Time Management Strategies to Help Boost Your Business

Time Management Strategies Clock

Time Management. Doesn’t this feel like an age-old problem? Do we avoid getting distracted during our day. Struggle with setting deadlines and finishing on time. Feeling stressed a lot. We want more time for fun and family. We need time management strategies.

Does this YouTube remind you of your business life?

If you don’t have time to watch it now let me describe it.

There are two guinea pigs on a treadmill. One fell off. He tried and tried but never got off. Funny but so sad. So, which guinea pig are you? If you are on the treadmill, would you like to get off?

Does it feel like insanity? “Doing the same thing and expecting different results”. You must make changes in your daily work habits. Perhaps you need some time management strategies.

Let’s face it. You do know what to do. There are plenty of books to help you. There are tons of videos. Plenty of courses. Great programs to learn Time Management skills.

Here are some basic time management strategies we all know.

  • First of all, stop reading emails at the beginning of the day.
  • Write a list of things you need to do – then break it down into bite size pieces.
  • Lastly, focus your to do list in order of importance

But why don’t you do it? That is the million dollar question.

Of course, we know better, but why don’t get off the treadmill?

It requires huge change. Self-discipline. Daily effort.  Habit is a key to the answer.  But don’t try and change all your habits at once. It may be too much. But each little change made a part of your routine will become a new habit.

Time Management Strategies from Janet

  • Here are some business habits I have incorporated into my business:
  • I use an online Google Calendar. I can access from my phone, Ipad, and laptop. It lets me know when it is time to do the next scheduled project.
  • I gave up scrolling Facebook in the morning. It wasn’t helping me with my business.
  • I use a timer on my laptop to mark out my daily projects. When the time is up, I stop.  I have a glass of water, take a stretch.  Work on a different project.  That’s actually a couple of habits.
  • I do the hard projects first when my brain is at its best.
  • I use an online program called  www.asana.com to map out my projects. Keeps me on task. check emails later in the day. I still struggle with this. But I am getting better at it.

My Mom taught me a famous line that has become part of my philosophy. I preach it to others who ask my advice. “When the pain to stay is worse than the pain to go, you will go”.

Making time management changes is painful. When the stress and lack of productivity are bad enough, the pain will force you to change.

#1 Tip for your time management strategies

YOU are the tip. It’s up to you to decide “its time”. The ability to change your habits is YOU. Finally, the success of your business is YOU.  You have the tools at your fingertips. Just do it.

Take baby steps to change one habit at a time.

Make a note of where you are today. Check back with yourself a year from now. See how many time management struggles you resolved.  Then reward yourself and find out what you need to change next. We constantly have to grow. Let me know.

Janet Elie Launch4Life

By Janet Elie

Internet Marketing Specialist

Launch4Life

janet@launch4life.com

Life Lessons Learned From My Favorite Centenarian

Life lessons learned birthday cake

This past Sunday, my husband’s grandmother passed away at the ripe old age of 102. Grandma T, as we fondly called her, lived a long and vibrant life. As a result, she leaves behind an incredible legacy of love, laughter, and learning. Here are some of the life lessons learned from my favorite centenarian.

Life Lessons Learned: Save It For Later

Life lessons learned jam-packed freezer

Grandma T had the most jam-packed freezer I have ever seen. She kept everything in there, sometimes well beyond the expiration date. Like we’re talking years beyond! Whenever she ate out, she would always be sure to ask for a “doggie bag.” There were a couple of times she packed up the remains of my meal too.

At first glance, you might write off this behavior as evidence she was either poor or cheap. Neither was true. It was more a result of growing up during The Depression. She was the complete opposite of the current generations of entitled folks. Grandma T knew what it was like to go without, which is why she never took anything for granted.

As entrepreneurs, I often see my clients and myself exhibiting the same behavior as Grandma T. We look at all the great information available to help us better market our business. We’re appreciative of all the free content available to consume. Free webinars, blog posts, online courses, videos, and more. Anything we need to learn is one Google Search away.

