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Distraction for work at home moms

Managing distractions as a work from home mom with ADHD

Managing Distractions for ADHD Mompreneurs

How do you manage distractions as a work from home mom with adhd? Being a mom is a challenging task, when you add ADHD and entrepreneurship into the mix, it feels as though you are pushing a boulder uphill while blindfolded with your hands behind your back. As mothers, we all want to give our children the time and attention they need, but we also need to have our own identity, with our passions and goals priorities.

ADHD mompreneurs face unique challenges, with their attention split in 15 different directions, as well as constantly reigning in the “squirrel brain” and raising good humans. One of our most significant hurdles is managing distractions, whether it be external, or mental, especially when working from home with children present. This sounds almost next to impossible… but with some planning, asking for help when you need it, and a few little tricks to help you get focused, it IS possible.

How do I manage my distractions?

Discovering the essential strategies for ADHD mompreneurs to conquer distractions and boost your work-from-home efficiency in this blog We off practical tips, balancing parenting, and professional responsibilities with a blend of understanding ADHD, structured planning, and utilizing time-saving and tools to help out.

Understanding ADHD and Its Impact on Productivity

ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is “defined” as a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity.

Yes and no….

In reality, especially for women, ADHD affects several different and often unexpected ways based on personality, upbringing, and skills learned throughout their lives. What remains true is that there are Executive Function challenges. That means, we struggle with the processing of information and organizing it in our heads. It also means that we are more sensitive to the multiple sensory stimulation (like noises, smells, sounds, touch) that seem to be constantly vying for our attention.

This makes focus EXTREMELY difficult unless its something we are super-interested in, and then the “feel-good” chemicals in our brain flood our system and we can spend HOURs on that one thing. If only we had a “Productivity” button. 

Productivity Button

In my case, that thing is problem-solving and making databases and interconnecting systems that resemble huge lego-block castles in my brain. It just makes SENSE, and I love the satisfaction of looking at my creation once it’s complete…. but I digress.

Unfortunately, we can’t go down our rabbit holes all day, we have responsibilities and little mini-me’s that need our attention and patience, so we need to do deep work while we can and leave the other parts of the day available for those that need us.

This unique situation can lead to increased distractions and decreased work efficiency. But there is hope… if you know how to deal with it.

Identifying Distractions at Home

Distractions are a common issue for individuals with ADHD and can come from a wide variety of sources. These can range from external factors like noise and interruptions to internal distractions like racing thoughts or hyperfocus on non-work-related tasks. (Don’t I KNOW it!)

For mompreneurs working from home, additional distractions can include home maintenance issues, children’s needs, and other family responsibilities. These distractions can (and do) significantly impact work efficiency, leading to decreased productivity and increased stress.

Ever heard of “mom guilt”? You know, when you have half your attention on your kids, but you feel guilty for not being fully present, but then also half attention on your work and you feel as if you suck at what you do? I feel you girl…

So sit down for 15 minutes with your cup of coffee, and write down a list on whatever scrap of paper is available of all the things that have distracted you in the last 24-48 hours.

Here’s mine:

List of my most frequent interruptions

Strategies for Managing Distractions

There are strategies that ADHD mompreneurs can use to manage distractions and improve work efficiency, believe it or not. And these are not strategies that I’ve just read about and repeating to you. They are things I have tried and have had success with myself.

Keep in mind, that some strategies that work one day may not work the next, this is the fun that is ADHD (and motherhood in general), but with these in your back pocket, you can always try another one.

  1. The first step should be to create dedicated workspace or home office that will help separate work from your home activities during your work day. An “office” if you will, even if it’s a corner of your dining room. Generally, it is better to have a door between you and the “distractions” so they are out of sight. A “place” to do work is a silent clue to your body that you are in work mode and you are more apt to be able to focus on it.
  2. Structured schedule. Okay folks… I know you ALL cringed at the word “structured”, but it’s not as bad as it sounds. While having a schedule, or certain times of day for certain tasks, sounds confining, it ALLOWS you more freedom for the things that matter. Here is my example.My ideal schedule Routines are your friend…. so are habits, especially when you have ADHD brain. This doesn’t mean you have to always follow the schedule… but it does allow you to pay attention to the pressing matters
  3. Use tools and apps for focus. When you have the chance to sit down and work, there are a variety of things you can utilize to help you. Some of my favorites are The Pomodoro Technique, The Calm App (ambient noise) quick meditations for mindfulness, and Essential Oils like Doterra.
  4. Turn OFF the things that are most distracting for you. (I’m looking at YOU Instagram and Facebook,…. and sometimes YouTube and Pinterest)

Balancing Work and Parenting Duties as well as ADHD

Balancing work tasks and parenting responsibilities let alone house duties and cleaning is another significant challenge for ADHD mompreneurs. If you are like me, not only are you doing client work, “pounding the pavement” for sales, and marketing, but you are also the first in line for your kids needs.

Child Distractions are huge for work from home mothers

While both my children are school-age, I am still the one to pick them up if they are sick, attend all of their 504 and IEP meetings, organize their distance learning if a snow day calls for it, let alone do all the runs for their doctor appointments. My children, with their own unique needs end up being my responsibility because I am the one that works from home, allowing me more flexibility, but it also means I am more easily distracted.

Their school days also end at 2:15 (which feels EARLY), and therefore my afternoons are taken up by snacks, homework, piano practice, fits, broken toys etc. so I need to make use of the morning hours to do the majority of my business work.

This means that I have to be strict with myself on when I work and PLAN before the week to circumvent those “things” that pop up unexpectedly. I also need to think ahead as far as how my daily schedule is going to work to make sure I have the time to get it all done.

If you have a plan, you can change the plan if something derails you. If you don’t have a plan, your life might as well be ruled by chaos.

Weekly Planning: Sitting down with a cup of tea and some ambient and relaxing music on Sunday night or Monday morning and do the following

  1. Write down all the events you have going on during the week for your home and work schedule
  2. Write down anything you need to do in order to be “ready” for those events.
  3. Write down anything else that needs to get done this week outside of those events
  4. Look at the “quiet” times in your schedule for the week, plan the “heavy thinking” items for those times.
  5. Admin things you can get done during kids practices, while they are watching Bluey (which I have never seen by the way… but I hear it’s good).
  6. Self-care time. Yes, this is important.

Then at the beginning of every day, write down your big 3 priorities for the day keeping that initial llist in your mind.

This allows for flexibility but still keeps the most important items.

Also remember, taking care of yourself is not a luxury, but a necessity for maintaining balance and managing ADHD symptoms. Make sure you save time for a shower and a hot cup of coffee.

Tips to manage those distractions IN the moment

So I know that all of these hints are well and good, but what do you do when you are IN the moment, and you KNOW you need to get things done but your noisy brain keeps taking you down the rabbit holes?

Well my friend… first, recognize that you ARE going down rabbit holes. Recognizing WHEN you are distracted goes a long way to figure out what is distracting you and why.

If you are thinking about if you have the ingredients to make dinner, write down that question in a notebook or something and GET it out of your head so you can refer to it later or the next day.

If you have too many tabs open, and every time you go to one to close, you get distracted by what’s on the page and start doing something (not that I just did that 5 times in the last 10 minutes). Close your WHOLE browser and start fresh. Open ONLY the PM tool, or wherever your online task list is, or your manual notebook with your priorities for the day and ONLY open what you need.

Headphones and ambient music. I don’t know what it is (and it may be different for everyone), but it’s like being in a cave for me and all of the “noise” falls away.

Managing distractions in the moment

Seeking Support and Resources in Motherhood

Regardless of what distracts you and when, your mental health is important. If you have executive function struggles (either from ADHD or just being over-tired and overwhelmed) it’s important to remember that you’re not alone in this journey.

Seeking help when needed is crucial for managing the challenges of being an ADHD mompreneur. There are numerous resources available, from ADHD coaches and therapists to online communities and support groups. I know I didn’t hesitate to reach out to these support networks, even before I knew that I was neuro-spicy. They can provide valuable advice, encouragement, and understanding. Something we all need from time to time.

CHADD – https://chadd.org/

Additude Magazine – https://www.additudemag.com/resources/

More to ADHD – https://www.moretoadhd.com/

All in all….

Managing distractions is crucial for work from home efficiency, especially for ADHD mompreneurs. Despite the challenges, remember that with some help, you have the strength and resilience to overcome them.

Try these strategies, search for some more resources, and local support, you can manage your priorities, balance work and parenting duties, and achieve success, whatever that means to you.

Keep going, keep striving, and remember to take care of yourself along the way. You’ve got this.

The only way to learn something is to USE it!
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Maximizing Efficiency with SMART Operations Goals

Achieving Success with SMART Operations Goals

It’s the time of year when the leaves are starting to turn, I am starting to spend more and more time at kid’s fall sports activities and we are inching on the last 100 days of the year. It’s also when I start thinking about SMART Operations goals for the following year.

This is the time when even if your business isn’t on the typical quarterly or yearly planning system, you start to think about the next year in terms of how you want to accomplish. If not professionally, personally.

Is this how your head feels this time of year? Too many sticky notes with reminders? Too many tabs open and your processor is starting to overheat?

Picture of messy un-focused person's desk

For those of us with small businesses, now is the time to take stock of where we are to reflect on the past year and narrow in on how to move our business forward next year.

2023 has been a difficult year for some and has really outlined the importance of marketing and sales and being able to pivot your business to your target clients’ needs. Granted, this is not an official study, but definitely what I’ve been hearing in the many conversations I’ve been having.

So I am deep diving into goals today, not only for those that need it, but also to remind myself about the importance of SMART goals, why the framework exists, and how it helps small businesses.

What are SMART operations goals?

SMART operations goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound objectives that organizations set to improve their operational performance. These goals help businesses streamline their processes, reduce costs, increase productivity, and skyrocket customer satisfaction.

For those of you who haven’t been in the business world for long, or dozed off during that business class in college, SMART goals are a way of creating goals that help organizations create solid goals for their organization that can be understood, measured, and assessed quickly.

SMART is an acronym meaning Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

Before going into what each of these means, let’s talk a little bit about what it means to set goals in your business, and how even though each of us works differently, having a practice to create visible goals or “landmarks” in your business is beneficial, even if you aren’t a specifically “goal-oriented person.

