Success in business, success in life, success in anything, it requires that you be willing to dedicate *time* to it. Success doesn’t happen in a vacuum.

What do you do with your time? You maximize it. You’ve probably heard of the 80/20 rule, where 20% of your effort produces 80% of your success. So in order to become a success, you have to spend the bulk of your time in your core activities that grow your business.

That means not letting Facebook, email, Pintrest and Google be the time-sucking monsters that they can be for many people. Are they for you? I challenge you to spend the next week noting down the amount of time you spend in Facebook, email, ongoing ‘research’ on Google and other non-business building activities, and then take a hard, honest look at how much time you spend, and then be REALLY HONEST with yourself: Was that time producing increased business for you? How much of your time did you spend in activities that didn’t add to growing your business?

manage your business timeI don’t mean ‘yeah, I read this great article on organic gardening, and I’m going to write a blog post about that someday’. That isn’t growing your business. It’s growing kale and cucumbers, which doesn’t put $$ in the bank account. It does put a bit of food on the table maybe, LOL. (Of course, you have to TAKE ACTION and actually grow the stuff and that requires….TIME!)

So what have you done this week to put clients in your business? Have you contacted people or businesses directly to set up appointments? Have you increased your mailing list with a great article, or free download? Have you FOLLOWED UP with those who show interest in your services?

How have you reached out and touched your target market today? What 2 things can you do each day to move your business forward?

Time Blocking

Life has a way of keeping us from focusing sometimes. The phone rings, the dogs need to go out, the baby starts crying, the delivery guy (or cable guy) shows up. They all interrupt us, keep us from getting into the ‘zone’, that focused place where we create, thrive and grow our businesses.

So how do we get back to that place (or get there in the first place?).

We block out. Block out time, block out distractions, block out the world, for short periods of time so we can get into the ‘flow’ and get things done.

Get a timer on your phone or computer, or a kitchen timer. And get set to block out some time. I am fond of the Pomodoro Technique. This is a simple technique that has only 6 steps:

  1. Choose a task you’d like to tackle.
  2. Set your timer for 25 minutes. And make a promise to yourself: “I will work on this task for 25 minutes, and not let myself get distracted”. You can do this, 25 minutes is not that long.
  3. Work on the task/project for 25 minutes. If something comes up (email comes in, you remember something for the shopping list, etc.), write it down and go back to your task. No checking email, surfing facebook, getting coffee, etc.
  4. When the timer rings, mark down a checkmark next to that task on your list. You just spent 25 focused minutes on the task!
  5. Take a break! No work allowed. Meditate, get that cup of coffee, take a stroll, do something pleasant. Do this for around 10 minutes
  6. Every 4 blocks (25 minutes each), take a longer break, say 30 minutes. Let your brain rest and assimilate the things you did and learned.

Easy, huh? If you are easily distracted (and many people are), then you might find that 25 minutes of focus is HARD the first time. Maybe the first several times. Don’t worry, this is like anything else, it gets easier the more you do it.

If you can’t get to 25 minutes without a distraction taking you off-task, then mark down a check mark on a piece of paper for each time you jump off to something that isn’t the task at hand during the block. Each block you do, see if you can do one less diversion, until you get to the whole 25 minutes. It takes a bit of practice, but you’ll soon find out that you can get more done in a focused 25 minute block than you can in half a day of the usual things dragging you off.

Do what you have to do to give yourself the space to do this:

  1. Pick the days you are going to work your blocks.
  2. Close the office door
  3. Put up a sign – Do Not Disturb!
  4. If you work at home, ask family to let you work without interruption for a certain period. If necessary (or if small children) give them a timer of their own and set it for them, make it a game
  5. On days you plan to work in blocks, make sure not to schedule appointments, deliveries, repair visits, etc.
  6. Shut down your email, log off Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media sites, and close your browser (unless you’re working in it)
  7. Make sure you have your coffee/tea/water/etc. so you don’t have to get up to get more.

The idea here is to get that focus, and train your brain so that you can drop into it when you need to complete or work on a task. Try it for 2 weeks. See how your productivity changes. You might be surprised.

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