Like Grandma T, I often find myself packing away “doggie bags” of information to consume later. I like to store my online information goodies in Raindrop.io, my favorite internet bookmarking tool.

Life Lessons Learned: Reach For the Top

Life lessons learned reaching for the top of the tree

Originally from Brooklyn, NY, Grandma T spent more than half of her life in Mesa, AZ. One thing that she loved about living in the Southwest was growing citrus. A ton of citrus adorned her property. Whenever we would go to visit, the first thing she would ask us to do was to go out and pick her oranges. Grandma T would always oversee this, acting like a taskmaster. Being city slickers, we would always reach for the low hanging fruit.

Grandma T never tolerated slackers. She would bark at us to get back outside and pick the oranges at the top of the tree. To get the job done, she’d hand us a fruit picker extension, which allowed us to reach for the top.

As small business professionals, it’s easy to shy away from goals that make us stretch and grow. Instead, it’s much easier to set our sights on the goals that are easy to reach. Yet, if we look around for the right tools that help us extend our reach, we can get to the top after all.

Grandma T always believed the fruit gleaned from the top of the tree tasted better. Isn’t it the same with our goals? When we achieve those really big wins it seems so much sweeter.

Life Lessons Learned: Don’t Be Afraid to Speak Up

 

Life lessons learned speaking up at the bar mitzvah

Grandma T was a strong and vibrant character. She also had a lot of chutzpah. I remember when she traveled up to Utah for my son’s Bar Mitzvah. She had prepared a little speech to read during the service. Unfortunately, even though she was listed on the program, the rabbi forgot to call on her. Big mistake.

Immediately after the service, as everyone was leaving, Grandma T hopped up and had a word with the rabbi. She then insisted he get everyone back in their seats. Which he promptly did. Grandma T then walked to the front of the room and gave a lovely speech in honor of her great grandson. The rabbi later confided he’d never met anyone as commanding as Grandma T. This from a man that had served in the Israeli army.

Grandma T was never afraid to speak up. She figured that if she had something to say, then it was our job to listen. Boy, how many of us could use a big dose of that? I don’t know how many times I have been at a business event and felt self-conscious about speaking up. After watching Grandma T assert herself, I became much more courageous about speaking up.

As business professionals, we may need to tell our clients things they might not want to hear. We must not be afraid of speaking up. Even when it seems that your turn is over, and nobody seems to be listening, empower yourself to speak up anyway.

Unlike Grandma T, most of us will probably not live to 102. It is a rarity to live to see your 100th birthday. I think the people who do live that long, must do so because they have grit. Maybe that inner grit flags them for longevity.

I am honored to have known Lillian Tannenholz (aka Grandma T), for the past 25+ years. I will always be grateful for the life lessons learned from her. May her memory be a blessing.

Lillian Tannenholz at 100 years old

Lillian Tannenholz

December 10, 1915 – June 17, 2018

Launch4Life - Gillian Whitney

By Gillian Whitney

Communications Consultant

Launch4Life

gillian@launch4life.com

Success Secrets for Breaking Through Your Business Struggles

Woman suffering from business struggles

Business struggles are tough. You feel like packing it in. You are thinking of trying something else. I am sure like me and many others, you have had that moment when you want to throw in the towel. It’s too hard. You are bleeding money. You are working another job to feed this business. Or perhaps you are just doubting your venture. You feel your product isn’t good enough. You need some business motivation.

It is always a gamble being an entrepreneur to know when to pack it in. I recently heard Kate Spade’s 2017 interview with NPR where she and her husband talked about how at one point they had decided to close the business. They had spent all of their 401K and savings. Andy, her husband had actually been supporting the business by working on the opposite side of the country to help Kate keep the business afloat. Not only were they sacrificing money, they were sacrificing their relationship. After four years, they had barely given themselves $15,000 in salary. They made a decision to give up on the business. But two of their equity partners begged them to keep trying. So, they pushed on. Within a couple of years, they had sold 56% of their business to Neiman Marcus for more than $30 million.