Setting goals helps to give clear direction and vision for the company and its employees

As a systems person myself, I have found a lot more luck in establishing systems and habits in my business, than having a goal in mind and trying to figure out how to reach that goal day in and out. However, I was going about the goal-setting business in the wrong way before. Goals should be the end point of your systems and habits, not an island alone in the ocean that you are trying to get to on a boat without a paddle. (Yes, I did make up that example by myself, thank you).

Goals (SMART Operations Goals) help provide the endpoint and help establish the roadmap for where you want your business to go. Systems, projects, and habits are the vehicles that drive the journey toward that goal.

We will talk more about establishing the roadmaps… I mean systems based on the goals later, but actually identifying WHAT you want to do, is the first step. (I mean, you aren’t going to hop on a plane and not know where it’s going, are you?)

What does S.M.A.R.T. stand for?

SMART goals on my iPad

S is for “Specific”

Specific means precise. I am someone who thrives on definitions. As someone who knows a lot of words can be ambiguous I’m always clarifying what my clients (or my husband) say to make sure I understand EXACTLY what they are talking about. This is a great example of the need to be specific in your SMART goals so everyone can understand them.

For example… saying that you want to increase sales… is not specific enough. (well no $#it sherlock). A more specific goal might sound like, “I want to increase sales of my Service by 10% in the next quarter”.

Another example may be, I want to increase my marketing by posting on Facebook every weekday for the next 90 days.

This level of clarity eliminates guesswork and gives a definite direction on what you and the team need to work on.

M is for “Measurable”

A SMART Operations goal that is Measurable means that there is something about it that can actually be measured, and it’s not just a subjecting understanding that “yeah, I made more sales”. It needs to have some property to it that you are able to count in order to prove its success or gauge progress.

Example of a goal that isn’t measurable. “Gain more customer feedback to improve our service.” This is vague and there isn’t anything specifically measurable about it.

Example of a measurable goal: I will ask 100 clients for feedback and receive 50% back. This is definitely measurable (in terms of sending 100 clients for feedback, and the word required to get at least 50% back)

A is for “Achievable

I always find the “Achievable” goals the hardest for me to be realistic about. You always want to set goals that push you to success, but are not so high as to discourage you from doing the work. (We only have so many hours in the day, after all, and self-care and time with family and friends are important).

I’m sure we’d all love to double our business in 90 days, but would that actually be achievable in the time you or your team have? Would it make more sense to have that goal for a year, and identify some projects or smaller types of goals that are achievable that will get you there?

Example: I will increase social media interaction by 15% in the next 90 days.

Bad example: I will double my social media following in the next 30 days.

R is for “Relevant”

The “R” always makes me laugh a little bit, because it basically is using common sense when establishing your goals. Making something relevant means making sure it is actually in line with your business values and your future vision. This is where Business and Strategic Objectives really come into play.

As someone who has worked with many clients on their strategic objectives, I know first-hand how they can really provide the roadmap for business owners to get unstuck and drive their business forward.

If a business has a business objective to improve student learning outcomes, they may create a goal that includes “introducing interactive e-learning modules for challenging subjects, aiming to improve class average scores by 8%.

T is for “Time-Bound”

Lastly, the “T” stands for Time-bound. In short, this just means that the goal should have some sort of time frame that it should be achieved by. Otherwise, it’s a goal out there just hanging there waiting, with no sense of urgency on taking the steps to get there.

Time is also one of the project management rules for creating tasks and projects. There should never be a project or a task that doesn’t have a date tied to it. Otherwise, it’s just an idea, not an actual task.

🍁 (For more on project management, check out this blog post .) 🍁

Sometimes Deadlines can be intimidating, but they are necessary to instill a sense of urgency and motivate motion and movement where there may otherwise be none. If we know we need to get up early to catch an early flight, we will definitely be setting our alarms to get up then.

An example of a good SMART goal for Time-bound would be “I want to write a 1000-word blog post every week for the next 3 months”. 🙂

Challenge Accepted!

SMART Operations goal examples

So, now that you have been familiarized (or re-acquainted) with what smart goals are, why don’t we supply you with a bunch of possibilities that may be applicable to your business?

I have separated them into the 7 strategic objectives that I cover in my Strategic Objective Mapping VIP Day (Called Simple Path to Success) to help get you started. If you are interested, check out the first step to get qualified HERE.

Check them out and figure out which parts are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevent and Time-bound. (Practice makes perfect!)

How many of these have sparked your ideas on what to focus on for the next Quarter?

Need help? Would love you to check out my Simplify and Conquer 90-minute intensive to help figure out the NEXT best steps to take on your business ownership journey from a certified Director of Operations and Project/Data Management specialist.

Person reaching for a star, or a Goal

SMART Sales Goals:

  • Increase the quarterly sales volume of our premium product line by 15% over the next three months by expanding our sales team and introducing targeted promotions
  • Sell 3 VIP service days a month for the next 3 months by increasing networking and marketing efforts
  • Boost cross-selling rates by 10% in the next quarter by training the sales team in our product ecosystem and offering bundled promotions for complementary products.

SMART Visibility Goals

  • Boost our monthly website traffic from organic search by 25% over the next six months by implementing a content-focused SEO strategy.
  • Achieve a consistent 10% monthly growth rate in our Instagram followers over the next quarter by posting daily, hosting bi-weekly live sessions, and partnering with brands complementary to ours for giveaways.
  • Boost our email open rate to 25% and click-through rate to 5% over the next three months by segmenting our email list and introducing personalized content based on user behavior.

SMART Operations Goals

  • Decrease product return rates by 8% in the next year by enhancing quality control measures and providing clearer product descriptions.
  • Decrease average service delivery time by 10% over the next quarter by optimizing team workflows and investing in advanced project management tools.
  • Shorten the client onboarding process by 3 days within the next 6 months by implementing a streamlined digital intake system and assigning dedicated onboarding specialists.

SMART Team Goals

  • Achieve a 90% employee retention rate over the next fiscal year by introducing a team reward system and employee engagement program.
  • Boost team productivity by 15% over the next quarter by implementing a new project management tool and providing time management training sessions.
  • Improve inter-departmental collaboration by launching bi-weekly cross-functional team meetings and achieving a 20% reduction in project miscommunications over the next 6 months.

SMART Financial Goals

  • We will increase our profit by 100% by increasing the process of our services and performing more of them every month
  • Decrease the average client acquisition cost by 10% over the next quarter by optimizing our digital marketing campaigns and enhancing the referral program.
  • Increase quarterly revenue by 12% over the next year by upselling additional services to existing clients and expanding our service offerings into two new regional markets.

Person reaching the summit of a mountain

SMART Client Experience Goals

  • We will decrease client turnover by 50% by redoing our onboarding process and clarifying all expectations and policies prior to working with them.
  • Achieve a 95% client satisfaction rate by year-end through introducing bi-monthly feedback sessions and implementing a client-centric training program for our service teams.
  • Integrate client feedback into our service offerings by implementing at least three major suggestions from our quarterly feedback surveys over the next 6 months.

SMART Product Creation Goals

  • Will create a pre-work product that will allow us to sell a smaller service upfront, still earn $$ while creating proposals, and allow the client to get to know us.
  • Will redevelop our beginner course to be a 2-month instead of a 3-month course, including a one-on-one session and weekly touch-bases by Dec 31 so it can launch in Q1.
  • Integrate our new scheduling tool into all of our consulting packages in the next 2 months, aiming to improve client booking efficiency by 25%.

Being SMART about it all

Navigating the world of business, especially in service-based industries, can be overwhelming. Especially when you have other aspects of your life that keep you from putting in the hours that you feel like you need to in your job. Central to this chaotic puzzle is the art of setting solid, actionable goals. The SMART formula comes into play, helping us carve out simple, clear, realistic, and, most importantly, achievable targets.

But, setting these goals is just one side of the coin. Keeping the momentum and passion alive is the other. The creation of simple habits, like breaking tasks down or celebrating small wins can make a huge difference. Enjoy the journey, not just the finish line.

By blending the clarity of SMART goals with the right motivational techniques, any business, big or small, is better equipped to ride the waves of challenges and triumphs, making the journey both productive and fulfilling.

Tools to help you set up your Goals

 

If you appreciate having a tool to streamline your goal-setting process, our Airtable Goal Planner template might be just what you’re looking for. It offers a simple way to lay out, monitor, and reach your business aspirations. Explore the Airtable template here.

https://anasimplesolutions.thrivecart.com/airtable-goalplanner/

This is a really good way to find out more about Airtable as well!

Looking to learn more? 

Check out these blogs:

Planning your life by priorities

Simple Task and Project Management

Organizational Values (Big Rocks)

 

Anas Signature

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Mastering Client Communication: Tips for Success

As a business owner, you know that effective client communication is key to success and shows professionalism. But what exactly does it mean to communicate effectively with your clients?

In this blog, we will delve into the ins and outs of client communication and explore why it is so important for your business. From building rapport and transparency to understanding timelines and needs, we will cover all the essential aspects of effective client communication. Additionally, we will provide you with five best practices that you can implement right away to improve your client communication skills.

We will also discuss how to choose the right communication tools for your business and highlight common mistakes to avoid. Get ready to master client communication and take your business to new heights!

What is effective client communication?

 

Effective client communication is all about listening well and sharing clear, easy-to-understand messages. It’s about checking in often and sharing updates to keep your clients in the loop. Building trust with honesty and openness is really important too.

To communicate effectively, you also need to pay special attention to your client’s needs and try to answer their questions before they even ask them. It’s about being clear about what each party should expect from each other and treating each other with respect.

Simply put, effective client communication is a vital part of building strong, successful relationships with your clients. It helps everyone work together better and can lead to long-lasting business partnerships with a personal touch.

Why is client communication important?

 

Good client communication is like the glue that holds everything together. It builds trust and helps create strong relationships. By clearly explaining your services, costs, and what you expect, you can avoid confusion and disagreements down the line.

Not communicating well can hurt your business. It can give you a bad reputation and you could lose out on business opportunities. But when you communicate well, you show your clients that there are real, caring people behind your brand. It also helps you to stand out as an expert in your field

How good communication builds rapport with clients?

 

Making strong connections with your clients is key to building rapport and establishing trust with your clients.

This is the heart of great client communication. Keep the lines of communication open, honest, and understanding. This can take your client relationships to the next level. Think of ways that you can do that within your team by exemplifying this for them.

Listen carefully and approach every situation with curiosity. Show your clients you care. This can help you connect on a deeper level with them. In the case of verbal communication, make sure you let them know you are listening by not interrupting, pausing after they speak before you speak, and repeating a bit back about what they’ve said.

