The other day I was having a conversation with some people about staying balanced and in control of the craziness. I’ve been traveling more in the last five months than I have in the last five years. I moved out of state, took my company completely virtual and scaling out my business. I was feeling busy and exhausted, but not equally productive - what's up with that?!
So then I realized I need to ask myself:
I'm not perfect and found myself struggling to...
...stay on track and keep everything organized and on schedule. It was time to refocus on work/life balance and focus on identifying how to be both more efficient and effective. Here's what I've been working on to improve:
THREE INDICATORS THAT HELP ME STAY EFFICIENT
If any of these 3 areas are not in line, I significantly notice a difference in other areas.
1. PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT
I realized three big things that I need to do to help me stay centered on projects, and the first of those is to focus on personal development. This is something I’ve been doing, but it gives me something I can work on and focus on for the week (beyond work). I typically don't read a full book cover to cover, but instead find appropriate resources that I want to focus on and improve. I continue to learn in different areas of focus and it motivates me to continue to reach my goals.
2. FINDING HARMONY & BALANCE
The second thing I need to be my best self is a combination of music, balance, and wellness. I find instrumental music to help me focus, and during work periods I need to stay away from my favorite jams - next thing I know I'll be singing karaoke with a SnapChat filter to my sister. I'll stick to the Pandora station with instruments only.
When I get distracted (not IF), I closes my eyes and just refocus to the music for 10-15 seconds until the thought has passed. This is a kind of meditation for me. It brings my focus back, and I know I regained total focus on my work if I don’t really hear the music anymore. Bottom line, if I’m not being effective, that is when I’ll take a break.
3. WORKING ON MY SLEEP PATTERNS
I also use music to help fall asleep, usually the app Relax Melodies or another Pandora mix. Some people know, I have the worst sleeping schedule and when it's under control it makes a huge difference.
I’ve tried using melatonin, but would get stress dreams and night terrors which is a common side effect. I literally made up "Client Bertha" as the name anytime I wake up in panic that's work related. It's a feeling that I forgot about client meetings, projects, follow ups and even one time I woke up thinking I forgot someone’s entire wedding!
When I have proper sleep, I'm able to focus best on my to-do list and priority lists which leads me into working on the right tasks, not just being efficient while doing them.
1. IDENTIFY AREAS WORTH DELEGATING
I wanted to mention two things from the book Free to Focus written by Justin Crawford that really stood out to me. The first of those is that boring = inefficient.
“The success of your business depends on whether or not you’re going to stop doing boring stuff - bring in specialists for that other stuff, you focus on what you do best.” The second thing starts with a question: “how can you afford to hire other expertise so YOU can focus your time and energy on your business?” I’m an event strategist and have a background with wedding planning and project management. A lot of what we do in our role is connect with other event professionals to execute the necessary tasks.
I use a great marketing program called GenM for the majority of my marketing and social media needs. It's a reputable internship style program for marketing students and entrepreneurs which costs $49/month for up to 40 marketing hours! They have a great business model to help marketing students complete their necessary internship hours and help them find employment after graduation. It's worth a look.
2. PARTNERING WITH THE RIGHT PEOPLE AND SERVICES
From Free to Focus, “For every hour you’re spending on boring tasks you’re giving up to make your business better. That’s why time, not money, drives your bottom line.” I totally agree. Having this mindset this week really opened my eyes. When I went through my re-brand after our move I also revisited the partnerships I had and the services I was promoting. I cut out all 3rd party services from my website and decided to completely focus on my niche - Event Marketing and helping companies maximize their results using events in their marketing strategy. I cover this topic more as a guest on the first season of The Successfully Screwed Podcast - have a listen and subscribe!
3. CREATE SYSTEMS THAT WORK
Again, my job as a planner was to delegate tasks to people, and this is a perfect segway into my third and last point. I use a project management system on my computer called Asana. I’ve even put something as simple as making my bed into this, as much as I hate making my bed it takes literally 30 seconds and there’s no excuse not to.
Sometimes as an entrepreneur I get stuck in my vision and my ideas, but need help to execute areas i'm not familiar with and creating operations to streamline the process. This is where my network and trusted partners are helpful and when it's okay to LET GO and trust the experts so I can focus on where I need to. Share my vision and entrust the experts to execute to make it happen.
Effectiveness versus efficiency, this was my lesson for myself and I wanted to share and to see if it will work for you also. Just to recap everything, how I stay efficient and also effective is using personal development. I use music, my way of meditation, and caring about my health to keep me focused. Lastly, delegating to the right people frees up time and focus - partner and collaborate with the right people, and delegate using some sort of project management system while also using it to plan your day.
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