Most of their success came from recognition and publicity.  Without that they probably would never have made it.  Of course, marketing a business back in the 90s is a little different than today. But what are the takeaways from Kate’s business that you can apply to your own?

#1 Her business was an “original disruptor”. She had thought of something that no one else had thought to do before. Her line of handbags was original. She had found something that was missing in the bags currently being sold.

Does your business offer something new and innovative?

#2 Do or Die. Being 100% committed. Not having another job at the time. Even though her husband was working and giving her support, Kate quite her job and was “all in”.

Despite obstacles, are you totally committed to your message?

#3 Marketing support. Recognition for your product and its value. Today that would be your Online Marketing Machine: social media, a website, email platform and advertising.

Do you see the “big picture” of your business and how you need to orchestrate the components to accomplish your recognition and success?

I wanted to use Kate Spade‘s story to honor her and her contribution to fashion and entrepreneurs. It is so sad to hear that someone who had worked tirelessly to attain success was still unhappy. I am no psychiatrist and I am sure there is a lot of what we don’t know about Kate Spade’s personal life, but perhaps the biggest lesson her story offers us is that we need to be sure that our success does not cost us our joy in life. Making our business be part of our life, not all of our life.

Do not define your life only by your business success. 

I would be remiss if I don’t take this moment to also show my respect and regard for Anthony Bourdain. I loved watching his show “Parts Unknown”. Though I am a wimp when it comes to trying new exotic foods, I loved watching his adventurous passion. It did encourage me to explore my culinary creativity which I love to share with my family and friends.

Let Anthony and Kate’s success and teachings make you and I better entrepreneurs and help us make better contributions to the world.

RIP Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain.     

Janet Elie Launch4Life

By Janet Elie

Internet Marketing Specialist

Launch4Life

janet@launch4life.com

Do You Need a Summer Time Goal Reboot?

How on earth did it get to be June? Wasn’t it only yesterday we were ringing in the New Year and setting our goals for 2018? The first day of summer is almost here. This might be a good time to take a look at your goals to see how you’re doing. Do a mid-year goal check-in and decide if you might need a reboot.

Whether you set personal goals, professional goals, or both, it’s good to evaluate if you’re on track to reach whatever deadline you set. This year, I set quite a few goals to accomplish. Some have already been accomplished. Hurray!  However, quite a few are nowhere near being on track. Darn!  Which is why, I am implementing a plan of… Stop, Drop, and Roll.

Stop, Drop, and Roll was a fire safety technique I learned back in Canada when I was a kid. It was the safety precaution that was drilled into us, so we would know  what to do if our clothes ever caught on fire. It was a proactive measure to “learn not to burn.”  Even after fifty years – I still remember that lesson. I figured this was a great metaphor to prevent getting “burned” by elusive goals.  Ready to Stop, Drop and Roll? Lets get started.

 

STOP

Mid-year is a great time to stop what you’re doing and reflect. Have you made the progress you were hoping to accomplish? Are you just a little off track? Or, are you totally derailed?

Taking the time to reflect lets you evaluate what might be keeping you stuck. When we stop and look at where we currently are, we can better figure out what’s holding us back. What are our roadblocks? Is the goal too big? Did we break it down into enough actionable tasks? Do we need a better plan?

During this period of reflection, it’s a good idea to think of ways you can tweak your goal or change the process, so you can get where you want to be. Zoom out and look at the big picture. Think about where you are now and where you want to go. Once you have that vision, think about everything that has to happen between the two points.

If you evaluate your progress and you realize that you’re not getting closer to your goals, you need to re-adjust your approach. Reaching our goals is kind of like flying an airplane. If the pilot doesn’t know where they are and where they want to go, they will never reach the final destination.

 

DROP

Sometimes we may find that the goal we set for ourselves no longer matters. We are constantly changing and so is our business. Think about why you created the goal in the first place. Maybe what was important to you in January is no longer important to you in June?  It’s perfectly fine to change your mind.

