How to Set Goals and Achieve Them!

Whether you’re reading a self-help book or speaking with an accountability buddy or coach – and whether your focus is on your business or personal life – if you want to make any kind of significant change then one of the first things you will need to do is to set goals.

Books and coaches all speak about the importance of goal setting, as doing so will help you to turn your goals into action plans, then into reality and finally into success!

Define what’s important to you

It’s a good idea to brainstorm the kind of changes that you would like to make to your personal and / or professional life and think about the goals that will help you to make these changes. Defining goals enables you to narrow down what you actually want to achieve and what you actually want the future to look like.

With effective planning, larger goals can be broken down into individual, manageable action steps and this ensures that your goals will be targeted and achievable and that you will reach the level of success of which you have dreamt.

Make yourself accountable to others… and yourself!

Writing down your goals can make you more determined to achieve them – it strengthens your commitment and also gives you something concrete to refer back to. This boosts your desire to achieve and makes you accountable to yourself, ensuring that you move that goal forward.

Sharing your goals with a colleague, coach, friend or partner can also be very effective. When we share our intent with others, it heightens our desire to achieve and makes us accountable to another interested person, who may check in on progress. Sharing can also be inspirational! It’s a good opportunity to bounce ideas, fine-tune a goal and gain a different viewpoint on a particular project.

Create a timescale

All goals need a timescale: this transforms a goal from a dream into reality.

It shows you for how long you will be working on this goal and by when it will be achievable. Setting a timescale should be done at the same time as you narrow down your focus and break down your goals into manageable steps. You do need to be realistic though! Take into account your other commitments and how much time you can actually make available.

This vital part of goal-setting helps to prevent overwhelm, procrastination and uncertainty. Importantly, it gives constant clarity and the motivation to keep going.

Celebrate!

Once you have defined what you want and by when you will achieve it, you will then have something against which you can measure your progress. You now have a clear means of gauging how far you have come in achieving what you want; the ability to see your next steps and a clear indication of the things you can celebrate achieving and overcoming.

It’s so important to celebrate achieving the small steps and to be grateful to anything or anyone who has helped along the way.

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to achieve the end goal, as with the right planning (and patience!) you will turn your dream into reality!

What goals have you set yourself for 2020? Are there any goals that you didn’t achieve last year – if so, how can you rewrite them to make them achievable in 2020?

Top 10 Tips for a Productive Life!

My plans for 2020 have made me think a lot about ways to maximise productivity – there are only so many days in the year, and so many hours per day… and there’s only one me! As a working parent, it can sometimes be challenging to juggle work and home life. Even with the best of intentions, sometimes the unexpected happens and something unplanned takes all of our time and attention. Even if you’re not a working parent, you may be juggling two jobs, a side-hustle or three, a time-consuming hobby or charitable work so these top productivity tips will be just as relevant for you as they are for me.

Here are my top 10 productivity tips to help you stay sane and in control!

  1.     Have a morning routine

Apparently, you’re most productive in the first two hours after waking up – so make the most of this time if you can – even if this means getting up before the rest of your household! If you’re really not an early bird then it’s a good idea to work out the best time of day for you to be able to focus. Review what’s on your agenda, define your priorities and anything else you would like to achieve (if the time allows) and then get to work!

  1.      Don’t multi-task!

I always write down everything I need to do and then set myself my top three tasks. After this, I focus on one of these three at a time… and then I set the next three. I’d advise forgetting the rest of your to do list during this time, as it’s just a distraction. You’re only really able to give your energy to one thing at a time and even if you’re a great multi-tasker this can slow down your efficiency.

  1.     Set clear boundaries

You’ll achieve more if you set clear boundaries, so when you need to focus, make sure that it’s clear that everyone knows not to disturb you. If you’re in an open-plan office, then this could mean arriving before your co-workers, finding a quiet spot or wearing headphones if your working culture allows. If you’re working from home, then it’s a good idea to communicate about your deadlines and working activities. For example, you may not have time to run errands, prepare snacks for the children and receive parcels for neighbours!

  1.     Opt for peace and quiet

You’ll get more done if you can totally focus on the task at hand, so turn off all notifications – both on your laptop and mobile phone. Hide your phone if you have to!

  1.     Take regular breaks

Studies have shown that you can achieve more, if you take regular breaks: 15 minute breaks after every 45-60 minutes of work. You’ll stay more alert and feel better if you use these break times to go outside and stretch your muscles – so have a quick walk in the fresh air.

  1.     Break goals down into manageable chunks

Having a big future-based goal is great, but it can also lead to overwhelm and disappointment, especially if you feel you’re taking too long to get to that desired end result. Look to break all of your goals down into small manageable chunks, so you can easily reach them and celebrate those smaller achievements. Perhaps you could add these short-term goals to your diary to make sure you stay on track?

