Welcome to September! It’s September 1st and my windows are open, client files are in front of me, and my mind is on business planning and productivity. In fact, my word of the month is PRODUCTIVITY. While I know we probably aren’t done with the heat, I absolutely love when the seasons start to change, especially the change that happens from Summer to Fall. It is an invigorating time of year. Outside of weather changes, we should also start thinking about our business plans for the coming year and I wanted to share a few things that I’ve recently found and what I’m doing for my business to make sure I close 2017 and start 2018 strong.
Fall Business Planning and Productivity
The ONE Thing
I started reading The ONE Thing a few weeks ago and it is amazing. This is practical advice that anyone can use in either their business or their personal life. I recommend using it in both. We all think we can multitask but time has taught me that that is a myth. I can do multiple things at one time, but if I’m not giving something 100% of my attention, I’m not going to be successful with it. Now, I’m not saying you can’t run multiple businesses or target multiple areas in your business. What I am saying is spend quality time on each of them individually so you are giving those things 100% of your attention. It comes down to focus. That’s my plan.
I have tried my fair share of planners and I have found parts of each of them super-useful. After reading The ONE Thing, I knew I needed to get serious about planning my life and business. That’s when I found Productivity Flourishing and the Momentum Planners. Side note…I found them through a Facebook ad, so yeah, those things do work if you’re targeting correctly. 🙂
In all fairness, I’ve just started using them but I am seriously impressed with the way they make me think and plan my weeks, months, quarters, and years. And bonus points, they have some cool free resources — a blog planner, action item catcher, an individual project planner, productivity jumpstart pages — some really awesome stuff. I am only going to be using the Momentum Planners for my business.
For my personal goals, I’m sticking with my ARC planner. It’s just too easy for me to add and remove functionality as I need it, working it as a planner and bullet journal and keeping the creativity piece alive.
Time & Freedom LIVE!
The last thing I wanted to share today is certainly not the least. I am talking about a kick-ass 3-day event called Time & Freedom LIVE! happening October 26-28. I will be at this event as part of the team, but even if I wasn’t, I would plan to be there. I am super-excited to hear each and every one of these speakers. The topic is Content Marketing & Strategy for Thought Leaders and the speaker line up is crazy good.
This event is not your normal 3-day event. They are going to be talking about content and storytelling yes, but also about health and wellness, adding travel into your business, and tons of other topics. And, I’m going to be straight here — some of what you’ll hear you might consider a little “woo”. Trust me when I say, that is not normally where I come from but it is all good here. These peeps are awesome and they know their sh*t. You will walk away with great tools to use in your business and a plan for 2018.
I didn’t even mention the beautiful location, Crystal Springs Resort. This event is educational but with a retreat atmosphere. Seriously, we are talking about Time & Freedom here. When I’m not learning and working, you will find me on the beautiful grounds communing with nature or in the pool. Eeeekkk, I cannot wait to see the fall colors in all their glory. Check out more about Time & Freedom LIVE!
There you have it. I am wrapping up 2017 with an emphasis on productivity, goal setting, and Time & Freedom. Planning all of this ahead of time will help ensure that I roll into the new year with a plan and a purpose.
A few months ago we talked about how much your business is worth to you. I’m going to ask you again…no, beg you…please stop thinking about the dollar signs in areas of your business where critical thinking skills matter. Over the last few days, I’ve gotten a few emails from a friend and colleague who works on a team. Her client is switching to Ontraport. That makes me so freakin’ happy. Ontraport is amazing to work in. But, the email said she was having her “$15 an hour VA” enter her contacts without tags, and she was wondering if this was going to create a problem? Hell yeah, it’s going to be a problem. It’s not going to be a critical problem, but as far as time management and efficiency, yes, it is a problem.
Here’s the thing, big picture thinking is critical to your business. I was away this past weekend with a client and her team. She also happens to be my coach and asked us to write down 20 things that we do really well. One item on my list was that I’m a big picture thinker. I love planning and then doing the detail work to connect the dots. That’s why I love Ontraport so much.