If your goal no longer resonants for you, it’s okay to drop it and take it off your list. After all, the only goals that really matter… are the goals that really matter.  When we set goals it’s almost a given that we are going to encounter setbacks and failures. When we meet resistance it’s normal to feel like giving up. If you have a really strong reason to keep pushing through, because the final outcome really matters, you will find a way to persevere. On the same token, if don’t have a big enough WHY you won’t have the motivation to stay the course.

 

ROLL

If you decide that your goal still matters and you want to make better progress, you need to roll away any roadblocks you’re encountering. Most often our biggest hinderance to achieving our goals is “us”. We can be our own worst enemies with the stories we tell ourselves.

Have you ever battled with some of these thoughts?  “If only…” or “I’m never…”  or “Why do I always…” When this kind of “stinkin-thinkin” gets planted in our head it can grow like a weed. Negative thoughts dis-empower us and stop us from taking action.

For anyone that has ever gardened, you know that weeds have a nasty habit of choking the flowers. If weeds are left to grow they can eventually take over the whole flower bed. Unfortunately, getting rid of those weeds is a lot of work. You can’t just rip off the tops because they’ll grow right back. Instead, you have to pull those weeds out by their roots. This is a great mirror of what happens to us when we allow negative thoughts to take root. Negative thoughts effect our beliefs, which in turn effects our actions, which in turn effects our results.

 

In conclusion, our goals must have meaning and purpose. To achieve our goals requires continual reflection and analysis.  We must be mindful of how our thoughts, beliefs, and actions impact our results. I hope you will join me in doing a Summertime Goal Reboot.

Yesterday was my birthday. I decided it was the perfect time to Stop, Drop, and Roll. I am happy to announce that some of my 2018 goals have been dropped from my list. By doing that, I was able to add new goals that better resonate for me. The final result is that I now feel more energized in my personal and professional life.

Before you head off for your summer vacation, take this opportunity for a mid-year check-in to determine if you need to reboot your 2018 goals.

 

By Gillian Whitney

Communications Consultant

Launch4Life

gillian@launch4life.com

It’s Great to Be Grateful

Joe Girard was great at selling cars.  He’s listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the “World’s Greatest Salesman.”  For 14 years he worked at a Chevrolet dealership just outside of Detroit, Michigan.

Just take a look at his stellar record:

  • During his 14 year career, he sold 13,001 cars.
  • On his best day, he sold 18 vehicles.
  • During his best month, he sold 174 vehicles.
  • In his best year, he sold 1,425 cars.
  • By himself, Joe Girard sold more cars than 95% of all dealers in North America.

What was the secret to his success? Gratitude.  Joe Girard was genuinely grateful for each and every customer he had.  And most importantly, he worked really hard to never lose touch with any of them.

Within a few weeks of selling a car to someone, Joe would call them to thank them for the sale. During that call he would ask how the car was running. If things were going well, he’d ask for a referral. If there was a problem, he would get it fixed.  Then ask for a referral.

Every month, year after year, Joe sent all his customers a hand-written greeting card. Inside he wrote a simple message. He was careful to never include anything that could be seen as salesy. Instead, he would share an anecdote, news story, or birthday greeting.  Joe knew his customers would need a new car one day and he wanted to keep himself top of mind.

Recently I came across a book called, A Simple Act of Gratitude by John Kralik. The book is about a guy whose life was a complete disaster. He was miserable, broke, and overweight. While he was out hiking in the hills of Los Angeles on New Year’s Day, John had an epiphany. He decided he needed to find a reason to be grateful every single day. So he set a goal to write one thank you note a day for the next year.

As a result of writing handwritten thank you notes, over the course of one year, taught John some excellent lessons.  He learned to value all the good in his life and became a more positive person.

When you adopt an “attitude of gratitude”, you attract like-minded people into both your personal and professional life.  I believe gratitude is such an effective tool because it helps develop trust and loyalty. As the Launch4Life team loves to say, “People do business with those they know, like, and trust.”

