Category Archives: Time Management

Getting Back On Track

Entrepreneurial Quote of the Day:

“I have to remember to tell the negative committee that meets in my head to sit down and shut up.” ~Kathy Kendall

Hello Fabulous Women!

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am definitely in the middle of my usual end of August, slightly out of control, what am I supposed to be doing now, discombobulated, how can I get back on track syndrome.

Just got back from two weeks of (mostly) vacation, way too many emails to go through, kids go back to school next week (!), house looks like a disaster, realized I forgot to pay the sewer bill back in July, haven’t blogged in weeks, how on earth can there possibly be this much laundry to do – ladies, please tell me I am not alone!  Is this really what being a woman entrepreneur looks like?  Apparently, yes, it is.

Okay, then, this is for all of us.  Let’s take a deep breath and we’ll get through this together.  Ready?

The first step is to step back and get some perspective, take a look at the big picture.  The laundry may be screaming at you, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the most important thing to focus on.

Here’s what I’m doing.  To re-establish some perspective and sanity, stop and ask yourself what you want your life/home/business to look like by the end of September.  Not today, not in six months, just in a little over a month.  Be specific, what do you want to have completed, have in process, and so forth.  Here are some examples from me:

By the end of September I want to:

  • Have three new ads in place on appropriate websites advertising my business coaching services
  • Have my two daughters doing their own laundry (!)
  • Have painted my bathroom
  • Have blogged consistently 1-2 times per week
  • Have two new coaching clients
  • Have my bedroom reorganized and decluttered

There are a few more individual items, but those are the main goals. 

Now here’s something interesting.  As soon as I stopped and looked out into the future just a few weeks, and then started writing down some very specific goals, I immediately stopped feeling overwhelmed and started feeling energized and even excited to take on some of those goals.  (That bathroom is really calling to me because I finally picked a color – can’t wait to do it!)

I no longer feel a crazy pressure to get it all done right now, which is impossible and self-defeating, and instead I feel confident that I can get all of that done – and then some – over the next few weeks and I’m ready to get back on track and in action.

So if you are feeling even a little bit the way I was, my challenge and suggestion to you for today is to do the same thing – stop and write down what you want to have accomplished by the end of September, and then get in action. 

On September 30, my life is going to have less laundry in it and more coaching clients.  Not to mention a beautiful teal paint above my black and white bathroom tiles.

And you? What’s your life going to look like on September 30th

Have a fabulous day!

–Ann

On Track and On Purpose Coaching, Business Coaching for Women Entrepreneurs, Business Woman Coach

What’s Your Next Most Effective Step?

Entrepreneurial Quote of the Day:

“It’s the little things you do that can make a big difference. What are you attempting to accomplish? What little thing can you do today that will make you more effective? You are probably only one step away from greatness.” ~Bob Proctor

 

What’s Your Next Most Effective Step?

Hello Fabulous Women!

We often talk about “next steps” in our businesses.  There is always that next thing to do!  Yet how often do we do the next step, and then the next, and the next, and still not appear to get much closer to our biggest goals?

As women in business, we all seem to have so many roles to play that it is all too easy to get caught up in the details, this step and that step, and somehow not get to those steps that will truly move us forward.

So today I challenge you (and myself!) to step back for a moment and ask, “What is my next most effective step?” 

What do I mean by most effective?  Well, that is going to vary for all of us.  Sometimes the most effective step is obvious and sometimes it’s not!  If it’s just leaping out at you already, just because I asked, then for Heaven’s sake just go and do it!  If not, then here are some great questions to ask yourself to help you see what step or steps you could take today that will make a difference.

  • What step have I been putting off, because it seemed too hard or too complicated? 
  • What step, however big or small, has been lingering undone for months now?
  • What undone thing is draining my mental energy every time I see it or think of it?
  • What area of my business (or life) have I been wanting to not even look at because of something undone, undecided, unclear?

Got one?  (Or two, or three?  I’ve got four already, myself, just from writing this!)

Pick one.  You may be surprised at what you pick.  You may think you should be working on your marketing but realizing that what’s really draining you is the bathroom you never quite finished painting six months ago.  And really, how long would it take to finish it vs. how much time you’ve spent putting it off and how much energy you lose every time you look at it?  So go pick up the paint brush or call someone to finish it already!