Always use simple, clear language and a pleasant tone of voice. There is nothing more aggravating to someone than acronyms or big words that may be somewhat ambiguous to your clients. This will ensure everyone understands each other and helps to prevent misunderstandings throughout your work with them.

Regularly updating your clients is important too. Making sure they don’t have to chase after you for an answer, or to know where their project is, is always a benefit. They will remember how easy you were to work with and be forgiving when things happen that may cause delays.

Otherwise, always make sure you’re meeting their needs. Strong client relationships don’t just bring satisfaction. They can also lead to recommendations and long-term success for your business.

Transparency in communication

Being open and honest is a big part of good client communication. Sometimes it feels more difficult to do this, especially if there are issues within the work you are doing, but the only way to solve these issues is to bring them to light. That is a good thing.

When you’re open and honest, it shows you’re professional. It builds trust with your clients. If this is something you may find difficult, or don’t quite know how to emphasize, the following tips may help.

  • Talk with clients in a clear and straightforward way. Don’t hide meanings or be ambiguous. Say what you mean clearly and directly. Avoiding any confusion or hidden meanings is key.
  • Manage expectations and avoid confusion. Give regular updates to make sure everyone knows what’s going on. This is how you keep communication clear and open.
  • Ask for Feedback: Encourage clients to share their thoughts and concerns. This helps keep communication open and can provide valuable insight into how you can improve your services.
  • Admit Mistakes: If something goes wrong, admit it. Apologize and explain how you plan to fix it. From the client’s perspective, it shows you’re accountable and committed to making things right.
  • Respond to requests in a timely manner. It’s okay if you can’t get back to clients immediately, but let them know that you will review all messages at the end of the day and will respond the next morning or something of that nature.

Doing this can help you build strong, lasting relationships with clients. It can also stop small problems from turning into big arguments.

To put it simply, being clear and open in your communication can bring better results and long-term success.

 

Understanding the client’s timeline and needs

 

Understanding your client’s needs and timeline is a key factor in ensuring effective client communication.

One of the first things I do when working with a client is ask about what they have going on in their business, what are their goals… what are they trying to achieve in the near and far term. Understanding this context will help you understand why they need your help (in whatever it is you are helping them with) and why it is important to them.

Listening closely to what they say and asking questions can give you a good idea of what they’re hoping to achieve as well. This information helps you tailor your services to fit their specific needs.

In regards to the timeline for the project, it is important to always communicate any changes that happen in this timeline as quickly as possible to the client. Many times this may be caused by the client themselves, but they will show much appreciation and trust in you if that is brought to their attention early and often.

Lastly, be open to feedback and be ready to make changes if needed. This shows you’re professional and committed to making your clients happy. This doesn’t mean spin on a dime if they ask, it means you can be flexible to accommodate “realistic” changes.

How to avoid jargon and provide clarity in client communication

 

Clear and to-the-point communication can’t be overstated. It’s a big part of building strong relationships with your clients and making sure they’re happy. When you use business jargon or slang it can be confusing and ambiguous as we mentioned above.

Be open to any potential problems or delays. (see my comment about client timelines!)

Use visuals, like flowcharts or data visualization for complicated information. This is a better way to help clients understand numbers or metrics especially if your deliverables depend on them.

Regularly check in with your clients and give updates. This shows you’re committed to being open and professional and avoiding any miscommunication when possible.

Following these steps can bring better results, help you build a good relationship with your clients, and avoid any misunderstandings.

The role of self-awareness and empathy in client communication

 

Good client communication is important in building strong relationships and making clients happy. Self-awareness plays a big part in this.

Knowing how you communicate, including your strengths and areas to improve, is crucial. This can help you change your approach to fit each client’s needs better.

Use active listening and ask the right questions as a first step, always trying to see things from your client’s point of view. This shows you have mutual respect for the client and their point of view.

Communicate clearly and professionally. Be self-aware and avoid industry jargon or phrases that could confuse your client.

The way you speak and the methods you choose to communicate, like email or phone calls, can also make a big difference. Being self-aware here is key.

By being self-aware in your communication, you can respect each other better, avoid misunderstandings, and create long-lasting business relationships.

Best practices for effective client communication

Setting clear expectations

Your first few meetings with a client can be exciting, creating a new project is always fun, but it is also the best time to set clear expectations on when and how your company works on its projects.

This is when you A.) establish a clear line of communication by articulating project goals, timelines, and deliverables and B.) establish a communication cadence and communication methods with the client.

This builds trust and ensures transparency from the start.

Some create a “how we work” or “Welcome” packet for their client and go through it in their initial onboarding to make sure that days off are communicated, and any policies regarding how and when to ask questions or request updates. If you don’t have this yet, it may be something you should think about creating as your business grows.

Also, clarify when and how you will update them on progress regularly to ease any questions.

Using client feedback to improve communication

Client feedback is key to getting better at client communication. Make sure there are ways for your clients to share their thoughts, like check-ins or surveys. Listen to this feedback carefully to improve how you communicate. Also, give your clients regular updates on how you are improving your own communication to keep them involved. Using your client’s feedback can help you build stronger relationships and get better results over time.

Choosing the right communication tools for your business

Picking the right communication tools for your business is as important as communication itself.

Are you going to use Virtual Meetings? The Phone? Email?

It’s important to pick something that works for your clients, but it is also important to pick something that works well for you. I encourage you to pick something simple and streamlined and even give the clients quick training on it as part of their onboarding process.

Making sure your tools allow you to establish clarity (as in video chat) or progress (perhaps a dashboard from a project management tool) will make everyone’s job easier and more effective.

I am a personal fan of ClickUp and Airtable to share information with clients.

👉👉 Check out my YouTube on Communicating using ClickUp 👈👈

 

Remember, it’s all about making it seem EASY for the client to understand and be able to feel good about the relationship, so think about how that would best work for you and your team.

Effective client communication software and quick chats

 
Something we haven’t touched on is how Clients can send quick communications through chat-like interfaces (read, Slack/Google Messenger). Establishing a client communication tool like chat is important and real-time messaging enables instant conversations and timely responses and can lead to increased client satisfaction. HOWEVER, it can also lead a team to be very reactive and start spending all of their time “problem-solving” instead of working to complete a project.
 

If this is a method that you’d like to offer your clients, make sure you are clear on your response time, and how they should request changes or voice concerns. Nothing throws a business into disarray like an unhappy client who can’t quite tell you what it is they are upset about.

Common mistakes to avoid in client communication

 

In the realm of client communication, a crucial aspect of running a successful business is ensuring effective and professional interactions and a high level of customer service with your clients.

One of the most prevalent mistakes is poor listening skills. Make sure you are treating them the way you’d like to be treated and don’t assume you understand what they are speaking about until you have the full context, even if it is a difficult conversation.

Not utilizing clear and concise language is also a mistake. Avoid jargon and acronyms that might only confuse your clients. Using simple words and providing relevant information, you can ensure that your messages resonate.

Another mistake to steer clear of is overpromising and under-delivering. Setting realistic expectations and delivering on them are integral to cultivating this trust, paving the way for long-term success. Additionally, diligently following up with clients proves your commitment to their satisfaction and is the best way to show that you value their business. Furthermore, actively seeking feedback is a surefire way to demonstrate your dedication to improvement and meet the evolving needs of your clients.

Frequently Asked Questions

 

What is the key to effective communication with clients?

Active listening is crucial for effective communication with clients. Understand their needs by asking open-ended questions. Use clear language, avoid jargon, and provide regular updates. Be responsive and timely in all forms of communication.

Why is communication in project management important?

Effective communication is essential in project management to ensure alignment among team members. It helps prevent misunderstandings and delays, while frequent updates and progress reports build client trust. Open communication channels facilitate feedback and allow for timely adjustments throughout the project.

Is it necessary to have all of these tools in order to be an effective communicator?

No, it’s not essential to possess all the mentioned tools to be an effective communicator. Understanding your client’s requirements and preferences is crucial. Select the tools that suit both you and your clients, such as email, phone calls, or video conferencing. Consistency and clarity in communication matter more than having the latest tools.

 

Mastering Client Communication: Tips for Success Read More »

Mastering Team Communication: Key Strategies for Small Businesses

Mastering Team Communication: Key Strategies for Small Businesses

 

“Good communication is the bridge between confusion and clarity.” – Nat Turner

 

This quote is especially true when considering the communication within your team in your business.

Communication between team members, whether it be from employee to manager, CEO to team or team member to team member is like a bridge between two people, and the only way to make sure that the message doesn’t fall through the cracks is to make sure your messages are communicated on a well-constructed system.

Does your communication bridge look like this?

or this?

It is a competitive world for small businesses today, and it can be difficult to manage a team and be able to instruct, and communicate with them in a way the makes their role, their jobs, and your expectations of them clear.

Let’s explore the significance of effective team communication while providing insights and tools tailored for neurodivergent, women-owned businesses to boost collaboration, maximize productivity, and embrace their unique strengths.

Your team is your most important asset, Now is the time to help conquer communication challenges within your team. This this article will help you learn how to establish the habits and systems to create the clarity in communication across the board.

You stoked? Me too, let’s get started.

The Power Couple: Tone and Clarity in Communication

 

Having a perfect combo of tone and clarity in your messages does more than just boost communication – it’s the helps create an unstoppable and empowered team. It sets the stage for everyone to feel heard, valued, and inspired to share their ideas.

Let’s discuss each piece of this and how they work together in team communication.

What is tone? Why does it matter so much? Tone tells the underlying story or context of what you are trying to relay.

Tone

 

Refers to the attitude and emotions you convey in your message. It’s the subtext, the feel of what you say or write, and it comes to life through your choice of words, expressions, and even punctuation. In communication, the tone can make or break relationships, trust and collaboration.

Have you ever received an email that starts with…. “Per my last message”

You can tell right away that the tone of the message is irritated and a bit passive aggressive.

If the email starts with something more along the lines of, “Hey! I’m sorry my last message wasn’t clear enough. What I meant was ……”

A few extra words conveys that you aren’t angry, but still pointing out that you answered the question but may have not been a way that the person understood.

Both messages convey the same information, but the tone sets a different atmosphere for the recipient.

Clarity

 

Equally important, if not more so, is the clarity of the message. It doesn’t matter if you spend 30 minutes structuring an email, if the information isn’t clear to the reader, then it’s not going to have its intended effect. When your message is crystal clear, there’s less room for misinterpretation, which ultimately leads to better collaboration and productivity.

