Happy August, Goal Getters! I can’t believe that it is already month two of the third quarter for the year. That is just crazy! I hope that you’ve been doing some great work on planning out your goals and, most importantly, getting started on achieving them.
In my former life, prior to owning two businesses, I was a classroom teacher. You may or may not realize that teachers spend a TON of time writing goals for themselves and their students and regularly reflect on those goals. So, to me reflection, the topic of this week’s blog post, was natural. First we define priorities, next we write goals, then we plan how to achieve those goals, and finally we reflect on how we are doing. BUT, to my astonishment, as I was researching for this week’s blog post, I found very little on reflection in the business world. Most of the information I found in my research related to reflecting on goals was related to teaching and the classroom.
I found myself very confused for a while until I realized that most businesses are very focused on “doing” and not very focused on reflecting, a fact that is backed up by Umair Haque, an author and leading management thinker, when he states in an article he wrote for Harvard Business Review that
“What most companies (and economies) don’t do is to stop doing — and that’s a self-defeating problem. We seem to be clueless about making room for deep questioning and thinking: reflecting. Our doing/reflecting ratio is wildly out of whack. Most action items might just be distraction items — from the harder work of sowing and reaping breakthroughs that matter.”
You can check out the whole article HERE.
Folks, here’s the thing: reflecting is WAY more than just asking did I meet this goal or not? Not only does reflecting help us understand why we did or did not meet a goal, it also helps us in further developing and growing our business, becoming better business owners and professionals, and creating new and innovative products and services.
So, below are a list of reflection questions to consider as you review your goals on a regular basis.
In addition to reflecting on goals, I would also suggest, as would Hague and Greg McKeown, author of (the very excellent book) Essentialism, that giving yourself designated space in your schedule for reflecting or thinking about your business and your clients is absolutely necessary for your company to grow and for your creativity to flow. McKeown poses a very excellent question in his book: “…when did you last take time out of your busy day simply to sit and think?” He goes on to clarify “I’m talking about deliberately setting aside distraction-free time in a distraction-free space to do absolutely nothing other than think.”
So, when was it?
It seems like a luxury, but space and time to think and reflect provides the fuel and energy to not just get the work done, but to get the RIGHT work done. You can busy yourself with tasks, but I would compare most of the “work” that we do to the “busy work” some teachers assign in the form of worksheets to simply occupy kids time. As a teacher I would constantly ask myself: what is the purpose of this assignment? How will it help my students reach the goals we have set? If the purpose did not match the goal it wasn’t assigned because I didn’t have time to grade meaningless work. Now, in my businesses I ask myself every evening as I create my to-do list for the next day: Does this help me move closer to reaching one of my goals? Is this task in line with my area of expertise? Does this item match my priorities? Because, I don’t have time to waste on nonsense and neither do you.
By defining your priorities, setting and planning your goals you’re already many steps ahead of others because you’ve already given some thought to what you’re doing. So…don’t lose that steam. Think deeply about how your goals are going and why. And beyond that give yourself some time each week just to think about your business. Trust me, you won’t regret it.
Next Week: Learn How to Take Back Your Time
Hey there goal getters! I hope you’ve had some time to sit down with your dreams and start making them a reality by setting goals to reach them. By actually writing down your goals and making sure they are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time based you are already leaps and bounds ahead of most people. If you haven’t done this yet, make sure to go back and read part two of this series: Write Your Goals. NOW…let’s get some plans in place to reach those goals.
Writing down your goals is a great first step, but now is where we start breaking things down into small, manageable steps—taking bites of the proverbial elephant, if you will. Below you will find my step by step guide to plan for success in reaching your goals.
HOW TO PLAN YOUR GOALS
Step 1: Make a list of everything you need to do to accomplish that goal.
This is where you get to the nitty gritty. It is the time when you download all the things you will need to do, and all the materials/supplies you will need to have, in order to meet this goal. It is helpful to think about even the smallest steps, nothing is too small to be listed here—the more detailed you get, the better!
Step 2: Order the tasks.
Once you have all the tasks required to meet your goal written out, put them in a logical order. Sometimes this means putting them in order of what has to happen first and other times it means taking care of the least exciting but most impactful task first. Be very honest here about which things need to come first.
Step 3: Create a schedule.
This is where you look at the deadline you’ve set for yourself. Remember your goal should be time sensitive. So, what is the date you want to reach this goal? Start there and work backwards assigning tasks. By planning backwards you start with where you want to end up so that your goal is always in focus.