  1.     Take stock regularly

It can be easy to get so focused on work, you forget to take the time to acknowledge how far you’ve come, so look to take stock regularly. Not only will this give you the chance to celebrate what you’ve achieved and perhaps show gratitude to those who have helped, it’s also the perfect time to check you’re heading in the right direction. Are you on track to meet your long-term goals?

  1.     Plan ahead!

Spend 15 minutes at the end of each day, preparing your task list for the following day. This helps you to make sure anything that needs carrying over is remembered, plus it helps you to switch off at the end of each day. If you’ve got a busy week ahead, then it’s a good idea to set out your plans on a Sunday evening. What are the tools that you need to have in place to make sure that you have a great week?

  1.     Don’t be a hero…

You don’t have to do everything yourself – whether it’s home or work related. Could a cleaner help to bring a little serenity to your home? Are you spending too much time developing your businesses in an area in which you don’t excel? Ideally, you should be left with only those tasks and projects you either love and/or are your key strengths. Consider how much you value your own time and then have a think about what you could drop.

  1.    Batch your tasks

For everyday, routine tasks in your personal or professional life, group them together. For example, this could be answering emails, making phone calls, doing expenses… the momentum gained by batching together similar tasks will ensure that you are more productive. It’s a similar principle to batch cooking (of which I’m a big fan!)

What’s your favourite productivity tip for staying in control of your business and sanity? Have we already listed it above or is it something you want to add to our list? Why not share your hints, tips and hacks in the comments box below!

 

Want your business to succeed? Don’t focus on you!

It’s understandable that you want your business to do well. After all, you started it to fulfil a need or solve a problem you had. Whether that need was to be your own boss or your problem was childcare costs or redundancy, your initial drive to start your business was something YOU were looking to fulfil.

However, if you want your business to be successful moving forward, you need to change where your motivation or focus is. In short – your business focus needs to be on your CLIENTS. Continue reading “Want your business to succeed? Don’t focus on you!”

How to get past your to-do list and on with running your business

We all want to be an awesome business owner. Often though, when it comes down to the reality of running a business, the day-to-day stuff on our to-do list can kind of get in the way of that awesomeness!

We go into business with an idea – but find the reality contains a lot more!

This is especially relevant for sole-preneurs and work-from-home mums, regardless of the type of business you’re in. We go into business with the dream of doing the ‘thing’ we’re good at – such as coaching, mentoring, writing etc., but find that, in order to have a business doing that ‘thing’, we need to learn a whole host of new, unrelated things too! Continue reading “How to get past your to-do list and on with running your business”

The benefits of a discovery session in business

Discovery sessions are regularly used in service-based businesses – and is it any wonder? They’re easy to implement, non-salesy and beneficial for both the potential client and you. But what exactly makes a discovery session so good for you, your potential client and your business?

Firstly, what a discovery session is – and isn’t

Mention discovery sessions and there are some people who immediately think ‘sales’, ‘hard sell’ and ‘free coaching’ – but they’d be wrong. A discovery session isn’t any of those things. Continue reading “The benefits of a discovery session in business”

Productivity hacks to help you remain in control of your business and sanity

As a work-from-home mum, I appreciate that it can be difficult, juggling work and home. You start out with the best intentions, but we all have off days and things that just get in the way and take our time and attention.  In your situation you may not be a work-from-home mum but instead, you might be juggling another job, a hobby, supporting a charity – these productivity hacks are just as relevant for you as they are me.

Here are 10 simple productivity hacks to help you remain in control of your business and your sanity!

1.     Have a morning routine

According to studies, you’re most productive in the first two hours after waking up – so make the most of this time. Look to get up early and stop hitting that snooze button! Review what’s on your agenda for today and get your mind-set right, before you start work.

2.      Focus on one thing at a time

You’re only able to truly give your all to one thing at a time – so stop multitasking! Decide instead, to focus on one task at a time and give it your all.

3.     Set clear boundaries

You’ll achieve more if you set clear boundaries, so make sure everyone knows not to disturb you whilst you’re working.

4.     Opt for peace and quiet

You’ll get more done if you can totally focus on the task at hand, so turn off all notifications – both on your laptop and mobile phone.

5.     Take regular breaks

Studies have shown that you can achieve more, if you take regular breaks – 15 minute breaks after every 46-60 minutes of work. You’ll stay more alert and feel better if you use these break times to go outside and stretch your muscles – so opt for a quick walk in the fresh air.

