Do You Give Yourself Enough Time & Flexibility?

You promised yourself that you’d leave the office at a sane time for the upcoming weekend or that long-awaited vacation, but do you?

Or do you try to do “just one more thing”?Create More Space and Time Off

Sound familiar?

You decided to be your own boss because you wanted freedom and flexibility.  But, are you giving it to yourself?

I can attest that once I became my own boss, I became my own worst nightmare.  I would jam my schedule tight and find myself working late into a Friday evening and grinding it out like a mill worker. I’d get to the coveted weekend/holiday weekend/vacation and find myself practically in pieces from exhaustion.

If a corporate boss told me to do that, I would’ve complained up a storm and likely just left when I felt like it. Yet, as my own boss solely responsible for generating income and creating success, I was a slave driver.  It took me over 5 years to finally “get it” and create sufficient space before and after time away to actually make it rejuvenating.  Call me what you will (slow learner and a stubborn Polish woman come to mind…) but I share this because I sense you might be hurting too.

So, what made the difference for me?  The cycle of tired, frustrated, and exhausted was doing me in and souring my life’s experiences.  I couldn’t’ take it any more mentally, physically, or emotionally. I hat to surrender and give myself permission to create what I want NOW instead of waiting for “someday….later…”.

So while I am not less busy (I actually have more opportunities in the mix these days), I am performing more at my peak because I am far less frazzled and more in the flow. I can ease into time off like a gentle wave instead of thrashing in the surf.

Here is how you too can buy yourself more time off, space, and peace of mind without sacrificing quality work or opportunities. [Read more…]

How Having Systems in Your Business Helps You Get More Sleep

Systems Enhance Productivity and Peace of MindHow much would you like to be awakened in the early morning hours by a customer having a bad experience that was of your own creation?

Not a great deal I suppose.

Yet that is exactly what happened with a small glitch that happened while I was away on vacation.

The beautiful oceanfront cabin we stayed in was simply superb.  We were having a wonderful time.  On the last morning of our stay we really wanted to walk down to the property’s private beach for one last communion with the sea before heading homeward.  It was shortly after dawn and we walked down to the gate for beach access, entered the security code we were given at check-in and then nothing happened.  The gate stayed locked and we were disappointed and a bit irked.  Apparently they changed the code but never told us (even though at check-in they assured us the code would not be changing during our stay).

Since the office was not yet open for the day, we had no way of getting the new code.  I could’ve gone back to my room annoyed, an otherwise perfect stay marred by this last incident, but I didn’t.  We got creative and called the after-hours number on the office window. That’s when I woke the owner of the property who said he’d be right down to find out the code (which was locked in the office) and let us through.

To his credit, he was extremely good-natured and kind about the problem.  I thanked him profusely for coming to help. He said it is a recurring problem that happens now and again and said he should find a solution someday.  “If I did,” he said, “I’d still be asleep!”  That’s when I offered a suggestion (after all, it’s right up my alley).  I invited him to consider having a system for this ongoing issue.  Simply implement a process that when maintenance changes the code, that same day (before the office closes for the night), the cleaning crew should leave a pre-printed slip in each room (as part of their regular rounds) that says “The gate code has changed to ____.”  Since they have to visit each room daily anyway (even if you don’t want clean towels regulations require they check the fireplace and private hot tub), there is no additional labor involved other than a printed slip.  He liked the idea and time will only tell if he takes action on it to save himself some sleep and avoid future customer dissatisfaction. I, personally am willing to go back to Vancouver Island to Beta-Test the process!

This story drives home the point that whether you want to grow your business to have many employees or yearn to be a solopreneur for your entire career, you need to think about having systems within your business.  Systems (even for the little things) do three things:

  1. Boosts your productivity personally and allows you to expand your team when and if you desire.
  2. Ensures consistent, quality experience for each and every person you serve.
  3. Gives you peace of mind (and you can rest easier knowing your bases are covered and you didn’t forget anything).

How do you know if you need a system for a given process?

Ask yourself the following:

  • Has this problem occurred more than one time?
  • Do I do the same set of tasks repeatedly based a given event (new client, continuing client, project start, project end, speaking gig, etc.)?
  • Do I ever worry that I forgot something or missed a step in the process?

If the answer is yes to even one of these questions, you can benefit from creating a system for it.

By system, it doesn’t have to be long, complex, or take a long time to create. Think simplify.  The time you take to implement it will be realized ten-fold and beyond over the course of time.

Wouldn’t you like to get more sleep?

Claim your Create Leverage in Your Business Acceleration Call.

 

 

The Mantra for 2013: Simplify

At the start of each new year, I find that a theme foSimplify Your Life and Businessr my life and business organically emerges with some conscious intention.  It becomes a guiding force for the year as I make decisions both big and small.  It’s amazing the power this can have on your world.  Last year’s Shed – Sift – Savor trifecta turned my world around.  In fact I have chosen to keep that theme embedded in this year’s choice to simplify.