“Great, I get it Ana, but I ALWAYS think my message is clear… at least to me. How can I make sure it’s clear to others?”

Well I’m glad you asked! How do you make sure your message is clear? Let’s see the following list for some pointers on how to make sure your messages are well-rounded, hit all the main points and doesn’t leave any pertinent information out.

Structure it: Organize your message in a logical and coherent manner. Start with a clear purpose, followed by supporting details and a concise conclusion. (Bonus point! create a template to create all of your messages from this! << insert message template here >>

Be specific: Use concrete, straightforward language. Provide examples and details that leave no room for doubt instead of vague statements and industry jargon. Write for an 8th grader!

Keep it concise: Say what you need to say in as few words as possible. Sometimes being too wordy can muddle your message and obscure the points you’re trying to make.

Ask for feedback: Checking your team’s understanding of your message can catch any potential misinterpretations or confusion, and provide an opportunity for further clarification. This is especially good to go over in meetings to make sure everyone has a understanding of any decision or action items.

So, to put these two concepts together, your communication tone, clarity and ability to see any possible issues or perspectives is a message that will not only help your team communicate with each other, but your approach to them as well.

The following list is good to keep in mind.

  • Be approachable: A friendly and relatable tone encourages open dialogue and sets the right mood for magnificent brainstorming sessions.
  • Keep it clear: Concise, specific messages help avoid the “lost-in-translation” trap, ensuring your team stays in sync and runs like a well-oiled machine.
  • Embrace empathy: Your team is more than just a cog in your business machine. Show compassion, and it will not only elevate morale but also strengthen your team’s bond.

Placing emphasis on team communication is simple, but not necessarily easy.

Devote time and energy to improving your team’s communication, and you’ll see the wonders it does for your overall productivity.

  1. Determine communication methods. Always communication the same type of message the same way. (examples include: Project-based communication within the project. Personal communication within your messaging tool. Team-communication on an agenda and meeting.
  2. Keep messages brief
    • Hi XXX
    • State positive message or introductory sentence to the rest of the message
    • State question, comment or main point of the message. If it’s a longer message, use bullet points when possible.
    • Wrap up message with pleasant outgoing statement. Good to have a few of these on hand.
    • Salutation
    • Name

Online Communication Tools: Beyond the meeting

 

So now that we’ve got the basics down, we can start to look at the cool tech that can help us communicate better with our remote teams. Nowadays, remote teams are more and more common, thus making communication tools even more important than they ever were before.

In the small businesses I have been involved with, there are three key tools that always need to be present in order to ensure smooth communication. No, these don’t include email. (Actually, email should be the LAST way to communicate with your team.) You need a way to allow your team to understand your company goals and vision and always have access to it, as well as a way to see the projects and tasks they need to do as well as talk about them, and lastly a way to have quick conversations, cheer each other on, or celebrate as a team.

(I am going to purposely leave out Zoom or video meetings for now, as they could be an article on their own with all the tools and digital meeting decorum they require)

👉👉 Check out my YouTube on Communicating using ClickUp 👈👈

 

Understanding your business at a glance

 

There is so much information and history for every kind of business, as to who you are, how you serve your clients, what you do, it’s hard for anyone working with you to grasp it all at once.

This is why I recommend utilizing Airtable as a way to bring all of your company’s information together in one place.

  • Typically the first thing I create for clients that utilize airtable is Business Hub, or Executive Hub that houses everything the business employees or the CEO needs to know about the business and find at the drop of a hat. I’ve also heard this termed as a “wiki”. It’s basically a table of contents for things like Brand boards, Zoom Links, Services, Team details, Course notes.

The reason I prefer creating this in Airtable is because you have the ability to view the information ins multiple different ways, making it easy to understand from anyone’s perspective.

  • Without a doubt, a Task List, or Project Management tool should be a no-brainer when it comes to increasing better communication. My preferred tool for this is ClickUp. Although it claims that it is the one app to replace them all, it really is a show-stopper when it comes to project management and task communication.

I can’t express the importance of keeping project communication within the project, and not in separate emails or slack messages or gosh-forbid…. TEXT messages.

The more you want your business to grow and be self-sustainable, the more important this becomes, and although excel or google sheets can be a great starting place, being able to create projects, send emails from the projects, track hours, associate documents within a variety of ways is the right amount of functionality for businesses that aren’t ready for the ERP systems, but find Trello too limiting.

  • Last but not least is the way to send quick non-project-related messages, random questions, or ideas to the group. While ClickUp has a chat functionality, most of my clients prefer the quickness of Slack. I too am a fan, as long as I’m able to turn off the annoying “Click-click” sound effect every time someone messages!

I only warn that it doesn’t become a distraction to work, or in your home personal life.

So with three tools, you have a good amount of support to clarify and help.

In essence, tools like ClickUp and Airtable aren’t just the sprinkles on your donut.

They’re game-changers for boosting productivity, clarifying team requirements, and creating a group that doesn’t just finish tasks, but totally nails their goals. So, let’s step up our digital game and embrace the future.

The Power of Active Employee Contribution and Casual Interactions

 

Now let’s take a deeper dive into the world of communication statistics. Here we’ll highlight the instrumental role of employees in strengthening communication. We’ll also explore why venturing outside the cubicles and conference rooms for some team-bonding can work wonders.

First, let’s look at the role of each team member in the realm of communication:

  • Employees aren’t just “cogs in the communication machine”. Each one is a vital player, intertwining their unique perspectives to create a vibrant tapestry of ideas.
  • This level of engagement morphs the workplace into a dynamic hub of collaboration and innovation.
  • The floor should be open to all voices. Whether it’s an innovative idea, constructive feedback, or a concern, every contribution helps navigate the ship.
  • Active listening is our secret weapon. Communication isn’t just a one-way street, it’s a dual carriageway where speaking and listening play equally crucial roles.
  • Nurture a culture of transparency. When openness becomes our second nature, trust thrives, paving the way for robust and healthy communication.

Then there is the added benefit of socializing outside of work:

In the digital and remote age, it looks a little bit different than meeting with friends at a happy hour, but there are still remote ways you can enjoy each other’s company. The following are the benefits

  • Deeper Connections. Sharing a laugh over a cup of coffee (digital or otherwise) or on a Zoom call helps to build bonds that transcend work roles and responsibilities.
  • Socializing unveils various sides of our colleagues. Understanding these different facets fosters mutual respect and empathy, two linchpins of effective communication.
  • Fun gatherings are morale-boosters. Sharing excitement for non-work-related events can inspire and introduce a deeper level of commitment, paving the way for open and enthusiastic communication.

In a nutshell, employees are integral components in shaping communication, not just passive receivers. Keep the conversations flowing and make room for shared experiences.

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q1: How can I get my team to communicate better with each other?

Nailing this is like acing a triple backflip! Fostering an environment that encourages open dialogue is key. Value every input, promote active listening, and provide constructive feedback. Empower your team with the right communication tools to keep everyone on the same page.

Q2: What are the 4 C’s of effective communication?

Ah, the fantastic four! They’re Clear, Concise, Coherent, and Complete. These ensure your message is understood and doesn’t resemble a riddle from an ancient prophecy. Keep your message clear and to the point, maintain a logical flow, and provide all necessary information. Now you’re talking!

Q3: What role does empathy play in effective business communication?

Empathy is like the secret sauce in your communication burger. It helps you understand team members’ perspectives and respond effectively. It’s about tuning into their frequency and acknowledging their feelings. Remember, a little empathy can turn a good communicator into a great one!

Q4: What are some common barriers to effective team communication and how to overcome them?

Just like hurdles in a race, these can slow you down but not stop you. Barriers could include unclear instructions, information overload, or technological hiccups. Overcoming these takes patience and strategy. Provide clear guidelines, don’t bombard your team with excess information, and ensure access to reliable communication tools. Let’s leap over those hurdles together!

In conclusion:

 

Empowering your team with effective communication is the secret sauce to boosting productivity and fostering a strong, collaborative work environment. So, harness these insights, step up your communication game, and watch as your business blossoms into a powerhouse of innovation and success.

Looking to learn more?

 

Check out these blogs: 

Business Documents that every Entreprenuer should have

Simple Task and Project Management

Top 5 ways to simplify your life

Mastering Team Communication: Key Strategies for Small Businesses Read More »

The Essentials of Business Communication

Essentials of Business Communication

 

 

What if I told you that the secret to a successful business isn’t just a great product or service, but how you approach business communication?

I have often stated that even if everyone is speaking the same language, no one really understands the same language.

Ever heard of the phrase, “It’s not what you say, but how you say it”? That holds true in business communication as well.

Effective business communication can build strong relationships with clients, improve team collaboration, and ultimately lead to higher profits. So, pay attention to how you communicate – be clear, concise, and empathetic. It can make all the difference in your business’s success. wondered why some businesses thrive while others struggle. The answer often lies in communication. Whether it be in messaging to potential clients, members of your own team, or the clients themselves, how, when, and where something is communicated is much more than a sentence.

I have spent years in different types of businesses, large and small, and the one thing they all struggled with was communication. It is a large part of why I am such a fan of project management tools and spreadsheets and the “facts” they can provide so efficiently. But the fact is that communication is much more than words written on a page.

Communication is so vital to pay attention to in your business because it drives collaboration, productivity, and overall success, not only for you but for your clients as well.

Today I am exploring the role of effective communication in business.

Key aspects such as clarity, active listening, empathy, and feedback are discussed as crucial components. Improved communication can enhance productivity, strengthen workplace relationships, and drive business success. By mastering these skills, we can transform chaos into clarity, making the business journey smoother, especially for neuro-spicy business owners.

I just had an instance yesterday with a client, where I was locked out of her bank account. I needed access to it because I am in charge of running payroll. In order to reset the password I had to use her debit-card number as proof that I was allowed access to the account.

I entered the card number multiple times, along with her password, birthdate, and a multitude of other numbers.

In frustration, I let her know about the problem (instead of just trying to keep it to myself) and asked if anything had changed that I should know about.

Lo and behold, she told me she received a new debit card a few days before.

Had I NOT reached out to her, had I not explained the issue regarding the types of info I was using to get her into the account there is no way that she could have known that the new debit card was needed to regain access.

Think of the hours I could have spent talking to representatives of the bank before they clued me into that.

