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Checklists

Don't forget to grab the checklists I use in my own business and tweak them to your needs!

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Avoid These 5 Task Management Practices

So much to do, so little time. Who hasn’t experienced that? Sure, you could continue to follow the classic time management approach of trying to squeeze your to-do list into your schedule, or you could switch gears and do what your schedule allows. When you make the mindset shift from time management to task management, you’ll find that you could potentially fit twenty hours of work into an eight-hour work day. How can you know if you’ve been focusing on time management instead of task management? Here are five actions to avoid if you want to feel more productive and in control of your day. 5 Task Management Practices to Stop Doing 1.  Stop treating all your to-do items as equally important. While it can be tempting to justify how answering all of your emails right this moment is just as important as creating content for your membership site, I encourage you to pause, take a breath, and ask yourself which tasks really deserve your attention right now. DO THIS INSTEAD: Instead, look at your current task list and choose the top three priorities for that day. I know that number might make you panic as your to-do list could have ten times as many as that, but this clarity  will help you make meaningful progress on the projects that accelerate your business’s growth. Once you’re finished with those three tasks, you can absolutely add more tasks to your list, but start with three at first. By giving a small number of tasks priority, you can end your days knowing that you completed your most important work. 2.  Stop...

I Don’t Wish I Had More Time

Knowing what markers to look out for in order to reach your ultimate goal is imperative, but what about day-to-day?  How do you organize your daily workload so that you hit the milestones you’ve set for yourself? Certainly not by working harder.   As cliché as it sounds, it’s true. Working longer hours is not the way to get more stuff done. Isn’t this ironic? We live in an age of countless communication possibilities, yet we’ve never felt so trapped by the range of choices. This might sound unthinkable, but when I was growing up, I didn’t have a cell phone.  In fact, we didn’t even have a landline.  In the USSR in the 80s, if you wanted to find out if someone was home, the only way to know was if you stopped by.  Phones back then were a luxury. Shocking, isn’t it? I had seen cell phones only in American movies and didn’t aspire to have one—the bulky contraptions didn’t look lady-like at all! I also didn’t care about ever owning a computer.  All I knew was that the stacks of perforated cards my mom would bring home from work, after they were spit out by huge mainframe computers, were great to play with, draw images on and use as bookmarks. Oh, careless childhood! Fast forward 3 short decades and I can’t imagine my life without Apple products.   Each one of them is eager to deliver to me my new communications.  For every commitment scheduled in my calendar I receive 4 notifications, 1 on each device conveniently synced with each other.    How ridiculous is that? But...

4 Ways to Be Creative with IFTTT

Imagine if you could update all of your social media channels, keep tabs on what your competitors are up to, keep your content organized, and make sure you don’t spend hours looking for information buried in your Inbox? IFTTT (If This, Then That) is a tool that has the power to do all of that almost automatically once you set up key “recipes,” or processes, that you want to happen. While IFTTT can’t do all of the work for you, it does set a brilliant foundation for you to do the things that you know will move your business forward. It exists to help you be more productive so you can make the most out of the time you have each day. Creative Recipes to Run and Grow Your Business  1. Build relationships If you want to get on the radar of the influencers or consistently keep in touch with the people who you want to build relationships with, you can use IFTTT in a few ways: Twitter to Google Drive: Using this recipe, you can have tweets that you’ve favorited added to a spreadsheet on Google Drive, so that in the future you can personalize your message to those people. Google Calendar to Facebook: Allows you to automate wishing friends a happy birthday on Facebook.  (And, yes, it’s best if you follow up with a personal note). Gmail to Twitter: Thank someone for following you on Twitter. When you automate these processes using IFTTT, you can build relationships in a more systematic and organized way. However, note that while you can automate certain aspects, meaningful relationships will require you to be...

How to Never Run Out of Interesting Content for Your Blog

Any relationship requires an exchange of time and information. In order to cultivate a deeper friendship, you tell each other stories about your past and swap dreams for the future. When you have a blog, cultivating a relationship with your audience happens in a similar way. The content that you put out is a form of relationship building. Each article, podcast episode, or video helps you connect with your audience and adds value to their lives, which both result in building trust. In the same way that you wouldn’t leave your friend waiting for you at a café without any notice that you couldn’t make it, it’s critical that you don’t leave your audience wondering where you’ve gone because you only post an article when you feel inspiration strike. That being said, I understand that it’s not easy to be consistent with content for your blog because there are so many other things that you could be doing. However, with just a few tweaks to your system, the entire content creation process could be much easier. How? When you construct a pool of ideas, or an information collection system, you’ll never run out of interesting content to share with your audience. Let’s take a look at how you can do that. Three Steps to Creating an Information Collection System Step 1: Create an information collection hub. While there are many wonderful tools on the market for keeping notes, when it comes to building this system, you’ll want to choose just one so all of your ideas and reference materials are in one tidy place. Evernote is the most powerful tool for...

Evernote or Asana? What Should You Use?

Since I am constantly recommending tools like Evernote (Could You Run A Business Using Only Evernote?) and Asana (Got Asana? Make the Best Use of It) to run small business, I get asked pretty regularly which one would be right for you and your business. Unfortunately, the answer isn’t straightforward. First thing’s first, if you’ve never tried either Evernote or Asana, play with both of them and see which layout feels more intuitive to you and your business. If you’re still on the fence about which one you need after that, here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of each tool. You’ll love using Evernote if… You’re a freelancer and work primarily by yourself. – If you’re the only who is responsible for the work that comes in, Evernote could be a simple solution to keeping track of daily tasks, tracking client progress, and helping you build relationships. You need a digital archive. – The real power of Evernote is that you can basically keep all of the resources you find online and store them neatly organized in one place. This eliminates the need for you to go searching all over your computer for that PDF you stored in some folder that made sense when you first created it. You want a place to store your thoughts and ideas. – Besides being able to store documents and resources, you can also use Evernote to keep your reflections on projects, notes from meetings, and even a daily journal. You need to place to store templates for repeating processes. – When you’re working with a team, it’s essential to keep track of...

Listening System for Connecting with Your Customers, Peers, & Industry Insiders

When was the last time you really listened to your customers? I’m not just talking about passive scrolling around on Twitter, but REALLY listening. If you’re like many business owners who get overwhelmed by their daily to-do lists, it’s probably been a while. That being said, you know that listening to your customers and caring about what they’re saying is key. But where should you start?  How can you listen consistently instead of just binge-listening once a month? Your first question to answer is: “Who are the people I should be listening to?” In general, you’ll find that there are three categories of people you should be listening to: Your customers Your peers Industry influencers Two Ways to Integrate Listening into Your Daily Routine Filter what you’re listening to. Choose a few select people in your client base, industry, and influencers.  This focused, productive approach to listening will reveal patterns that connect to products you’re thinking of creating or articles you’re considering writing. Carve out time every day for listening. Make your listening effective by turning it into a daily ritual–anything from 15 minutes to one and half hours is great. This ritual prevents you from being distracted by Facebook or Twitter throughout your workday and gives you dedicated time for thinking about, absorbing, and connecting new ideas. Three Steps to Create a Listening System Step 1: Set up your social media channels as listening portals. Use the social media channels you already know and love as one of your portals. Organize the way you listen. For example, if you love Twitter, make one list for clients and customers,...