6.     Break goals down into manageable chunks

Having a big future-based goal is great, but it can also lead to overwhelm and disappointment, especially if you feel you’re taking too long to get to that desired end result. Look to break all of your goals down into small manageable chunks, so you can easily reach them and celebrate those smaller achievements.

7.     Take stock regularly

It can be easy to get so focused on work, you forget to take the time to acknowledge how far you’ve come, so look to take stock regularly. Not only will this give you the chance to celebrate what you’ve achieved, it’s also the perfect time to check you’re in the right direction and make any necessary tweaks to keep you on course.

8.     End the day by preparing for tomorrow

Spend 15 minutes at the end of each day, preparing your task list for tomorrow. This helps you to make sure anything that needs carrying over is remembered, plus it helps you switch off at the end of each day.

9.     Stop trying to be a superhero

You don’t have to do everything yourself – whether it’s home or work related. Ideally, you’ll want to be left with only those tasks and projects you either love and/or are your key strengths. So give yourself a breather and…

10.    Get comfortable with delegating and outsourcing

If you want your business to grow, you really do need to start delegating and outsourcing. Not only does it help prevent you burning out, it gives you access to additional skills and talents you would otherwise have to learn yourself – and it means you can get the job done faster and often, more efficiently than going it alone.

What’s your best productivity hack for staying in control of your business and sanity? Have we already listed it above or is it something you want to add to our list? Why not share your hints, tips and hacks in the comments box below!

Mid-Year Review – are you making the most of your VA?

We’re nearly halfway through this year, so let me ask you – how’s business? Are you going in the right direction? Are you making headway on your business goals? Have you started implementing all those goals you set yourself at the beginning of the year – and by the way, are you making the most of your VA?

I thought I’d throw that last question in there, as your VA is an essential part of your business success. You’ve invested in a VA, so are you making the most of them?

We’re now past the May bank holiday and still have a little time before the kids are off for the summer holidays, or your clients start taking their summer holidays. This means now is the perfect time, to carry out a mid-year review on your business and to make sure you’re utilising every means at your disposal, in order to help you reach your business goals.

If you are a parent of school age children, you’ll want to spend some quality time with your kids during their summer break. Maybe you’ve even planned a summer break away with them, so prior to that, get your hustle on to ensure that it can happen and you can take some guilt-free time away.

Take the time now, to review what you’ve already achieved, start finishing off those projects that are on the home stretch and to begin planning for the rest of this year. The work you put in now can set you up for the rest of this year – and it can make sure you’re utilising your VA to the full.

Apart from the usual task you hand over to your VA, there are various other tasks you can hand over to them, in order to free up your time now and to ensure you can switch off and recharge whilst you’re away during the summer – and ensure you hit the ground running, when you get back. These include:

  • Researching and compiling product material, presentations etc.
  • Planning your launch schedules and sequences
  • Researching and creating batches of content (such as blog posts and social media postings) for the months ahead
  • Updating your social media accounts and profiles
  • Clearing and archiving files and emails on your computer

So why not take the time now, to review your progress so far this year, reassess where you’re headed and work out how best your VA can help you achieve those goals?

Have you carried out your mid-year review yet? What tasks, above and beyond the usual ones you outsource to them, have you decided to assign to your VA? Why not share your opinions and task ideas in the comments box below!

Are you exploring the true worth of your VA?

It’s a well-known fact that hiring a Virtual Assistant can free up your time. They can also be passed tasks that you either don’t have time to do or, for whatever reasons, are not inclined to do. However these really are the basic, surface-level benefits of hiring a VA. There’s also a wealth of hidden benefits available to you, that make a VA truly worth their weight in gold to you and your business – if you decide to look a bit deeper! Continue reading “Are you exploring the true worth of your VA?”

The art of good listening

Communication is the keystone of any successful business. You need to be able to effectively listen and understand the differing needs of your clients and potential clients, in order to accurately and effectively help them.

This is especially important when you’re in a service-based business, such as that of a Virtual Assistant, as you need to not only hear and understand what your clients are asking you to do, you also need to ascertain what they’re not saying AND find ways to implement those requests. Continue reading “The art of good listening”

Boost your confidence with these assertiveness tips

Assertiveness and confidence often go hand-in-hand; the person who struggles with their confidence levels also tends to be the person who is quite timid too. This can play havoc in the business arena, as it stops them putting themselves forward for new contracts and promoting themselves and their services to new clients.

This leads many to spend time working on their confidence levels and this can take time. But if assertiveness and confidence go hand-in-hand – why not implement some quick assertiveness tips into your daily practice, in order to immediately start improving your confidence levels? Continue reading “Boost your confidence with these assertiveness tips”