Critical Thinking Skills Matter
You can always find someone to enter contacts, but if you’re using a high-end system like Ontraport, I can guarantee you that if you haven’t thought through the process of tagging to segment that list, and are having the tagging done when those contacts are entered, you are going to pay more money in the end having someone else fix it. The person doing that work needs to be a critical thinker. Where did those contacts come from? Have they made past purchases? What are they interested in that you offer? Have they attended an event you held or sponsored? Without considering at least some of these factors, your only options are to send everyone your emails and put sequencing in place for click-throughs — basically, you’re still doing the spray and pray method of marketing — or you are going to end up paying someone to go back through your list and manually tag people.
Ontraport is designed to make your business automation as easy as possible. And they do a damn good job of it. You, or someone on your team, needs to know the programs you’re using or have time to really dig in and learn them. Your business needs someone who thinks through the process from a customer perspective, considers what they need, and can implement your systems with the big picture in mind.
My hunt for the perfect planner has begun. If you know me at all, you know that I am a digital badass. I love working the digital side of mine and my client’s businesses. It’s what I do! For the last few years, I’ve used my mobile and various apps and online programs to coordinate everything I need to do. However, I’ve come to realize that when it comes to to-do lists and appointments, I crave pencil to paper. So, I decided that for 2015 I am going to move most of my daily routine to paper. Now, I made this decision several weeks ago and headed straight to Google to do some searching for the ultimate planner. Easy, right? No so much.
I am struggling to find an awesome planner that is both functional and beautiful. Below is a list of the top five planners I’ve looked at and my initial thoughts.
Passion Planner :: I love the concept of the Passion Planner and it has many of the elements I’m looking for but it also has many elements I don’t really need and it doesn’t incorporate enough of a personal life as in weekly grocery list or events I may be attending. And honestly, if I am going to carry this and use it every day I want it to be beautiful and colorful.
Erin Condren Life Planners :: Okay, seriously beautiful planners here, and personalized too. Oh yeah! I was super happy to find this planner but I definitely need to do more research. While there is some space for weekly goals/notes, I have to really think through how I see myself using this and if there will be enough room. Initially I had intended to add my grocery list right on my weekly layout but if I choose this planner I would need to rework that thought. There are some features like the notepad at the back of the book that could replace at least that part and some blank and lined pages for any random brainstorming that could occur. I’m not 100% sure this planner is “the one” and that makes me really sad because these are extremely beautiful planners. I haven’t completely taken it off the table yet 🙂
Plum Paper Planner :: Just Wow! These planners are awesome; beautiful and can be customized with a name. I am still researching the possibilities with Plum Planner and have an email into them but the add-on page options make it a strong contender. I love the direct sales pages, household pages, and the extras but it looks as though the monthly pages and the weekly pages are separate, and I’m not sure I can deal with that.
The Nifty Planner by Bobbie King :: This is almost exactly what I’ve been looking for as far as the layout and space. One trend I noticed is most of the other planners, with the exception of The Nifty Planner, is they start the week on Monday. My week starts on Sunday and this is a big adjustment for me to make. She has a really cool Brain Dump page that would make getting ideas out of my head and onto paper so much fun and she has tons of add-ons. The biggest roadblock I have with this one is that it is a digital delivery product and I would need to have it printed. Because one of my criteria is beauty that would mean printing it in color and having it bound somehow. That will end up being crazy pricey and I’m not sure I’m ready to shell out that much money. We’ll have to see ; )
Create One Myself :: This is always an option. I have mad document prep skills and could create my own planner to meet my specific needs. I was really hoping to find something close to what I wanted because the amount of time it would take me probably isn’t the best use of my time.
I would love your feedback. What is your favorite planner? How do you use it? Is there anything about it you would change (and did you adjust to anything you couldn’t change)? Please share. I need your help! And when my decision is made, I’ll be sure to share it with you here.