Step 4: Get moving and get support.
Now you need to get yourself going. Start checking things off your list (and yes, I believe that lists are essential). If you get to something on your list and realize you either a) don’t have the skill set for it, b) you don’t have the time for it, or c) you just don’t want to do it—get support. That may mean you need to hire someone to do what needs to get done.
Setting goals is a big step, but actually planning how you will reach those goals is what will lead to your success. My hope is that by following these steps you will be able to break down your larger project into smaller, more manageable tasks, increasing the likelihood of your success.
So, what is your goal and your deadline? How can we help support you in reaching your goals? Drop a comment below.
Next Week: The Importance of Reflection
Welcome back dreamers! I hope that you really enjoyed last week. Personally, I love taking time and dreaming about what I want for my business and my life. Dreaming gives me energy. I gives me time to realize that I can do bigger things than I am doing now—in all areas of my life. I hope you’re reading this feeling the same energy as I am at this moment, because you’re going to need that energy as we set some actual goals around those dreams.
This week, in Part 2 of the Goal Setting Series, I am going to take you through the process of writing a S.M.A.R.T Goal. You can download the S.M.A.R.T. Goal guidelines below.
What is a S.M.A.R.T. Goal? It is a goal that is SPECIFIC, MEASURABLE, ACHIEVABLE, RELEVANT, AND TIME SENSITIVE. Briefly, here is what those things mean:
Your goals should be very clear. Anyone who reads your goal should clearly understand what you’re talking about.
In order to know if you’ve met your goal you must know where you are currently, related to that goal, and where you want to be. You MUST quantify it.
This is where you need to do a gut check: Is this a realistic goal? Is this something that you can actually achieve?
Does your goal match the overall mission of your company. Or, if it is a personal goal, does it match your life priorities? This is important. We want our goals to matter. If it doesn’t match our mission or line up with our priorities or bigger goals, there is really not a point to put your energy into it. Remember, you only have 168 hours per week. This means that everything you do should be helping you live out your business mission or life priorities. If you’re not sure what these are then you need to stop right now and go back to the beginning. You have to know what is important to you first, then you can set goals to grow your business and enrich your life.
Now that you’ve established your very specific and measurable goal, thought carefully about the reality of meeting this goal, and ensured it is aligned with the bigger goals, mission, and/or priorities, you need to set a date you’re going to achieve this goal by. If you don’t put a time table on your goals, they will take a backseat to everything else that is going on in your life. You MUST set a date.
I’ve created a Goal Writing template for you to walk through this process. Do you have to use this? Absolutely not! BUT you do need to write your goals down and mark their due date in your calendar.
What does this look like?
Here is an example of one of my actual goals. In addition to Righter Professional Services, I have a side business working with an ethical fashion company called Sseko Designs. Until now, I’ve pretty much just been having fun with it, and I haven’t been too concerned with my sales or building my team. BUT, what I’ve realized is that I’m missing a pretty big opportunity by considering this business a hobby. So, here is a goal that I am setting for next mont with Sseko:
Specific: I want to increase my sales by 25% during the month of August.
Measurable: My current sales are typically around $1200 per month. So in August my sales goal is $1,500.
Achievable: Is this achievable? Yes…I know I can do this. If I’ve put minimal effort into my business to get $1,200 per month in sales, then with some targeted effort I will be able to meet my goal of $1,500.
Relevant: This is a relevant goal. One of my biggest personal priorities is to use my time on Earth to help other people. All my Sseko sales directly and tangibly align with this priority as they contribute to scholarships for young women in Uganda to pursue a higher education, and to providing sustainable, stable, excellent employment opportunities for the women who run our Uganda factory.
Time Sensitive: I will know if I’ve reached my goal by midnight on August 31.
Here is my goal written out:
"I will make increase my Sseko sales by 25% reaching a sales goal of $1,500 by August 31, 2018."
Now, go get ‘em!
I hope that you’ll not only use this goal writing process for your business, but also for your personal life. Remember, when we are personally fulfilled we bring our best to our business.
OK…I’ve shared one of my goals for this quarter. I’m waiting to hear yours. Drop your S.M.A.R.T goal into the comments below so I can cheer you on!
Next week: Planning To Meet Your Goals
1 in 400 trillion.
