Posts tagged productivity
How to Improve Your Focus as an Entrepreneur
 

How to Improve Your Focus as an Entrepreneur

March 21, 2019

How to improve your focus as an entrepreneur. Learn my top 5 tips!

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As an entrepreneur, one of the worst things that you can struggle with is having shiny object syndrome, or as I like to call it, s.o.s.

It is so hard to move your business forward if you're constantly jumping from idea to idea, project to project or worse, never actually completing anything.

And honestly, it can be detrimental to your business and kind of your sanity as well. It can feel overwhelming not knowing what to work on, feeling really caught up because you're not able to focus. And if you are struggling with this, know that you are so not alone. So many entrepreneurs struggle with focus and productivity, and that’s what I want to talk about today.

If you don't know a lot about my story, I started my business with a one-month-old baby.

I quickly returned to work two months later was working a nine to five, figuring out this whole mom thing and launching this business from scratch. So optimizing my time, being really lasered in and being productive when I was working on my business was so, so important.

I hear from entrepreneurs all the time about the lack of focus, the lack of productivity, not actually feeling like they are moving their business forward in a way that is allowing them to break free from their nine to five or support their family or travel the world..Whatever that desire might be for you.

Today, I wanted to chat with you about my favorite tips for improving focus, especially as an entrepreneur.

1. FLEX YOUR FOCUS MUSCLE

The first thing that you need to know when it comes to focus is that focus is a habit. If you don't currently have a great method for focusing or you feel like you have squirrel brain (you're all over the place), then it has to be a conscious decision that you make.

To change this habit, you have to make the decision now and create an awareness around it so that you can start flexing that muscle. I often say that focus and productivity is like a muscle. The more that you do it, the more that you practice it, the stronger you will actually become.

It's really easy to stay in this same cycle, to stay in a bad habit. It's like a wheel you're constantly on over and over and over again until you make the conscious decision that you're going to step off of that. The same goes with the habit around focus.

If you struggle with this, then you have to be super aware and on it, on those moments when you're not lasered in and focus and pull yourself into that different mindset. Every single thing that you will create around a new way of focusing and productivity will require daily action on your part.

It can be really easy to slip back into old habits, but I really encourage you to make the decision now to start taking those small actions and you will eventually see that this just becomes second nature to you and you're able to not just get more done, but actually be productive in your business.

2. BRAINSTORMING SESSION

Your girl right here constantly, has ideas. And if I just let those ideas flutter around in my brain, I would always feel overwhelmed. So the key that I have initiated from the very beginning is a brain dump. Like didn't we all learn how to do this in elementary school? We're getting ready to write a report or write a short story and we have to do a whole brainstorming session.

That's exactly what you're doing here. I call it a brain dump because we're taking everything that's going on up here that's driving us freaking crazy and we're dumping it into a list and getting it out of here so we can focus on what we actually need to do.

If you are a creative entrepreneur or a creative person than I know those ideas are constantly coming at you and you can't quite figure out which one you should be focusing on to actually see results. The spinning, the constant spinning back and forth is what's keeping you stuck because you can't see a clear plan of action to get from here to here.

Oftentimes those ideas that we have might not be right for this moment, but we're so hung up on him. We're so clouded by all of the ideas floating around in our head that we can't actually map out our own step-by-step.

So getting these ideas out on paper; I prefer to use Trello for this. You can do a complete brain dump in Trello to get you started and you'll be able to see with your eyeballs the things that you need to do and the things that aren't needed in this moment.

My tip for you, after you do this brain dump, is to actually pull out the pieces that are going to make the biggest impact for you in the next 30 days.

This is a great habit to start getting into because you're looking at the bigger picture of your brand. I'm not going to overwhelm you and be like 90 days out. Like let's just focus on 30 days at a time. By brain dumping all of that information, pulling out the pieces that you think are going to be the most important in the next 30 days, and then starting to prioritize.