Realize that sometimes the “most effective” step to take is a small thing that has been in the background, dragging you down, decreasing your effectiveness all over the place without you realizing it.

On the other hand, if the thing you picked is a “big” thing, you may still be stopped by feeling that it’s too hard, too complicated, and you just don’t know where to start.  In that case, you need to break it down and identify one small step to get yourself started.  Don’t buy that “I don’t know what to do” that your mind is trying to sell you.  There is always at least one small step you can take if you look for it!

Enough said — whether you choose something that seems big or small, just go do it.  Today. Now.  I am!

Have a fabulous day!

On Track and On Purpose, Business Coaching for Women Entrepreneurs, Business Woman Coach

Feeling Stuck? Break It Down and Get Moving!

Entrepreneurial Quote of the Day:

“The beginning is the most important part of the work.” ~Plato

Hello Fabulous Women!

Seems like a number of people I’ve spoken with lately, my business coaching clients and others, are experiencing some area of life where they are feeling very STUCK.  I don’t know, maybe it’s this rainy weather that sure seems to be stuck in place here in Rhode Island!

So I’ve decided to re-post something I wrote on the subject a couple of years ago – if there really is a general “stuckness” in the air maybe this will hit a few nerves and help people get out of that rut and into action.  Enjoy!

–Ann

I’m Stuck!  Stuck, stuck, stuck! (Originally posted in Sept 2007)

We all know the feeling.  It comes in a lot of different flavors  – being stuck, in a rut, paralyzed, no forward movement, don’t know what to do, don’t know what you want, know what you want but have no idea how to get started, afraid to do the wrong thing, second guessing, how do I know it’s the right choice, feeling trapped, don’t have the time, don’t have the money, don’t have the time or the money – yuck, I’m feeling all squished and stuck just talking about it!

So how do you get unstuck?  Well, of course all stuckness is not the same, but I’d like to talk about a very particular kind of stuck that is easier to get past than you might think.

Is there something that’s really important to you, some project you want to create, or some area of your life that’s not working the way you want, but you just feel stuck and stopped in trying to get anything going, or creating the change you want?  Like maybe you have a great idea, at home or work, and you’ve had that idea for, oh, I don’t know, years, and you just never seem to get started.  Or you keep saying you want to create more romantic time with your honey, but somehow you just can’t seem to create it and make it happen.  Or, of course, you want to start your own business, (I know who I’m talking to!) and you get a few things going and then you hit a place where you just can’t move past it.

For a lot of things in life – probably most of them – what’s missing to get you in action is very simple.  You just need to break it down.  Yeah, really, most of time that’s what it takes, and even when it takes more, breaking it all down into small steps is still a huge part of the process.

So, how do you do that?

Try this: Pick something you want to accomplish, where you’ve been stuck, something that just seems so big or so new to you that you don’t even know where to start.  Got one? 

Okay, let’s go:  Ask yourself, what’s the first step?  What’s the first, little baby step that you could take?  For some of you, the answer was obvious, you do actually know at least one step you could take now.  (For you guys, okay, so either go do it or, if you truly can’t do it now, go schedule it in your planner or system.)  For some of you, though, the honest answer is, “I don’t know!  That’s the problem, I don’t even know what the first step is!”

Okay, when you don’t even know what your first step is, and that is what’s stopping you, then here are some other questions to help get you going:

What would I need to find out – what info do I need – to be able to figure out what my first step is?

Who could I talk to or where could I go to get that information?

For example, let’s say you have an idea for a business, you’ve done a bunch of research, you have some idea of what it’s going to take, but you’ve also concluded that you don’t want to do this alone, you want a business partner.  And you keep thinking how great it would be to have a business partner, but you don’t have anyone in mind, and you don’t know how to find a business partner for this business that doesn’t even exist yet, so you keep thinking it would be great, but you don’t know how, but it would be just great, but how can you find them, and it would be so much easier if you had a partner, but you have no idea how to find them … and around and around and around it goes in your head, getting nowhere, and you are – STUCK!