What is 1 in 400 trillion? No, it isn’t your chances of winning the lottery (those are actually much lower odds only 1 in 14 million). It’s also not the chance that you’ll meet and marry Brad Pitt or Scarlett Johansson. 1 in 400 trillion is actually the scientific chance of YOU. Yes, you. Isn’t that crazy? There was only a 1 in 400 trillion chance that you would be born where you were, to your parents, with your DNA.
So what? Well, simply put, that means you’re extremely unique. You have gifts, ideas, and dreams that are only yours—no one else could even think of them. You are 1 in 400 trillion.
As children we are really excited about our uniqueness. We share our ideas and are excited about life and what/who we will become. As a teacher for several years, an auntie several times over, and a mom I have been lucky enough to witness, first hand, the dreamers that kids are. Seriously, kids will draw a picture of a blob and bring it to you excitedly, and proud to tell you they’ve just drawn a picture of you. They believe themselves to be an artist in that moment. They don’t just think they might be, they feel it, they KNOW it.
So what happens? How do we get to where we are as adults? Why do we start moving away from those dreams that we once held, those ideas about ourselves that we KNEW were truth and become a grown person living life on autopilot? Yes. You. I don’t care how successful you are, I guarantee you, there is at least one area of your life you’d like to change. You probably think about it often and even have some ideas on how to do it, but you’re ignoring it. Why are you ignoring that thing that you want to do; the goal you want to accomplish?
Two words: Limiting Beliefs
As children we receive many messages that shape how we decide to live our lives. Did you know that only about 5% of your actions are controlled by your conscious mind? That means that, roughly, 95% of what you do is controlled by your unconscious mind. And that unconscious mind is largely formed by the messages that we have received growing up.
I want you to really let that sink in.
We grow up being taught, either intentionally or unintentionally (by what was said or what we saw happening), by those who raise us, about money, love, relationships, jobs, and how to live life. Largely, it’s those messages that stick with us more than any other messages we will receive.
Please hear me when I say: this is not an excuse. Right? I’m not suggesting that you use these messages as excuses. In fact, I would bet you CAN’T use them as excuses, because you’re not even aware of them. They are in your subconscious. I suggest we start to think about our thinking, try to bring these messages to our consciousness and then deal with them appropriately.
Let me give you an example. Maybe you are a dedicated employee and have been with the same company for several decades, BUT you hate your job. Why would you do this; why would you stay at a job you hate for years? Perhaps it’s because you grew up with messages that told you stability was the most important thing or that loyalty is the best quality you can have. Maybe you were told or saw that work wasn’t fun, that it was just something you had to do to make money. If you grew up with any of these messages you may not even realize that this is why you continue to stick with a job that you hate. It’s why you continue to go to a place everyday that adds no joy to your soul.
I recently read a quote from Jim Rohn: “You have two choices. You can make a living or you can design a life.” So what do you do? How do you start to pursue your goals and design that life?
It starts with you dreaming big—AND being real. Yes, honest with yourself about why you want to achieve these goals or live these dreams. Mel Robbins, motivational speaker and life coach, said in her TED talk “How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over” (watch it HERE) that it might sound nice to say you want to “get healthy” but it would be much better for you to be real about your why and tell yourself the truth: “I want to get rid of my man boobs so I can get some action.” This is kind of funny, but gosh…which is more motivating? And isn't honesty always the best policy--especially with yourself?
So do this: grab a journal, or download my Dream BIG Guide, and write down just three big dreams that you have, or even just one is a good place to start.
Before you start remember there is nothing silly here, there is no dream too big or too crazy. This is a spot for honesty. In fact, if you have a big dream that you’re afraid to even write on paper, I want you to do just that, because….
The next thing I want you to do is write down all the reasons you’ve never put your effort into this goal in the first place. Why haven’t you gone for it? OR…if you have gone for it why did it fail?
After that I want you to really examine those reasons. Here’s where you get metacognitive, or think about your thinking. I want you to write down where you think that reason might have come from. Why do you believe what you’re saying is the reason you haven’t pursued your dream.
So it might look something like this:
Maybe this is your BIG dream:
I want to write a book.
Maybe this is what you tel yourself about why you haven’t done it yet:
Because I don’t think anyone will read it. OR maybe…
Because I need to have a “real job”
Maybe after thinking about it you realize this is why you believe those thoughts:
I was told that I should be seen and not heard. OR maybe…
I saw that the most important thing is to have a steady paycheck. OR maybe..
I was told that some authors are successful, and that making a living as an author isn’t likely.