Again, I love Trello and for this next step after our initial brain dump, I recommend using some sort of tool like Trello. There's also Asana out there, monday.com, tons of options for you, and organizing those individual pieces into smaller actionable steps.

In the beginning it's gonna feel like snail-like motion, but eventually you're going to really create a rhythm. The only way to do that is to actually get clear on all the little bitty nitty gritty details that you actually need to do in your business.

With each of these individual projects that you have prioritized, I use Trello to create different cards for those projects and add in all the tiny steps.

The key here is for you to take that big idea and break it down into all the tiny little details that are going to help you get that done. Remember, it is in the small actions, we start to feel really overwhelmed when we're just looking at one big task and we're like, how do I get there? What do I need to do now? And we're Ping ponging around.

If you can break it down into these small little actions, put a little checkbox next to it when you are completed with it and know that, oh if I do all 10 of these things, I will get that done.

3. embrace your calendar + MAP IT OUT

Okay, let's talk about scheduling your time. I know you're an entrepreneur. I know that you decided to break free from the nine to five life or maybe you've gone part time or whatever because you want complete control of your schedule. You still need to use a calendar. I don't care if you are an entrepreneur, I don't care what you're doing.

You need to embrace your calendar by giving yourself time to schedule out these individual task is going to save you so much time and energy in the long run.

Remember, you don't always have to be scheduling every tiny little detail as you start to create this habit, but especially in the beginning, I want you to start scheduling and time blocking all of those individual tasks.

If you caught my post last week where I talked about content creation and the four tools and tips that I use, I talked about batch scheduling. This is also something that you need to get into the habit of scheduling, not just the tiny little parts, but also those batch scheduling sessions that you use in your business, whether that is creating content, filming videos, engaging with your audience.

Start putting those in your calendar as well so you can really see where you need to be laser focused and on which project and where you a little bit more breathing room and flexibility.

So again, being your most focused and productive self is a habit that you have to practice. You have to flex that muscle.

These tips are what's really going to help you get started in creating this habit. Remember, we need to get all of those ideas out of your magnificent brain, onto a piece of paper or some sort of computer software so that we can start strategizing how you're going to move forward.

After the brain dump, you want to identify the most important pieces, the ones that are going to have the biggest impact in the next 30 days. Then you went to breakdown each of those individual tasks into tiny little actionable steps and get them on your calendar. This way, you know every single day what you're working on, where your energy and focus needs to go and you know and you trust that each of those small actions is leaving to the bigger goal, the bigger picture and your business.

4. PRODUCTIVITY HACKS

Another thing that I absolutely encourage you to do is use something that allows you to take multiple breaks. One of the ways that you can increase your focus and productivity is not staring at a screen for like eight hours. Get into the habit of taking frequent breaks while you're working on something every 50-60 minutes is usually a good mark, but if you're the type of person who needs every 30 minutes to get up, walk around, meditate, do something, then go ahead and do that.

My favorite thing to use is those little cute productivity cubes and finally one of my brand new favorite tools that I absolutely love is called habit lab. It is a chrome extension and it monitors the time that you've spent on various platforms.

Nothing will break your focus more than your inability to walk away from Gmail or your horrible obsession with spiraling on Facebook.

If you find yourself wasting tons of time on Facebook or Instagram and Gmail, then you are missing out on your focus and your productivity and therefore you aren't moving your business forward.

Putting a chrome extension onto your browser is going to help you get into that habit of not going to that platform every time you have a little bitty break. Utilizing these tools is only going to help you, you guessed it, flex that focus muscle.

You want regular tips and tricks on productivity. Be sure to follow me on Instagram at instagram.com/brandmerrycoaching.

I'm talking about all the behind the scenes of how I run my business, how I manage being a mother, how we're traveling full time, how I work with my husband, the communication that needs to happen. It really comes down to being super productive.

Don’t forget to grab my free content planner, which will support you in improving the focus when it comes to creating awesome content! You can get that at brandmerry.com/contentcalendar.