So how do you get unstuck with that?  You break it down, like this:

Project is: Finding a Business Partner

Problem is: You don’t know what your first step is, so you are taking no action.

Solution is: Break it down like this:  First, you ask yourself, “What information do I need to be able to figure out what my first step is?”

Answer (Well, this is how I would answer the question!): If you want to find something, you need to define what it is you are looking for.  So first, get really clear about who this partner would be – what kind of qualities they would have, what kind of skills, what kind of working relationship will you have, man or woman (if you care), what kind of experience, what will they bring to the table?  Create your ideal business partner.  Can you do that?  Of course!  That alone will start to get you unstuck!

Once you know what you are looking for, then you ask yourself again, what’s the next step?  Well, it’s obvious that the more people who know what you want, the faster you will find it.  So you need to get the word out.  For some people, that could mean advertising or going on Monster or something like that, but for everyone the obvious next step is, just start talking to people! 

Tell people about your business and what you are looking for in a business partner – be specific, get in conversation with all kinds of people, and see what comes your way.  You will be amazed at what happens just from clearly telling lots of people (at least several people a day) exactly what you want.

As a result of those conversations, you are going to have a whole lot more information, other peoples’ perspectives and ideas, prospective partners, even prospective customers and employees – there will be so much energy and excitement as you focus on and talk about what you want, that you’ll wonder how you ever could have been stuck about any of this.

Still keep asking yourself, “What’s the next step?”  Once things have started, you’ll no longer be just slowly creating one step at a time – they’ll be so many steps popping up in your mind the problem will be keeping them organized and on track, not coming up with them!

So we took what seemed like a big problem and, instead of trying to find the whole solution, we just created a couple of very do-able, sensible first steps, and voila, bye bye stuckness, hello action!  Is the whole project – finding a partner – handled yet?  No, but you are in action about it, you are excited, you are networking and connecting and  – most importantly — you are not stuck!

–Ann

On Track and On Purpose, Business Coaching for Women Entrepreneurs, Business Woman Coach

One Small Change, One New Action

Entrepreneurial Quote of the Day:

“In order to profit from your mistakes, you have to get out and make some.” – Anonymous

Hello Fabulous Women!

I had a meeting with the teacher of my nine-year-old daughter the other day.  She’s doing well overall in school, but her teacher says she doesn’t participate enough.  Doesn’t raise her hand, and when called on, often says “I don’t know” instead of trying to answer.

Now I know my daughter, and I know that she is just not as confident, in general, as her older sister.  She’s quite bright and can do the work, but sometimes she’s afraid to try because she doesn’t want to be wrong.

So, my fellow women entrepreneurs, can anyone can relate to that?  Is there some aspect of your business that you just keep putting off?  Maybe you’re afraid to try something new, don’t know if you have what it takes to make it happen?  Feel stuck?  Read on…

Her teacher wanted to talk about it because she wasn’t sure how to get my girl to participate more without putting her on the spot too much.  Just telling her “You need to participate more” made no difference.  (Kind of like when I tell myself I need to “market more.”  It doesn’t mean anything to “market more.”  Way too easy to keep putting off!)

Now, I’m a business coach, right?  My specialty is helping people break through old patterns, change their accustomed way of doing things and seeing things and create amazing new results.  So how about my daughter?  Well, what works for my clients will work for her, too.

Whether you are a business woman or a nine year old girl, when you need to change a pattern, a way of being, one of the best ways to get started is to make a small change, something very do-able that will break up your old pattern and help you to see things differently.  Once you start doing even one thing differently, things start to shift and new things start to seem possible.

For my daughter, (who, after all, did not request coaching from me, and isn’t very motivated herself to change), we needed to create a small change, something tangible that she could do.  Together, her teacher and I came up with something concrete.  We told her that we wanted her to participate just once a day.  Just once a day she promised to raise her hand, or offer her opinion or an idea in class.  That’s it, just one little change, but something tangible that can be kept track of. 

Now how about you?  If there is any aspect of your business (or your life!) that is stalled or in a rut, the simplest and most effective way to start making a change is to do just what my daughter is doing – just do something different.  Even just one thing makes a change, shifts us out of our usual pattern and starts a whole new train of events.