Once you know WHY you’re thinking what you’re thinking you can start to work on changing up those thoughts. To continue with the example above...
You might start telling yourself:
I have a lot to say that would be valuable to other people. OR maybe….
Many authors earn steady paychecks. OR maybe…
There are many published writers making a living writing books, I can be one of them.
Please know that NONE of this is easy. Is it simple? Yes. But not easy. It takes time and it takes repeating messages over and over to actually change your unconscious beliefs. It is simple though. By writing down your dreams and starting to change your thinking around them you are beginning to pursue your goal.
I wanted to start this series on setting goals by really encouraging you to dream big. My hope is that you start setting goals that mean something something to YOU (not to other people). Goals that will improve the quality of your life or business in a big way.
So, step one to setting goals is to dream big. Write down your big dreams and be reflective with the state of that dream. Why haven’t you made a goal to pursue that dream yet and how can you overcome those reasons?
Remember, you are 1 in 400 trillion. You have some big unique dreams and ideas. I want to hear them. Comment below with something BIG you want.
Next week: How to Add Structure to Your Dreams and Set a Goal.
One of the greatest experiences of my life has been training for and running a full marathon-yes 26.2 miles. In a row. All at once. There is nothing like putting your body and your mind to that kind of a test. While most people would sign up for a 5k or 10k prior to running a marathon, I did not. That’s right, the first race I ever ran was a marathon. This may seem extreme, but through my training I ran many 5ks, 10ks, and half marathons—I just didn’t have to pay the registration fee.
At any rate, what I learned is that the mental game of running a shorter race is VERY different to that of running a marathon. In fact, I would contend that more than 50% of running a marathon is mental. You have 26.2 miles and hours of work ahead of you, so how do you overcome this huge mental task? You break the race down into miles, minutes, blocks, or any other small segment…that’s how. Throughout my long training runs and my marathon I said to myself many times over-“Just make it to the next mile”, or at really challenging times “Just make it to the next block or street sign”. Thinking about making it to the finish line was too overwhelming, but making it to the next street sign was do-able.
I’m telling you this because our daily goals are like the “next mile” or the “next block or street sign” of our big goals, which are our marathons. If you don’t set daily goals you will NOT meet your big goals. Just like if I didn’t make it to the next block, street sign, or mile, I never would have finished my marathon.
Not only is setting daily goals one of the best ways to ensure success in your business and personal life, it also offers you freedom. By being intentional with your daily goals you get rid of the feeling that you need to accomplish everything on your to do list and you are able to set boundaries around how you use your time. If you know what is most important for you to accomplish at the beginning of each day it makes it much easier to say “no” to all the other less important things that come up. Remember—we established last week that your “to do” lists will always be full and completing it is, in fact, impossible. For more information on time management check out last week’s blog post HERE.
This week, as I wrap up my blog post series on habits with setting daily goals, I want to leave you with some very practical steps you can use today to help you move forward tomorrow. If you follow these steps you WILL find more success in your business and freedom in your days.
4 Steps to Setting Daily Goals:
Step 1: Set Big Goals. Before you set your daily goals you’re going to need to have some direction. Each quarter consider where you’re at in your business and where you’d like to go. Then set no more than three big goals that you believe will help move your business forward in the upcoming quarter. For more information on how to set goals, check out this SMART Goal Setting Guide.
Step 2: Break Down Big Goals. After you have your goals established, break each one down into all the steps that you need to complete to reach that goal. No step is too small. In fact the more things you can think of the better.
Step 3: Prioritize Steps. After you’ve broken down your goals prioritize the steps. Start with the steps that logistically have to come first, then move on to the steps that will have the most impact toward the end goal (remember often these are the steps we want to do the least).
Step 4. Add Steps to Daily Goals. Once your steps are prioritized you can start adding them to your daily goals list. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day and your goals won’t be met in a day either. Make sure your daily goals also follow the SMART Goals Guidelines. Make sure they are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time sensitive.
I like to set my daily goals the night before. I work best in the morning and I don’t want to use my valuable energy establishing goals. I want to use that energy to hit the ground running, as they say. So, every morning I already know what I need to accomplish that day. That doesn’t mean that things don’t come up throughout the day, but with my daily goals set, I am better able to evaluate the importance of the additional items that always tend to pop up.