Branding and Business Coach | Michelle Knight of Brandmerry

P.S. Are we connected on Instagram? No? Well lady what’s happening here we’ve got to fix that. Come hang out with me on my favorite social media platform. Follow for inspiration and send me a DM to know we’re connected.

 
 
Michelle Knight_ headshot copy.jpg

Hey there, I'm Michelle Knight

Welcome to my little corner of the internet. I'm a mother, wife, world traveler and storyteller. I created my own business just after having my first baby and while working a 9 to 5.

Within one year I left my 9 to 5 and created a 6-figure business. Now I spend my days as a Branding and Business coach for female entrepreneurs, raise my little boy and travel the world with my little family of 3.

MORE ABOUT ME ↠

BRANDING

BUSINESS Tips and TOOLS

Travel

Time mangement

Self-worth love


TOP POSTS TO ENJOY!


Four Tips to Improve Productivity While Working From Home
 

Four Tips to Improve Productivity While Working From Home

October 11, 2018

Discover four tips for improving productivity while working from home to create a successful and profitable online business.

When I was getting ready for my first week as a “full-time entrepreneur” I was freaking out! I turned to the power of the internet and reached out to other entrepreneurs asking, “What tips do you have for working from home?”

The response was overwhelming, ideas flooded in ranging from; don’t make a plan just go with it to only work 3 hours a day for better efficiency. However, there was a slight problem with these suggestions - no one who commented was a mother!

Now, whether you’re a mompreneur or not this post will still be super valuable to you, but it’s an important part of my productivity journey because I had no other option that to make it work. Over the past two years, I’ve freaking mastered productively working from home, even when some of the biggest distractions were injecting themselves into my day (thinking baby peeing on you during a live stream, mid-day screams and 💩)!

If you struggle with getting sht done while working from home, you’ve come to the right place. I’m sharing four of my top tips for Improving Your Productivity While Working From Home.

**Please note some of the links are affiliate links. I only recommend products I absolutely love, but I might receive a small commission from your engagement.

1. PLAN THE NIGHT BEFORE.

I can’t stress enough how important planning is for productivity - I mean thing about it when you fly by the seat of your pants you’re constantly bouncing from one thing to another. Did someone say squirrel?!

One of the best strategies I’ve used for productivity over the past 6 months has been to carve out 15 minutes to map out and structure my tasks for the following day.

The night before I hop into my Weekly Schedule on *Trello and sit with my schedule for the next day. Based on family plans and weather (I’m a big advocate for Zoo days) I’ll move things around on my board. I also like to rank my tasks in order of importance and put a time limit on some of them (i.e. things like writing this blog post).

This allows me to have a full picture of the next 24 hours before I even go to sleep, reducing the overwhelm, allowing me to feel on top of my sh*t and to get more things checked off.

Want to try Trello for your business? Grab a free account here: https://trello.com/michelleknight6/recommend

2. Set a timer

When I was a kid my mom used to set a timer in the morning, you know one of those old-school white timers for your counter? Every morning she’d set the timer and when that timer went off we knew it was time to leave for school. Ok, total disclaimer I was still late like 99% of the time, but just think how late I would’ve been if I didn’t have that timer.

This is such a great trick for increasing productivity in your business as well. When it’s time to dive into the black hole that is social media, set a timer for 15 or 30 minutes and when that timer goes off - GET OUT OF THERE!

I love to use the timer method in my business for:

• Social media engagement
• Writing my emails
• Writing my blog posts
• Answering emails
• Tech (SO important to set a timer with this one)

Think of the areas of your business that are major time sucks and set that timer!

3. Batch Scheduling

One of the hardest things to do when working from home is to jump from one project to another. My greatest strategy since day one has been batch scheduling. Rather than spreading out your writing over the course of 5 days, how would it feel to be in your creative zone for a longer chunk of time, rather than having to start over?

When I try to write a single email a day, over the course of a week, it takes me 2x longer for each than if I were to sit down for three hours and write all my emails and social posts. Batch scheduling will save your bootay if you are an online entrepreneur who has to write ANYTHING (so basically everyone)!