This is SUCH a big subject, that I have decided to dedicate the next 3 blogs to talking about communication within our businesses, from understanding the styles of communication to getting your team all on the same page and finally how to use these newly found skills to serve your clients effectively.

There is so much to be said about this, and of course, I will be making videos of how to improve your communications with my favorite tools, ClickUp and Airtable… and maybe a few others along the way.

What is Business communication? Why Does It Matter?

 

Ever feel like you’re juggling a million tasks at once, trying to keep your business running smoothly while also attempting to maintain clarity in your business communications? You’re not alone. As a neuro-spicy business owner myself, the complexities of workplace communication can sometimes (nay… all the time) seem overwhelming.

So, let’s dive into the heart of what business communication actually is, and more importantly, why it matters so much in your business, (and also your life).

At its core, communication is the process of sharing information between people within and outside a company. It is how we express our ideas, convey decisions, give feedback, negotiate deals, and collaborate with our team and clients. It’s the emails you send, the meetings you hold, the presentations you deliver, the emails you send, and even the non-verbal cues you give out… yes, even on Zoom for you fully-remote peeps.

Now, you might be thinking, “Sure, I communicate every day. But how can I make it more effective?” First of all. Kudos for even THINKING about how your communication may be missing the mark on the effectiveness scale. So many business owners don’t evaluate the delivery of messaging, but rather on the receiving end.

Effective communication is made up of a few key pieces:

Clarity in your message:

Your message needs to be clear and concise to avoid misunderstandings. Remember, in communication, especially business communication, simplicity is your best friend.

You don’t need to tell your colleague the story about how your dog escaped from your yard and then your kids were late to school which meant you had to call the school and that is why you are 5 minutes late to the meeting. You can just state that you had a home emergency and that you apologize for being late.

Clarity in messaging may mean communicating pleasantly or directly, with only essential information.

Active Listening is half the solution:

Communication is a two-way street. Listening to understand, rather than respond, is super important to good communication.

Active listening isn’t just about hearing the words that are said; it’s about understanding the message behind them. It means also asking follow-up questions, showing empathy, and confirming our understanding of the person giving the message.

Much like a kid playing with putty, we need to experiment with the information being given to us to make sure we are understanding it and can really figure out what it can do.

I have been known to rephrase what a client says many times just to ensure I understand their process or the context of a specific workflow.

Another example would be to ask how someone came to a specific conclusion, or if there were any other details that could be added.

What other types of active listening techniques can you think of that would be beneficial for your business communication?

Empathy is understanding the situation from their angle:

Understanding and acknowledging others’ perspectives helps build stronger connections.

In my experience, there is nothing stronger to keep a team member loyal to your company and vision than one you strive to understand and see their view on the situation.

Empathy is one of those words that can feel a little “fluffy” and unnecessary, but the fact is that we are all human with different experiences that create a different lens that we see the world through. Taking a step back to attempt to put on that lens will not only increase your understanding of a teammate’s messages but also allow them to be freer in their want to contribute and communicate with you.

Constructive Feedback

 

Constructive feedback helps your team grow, and welcoming feedback on your own work demonstrates your commitment to improvement.

Communication is not about talking at someone, it’s about engaging with them and feedback is what allows this engagement to happen. It’s what turns monologues into dialogues, information into understanding, and plans into action.

Think about it. When you share an idea with your team, do you want them to nod along passively, or do you want them to respond with their thoughts and suggestions? I’m betting it’s the latter. That’s feedback in action. It shows that your message has been received and considered.

Feedback can also act as a mirror, reflecting how our messages are perceived. Let’s say you’ve just delivered a presentation, and afterward, a colleague says, “I liked your points, but some of the slides were a bit confusing.” That’s feedback. It helps you see your work from a different perspective, and it provides you with valuable insights for improvement.

Feedback may not always be comfortable, but it can be valuable. It’s a two-way street that requires giving and receiving. It helps us correct course, affirm strengths, and continuously improve. It makes us better communicators, better leaders, and better team players.

 

Mastering the Art of Communication

 

Now, why does all of this matter, particularly for communication for ADHD business owners? Well, mastering the art of effective communication can create profound changes in your business. It can boost productivity by ensuring everyone understands their tasks and goals. It can improve workplace relationships by fostering understanding and mutual respect. And ultimately, it can lead to greater business success by streamlining operations and enhancing customer interactions.

Think of good business communication as the glue that holds all the parts of your business together. When it’s missing or ineffective, things can start to feel a bit… chaotic. But with clear, empathetic, and effective communication, you’ll see a transformation. The chaos subsides. Things start clicking into place. And the day-to-day running of your business becomes that much smoother.

So, fellow ADHD-business owners, let’s embark on this journey of mastering internal and external business communication together. Let’s delve into the specifics of communication for ADHD business owners, simplify, streamline, and say goodbye to chaos!”

👉👉 Check out my YouTube on Communicating using ClickUp 👈👈

 

People Also Ask —

Q: What are some practical strategies for improving business communication?

A: To enhance business communication starts with clarity and simplicity in your messaging. Encourage active listening within your team, promoting a culture where everyone seeks to understand before responding. Cultivate empathy by appreciating diverse perspectives. Provide and invite constructive feedback to facilitate continuous improvement. Lastly, consider utilizing tools like ClickUp to streamline communication.

Q: What are some common barriers to effective communication and how can I overcome them?

A: Common barriers can include language differences, cultural nuances, physical noise, technical jargon, and emotional blocks. To overcome these, aim for clarity and simplicity in your messaging. Use common, easily understood language and present ideas in a structured way. Practice empathy to understand cultural variations, minimize distractions when communicating, avoid unnecessary jargon, and foster an environment of openness and trust to navigate emotional hurdles.

Q: How can ClickUp help improve communication in my business?

A: ClickUp is a versatile tool that offers numerous features to enhance communication. With its integrated chat feature, you can instantly discuss ideas, progress, and issues with your team. ClickUp’s task feature ensures everyone is aligned on their responsibilities, facilitating transparent communication about project progress. The platform’s recording feature allows for efficient, time-stamped communication, where verbal and visual cues can be shared for more nuanced understanding. All these features together make ClickUp a one-stop communication solution for businesses.

Q: How can I adapt different communication styles for various situations in my business?

A: Adapting communication styles involves understanding the context and the recipient. For instance, when dealing with conflict, an assertive style is often beneficial. When presenting a new idea, a more persuasive and engaging style may be suitable. In team collaboration, open and inclusive communication helps everyone feel valued. Recognizing the communication styles of your colleagues and adapting your approach to match their preferences can also improve mutual understanding and productivity.

Looking to learn more?

Check out these blogs: 

Business Documents that every Entreprenuer should have

Simple Task and Project Management

Top 5 ways to simplify your life

The Essentials of Business Communication Read More »

How Document Templates Can Help Small Businesses Succeed

What Business Document Templates should you have?

 

You put in so much time to your client work and running your business.

 

Why should you have business document templates? Well, have you ever heard of “re-inventing the wheel?”

Yeah, it’s a waste of time and energy. Having business document templates saves you time, money, and hassle. Here are some essential ones to consider:

1. Proposal Template

2. Invoice Template

3. Contract Template

4. Non-disclosure Agreement Template

5. Marketing Plan Template

6. Business Plan Template

7. Meeting Agenda Template

8. Presentation Template

By having these templates readily available, you’ll be able to streamline your workflow and focus more on growing your business instead of wasting time on repetitive tasks. that.

Using business templates can help you:

  • Save Time
  • Ensure Consistency
  • Increase your Level of professionalism
  • Ensure Legal Compliance
  • Make you Efficient
  • Allow you to Scaly

I am Going to talk about the templates today that will save you the MOST amount of time in your business. You know you are EXCITED

As a small business owner, you know that time is your most valuable asset. You need to focus on growing your business, serving your clients, and managing your team.

But what if you could save time and effort on routine tasks like writing emails, creating proposals, and organizing meetings? That’s where document templates come in.

Document templates are pre-written, reusable documents that can help you standardize your business processes, ensure consistency and quality, and improve your productivity.

In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the most important types of templates that small businesses should have, and how they can benefit your business.

Why are Business Document Templates are so important to small businesses?

“Time is a created thing. It cannot be bought or sold. It is intangible, but it is the most valuable resource we have.” – Harvey Mackay

Preparation is key when it comes to saving time. Even just setting up documents and files with the appropriate format and basic information beforehand can be incredibly helpful.

Starting from scratch every time you need to create emails, proposals, or other documents not only saps your energy but also takes away from the valuable time that could be spent on more important tasks such as delivering exceptional work for clients, growing your team, or pursuing personal projects.

To avoid wasting precious resources of writing emails, creating proposals, and scheduling meetings repeatedly, it’s best to focus on what truly matters.

This is why I advocate for the use of templates in any business-related document that requires repetition. Using templates standardizes your business processes while ensuring consistency and quality. Ultimately, this leads to improved productivity and greater efficiency.

Some of the most important templates that I have in my and my clients business I have listed below for your perusal!

Email Template 📩

Ah emails… the bane of my existence and the starting place of every potential client communication. Email is one of the most common and important communication channels for businesses of all sizes regardless of the fact that I love to hate it. (More on organizing your email in another blog post, which helps a LOT)

Emails however are time-consuming to write (even with ChatGPT), especially if you are sending introductory emails or connecting with leaders in your industry. I also cannot tell you how many times I have mistyped or accidentally deleted paragraphs when writing emails.

So for our first business document templates example, we are talking about the many types of Emails you can actually create ahead of time! By using these email templates, you can save time, ensure consistency, and improve your effectiveness. Here are some of the most valuable I have found for my business

  • 📩 Welcome Email – This email template is a great way to introduce yourself to new clients or customers. It can help you make a great first impression, establish trust, and set expectations for your relationship.
  • 📩 Follow-up Email: After you’ve made a sale or provided a service, it’s important to keep in touch with your clients and customers. This email template can help you stay top-of-mind, build rapport, and generate repeat business.
  • 📩 Invoice Email: Sending invoices is a critical part of any business, but it can be tedious and time-consuming. This email template can help you streamline the process, reduce errors, and ensure prompt payment.
  • 📩 Appointment Reminders: If you schedule appointments with clients or customers, it’s important to send reminders to minimize no-shows and keep your schedule on track. This email template can help you remind your clients of their upcoming appointments and provide any necessary details.
  • 📩 Feedback or Testimonial Request Email: Gathering feedback and testimonials from your clients or customers can help you improve your products or services, build social proof, and attract new business. This email template can help you solicit feedback in a professional and effective way.
  • 📩 Frequently Asked Questions Email: If you find yourself answering the same questions from multiple clients or customers, it can be helpful to create an FAQ email template that you can use to provide consistent and accurate answers.