One tool that helps me evaluate the priority of items in my day comes from the book Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy. Tracy calls this method the “ABCDE Method”. As you add things to your daily list you code them in the following way:
A: These tasks are defined as something that is very important, something that you MUST do. It could have serious positive or negative consequences if it doesn’t get done. Tracy suggests further prioritizing your A items as A-1, A-2, A-3, and so on if you have more than one A task.
B: These tasks are things you SHOULD do. There might be consequences for not doing them, but they are not nearly as serious as the consequences for not doing an A item.
C: These tasks would be NICE to do, but there is no consequence to you doing or not doing these things.
D: These tasks should be DELEGATED so you are able to use your time doing the things that need YOUR attention. When you’re thinking about tasks that can be delegated, it is a good time to consider a virtual assistant. At Righter Professional Services this is what we do….we take care of all your items that get coded D. You won’t be able to do everything yourself so it is nice to have someone there to take care of these items for you.
E: These tasks should be ELIMINATED from your list. Tracy suggests that these items might be things that you continue to do because you always have but that have no real positive impact on your business. They could also be things that you were wanting to do, but are no longer relevant.
Using the ABCDE Method everyday will help you maintain your focus and get your biggest priorities handled so your business can move forward in a positive direction. Your daily goals should always be related back to your bigger quarterly/yearly goals or the mission of your company.
As you cross off each daily goal feel good that you’re one step closer to the finish line. Imagine that you’ve just completed another mile or hit the next street sign and now you are that much closer to finishing your marathon and meeting your big goals. No matter what you do, stay in the race and keep pushing forward. You will get there one daily goal at a time.
Next Week: A new series on Goal Setting.
There are times when I sit down to get some work done and feel overwhelmed by “all the things”. Am I the only one? I’m pretty sure…no, I am not. As professionals and business owners the list of things just keeps getting bigger. This anxiety or the sense of being overwhelmed comes to us for one of two reasons: 1) We are working under the illusion that we can get all things done; that our list will be totally complete or 2) We’ve done a poor job of managing our time. More likely some combination of the two.
I’d like to start part three of my business habits series on time management by addressing the number one reason I believe most of us feel overwhelmed and/or anxious about what we need to do: the illusion that we can get all the things done. This is just a lie. It is a lie pushed on us by marketing teams trying to sell their new perfect tool/product that will help you get everything done, by the media that tells us we should be able to do everything, or maybe by messages we have internalized from mentors, teachers, parents, or someone else in our lives who pushed us to get everything done (though I’m sure they had the best intentions—they were probably also working under the illusion that getting all things done is possible).
The reality is that as a professional or business owner there are constant demands on your time: meetings, marketing plans, emails, customer care, filling orders, managing employees, and the list goes on. Keep in mind this is only at work. There are also demands on our time from family and friends. And let’s not forget about ourselves—which, let’s be honest, we often do. Most of the time, because we are working so hard (a good trait by the way—being hardworking), we leave ourselves behind. Our health suffers, we don’t take time to actually do the things we love to do—basically, we don’t invest in ourselves. I could (and probably will) write an entire post about why it is so important to invest in ourselves—but in the interest of staying on topic and not trying to cover everything at once I will move on. My point is two-fold: 1) there will never be enough time to get everything done and that is OK—say this to yourself everyday. 2) balance between work, family/friends, and self is what you should be focusing on when managing your time.
Now that we have a mutual understanding that not everything can or should get done everyday, let me outline a strategy to help you manage your time and make the most out of your day.
Step 1: Figure out how you use your time now. While this task may be tedious it is worth it’s weight in gold. Most of us think we are being productive because we are doing, doing, doing. BUT, when you step back and actually look at what you’re doing with a reflective lens you might see that the things you’re doing are not actually contributing to your success. Furthermore, it is super easy to get sucked into Netflix, Facebook, and other social media platforms. Often I’ll go to Facebook with the intent of scheduling posts for a client and before you know it I can’t even remember why I was on Facebook to begin with.
So, how do you take an inventory of your activities? You can use this Productivity Time Tracker form. Print it double sided—your morning time will be on the front and the afternoon/evening time will be on the back. Simply jot a quick note of what you did for each time block throughout the day. In her book 168 Hours, Lisa Vanderkam, productivity expert and trainer, asserts that we all have 168 hours of usable time each week and that we have more than enough time to get the important things done and balance our time between work, family/friends, and self.