Get in the habit of scheduling your batch writing at least once a week, maybe twice, in the beginning, to start finding a rhythm and routine. Before you know it you’ll be writing 10-minute emails and blog post with ease.

4. USE YOUR TIME WISELY

Efficiency is all about looking for all the areas in which you can use up space. When my son was teething and needed to go on daily walks, I would bring my cell phone with me and create talk-to-text documents for my emails. If I didn’t have the time in the day to sit down, you better believe I was using this time to my advantage.

When I use to drive to and from my 9 to 5, I would listen to podcasts which inspired the crap out of me and would record small ideas and notes in my phone, so I didn’t forget a single idea.

Look for every single opportunity you have to tap into your creative space. We all have the same hours in a day, it’s about HOW we use those hours that makes the biggest difference.

How are you currently using your time? Where are your biggest time sucks?

Some people call me the Get Sh*t Done Queen (ok, not a lot of people, but you get the idea) - I’m really great at streamlining and being the most effective with my time.

It’s because in the beginning of my business I had to be! I built this business from zero to multiple 6-figures in two years while working a 9 to 5 in the beginning and raising a baby. Productivity is my jam and that’s why it is one of the main pillars of my signature group program Roadmap to Freedom.

The doors are opening for Roadmap to Freedom for the third time this November!

If you are a new or aspiring female entrepreneur who is ready to launch an online business that allows her to make money on her own terms then this program is for YOU! When you join the waitlist before October 19 you’ll get first dibs on all the amazing bonuses + save some serious cash when you sign up during pre-enrollment.

Learn more and join the waitlist at brandmerry.com/freedom.

Branding and Business Coach | Michelle Knight of Brandmerry
 
 
Michelle Knight_ headshot copy.jpg

Hey there, I'm Michelle Knight

Welcome to my little corner of the internet. I'm a mother, wife, world traveler and storyteller. I created my own business just after having my first baby and while working a 9 to 5.

Within one year I left my 9 to 5 and created a 6-figure business. Now I spend my days as a Branding and Business coach for female entrepreneurs, raise my little boy and travel the world with my little family of 3.

MORE ABOUT ME ↠

BRANDING

BUSINESS Tips and TOOLS

Travel

Time mangement

Self-worth love


TOP POSTS TO ENJOY!


The One Tool I Used to Scale My Business Past Six Figures
 

The One Tool I Used to Scale My Business Past Six Figures

SEPTEMBER 8, 2018

Reaching 6 figures and beyond in your business requires strong systems and organization. It's what's happening behind the scenes that supports online entrepreneurs in scaling their business, hiring team and having a bigger impact. In this post I'm sharing the one tool that transformed the way I organize my business.

Organization - you’re either really good at it or NOT, and I have to admit it’s something I was born with.

I remember organizing my mom’s closet and basement on the regular as a child, teen and young adult. 

I like to give a little credit to the fact that I’m a Virgo (shout out to my fellow Virgo’s), but I also know it’s because I don’t like my space or head to feel crowded.

You know the feeling right? You have a million thoughts running through your head, a million things to do, that you can’t seem to narrow in on the must-do task.

Ok, cool so I’m not alone.

Well, when it comes to being an online entrepreneur, a lack of organization and productivity can impact your business, and not in a good way.

I mean think about it, if you’re always wondering what you should be working on and when, and flailing from one thing to another without a clear plan of action, you’re not going to move very fast in the direction of your dreams.

When I started my business, I was a loyal supporter of the good ‘ole pen to paper planner. I would write my tasks every Sunday night in my planner to prepare for the week ahead until I didn’t.

I got to a point in my business where I couldn’t have my planner with me at all times and would often forget to write my thoughts, etc. down promptly. Ever seen those planners that have months missing? That was me.

So I switched. But before I share what I’m now using in my business I want to chat about the importance of organization and planning out your tasks (yes, day-to-day all the way to a year in advance).