 

SOP Templates 📝

Time for one of my FAVORITE business document templates to talk about, Standard operating procedures (SOPs).

These little beauties are so so so important for maintaining consistency and quality in your business processes. Without them (and a few other key pieces in your operations), chaos may ensue. That’s not good for anyone.

They can help you ensure that your team members understand their roles and responsibilities, follow best practices, and deliver high-quality work. If you have ever had a freelancer or contractor in your business, you know how valuable these little beauties can be.

Here are just some of the types of SOPs that small businesses should have. This can be different depending on your type of business, but the general list below should still apply.

  1. Marketing
  2. Email List
  3. Sales
  4. Customer Management
  5. Financial Management
  6. Metrics
  7. Hiring
  8. Client Onboarding/Offboarding
  9. Team Onboarding/Offboarding
  10. Project Management

While each of these types of SOP’s have their own specific needs and details, having a consistent template for each type will help those that read them understand the context and be able to execute them effectively.

It’s also important to have the SOP’s in a place that is well organized and accessible by all that need them. I have created a ClickUp SOP Library structure just for YOU to be able to write and link the SOP’s directly to the tasks that need them.

Check outmy YouTube video of how to do it (plus some tips and tricks to make sure that your SOP’s stay safe! (Always have a backup of your most important documents!)

Make sure to download your free SOP template library here!

Proposal Templates 🧐

Proposal Template. If you are in creative services, proposals are one of those things that you are constantly finding yourself working on. In fact, with most of the creative agencies I have worked with, this is what the CEO spends most of their time on other than networking and finding clients.

Now, I’m going to throw my speech about creating a Tier-Level system out the window… for now. BUT I am going to encourage the creation of SOME sort of template that will only require you to change the deliverables and the prices (and maybe some personal details of the client) every time you need it.

Remember. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel folks!

Your clients would rather you use your creative energy for your graphic design or copy efforts for them anyway.

Here are some of the types of proposal business document templates that can be created ahead of time depending on the types of services or products that you have.

  1. Service Proposal 🧐 : Outline your scope of work, your deliverables and the time that it will take to complete said scope of work.
  2. Product Proposal 🧐 : Outline the features and benefits of a product, as well as pricing and delivery details.
  3. New Employee Proposal 🧐 : Employee’s need proposals too, this type of proposal can help you outline the position, qualifications, and compensation so they have a full understanding before signing any contracts.
  4. Grant Proposal 🧐 : Grant proposal templates can help you make a strong case for why your project is worthy of support.

 

Contract Templates 🤝

Ah Contracts and Agreements. Those ultra-necessary, better have your ducks-in-a-row documents where you sign your life away (or ask your clients to!).

I am not a lawyer, even though I am related to 3 of them, but I still make sure that I have my Business Contract Templates to clarify terms and conditions of my business relationships and transactions.

But you need more than 1 type of contract when think about all the types of agreements you may need.

Here are some types of contract templates you should have:

  1. A Service Agreement Template 🤝 : This type of contract outlines the scope of work, deliverables, pricing, and terms and conditions for a service project between your business and a client.
  2. Sales Agreement Template 🤝 : This type of contract outlines the terms and conditions for the sale of products, whether physical or digital, between your business and a client.
  3. Independent Contractor Agreement 🤝 : This type of contract outlines the terms and conditions for a 1099 contractor, including scope of work, payment terms, and ownership of work produced. The business is not responsible for providing benefits or taxes for the independent contractor.
  4. Employment Agreement 🤝 : This type of contract outlines the terms and conditions of employment for an employee, including job duties, compensation, benefits, and termination policies. The business is responsible for providing benefits and taxes for the employee.
  5. Partnership Agreement 🤝 : This type of contract outlines the terms and conditions of a business partnership between two or more parties.
  6. Non-disclosure Agreement 🤝 : (NDA) is a legal contract that establishes confidentiality between two or more parties. It prohibits the sharing of confidential information with unauthorized third parties and can be used to protect trade secrets, intellectual property, and other sensitive business information.

To find contract templates, you can search online legal forms providers such as LegalZoom, Rocket Lawyer, and LawDepot, or check out Boss Contract Society, which offers a variety of contract templates for small business owners.

 

Meeting Agenda Templates 📋

Now we can get into the fun stuff. Meetings can be a valuable tool for collaboration and decision-making, but they can also be a waste of time if they’re not well-planned and organized.

Creating Meeting Agenda templates is perfect to make sure the meeting stays on track and you avoid those “rabbit holes” that I know I have a tendency to go down on occassion

One of the key aspects to productivity is the ability to stay on track and focus on the most important topics.

Some of the ones you should have in your arsenal

  1. Status Update Meeting 📋 : This type of meeting is focused on providing updates on ongoing projects and initiatives.
  2. Client Meeting 📋 : This type of meeting is focused on discussing the needs and requirements of a client and providing updates on project progress
  3. Team Meeting 📋 : This type of meeting is focused on discussing team goals, projects, and initiatives.
  4. Quarterly Review Meeting 📋 : This type of meeting is focused on reviewing progress and identifying opportunities for improvement.

To make the most of your meeting agenda templates, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Set clear objectives and outcomes for the meeting.
  • Include only the most important topics and prioritize them.
  • Assign owners for each agenda item to ensure accountability.
  • Allow time for discussion and questions.
  • Follow up after the meeting with action items and next steps.

Sales Page Templates 💰

Have you ever created a sales page? For yourself or someone else?

If you have, my condolences…. it isn’t EASY, that’s for sure. Trying to fit everything that individuals may be interested in on 1 page is a challenge. That’s why, I don’t want to do it more than 1 or 2 times.

While a sales page is a critical tool for converting visitors into customers, creating a sales page template makes the process so much more enjoyable the next time around… because you aren’t creating it from scratch!

By using sales page templates, you can ensure that your sales pages are well-designed, optimized for conversion, and consistent with your branding. Here are some key elements that your sales page template should include:

  1. Headline: A strong and compelling headline that grabs the attention of the reader and communicates the main benefit of the product or service.
  2. Introduction 💰 : A brief introduction that provides context for the product or service and creates a connection with the reader.
  3. Problem 💰 : A description of the problem or pain point that the product or service addresses, and why it is important to solve that problem.
  4. Solution 💰 : A clear and concise description of how the product or service solves the problem and provides value to the customer.
  5. Features 💰 : A list of the key features and capabilities of the product or service, and how they contribute to the overall value proposition.
  6. Benefits 💰 : A description of the benefits that the customer will experience by using the product or service, such as increased efficiency, cost savings, or improved outcomes.
  7. Social Proof 💰 : Testimonials, case studies, or other social proof that demonstrates the effectiveness and credibility of the product or service.
  8. Call to Action 💰 : A clear and compelling call to action that encourages the reader to take action, such as making a purchase, signing up for a free trial, or scheduling a consultation.

 

Creating your own business document templates 

So, at the end of each of the previous mentions of types of templates, we gave you a few hints as to how to create your own and specific items you should pay attention to.

I thought it would be a good idea to add some more “Best Practices” while we are thinking about the documents or items to templatize!

What documents do you need to be templatized?

Start by identifying the business documents that you use most frequently in your business or your find yourself spending the most time recreating. For me, this means email templates, proposals and Discovery Call notes. (And of course those contracts!)

Some others may need meeting agenda templates and Customer Care emails. It’s really what YOU are using the most.

Reviewing existing templates

There’s no reason to create anything from scratch if you already have the information somewhere. Check your email outbox or previously used meeting notes for information that has worked for you before. Sometimes even some of your software applications already have templates. Of course, you can always check online for templates for specific documents or items.

I happen to know that Pinterest is FULL of these types of free templates as well.

Customize your business document templates

Once you have a starting point, it’s time customize! Make them fit your and your clients unique needs.

Ideas to customize may include adding your logo and branding, changing the language to be more informal, and adapting the structure to fit your specific requirements.

Test and Refine

If you are anything like me, you like to have perfection out of the gate.

The sad truth is, that NEVER happens.

Be okay with “good enough” and continue to update and upgrade them as you see how they work out in the real world. Just having a semblance of organization and workflow baked into the documents is a huge leap forward for your productivity.

You can always improve and make any necessary adjustments based on feedback and continue to refine your templates over time.

There are so many opportunities to create templates for things in your business, but as usual I’m going to suggest that you start simply noticing the types of things you find yourself creating over and over, perhaps already using a “sort” of template that can be shared with the rest of the business or made more “official” somehow.

Make sure to check out my FREE ClickUp SOP Documents that will make SOP creation in your project management tool super-easy to use.

Take it one step at a time and the time saved will eventually add up to give you the freedom you crave.


Looking to learn more?

Check out these blogs: 

✅ Business Documents that every Entreprenuer should have

✅ Simple Task and Project Management

✅ Top 5 ways to simplify your life

How Document Templates Can Help Small Businesses Succeed Read More »

Business Documents that every entrepreneur should have.

Business Document Folders

Business Documents Every Entrepreneur should have

 

Running a service-based business is all about outstanding experiences for your clients. But we know that behind the scenes, there is a bunch of important business documents, that play a crucial role in ensuring smooth operations. I’m sure I’m not that only one that find managing all of this “paperwork” can be overwhelming and time-consuming.

Nonetheless, organizing your business documents is vital for complying with legal requirements, simplifying decision-making, and enhancing operational effectiveness.

Well-organized documents improve team productivity, business profitability, and client satisfaction. These essential documents and how you organize them will determine how effective your communication is and how happy your stakeholders are.

Important Documents for Business Operations

 

Business operations documents not only help your business stay organized but also foster strong client relationships and ensure your clients receive top-notch service they can rave about. Here are some essential documents, with a personal touch, for smooth business operations.

