaking havoc in your life as a story you keep retelling?

How do you get over not being enough?

You decide to, one area of life at a time, one day at a time, one step at a time.

You DECIDE not to believe the lie someone told you decades ago.

You DECIDE that you run the show and you get to be whoever you choose.

You DECIDE that your dignity, your respect, and your self-esteem are worthy of your time.

You DECIDE that you can be MORE of who you are and that’s it not selfish to do so.

You DECIDE that anyone who doesn’t like you being brave, brilliant, and daring isn’t worth keeping in your life.

You DECIDE that you have to grow… no matter who gets left behind.

You DECIDE that the only way to live is to do so fully and full throttle living requires ALL of you.

You DECIDE that you weren’t an accident, that you aren’t a mistake, and that you were born to do great things.

You DECIDE that rock bottom is the foundation upon which you can build your life and you begin building it TODAY.

You DECIDE that the only opinion that matters is yours.  Yes, other people’s opinions will sting.  Yes, they will hurt.  And, no, they won’t matter if you make YOUR opinions the facts and their opinions heresy.

You DECIDE that asking yourself crazy questions and keeping yourself awake agonizing over the answers is a TOTAL and COMPLETE waste of time and you stop that RIGHT NOW!

You DECIDE that it is far too exhausting to emotionally beat yourself up than it is to energetically build yourself up… and you choose to build, not beat.

You DECIDE that, at the end of your life, you don’t want to be the bitter old hag who grumbles about what everybody’s taken from her and that you’d rather be the wise, gorgeous old woman who basks in all that she’s received, shared, and given.

You DECIDE that today, right here, right now, you can give up that old story and write a new one… and you do so with a pen, with your words, with your mind, and, especially, with your heart and you rewrite the script of your life scene by scene, line by line.

You DECIDE to be different because you recognize that you NEVER have to be a person you don’t like.

You DECIDE and you DO… and then everything changes, most significantly, YOU…

The beautiful part of this answer, the scary part of this response, the thrilling part of this adventure

is that the entirety of your self worth and self respect is COMPLETELY UP TO YOU…

YOU DECIDE… 

My Before-I-Get-Pregnant-Next Bucket List (Read Time: 4 min.)

KBibas pic1Most people have a bucket list, the list of all the things they want to do before they leave this lifetime.  I’ve decided to apply the same concept to my pre-pregnancy life now.  Having not been pregnant for 7 years at this point, it’s hard for me to remember what being pregnant felt like.  The pregnancy amnesia has me remembering all the great stuff: the baby kicking, the ultrasounds, seeing that cute, adorable baby for the first time, the first fart-based laugh, and all the giggles and play that comes in.  I have to be very deliberate about reminding me about all the not-so-fun stuff: up every two hours, breastfeeding every two hours, living in sweatpants, poopy diapers that don’t smell like baby powder, chasing after a running, romping toddler while holding a new born… all the stuff that women conveniently forget the moment they hold the precious baby they’ve waited nine months to meet.

Needless to say, I’m older and wiser this time around so I’m going to do something I didn’t do with the other three pregnancies: develop my own Pre-Pregnancy Bucket List.  I have the luxury of doing that because we’re doing in vitro so the timing of pregnancy pretty much comes down to the date we choose and the number of in vitro tries it takes to produce twins (yes, I’m intent on having twins- 2 for the price of one and at $14,000 an attempt, I’ve set a firm intention for twins).

So, without further ado, here’s my Pre-Pregnancy Bucket List:

  1. Take a pole aerial class (or a few if I like it)- think Cirque Du Soleil
  2. Take up mixed martial arts and get down to a fighting weight
  3. Do a month of Bikram Yoga (stick with it if I like it)
  4. Go on a rollecoaster ride- it’s been at least five or so years since I’ve done that
  5. Go on a weekend getaway with my husband to Vegas, Zipline, and enjoy a Mojito (one Mojito is enough for me)
  6. Go to a concert (crying babies and concerts don’t mix)
  7. Go to an NBA or NFL game (again, crying babies and professional sports games don’t mix, not for me anyway)
  8. Take new headshots (I’ve done headshots pregnant; not my preference this time)
  9. Go for a hot air balloon ride or go sky gliding (I barely have enough balance to not topple a CVS aisle pregnant so either of these would not be allowed or wise pregnant)
  10. Go roller or ice skating

There you have it.  I’ve got 40 weeks to get my bucket list done (end goal date: March 24, 2014).