For you, what would that one small but concrete change be? 

Maybe it’s one more phone call a day.  Or contacting someone about creating a website for you.  Or scheduling time for marketing with specific tasks to complete.  Or putting an appointment with yourself in your calendar to work on that thing you keep putting off.  Or scheduling coaching sessions to create a real and powerful plan for your business instead of putting it off again. 

Choose what that small change will be, and make sure it is concrete, something you can measure and know that you either did it or you didn’t.  Nothing vague allowed!

So what change, what new action can you take today?  Don’t over think it, just do it, and see what happens!

–Ann

On Track and On Purpose, Business Coaching for Women Entrepreneurs, Business Woman Coach

 

 

 

You have all the time in the world – just like everyone else

Entrepreneurial Quote of the Day:

“Don’t say that you don’t have enough time.  You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Theresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson and Albert Einstein.”  — H. Jackson Brown, JR.

Hello Fabulous Women!

How many times a day do you say – or think – “I don’t have the time,” or “There’s not enough time!” ?

When I ask women entrepreneurs what their biggest obstacles are, not having enough time is always right up there at or near the top of their lists.

Several years ago, I had a huge breakthrough in how I relate to time, to my time.  One day someone asked me to do something, and I found myself saying that I didn’t have the time.  I was suddenly struck by the fact that that wasn’t true. 

This realization challenged me at a very deep level and forced me to be honest about myself and my life in an uncomfortable but very powerful way.

Now, I don’t mean that I suddenly remembered that I had hours of unplanned time available to me.  What I mean is that I realized I had plenty of time, all the time there is, in fact, all the time anyone has ever had, BUT I was going to be doing something else with that time.

That realization made me see that if I say that I can’t do something because there isn’t enough time, then I am the victim of a circumstance called “not enough time.”  And since there is no way I or anyone else can ever create more time, then I am the victim of a circumstance that is insurmountable and can never be changed, which is about as much of a victim as I or you can ever be.

On the other hand, I can choose to get real about the fact that I do have “the time” – I have all the time anyone else has, all the time anyone has ever had. Being honest about that, rather than hiding behind the idea of not having the time, means that I can be responsible for what I choose to do with my time.  In fact, it means that I have to be responsible for those choices.

This does not mean that I no longer struggle with finding the time to do all the things I want to do and am committed to doing.  I wish!  Between being a mom and a wife and an entrepreneur and a friend and so on, I am challenged with time every day, believe me. 

However, I truly no longer say “I don’t have the time.”  If I am saying no to something, I say that I am already committed to doing something else with that time instead.  Instead of “I don’t have time to write another blog post,” it’s “I’m going to help my daughter with her homework now.”

And more importantly, if I don’t get something done that I had on my list that day, I don’t bemoan that I didn’t have the time.  Instead, I acknowledge to myself that I did something else with that time.

This is not only being honest with myself, it also helps me to acknowledge how I used my time that day, and every day, and that is POWERFUL. 

Here’s the difference:

If I am coming from a context of “not enough time,” all I can see is what I didn’t accomplish because I “didn’t have the time.”  This leaves me feeling like someone who never gets enough done because I am a victim of something I can never overcome, the demon called “not enough time.”

BUT, if I am coming from a context of “how did I spend my time,” I can see what I did accomplish and also see how I might have made different choices and how that would have led to different results.  This leaves me the victim of nothing. 

It leaves me the master of my life, the one who is responsible for using her time wisely and well, and for dealing with the consequences when I don’t.

That is not always comfortable, but for me, it beats being a victim any way you look at it!

Here’s my challenge for you:

I invite you to take the phrase “I don’t have the time” out of your vocabulary entirely.  Take it on that you are not allowed to use that, and see what else you find yourself saying in its place, how else you can look at and make choices about all the opportunities/demands/desires/commitments in your life.

Then let me know what happens!  All you powerful women entrepreneurs, suddenly making even more powerful choices about how you spend your time?  Watch out world!  

–Ann

On Track and On Purpose, Business Coaching for Women Entrepreneurs, Business Woman Coach