We all love the feeling of a fresh start, so when the 1st of January approaches each year there’s a scrambling frenzy to set New Year’s Resolutions and plummet on what ‘three words‘ or ‘one word‘ will encapsulate one’s hopes, dreams and aspirations for the year ahead.
I love this concept in theory, but in practice how many people give their ‘One/Three word focus‘ a second thought once January’s dreamy long summer holidays (down here in Oz!) fades into February and the real work of the year gets under way?
Plan for the Future
Last year I attended my third ProBlogger conference on the Gold Coast –
Darren Rowse talked of how he had mapped out a time chart to ensure all bases of his hectic schedule were covered, with appropriate allocations made for the Creation of fresh content alongside spending time with his young family..
I’ve tried drawing up similar charts in the past, where blocks of time are allocated out, but somehow my days don’t ever pan out into such neat 2 hour chunks like his!
I’ve therefore put these chart creation efforts down to just another sneaky procrastination technique that have me thinking I’m being busy organising myself when in fact it’s just another case of theory not matching up to the practice 🙁
The thing is, as every small business owner knows, demands on one’s time gets busier and more manic as the number of plates one has to keep up spinning on sticks increases; so one races ever faster and more frantically from one end to the other endeavouring to save each plate before it topples.
Yet, there is one plate that quietly and gently swirls, never vying for your attention or making a fuss that it may fall –
It is the one plate that holds your really important work –
The core of your business, without which you’d just have an admin department.
Aware that those noisy urgent plates about to clatter together were keeping me away from the succulent plate of important work, I knew deep down a schedule was the answer, but how to devise one that would work for me and… not turn out to be just another distraction that looked perfect on paper but the practice was simply not going to happen.
Reviewing your Important Work
So I took all the plates down and put them on the table to see what exactly I was doing with my time?
And I came up with this list.
I have five main business areas that all need my attention in equal parts – on top of caring for my mind, body and soul.
Having ascertained that blocking off hours in my day for tasks doesn’t work because pulling me out of the zone to focus on Peter when I was making good headway attending to Paul wastes more time than it gains while making the switch, not to mention the clock watching or listening to the sound of my timer ticking –
So, I’ve chosen to apply a day a week to each sector so even when life gets in the way of my well laid out plans there’ll still be time to get back on track and get some real work ticked off on my focus area for the day.
Maybe its a case of as you get older and time goes quicker having a solid focus for the day as a whole is more productive than switching between five fragmented shards?
Breakdown your Work into 5 Groups – One for each day of the week.
My 5 main groups each cover a large area –
I therefore created sub groups under those headings, which will mean focusing on each on alternate weeks –
Production – The Important work
- There’s the checking of stock levels and re-ordering of the 68 products we currently retail, as well as
- Working on fresh ideas and the design and development of new lines.
- There’s our wholesaling and distribution to retailers, as well as
- Our end-users – the customers who are travelling and want to keep that holiday smile on their face, forever, so need to buy direct when they get home. 😉
- Blog posts that need to be written for SEO, and
- Social Media posts for connecting with customers and colleagues on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn.
Accounts & Admin
- Reviewing figures to ensure we’re heading forever upwards!
- And the admin, which is all the bits that fall down the cracks and I drawstring together in a net – fish out and file.
The Importance of Mind, Body and Soul
While I don’t have a specific time each day to nurture my mind, body and soul – I allow my natural rhythm to guide me –
Mornings – well first thing – are not my most productive when it comes to work! So I’m much better off using this time in a way that feeds my creative well, so I’ll often start out with some mindfullness –
We have such interesting sculptural mangroves near our island office so I love spending half an hour or forty minutes observing the intricacies of their root details and conveying my observations to paper, which focusses my attention and reminds me to stay in the moment when I get back to the office.
Then in the afternoons, about an hour before I know it’ll be dark and I’ll have missed my window of opportunity I’ll either head out in my kayak (if the tide is right), on my bike (if its not too hot), take a walk on the wild-side (if the first two are not applicable) or stretch and flow with an evening yoga class on the deck with Yogi Nora directing me by video 😉
And when the Day is Done
I read an end of year newspaper piece by a journalist who was taking down last year’s wall calendar to replace it with this year’s and his heart sank as he observed all the vacant empty squares and he was left pondering –
“What did I do on those unmarked days? Where did the time go?”
While formulating a plan for the future keeps us (hopefully) heading purposefully towards our vision over there on that horizon –
Acknowledging the progress we’re making – however minuscule, or seemingly insignificant is motivating –
So I love to keep a Year at a Glance!
Where at the end of each month I reflect on a highlight – or appreciate an advancement of some form, and record it in one of the 11 boxes that surround one of my pictorial maps of Australia – a symbol of my journey through life.
Where, at year’s end I relish the reward of seeing my year laid out before me – simply summarising on a single sheet all my victories, so I can celebrate my advancements.
I’ve kept a Year at a Glance for many years –
Being able to visualise my hard earned efforts makes it all so satisfying and worthwhile.
If you’d like a Journal Map to summarise your year as it unfolds –
Grab one here 🙂
Then tell me –
Do you have a schedule to keep you on track to ensure you keep all your important bases covered
(and not just the noisy ones?!)