There’s an old saying that if you’ve forgotten the language of gratitude, you’ll never be on speaking terms with happiness. With that in mind, perhaps we need to see each day and each new client as a gift. Every day is a new day to be grateful for all that we’ve learned or all we have yet to learn.

By Gillian Whitney

Communications Consultant

Launch4Life

gillian@launch4life.com

Does Your Business Have a Crisis Design Plan?

Steve Jobs had a quote “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” Your business must have a plan that works in every aspect, during the good times, the bad times, and the crisis times. This blog post is about designing for the crisis times.

Last week I had the humbling experience of witnessing the passing of my wonderful Aunt. In the midst of my grieving, I also had the responsibility of creating the funeral arrangements on behalf of my cousins. My Aunt had not made any preparations nor left a note with her wishes. I had to figure out what she would have wanted, what did the family want, and then rustle up a plan that could be implemented quickly. We only had a couple of days left. Fortunately, it was all in place before she passed.

Conversely when my mother passed away a couple of years ago, she had already set in motion her arrangements along with having paid for it. My two sisters and I were able to be at our Mother’s bedside in her final days as daughters, not worrying about the business aspect. When she passed, all we had to do was make a call that triggered the well-orchestrated plan my mother had created months in advance.  No stress, no arguments, no worries except to grieve. What has this got to do with this business blog you ask? Everything. Because the same plans are needed for your business when you are gone? Who is left figuring out what they should do with the business?

Accidents can happen in a moment. Sickness can beset us without any warning. One could get a bad case of the flu and be unable to even think about that appointment made for tomorrow. Or who is going to open the shop? What about that workshop that was scheduled in two days. Who is going to tell your clients you are not showing up? If you have a partner, then things might not be a total disaster. But if you are a solopreneur there is no one to manage your business while you are out sick. Worse, if you died, is anyone designated to tie up all the loose ends of your business?

No one likes to think about these things, but life happens, and death happens. As responsible business people we need to have documents and plans in place to help our partners or family members manage our business for us.

Here are some considerations:

#1 A list of all the programs you have purchased for your business. Which should be cancelled or continued? Where can they find the passwords? Is your business calendar accessibly so they can contact your clients that you had appointments scheduled with?

#2 Who to contact if you have a lease or own a shop? What about staff members contact information?

#3 If your business is a corporation or LLC, where can your tax id be found?  Your tax accountant?

#4 Is your business something that can be sold by your family? Have some notes that can assist them in the research. Depending on the size of the sales do you have a written business valuation?

#5 If you have a partner, is there a buy/sell agreement in place?

Those are a lot of questions to think about. The last thing your loved ones need to be worrying about is winding down your business stressing over how to figure out how to do that. So, do them a favor. Take an afternoon and write down the answers to those five questions. Pick someone to tell them about the plan, where to find it and what you want done.

My Mom had told us that she had pre-planned and paid for her funeral arrangements. We knew exactly what she wanted. We sisters all worked together to support her wishes. She allowed us to be with her in her final days without stress or worry. My aunt on the other hand, had not made any plans. Her children who lived in Europe, were not familiar with U.S. customs and without me would have struggled to put a plan together quickly. Fortunately, having had my Mom’s experience I was able to take charge and make their grieving a little easier. So, show your family how much you love them, write that plan today. While you at it, it wouldn’t hurt to write down your personal needs message to your loved ones. We saw what happened in Florida on Valentines Day. Things can happen at any age.

Steve Jobs knew what his “time” clock was. He worked with his team for the necessary transition. He also created new apple products that could be built and used long after his demise. We don’t always have the knowledge of how much time we have.

I hope this message gives you the courage to write that plan now. Then you can relax and focus on growing your business confident in the knowledge that “just in case”, your business will transition the way you want it.   Your loved ones or partner will thank you for it.

 

 

By Janet Elie

Internet Marketing Specialist

Launch4Life

janet@launch4life.com