Step 2: Define what is important to you. As you are tracking your time this week, also take some time to think really hard about what is important to you in each area of your life. This means you are going to have to do some soul searching and set some goals. Get clear on what is important to you in your life. What do you value? Then, write some goals (maybe one for each area work, friends/family, and self) that will help you progress in each area of life. Make sure your goals are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time Sensitive. The big thing about setting a SMART goal is that before you start writing them, you have to really know what is important to you. This SMART Goal Setting form will make a good reference when you begin to set your goals.
Step 3: Set up a schedule for yourself. After you look over how you’ve been using your time and then consider what is important to you and what your goals are, make a schedule for yourself. In his book Essentialism, Greg McKeown states that many of us see the word choice as a thing (“I have a choice to make”) but really the things are our options. A choice is an action. He states “It is not just something we have but something we do.” You need to explore all the options about how to use your time and then choose what you will do. After all, McKeown also wisely states that if we don’t choose how to use our time someone else will. By making your own schedule you set boundaries for yourself and give yourself the time to meet the goals you’v set in all areas. A schedule is imperative to your success.
Step 4: Decide what you will do. Make yourself a list of things that need to get done each day to get you closer to your goals. What will you use each time block for daily? Next week I will be diving into this step more deeply and will give you some list making strategies and tools as I discuss setting daily goals.
Step 5: Eat That Frog! Okay…so you don’t actually have to eat a frog, but I love this analogy that Brian Tracy uses throughout his book Eat That Frog! Basically it goes like this: everyday you need to look over your list. What is the one thing (or may two) that will have the most positive impact toward meeting your goals. That is the thing you need to do first. He asserts that “the frog” is often the thing that we want to do the least, but will ultimately lead to better results, making it the most important. I’ve read several things that state you should take care of all the little things first to make you feel productive and I tend to disagree. I am a firm believer that the frog must be eaten first before you take on the little things. Why? Well..I think that we busy ourselves with lots of little tasks that make it seem like we really are busy, but really those things are not producing the results we are looking for and ultimately are not leading us closer to our goals. Essentially, work smarter not harder. Make the smart choice about what will have the most impact on your day. I also highly recommend reading Eat That Frog! It is full of great productivity tips, it is a quick read, and you won’t be sorry you spent the time reading these short 100 or so pages.
Managing your time and taking an active role in choosing what you will do with each minute and hour is imperative to the success of your business. This week my challenge to you is to really think before you do. Take a careful look at how you’re spending your time and think about how you could use it better. And…don’t be afraid to Eat That Frog!
Next week: Setting Daily goals.
It’s 5am and your alarm goes off. Do you a) jump out of bed and get started with your day or b) hit the snooze button, roll over, and go back to sleep (then repeat this process 3-4 times)? While I strive to answer this question honestly by saying “Oh, yup, I’m an ‘a’ for sure! I have no idea what a snooze button is.” my answer is likely closer to “Well…I set my alarm to wake up early everyday, but I’m answering ‘b’ at least half of the week.”
How about you? Are you an early riser?
There was a time in my life when I could answer ‘a’ confidently, but it was when I had a job that I had to punch in and out. I was actually required to be somewhere at a specific time. This built in schedule made it easier to have an early morning habit. So, what’s happened? I’m now a solopreneur working from home. The only person I have to answer to on a daily basis is myself and my 10 month old son. So, I’ve gotten into the habit of sleeping in a bit later.
While this seems like a perk of working for yourself, what I’ve found is that on days when I am able to get out of bed and workout (my activity of choice in the early morning), then get ready, all before 8:30am, I am MUCH more productive throughout the day. Why is this? Well…I’ve found that:
Maybe you’re not in my shoes. Maybe you do have to actually leave your house to work. There are still some compelling reasons to get up earlier.
This week I am continuing my blog post series on habits and focusing on the habit of rising early. I have been doing some research into why getting up early is a habit of success for entrepreneurs. This is what I’ve found.
According to an article from Forbes online (found here), early risers have been found to get better grades, be more proactive, anticipate problems and minimize them, are better planners, are better at fitting in regular exercise, get better sleep, are more optimistic, have easier commutes, have some uninterrupted time to focus, and have more family time. Because you are up earlier than most, morning time provides you the most valuable commodity there is: more time. With more time you can actually focus, and when extra time happens in the morning, it has been shown that you can think more clearly.