Documents on Table

  1. Business Reports: A thorough analysis of your company’s performance, including sales figures and financial reports, is crucial for making informed decisions and strategizing future plans. Make it a habit to update and review your business report regularly to stay on top of your company’s growth and pinpoint areas ripe for improvement.
  2. Bylaws: Company bylaws are like the friendly neighborhood guidelines that outline the rules and regulations governing your business operations. These documents keep your business on the straight and narrow, ensuring compliance with the law and adherence to established guidelines.
  3. Business Plan: A strategic roadmap for your business, detailing your aspirations, marketing strategies, and the wonderful potential customers waiting for you. A well-crafted business plan helps you make smart decisions and attract investors and partners eager to be part of your success story.
  4. Templates: Use templates for various documents, such as business letters, invoices, and memos, to maintain consistency and clarity. This practice ensures that your company maintains a professional image while also streamlining communication with clients and stakeholders. It’s like having a secret weapon for your business communication!
  5. Email: Use email for communication with your cherished team members, fresh new hires, and valued clients. Email is an efficient and cost-effective way to keep everyone informed and updated on company news, exciting announcements, and project progress.
  6. Case Studies: Share your success stories with potential new investors and stakeholders, showcasing your business’s capabilities. Case studies offer valuable insights into your company’s performance and spotlight your expertise in your field. It’s like giving them a front-row seat to your greatest hits!
  7. Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA): A legally binding document that wraps your intellectual property and sensitive information in a warm, protective blanket. NDAs are essential for safeguarding trade secrets and maintaining a competitive edge in the market.
  8. Employment Agreement: A contract between you and your employees, outlining the terms and conditions of employment like a friendly handshake. Employment agreements help protect both parties’ interests and establish a clear understanding of expectations and responsibilities.

Documents for Client Management

 

Ah, client management! The lifeblood of any business and the source of both our joys and frustrations. To keep things running smoothly and ensure we’re all on the same page, there are some essential pages we need to have at the ready.

  1. Partnership Agreement: Think of this as the prenup of the business world. A legal document that outlines the ins and outs of your partnership, such as roles, responsibilities, and rights. It’s the perfect way to ensure that everyone’s playing by the same rules and helps prevent those pesky partnership squabbles.
  2. Personal Information: Spiderman learned the hard way, “with great power comes great responsibility.” Well, handling sensitive client information is no exception. Keep your clients’ data under lock and key, and be sure to comply with data protection regulations to avoid those dreaded legal complications and fines. No one wants to be “that business” in the headlines.
  3. Clear Advantages and Disadvantages: No one’s perfect, and neither are your products or services. Be upfront about potential drawbacks and offer solutions to tackle them. Clients appreciate honesty, and being transparent will only strengthen your bond (just like couples’ therapy, but for business).
  4. Business Letters: Ah, the art of crafting a good ol’ fashioned business letter. Ensure your letters are clear, concise, and strike the perfect tone to maintain a positive impression. Remember, you never get a second chance to make a first impression—unless you have a time machine, that is.
  5. Regulatory Documents: Nobody likes legal trouble. Keep your business on the straight and narrow by staying current with industry regulations and safety compliance standards. A little extra effort now will save you from a world of headache and costly mistakes down the road.

Documents for Financial Management

 

Financial management is a vital aspect of your business, and having the right documents in place can help you make informed decisions, streamline processes, and optimize resources.

Financial dollar sign and paper dollars

  1. Invoices: Maintain a record of all invoices sent and received to track your business’s income and expenses. Regularly review your invoices to identify trends and areas for improvement.
  2. Business Insurance: Ensure that your company has the appropriate insurance coverage to protect against unforeseen events and minimize financial risks.
  3. Simple Language: Use clear and straightforward language when drafting financial documents to ensure that all stakeholders, including lenders, can understand your company’s financial position and performance.
  4. Bank Account Documents: Open a separate business bank account to manage your company’s finances and maintain a clear distinction between personal and business transactions.
  5. Financial Report: Prepare regular financial reports to analyze your business’s profitability, cash flow, and overall financial health. Use these reports to make informed decisions about investments, resource allocation, and growth strategies.
  6. Feasibility Studies: Conduct feasibility studies to assess the viability of new projects or business ventures. These studies help you determine whether a project is worth pursuing and identify potential risks and opportunities.

Organizing and Storing Your Documents

 

Get your business documents organized and under control – trust me, it’s a game-changer! While I could write a whole series on this topic, I can’t help but mention some vital tips here.

You’ll find some digital organization tips for your documents that will help you take control and tame that paper chaos.

  1. Be specific and categorize: Use clear, concise labels, color-coding, or other organizing methods to make finding documents a breeze. I’ve got all my documents all organized in specific folders on Google Drive, with a “hub” in Airtable, categorized by type. 
    Check out my video on my Executive Hub.

  2. Group similar documents: Keep similar documents together to save time and reduce the chance of misplacing essential info. Client documents get put in client folders, financial documents nestle in the financial folder, product descriptions in the product development folder… you get the idea!

  3. Go digital: Embrace cloud-based storage options like Google Drive or Dropbox for easy accessibility and security. It’s 2023, after all! While I’m a die-hard fan of physical notebooks for brainstorming and learning, I also appreciate the value of digital document management. It not only saves space but also gives your team easy access to what they need without constantly bugging you.

  4. Back it up: Protect your hard work against data loss or theft by having backup copies of all crucial documents. Do a purge: Make it a habit to review and toss any outdated or unnecessary documents regularly. Keep what you genuinely need, and keep it organized. I know it sounds like I’m channeling my inner corporate guru, but it’s true. Backing up your documents, especially the important ones, is essential in our digital world. I use Google Drive and have it set up to sync with my desktop. This way, I can create copies on my hard drive (external or internal) of all my vital documents.

Check out my YouTube videos and my specific one below for how to use Google Drive-stream on your desktop, making accessing files super-simple and quick! 

Organizing and managing your documents might seem like a daunting task, but it is crucial for maintaining compliance, streamlining decision-making, and enhancing operational efficiency. By categorizing documents, maintaining clear communication with clients and stakeholders, and using digital storage solutions, you can ensure that your business remains organized and prepared for success.

Remember to periodically review your documents, update them as needed, and back up your data to protect your business. With well-organized documents, you can focus on delivering exceptional experiences for your clients, growing your business, and enjoying the rewards of your hard work.

FAQ’s

What types of documents do I need to start a business?

You will need to create a business plan, register your business with the appropriate government agencies, obtain any necessary licenses and permits, and draft legal documents such as partnership agreements or articles of incorporation.

What financial documents do I need to keep track of for tax purposes?

For tax purposes, service-based entrepreneurs need to keep track of important financial documents such as income statements, balance sheets, and tax returns. Other documents to keep track of include invoices, receipts, and bank statements.

What legal documents do I need to have in place to protect my business?

To protect your business legally, you may need to create contracts, agreements, and policies. Examples of legal documents include client agreements, employee contracts, and privacy policies.

How often should I review and update my documents?

It’s a good practice to review and update your documents on a regular basis, such as annually. This will help ensure that your documents are up-to-date with any changes in your business or industry.

How do I ensure that my documents are compliant with relevant laws and regulations?

You can consult with legal professionals or seek out industry-specific guidelines to help ensure compliance. While most of my documents live in Google Drive within pre-defined folders, I have them all linked together in my Executive or Team Hub in Airtable where I can quickly find whatever I am looking for with a search or by creating a quick view for those categorized as Documents.

 
Love, Ana

 

Looking to learn more?

 
Check out these blogs:

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Find me on Instagram and Facebook

Business Documents that every entrepreneur should have. Read More »

Create a digital calendar organization system that works for you

You swear by your manual planner, but you’ve been swearing AT it more often than not lately.
 

The number of times you have missed meetings, forgotten you kiddo’s doc appointment, neglected to share with your husband that he had to take Jimmy to rugby on Saturday. 

For all intents and purposes, your manual planner is exactly what you need, but it’s only on 1 place all the time. If you don’t have it with you while making or changing plans, what then?

 

Being a mom, business owner, or just a person in these busy and informational times is chaotic enough. 

Keeping everything organized so you aren’t always playing catchup, feeling overwhelmed is pretty much REQUIRED nowadays.

 

This problem is even worse if you are already tired, worn out, not taking care of yourself or have ADHD. I get it, I am all of these things and more. I’ve learned the beauty of the digital calendar system and all it can do. I went from missing multiple meetings a week to missing almost none.

 

I was constantly frustrated at my husband for never knowing what kid was signed up for which activities until I started sharing all of them with his digital calendar that is hooked up to his email.

 

My dad used to call me “flakey”…. it’s been part of my identity most of my life, but it never sat well with me because I hated that I couldn’t remember it all.

 
Now I have much more control using my digital calendar system and I know I’m not failing my clients or my family. If this is you, I encourage you to read on.
 

 

 

What is a digital Calendar?

If you were born in the 70’s or 80’s, you are probably familiar with the Chandlers notebooks or family planner systems that sat on the counter next to your rotary dial telephone. (No? Just me?)
 
 
I remember having one for school as well, where I wrote down all the assignments that I would put off to the last minute or completely forget about because my notebook was in my bookbag still sitting at the door where I left it when I got home on Friday.
 
Enter the 2000’s.
 
Digital Calendars have been a part of the computer landscape almost since it’s inception, but the usability of them hasn’t really come into it’s own until recently.
 
I learned that it was as early as 1983 that Apple computers released something called “LisaList” that allowed users to create appointments and reminders as well as print out their schedules. Close behind, Lotus Notes created Lotus 1-2-3, a spreadsheet program with built-in-calendar.
 
Since then, it seems as if every other ad I see on Facebook is for a new kind of digital organization or scheduling system. They are everywhere. For those of us use to or needing more physical or tactile ways to wrap our brains around our ever-increasingly-busy schedule the sheer amount of them is overwhelming.
 
 

Benefits of using a digital calendar

 
While there are many reasons that you may want to use a physical calendar or planner when hashing out ideas, or looking at content calendars, converting those to a digital calendar can be one of the best things you do.
 

Check out some of the benefits below:

 
  • You can set reminders for all of your events, meetings and due dates. The most popular digital calendars automatically give you the option to set reminders, some give you auditory reminders and some just send you an email. There is the option of also setting multiple reminders if you need an hour to prepare for a meeting or presentation.
  • Available on Multiple Devices One of the best features of a digital calendar planner is the ability to have it on multiple devices. Your computer? Check! Your phone? Check! Your auditory personal assistant? Check Check!
  • Easily move or reschedule appointments. Have you ever had to move an appointment because something came up? (Don’t say no, I know you have). In a physical planner or calendar you have to scratch it out (or white it out if you are old-school) and put it on another day. It also can take several phone calls to find a time that works.
  • In a digital calendar you can reschedule on the spot. Move it to a different time or cancel it all together and put in a new one. MAGIC
  • Share your Schedule with others. If you are part of a family, or a member of an organization LISTEN UP. Being able to share where you are, what you are doing, what is scheduled for your family with someone else is GAME CHANGING.
    I can’t tell you how many times I use to tell my husband about a kids appointment, or soccer schedule, just to have him (or myself) forget about it later. Now I just book it and share the entire calendar with him. (You can also just share specific appointments by inviting someone). If you have an assistant working in your business, you can share your calendar with them so they are able to find out your availability and work with vendors and clients without your input.
 