THE IMPORTANCE OF PLANNING

When I started my business, I was just trying to get by, so if you are reading this and thinking, “Yeah, Michelle that is so me right now!” then know that I totally get it.

But, eventually I just felt like I was spinning my wheels, I needed a better way to look at the big picture if I was going to keep moving forward, but I still was reluctant to take action.

Then I heard something that completely changed the way I looked at planning and organization, and that’s coming from a Virgo. I listened to a podcast in which they chatted about building a 7-figure business. They said, and I’m totally paraphrasing here, “If you want a successful 7-figure business start treating your business like it now!”

What? Mind blown! If I want to get to 7-figures, if you want to get to 6 or 7-figures, then we better start treating our businesses the same way they do.

And let me tell you, they are not flying by the seat of their pants.

ENTER TRELLO

I knew I needed a system to not only organize my day to day tasks but a way to organize every aspect of my business, including my workflows for content, client onboarding and working with my team.

I absolutely fell in love with the possibilities with Trello, the fact that it was free (I mean YES) and how visual the platform was.

As someone who loves a good post-it note, it felt like a much more efficient and eco-friendly way to organize my ideas.

Since using Trello, I’ve been able to create multiple boards including but not limited to:

  • My Brand
  • My Weekly Schedule
  • My Big Picture Goals
  • Blog Workflow
  • Podcast Workflow - Subscribe to The Free to Be Podcast
  • Client Onboarding
  • Content Creation Strategy

Oh, and the occasional personal board (in fact I used Trello to organize my checklists and to-do list for my trip to Paris and Iceland).

Interested in trying Trello, check it out here →
*Please note this is an affiliate because as the blog post suggests, I absolutely LOVE IT!

One of my absolute favorite ways to use Trello, besides the weekly schedule, is to organize my big goals. I feel like this is what was holding me back when using the planner, I couldn’t see the big picture.

Now I have a designated board which easily shows my HUGE quarterly goals, my ideas for passion projects and a breakdown of what I’m working on and when in my business.

It’s changed the game for me and contributed to me hitting multiple 6-figures in my business this year.

Did I mention it’s free? Ok, cool!

Want all my Trello workflows, customizations and additions? This month in Free To Be U, my monthly membership community, we are taking a deep dive into task management and organization.
Learn more and sign up today →

I’d love to know in the comments your favorite way to organize your business tasks and if you don’t have one, will you be using Trello?

Branding and Business Coach | Michelle Knight of Brandmerry 
 
 
Michelle Knight_ headshot copy.jpg

Hey there, I'm Michelle Knight

Welcome to my little corner of the internet. I'm a mother, wife, world traveler and storyteller. I created my own business just after having my first baby and while working a 9 to 5.

Within one year I left my 9 to 5 and created a 6-figure business. Now I spend my days as a Branding and Business coach for female entrepreneurs, raise my little boy and travel the world with my little family of 3.

MORE ABOUT ME ↠

BRANDING

BUSINESS Tips and TOOLS

Travel

Time mangement

Self-worth love


TOP POSTS TO ENJOY!


5 Tips to Improve Your Productivity Throughout the Day
 

5 Tips to Improve Your Productivity Throughout the Day

August 23, 2018

Whether you're working from home, juggling a 9 to 5 or both, it can be really hard to get things done. It's all about productivity lady and in this week's blog post I'm sharing my top 5 tips to increase your productivity throughout the day. These tips have allowed me to build my business while working a 9 to 5, then scaling to 6-figures with a toddler by my side.

Oh working from home life, heck every-day life, it can get a little complicated from time to time. We’ve got things to do, people to see and the list keeps getting longer.

Hey girl, there is some light at the end of the tunnel and trust me it comes from doing more efficiently, rather than throwing in the towel. I know, I know throwing your hands up in the air might seem like the best option, but it’s not going to get you anywhere now is it?