What is the best use of this morning time, then? According to Laura Vanderkam, productivity expert and author of What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast, it is best used to develop habits around things that are important to you, that will make you better in some way, but that aren’t urgent/immediate things. Things that require willpower, but that don’t have to get done. Because those “have to get done” things—those things will get done anyway. It is a time, according to Vanderkam, for things that require internal motivation (so not watching TV or playing X Box before the kids get up) and that deliver long-term benefits. Vanderkam states that the most successful people use their mornings for nurturing their careers, nurturing their relationships, and/or nurturing themselves.
In this interview with Tim Ferriss, author of the Four Hour Work Week, he describes his morning routine as meditating, then brewing some tea, listening to some good music, and completing his 5-Minute Journal (I found a cool one on Amazon here). It’s interesting because Ferris states that he gets up at 6:30am which is early for him, but he doesn’t believe is actually very early. This brings up another interesting point, that early is relative. For me early is 4:30am (the time I am striving for) but for another person, in a different season of life, maybe 8:00am is early. The time doesn’t matter as much as the use of the time.
What will you do with extra morning time? Will you get into a better physical fitness routine? Will you start music lessons, or write some pages of a novel? I’m personally going to use my morning routine to build a good strength and cardio routine and also work on getting back to my creative self by going through a book called The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. I’m looking forward to some quiet moments alone to get some ideas flowing for my business as well.
So…tomorrow when that alarm clock goes off, I might not jump out of bed, but I will definitely roll out looking forward to getting in better shape and tapping into my creative energy.
Next Week: Stop by for Part 3 of my Habits Series-Time Management
I’ve been thinking a lot about habits lately. They can be good or bad, can help or hinder our efforts. As a business owner, developing good habits can help push your business forward and those nasty habits that seem to linger can stop your business in it’s tracks.
Last week I posted an article on Facebook, 28 Best Habits to Have in Business from Entrepreneur.com. I loved the habits suggested in this article and thought it would be interesting to do a bit more research on a few of the suggested habits and why they are among the best to develop as a business owner. There were four habits that really stood out for me, and so over the next month I will be writing about these four habits:
Before diving into the habits above, however, it is probably a good idea to learn about how you can develop better habits. What strategies can help us move in the right direction over time? It would be unwise to assume, for example, that you can automatically start waking up at 4:30am if you’ve been waking up at 7am. Even if you’ve drank the proverbial Cool-Aid and really want to start waking up early, it is going to be challenging for you to “Just Do It”(I love the slogan, but folks, it doesn’t apply to everything in life).
So, here are some strategies you can start using today to start working on developing any habit you feel would be useful to you (personally or professionally).
To help you out on your habit development journey I’ve created a Habit Development Tracker that you can use to develop your habit of choice. The teacher in me loves little stickers…so the spaces are big enough for some star or smiley face stickers, but you can also just put a check mark or an ‘X’ in the box as well. Whatever you do don’t skip the questions at the top part of this sheet. Even if you’re not using this particular tracker and are going use your calendar or another habit tracking tool, ask yourself these questions and write the answers down somewhere you can revisit as needed:
If you’re someone who wants a tracker on your phone, I’d suggest trying Done: A Simple Habit Tracker App. It is free to start and is very customizable. By far my favorite!
Comment below and let me know what you’re working on, how it’s going, and your habit development hacks. I love learning new ways to succeed at meeting my goals.
Next week: Waking Up Early and the Hour of Power
Welcome fellow business owners and professionals!
I wanted to take a moment and introduce myself, Cassie Righter, founder and primary consultant here at Righter Professional Services. It has long been my dream to run my own business and to help others. I am excited that this dream has now connected you and I.
A little bit about me: I have a background in office management, executive administrative support, and education. My love of organizing, teaching, and design, combined with my entrepreneurial spirit led me to found Righter Professional Services, with the mission of helping other business owners pursue their passions with ease and enjoyment. Nothing gives me more joy than seeing the work I’ve done help another business owner grow their dreams.
In addition to running Righter Professional Services, I am a wife and mother. The two greatest sources of inspiration in my life are my husband, Jason, and my son, Logan. Outside of work I enjoy spending my free time with my family, reading a good book, kayaking, taking long walks, or watching a great movie. It is often my life experiences outside of RPS that bring me the ideas I use to help other business owners.
I am looking forward to getting to know each and everyone of you more! Please consider this blog a space where you can come to get ideas and inspiration for your business. My goal is to provide as much usable and free content for you as possible. It is hard being a business owner…I’m hoping I can make it just a little easier for you.
What are some topics or areas you’d like some support in, or information about? I’m here to help you, so please comment below with your thoughts.
Until next week,