Let me start by wishing you a ‘bonne année’ 2017!!! With the Reverie team, I hope the best year yet for you, filled with peace and blessings.
As you recall, I went on a productivity focus in the fall because although I was extremely busy up to that point in 2016, I wasn’t accomplish much of my goals for the year. I posted then back in September/October a few articles about my plans and my goals to refocus, harvest my ideas and finish the year stronger than it started.
Well, It’s been interesting to say the least and I have learned a handful of lessons I am going to share with you today:
If you have ever had a chat with me, you have probably heard me saying ‘I wish I had more time’, or ‘oh the things I would do if I had more time’ or even ’time is my most precious resource, I can’t waste it.’ I think you get the picture. I truly think/thought I needed more time and that it was one of my main sore points regarding productivity. What I have realized is that we can sit and complain about not having enough time all we wish but a day will still only have 24 hours to live and work with. The real issue is how YOU use those hours and let me say this, you probably have more time available than you think, to accomplish what you wish to accomplish.
The key is to discover what is available to us, which is done by finding and eliminating the super flux, the unnecessary and the time wasting activities that fill up our days. I am not talking about the activities we do to disconnect necessarily, but the ones that seem productive and ‘work’ like but just aren’t, and instead are stealing our minutes away from what you want to actually do. I am talking about the extra-entrepreneurial activities which aren’t really advancing our business or grown our brand’s influence but we call networking or research. Or even the activities and systems which everybody else seems to be doing so we ought to try as well but can’t really see the connection to our own business growth. Which leads me to my next point.
The first few weeks of my productivity focus I was still trying to do it all but ‘better’ thinking that would be enough to correct the mistakes I was making and the productivity issues I was having. I quickly noticed the flaws of that concept, and how it was in some ways worse. I upped the pressure on myself and created a more stressful environment. Isn’t it true that it has to get bad before it gets good, haha. It did and I learned through it that you cannot clean up the mess while still living in it.
The truth is we are always trying to do all the things and excel at all of them. And when that isn’t working – because it can’t – we try to fix it all while still doing it all. Ah, the headache we create for ourselves sometimes. Realizing this allowed me to stop doing many of these: browsing Instagram, forcing myself to post on social media three times everyday, creating new artwork every month for free downloads as an opt-in for my newsletter, blogging 4 times a month, etc… Nothing is wrong with all these, but they weren’t producing the results I needed them to create and doing all of them at once wasn’t giving me the possibility to assess what the problem was with each one or if they were even worth it for my business.
The danger with my previous point is to give up on everything and/or to later on pick up everything again. The reason behind the productivity focus is to bring in change and fresh perspective on what to do and how to do it more effectively. That’s where the drop one pick one concept comes in. Although I did cancel many of my activities which were overcrowding my plate but not nourishing my business, it wasn’t in a defeated and quitting spirit, it was more about creating a better balance and allocation of my time and energy. When we see these business owners doing all these fantastic things so well, I can guarantee you they didn’t one day on year 1 or even 2 of business pick them all up at once. Which is what I somewhat did in my year 2 and had to calm down and reassess in year 3 and do better in year 4.
I put many things down so that I can pick them up one at a time to polish them individually or to decide to drop them for good. For instance, I paused posting blog articles but didn’t give up on blogging. Instead, I created a new plan with monthly categories and weekly breakdown which then allowed me to create a content strategy and a guest strategy with an application form and all. Another example would be my newsletter opt-in. I know the importance of building an email list and the role a good opt-in plays in that and I haven’t dropped the ball on that but instead of doing something that wasn’t advancing that goal but was taking a lot of my time dedicated to work every month, I decided to stop and study my audience, analytics and come up with something which would be more passive for me (once completed) and more valuable for them.
This one might be one of my favorite lessons as it’s such an encouragement when things seem to be slower than expected. Productivity is a seed not an already all healthy, majestic oak tree. Simply put, it just takes time to do better and learn by experience what works and what doesn’t – which is productivity 101. Changing one habit, one activity, one system won’t automatically and realistically create some instant magical new thing, it takes time but that’s what so great about it. You can experiment, you can change your mind, you can build upon what you already have and know, because each time it’s a planted seed towards a full garden. How hopeful and beautiful is that?
Last but not least, no matter how well you organize your time and manage your days, it will still take a village to cross all those goals off your list. If you want to growth and accomplish a lot you will need help. It’s actually a relief to me to know this now as it makes me feel better about reaching those big dreams, and not giving up on them, without having to lose more sleep or time away from family than I have to, haha. I cannot begin to tell you how bringing in Cindy my business manager changed things around here. So grateful for her and excited to bring even more people to the team this year.