If you find yourself seriously struggling with productivity throughout the day, whether that’s in your online business, at your 9 to 5 or both (I see you, girl, because I was you just 2 years ago), I’ve got 5 tips to kick that productivity into overload so you can get more sh*t done.

I’m super passionate about maximizing my time so I can stay focused and productive, yes even with a toddler. My intention is that these 5 tips will allow you to move closer and closer to your life of freedom without the overwhelm.

Top 5 TIPS to Improve Your Productivity

1) Take the time in the morning

Seriously, just do this step. I fought it for so long because I wasn’t a “morning person” but you don’t have to be a morning person to give yourself some love and attention in the morning. This can be 10 minutes or 2 hours (what I aim for these days). Read my recent post about The Morning Routine of a 6-Figure Business Owner for some ideas.

I highly recommend focusing on some sort of meditation or writing, a little movement and a nourishing smoothie or juice. Give your body, mind and spirit the love it deserves and it will support you throughout the entire day, yes even if your toddler throws a curveball in your original plans.

2) Focus on the Big 3

This is something I’ve been doing since I became an entrepreneur, women in my community will remember most of my first live streams were about this very topic. Your list is going to be long, there’s no denying that, but what you need to do is start focusing on what is going to have the biggest impact - enter the BIG 3.

Every single day take time to identify your big 3 for the day and put your energy and attention on those first. That way if something happens and your plans change you’ve accomplished the 3 most important pieces. For all my female entrepreneurs one of these pieces should be a daily sales action; meaning you’re reaching out to someone, posting or following up about your offer.

3) Time blocking for the win

Are you currently blocking out time in your schedule for important things? I see this happening a lot where women say they don’t have enough time in the day to do x,y and z. What if you made it a non-negotiable? Seriously hear me out here. What if every single week on Tuesday night you had time blocked out in your calendar for your business? What if every single Wednesday you blocked out time for yoga?

Treat it as a top priority and whatever comes up you’ll know that time is not available because it isn’t. I actually color block all important appointments, bulk writing sessions and more, like my morning routine, so nothing gets scheduled and takes my energy away from what I need to do.

4) Prepare for the next day

Rather than waking up in the morning wondering what is on the agenda, just to find out you have something every 15 freaking minutes, how would it feel to know before your head hit the bed?

P.S. It feels freaking amazing. Every night before bed set aside just 5 minutes to look at your planner, calendar, post-it notes of ideas and wrap your head around what’s on the schedule, what needs to be done and what can wait. Being in control of your to-do list is half of the battle, seriously, so do yourself a favor and do a little planning. The most productive people don’t fly by the seat of their pants!

5) Organize in Trello

I’m a lover of all things **Trello (see what I tried to do there?) Trello had allowed me to organize my content, workflows and weekly schedule. It makes planning and executing super easy. If you’re not currently using a system for organizing your day to day I HIGHLY recommend. You can get a free Trello account and dive right in.

Other amazing options include Asana and Monday or simply utilizing your Google Calendar or physical planner. I don’t care what platform, seriously I don’t, I just want you to have something that allows you to have a birds-eye view of your life and biz while prioritizing what matters most.

I'd love to know in the comments which tip resonates with you most and what you're most excited about implementing!

*Affiliate link to Trello because I love it and highly recommend. If you choose to use it for your organization, I will receive a little bonus from them.

Branding and Business Coach | Michelle Knight of Brandmerry 
 
 
Michelle Knight_ headshot copy.jpg

Hey there, I'm Michelle Knight

Welcome to my little corner of the internet. I'm a mother, wife, world traveler and storyteller. I created my own business just after having my first baby and while working a 9 to 5.

Within one year I left my 9 to 5 and created a 6-figure business. Now I spend my days as a Branding and Business coach for female entrepreneurs, raise my little boy and travel the world with my little family of 3.

MORE ABOUT ME ↠

BRANDING

BUSINESS Tips and TOOLS

travel

Time mangement

Self-worth love


TOP POSTS TO ENJOY!