At this point, you probably are ALL IN.

 

You GET it, but now you need to figure out, out of all of the choices out there, which is the best for you?!

 

How to choose the best digital calendar for you

 
There are many types of digital calendars out there, the three main ones being Google Calendar, Apple Calendar, and Microsoft Calendar. There are a couple things to consider when trying to choose one that will work for you.
 
These three I just mentioned have VERY much the same functionality, so some of it may just come down to personal preference, however there are some things you should consider when choosing one that will work best for you and your needs.
 
Want to find out about the best calendars to use?
Check out this article (https://zapier.com/blog/best-calendar-apps/)
 

Figure out what your goals are for the calendar.
Are you using it just for yourself? Is it used for your business? What functionalities will be mosts-used? Which is the most user-friendly for you? What type of software do you already use?

The answers to these questions will basically tell you which one you need.
 
If you need to share with many other types of clients and/or people on different systems, using a cloud-based calendar may be the best option.
 
If you need multiple calendars, and want to color-code them with bright colors, looking at Google Calendar and Apple Calendar may be the best options.
 
If you hate Apple Computers, then maybe apple calendar is NOT the right choice (and I wonder where your head is at… but that’s a completely different blog post).
 
Do you need to embed the calendars into different software? Share your work appointments with your project management tool to understand how you are spending your time?
 
While this blog isn’t going to dive into the specifics of the three calendars I listed above, and how they may benefit your specific goals, I’ve linked to some other helpful articles that dive into that below.
 

And I personally use Google Calendar because A) it integrates with everything B) I already use and pay for Google Suite for my business and C) I can easily share multiple calendars with clients and my family.

 
 

Setting up your Calendar

 
While you can do this 500 different ways, in order to use your calendar most beneficially and to use it in a way that is helpful to others you are communicating with, I highly recommend the following.
 
  1. Look at all your appointments, imagined or otherwise and categorize them into buckets of types of appointments. For instance, you could have a team meeting, a client meeting and a coaching meeting, and those may all be considered “Business” meetings. Conversely, you have a hair appointment on Saturday, Your husband is going out of town for work on Sunday and your kiddo has Tae Kwon Do on Tuesdays and Thursdays, you may consider these “Family” appointments. A good categorization to start with may be work, family, personal, school and any others that are specific to your needs.
  2. Set up your Calendar Now it’s the fun part and start getting our hands digitally dirty. (is that even a thing?)Now that you have loosely categorized the types of calendars you have, I’m going to request that you create 1 more…. the IDEAL calendar.

    Okay, when I say ideal, I don’t mean that you will spend 3 hours a day getting a massage every day or schedule 12 hours for sleeping… I mean what is a realistic weekly schedule for you. If you need help figuring out what your ideal schedule should be, you can use this time tracker to help map it out. [ link to time-tracker ]

    Create an “ideal” schedule calendar, making sure all the appointments are set to “free” and use that as your guide when you are working or deciding when an event or appointment should be.

  • Then add your other calendars, making sure to choose the colors for them and setting them up specific to your needs. Also, make sure you set aside time in one of the calendars to review your schedule every day and adjust as needed. This fulfills two purposes: a) it allows you to keep all of your appointments up to date and fresh in your mind b) It helps to create the habit of actually using the digital calendar. Creating new habits always take some practice.

Other Strategies for your Digital Calendar planning to help keep you on track

 
This part is for those of you that may “understand” how to use digital calendars, but haven’t ever been able to make it work for you because… well… life.
 
As someone who gets it, I have found some little cool tips and tricks that have helped me and some of my clients tremendously when it comes to making sure the calendar is working for you.
 

If this is you, I’d love for you to send me an email of the tips and tricks that have worked for you!

 

 

Tip 1: Hook up your work and important event calendars to Alexa or Google Voice

 

Of course, this is only applicable if you have an Alexa or Google voice (and whether you should or not is a WHOLE other blog or post or really long Redit)
We are an Alexa-loving family. Not only does she play music all over the house and entertain my kids with stories that are age-appropriate, but she REMINDS me of my meetings in my office every time one is coming up.
 
The directions below are for Alexa, I’m sure there are easy-to find ones for Google Assistant as well:
 
  1. Open the Alexa app .
  2. Open More  and select Settings.
  3. Select Calendar.
  4. Select your account provider, and then select Connect Account.
  5. Follow the on-screen instructions. Repeat these steps for each calendar you want to link.
 
Alexa will then give you a verbal warning for every “reminder” you have set up.

I have learned that she doesn’t pronounce everything correctly, which is pretty humorous.

Also, if there is a swear word in the name of the event, it will bleep it out.
Even Alexa has standards!
 

Tip 2: Buffer Time

 
Always always always create plenty of buffer time between your events and meetings.
I cannot emphasize this enough.
We know that stuff comes up, emergencies need to be dealt with, an extra cup of coffee is desperately needed and…. well bathroom.
If you are jamming every meeting in the world right next to each other, you don’t leave room for the curve balls that life throws at you.
 
And you know that sometimes life is nothing BUT curveballs.
 
So do yourself a favor, and make sure there is some breathing room in your schedule. You’ll thank me when you don’t have a nervous breakdown. (Remind me to tell you sometime about MY nervous breakdowns)
 

Tip 3: Set aside time to review your calendar 1x a day

I’ve said this before in this blog, but it bears repeating.
 
Set aside 15 minutes a day to review your schedule for the day, or even a few days in advance.
Make sure you don’t have any overlapping meetings, no emergencies came up or see if any events need to be moved because your mini-me is now home sick with the stomach flu.
 
Creating this habit, either at the beginning or the end of the day, depending when your brain best works, will solidify your schedule in your head, and keep you updated on anything else going on that you need to be aware of.
 

In the end you will feel much more organized and much less “chaotic” having done this.

Want to see how this all works together? You can check out my YouTube channel where I talk about everything Operations, Productivity, Digital Organization ClickUp and Airtable. 

 

 

I’ll even show you how to integrate your digital calendar with ClickUp and make even more use of it there!
 

Create a digital calendar organization system that works for you Read More »

Planning your Day- on and offline

I have always hated being inefficient with my time. As a wife, mom, business owner, outdoor enthusiast, runner, musician, and 500 other things I’m sure I’m forgetting to mention, my time is precious.

Same as you, dear reader.

Spending time on something that could either take less time or trying to clarify what is even needed is infuriating for me. It always has been (sorry-not-sorry past bosses that were probably so irritated at my questions).

This is why I am so focused on the importance of planning. Without a plan, without an idea of what needs to happen to reach our goals, dreams, vision…. We may as well just ride the ocean wherever it takes us, never aiming for the big wave that will take us to shore. (I have no idea where that analogy came from… but you get the picture).

So, here we are, with our quarterly and weekly planning all worked out (see THESE BLOGS), how do we use that and make sure our daily plans are the best and most efficient use of our time?

 


Step 1 – Find a time of the day to do your daily planning. Either right at the beginning of the day or the day before.

Step 2 – Create a master list of all your tasks, and projects, that are upcoming, use post-its, note-cards, homing pigeons, whatever. But do something that really gets in your head. Make sure to check messages, emails, slacks, PM tool

Step 3 – Look at your list of tasks and projects and categorize them into the Eisenhower matrix.

Urgent / Important Not Urgent / Important
Urgent / Not Important Not Urgent / Not Important 


Quadrant 1 High priority and urgent: 

  • anything that needs to be done for upcoming meetings
  • Anything for an upcoming deadline
  • Anything to fix an “emergency”

Quadrant 2 High priority and not-urgent

  • Not part of day-to-day ops but help you get closer to goals and typically requires more focus. 
  • These are strategic projects, development, or something that is going to make your life better
  • Try to fit only 1-2 of these a day( in fact 2 is way too much)unless there is nothing urgent and important

Quadrant 3 Urgent/not important

  • These are typically admin things or things that can be delegated to someone else
  • Unexpected texts or phone calls
  • Social media replies. 
  • Maybe can be done during buffer time or admin time.

Quadrant 4 Non-Urgent/not important

  • If anything falls in this category, it’s not going to make your list at all. Fugetaboutit.


Step 4: Looking at your existing schedule, fit the tasks in priority order leaving buffer time in between. This week means you probably will ONLY have 3-4 “things” a day that will get done from your task list.

THIS IS OKAY!

Step 4.5: (This is only a half step because you don’t HAVE to do it, but I recommend doing it for those of you who need a bit more processing time to fully commit to getting things done that day).
Write down those three tasks, or highlight them in your list. I have a day planner on my iPad that I write down my priorities for the day being those 3 to 5 tasks/projects that will be done. Then I go onto step 5. 

Step 5: Go into your Task Management System (If you don’t have one… get one, and if you don’t know which one to get, I recommend THIS ONE (ClickUp) and make your top tasks are showing up on your worklist for that day.

You can also add the tasks in the calendar view as well.

** Recommendation – Create an “ideal work day/week” within your preferred calendar (Google Calendar, Apple Calendar, Microsoft Calendar) and import that calendar into ClickUp. 

Check out how to do this in my YouTube video below. 

https://youtu.be/r9h-ySZRIx0

 

Planning your Day- on and offline Read More »

Planning your week and calendar scheduling

“Ughh. I feel like I have no time in the week.”

 

I am willing to bet that you say this to yourself from time to time. Or maybe even daily.

 

As a mom of two boys, wife, and business owner… I said that to myself A LOT.

Once I realized and started to operate with the mindset that every goal I had for the week needed a plan of action ahead of time, I finally felt like I could manage life.

Take a listen to my latest Youtube video that just dropped this week because it is all about weekly planning, how to use Airtable to plan your week, and as always, productivity for the busy neuro-divergent entrepreneur.

Watch my YouTube video for the six steps that I use to plan my week with Airtable. 👇

 

Don’t forget to grab my Goal Planning Template! (What you see in the video!) 

 

Planning your week and calendar scheduling Read More »