So what does it meant to simplify?  Frankly, I know at least a few close friends and family that would laugh at the idea that I am simplifying because they consider me “complex” or “difficult”.  They would say, “How could juicing, eating organic, or cooking from scratch simplify your life?” Or “How does launching a new product, traveling to a conference,  or offering a new service make things simpler?”

It actually does because my choices stem from the fact that I am very clear and intentional about what I desire and the choices I make. Sometimes these choices require a bit more effort than status quo. Yet, it serves me because I yearn to get to the root of the experience and the very fundamental nature of why I’m on the planet, why I’m in business, what I most want to experience, and how I most want to feel.  It’s not “right” or “wrong”, it just IS.  I believe you get to choose what you most desire as well, whatever that might look like.

There’s a lot of insight to be found in the definition of the words we toss around so freely.

Let’s look at the definition of simplify:

To make less complex or complicated; make plainer or easier: to simplify a problem.

I would add that my desire to simplify stems from a desire to be radical (but not in the way you might think!).  You see I consider simplifying a radical act:

Relating to or affecting the fundamental nature of something; far-reaching or thorough.

My desire is to get to the core of the things that matter.  That pure state where the complex gets simple and the focus is on the true nature of things.  From this Zen-like intention, I find life and business gets a lot easier.  The struggle melts away (or at least dissipates more quickly!).  Desired outcomes manifest more naturally. Enjoying the journey becomes a natural byproduct.

So what does all this mean in terms of day-to-day life in business?

What this looks like from an inner awareness perspective

Simplicity starts from within. You need to give yourself permission for things to have a sense of ease, flow, and “right” nature about them.   This ends the suffering (in fact the Buddhists spell this out in the Noble Eightfold Path).  Regardless of your beliefs, my bet is that you can already notice how much closer you are to your true nature when you allow yourself to be authentic, cut yourself a break, and reduce inevitable complexities into their own little baby steps.

This isn’t rocket science but it is a radical shift in the way most of us go about living and operating in our businesses.

  • Are you willing to rest in and honor simplicity (even when it feels uncomfortable and you just want to fill in that space)?
  • Will you allow it to be safe to be more Zen-like in how you operate in your business?
  • Can you trust that by making choices from a place of simplicity, trust, kindness, and compassion that your desired outcomes will flow?

What this means in terms of practical action: [Read more…]

Create Breathing Space for Better Productivity & Peace of Mind

There is alBetter Productivity via Simplicitymost nothing more stressful than an overbooked schedule. Coming in a close second is a cluttered and disorganized physical environment. Combine the two together and you have the ingredients for chronic exhaustion. Yet, I would venture to say that most of us live in a constant state of over-promising (to ourselves, our families, clients, etc.) and feeling like we fall short. And because we are so overstretched, tending to our environment (mental and physical) takes a backseat because who has time to de-clutter?

The grand result of this crazy little merry-go-round is burnout. That “I just can’t take another thing!” state of mind. So, we come home, kick the dog, yell at our loved ones and do-do-do until we collapse and start the cycle again. Many times we are not even aware of what is really going on because the “situation normal” IS living on autopilot and wandering around exhausted.

What is the answer? It can be found in a little known art form called – the art of elimination.

Before you can really take the hedge trimmers to your schedule and surroundings, though, you have to become aware of what “reality” is looking like for you these days. Let’s start with your schedule.

Take a look at your schedule and your to-do list.

  • Are you trying to fit 30 hours of things in 24 hours of today?
  • Do you set yourself up for failure because each day’s task list is so long that you don’t even stand a prayer of putting a sizable dent in it?
  • Do you consistently under-estimate the amount of time it’ll take for you to complete client projects and then find yourself working into the wee hours?

If so, it is like trying to put 120 pounds of air in a bike tire designed for 100 pounds of air. You keep pumping frantically until —  BANG!  The tire finally blows out (and scares the crap out of you). YOU are much the same way.

Let’s look at the solution to this common problem.

Inner awareness shifts you must make to get off the hamster wheel:

  • Give yourself permission to be human and slow down to the speed of life (If you think that equates to internet speed, go watch a plant grow and get in touch with the REAL speed of life).
  • Embrace the fact that restorative time is of equal (or even greater) importance as time spent in action.
  • Learn to get comfortable with the uncomfortable feeling that inevitably comes with change.
  • Understand that the state of your physical environment directly supports or hinders your effectiveness and well-being. (Is it in a disarray of clutter? Is it visually appealing? Is there space in your environment to do what you need to do in it?)
  • Reward your efforts along the way (stop waiting for the BIG win).

Now let’s look at some practical “can-do” solutions to creating space. [Read more…]

How to Prioritize When Everything is a Priority

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