Get Better Results Using Repetitive Tasks

checklistPeople often say that variety is the spice of life but when it comes to making the most of your time, it is good to follow repetitive tasks.

Although regimens are a good way to standardize things they can be an unproductive use of your time. This happens when you are not following the steps in a process or putting steps in the wrong place.

People see routines become ineffective all the time. They need to figure out what steps are working and what they need to tweak. (Click here to tweet this).

Most of the successful entrepreneurs that I work with have a routine for getting things done. In fact most of them have a series of routines ranging from personal care to managing a household to family duties and their business. I am certain that if you take a close look at your day there will be at least one routine that you follow, too.

You can improve your life by gaining more control over how you spend your time. One of my favorite quotes by William Penn says, “Time is what we want most, but what we use worst”. It is the person who knows exactly what to do and does so in an orderly fashion that makes the most of what they have.

The most obvious reasons for being more methodical is to put your mind on autopilot and leverage your time. The more steps of a task that you can automate, the more time you have for other things. For instance, I have two assistants in my business who follow a routine that I developed when I was working alone. By having the steps in writing we have been able to successfully manage our work flow. Procedures also make training and delegating tasks go smoothly because teams perform better when everyone knows how best to get things done. 

To create a regimen for yourself or a team start by observing best practices for getting tasks done. Consider what you need to do from start to finish and how to do it as efficiently as possible. For example, you can prepare a written outline with a series of steps to follow. I like checklists because bullet points summarize steps and take you straight to the point. If you are a visual learner consider using illustrations as a guide.

The benefit of having regimens is to train yourself or your team how to do tasks in a specific way. Over time it becomes a habit. The goal is to develop steps that become second nature and lead to the best possible outcomes. Regimens work best when you create actions around your goals. 

So tell me, are there any tasks that you can standardize that will help streamline your day?

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Live Out Your Purpose by Defining Your Strengths

purposeMany entrepreneurs take jobs that there is no real desire for. Sometimes it is simply a way to make ends meet. Often it is because you still need to figure out where you fit in.

What would your life look like if:

  • You were doing the work that interests you the most?
  • Taking assignments that pull at your heartstrings? it is easy to spend endless hours with no complaints working on them.
  • Contributing your skills, talents and abilities in work that rewards you with meaning, excitement, and joy?

If you are not yet on this path, let me share that the picture looks a lot different when you do what you are wired for and excel at it. Why? You are pre-programmed towards certain likes and dislikes. Although you can doing many things, it’s good to pay attention to what you desire and want to do. This is what people refer to when they talk about purpose. It is liberating when you know what you are gifted to do. That is when you can clearly define your preferences and a plan for how to share your talent on purpose with the world.

For instance, I enjoy watching home improvement shows where women are in charge of the rehabbing. Although the process is exciting to watch I can honestly say it is not work that I would personally enjoy. However, if I were ever asked to be a part of a rehab team, I would offer my skills in administration. The reason is because this is where I excel.

How do you find your strengths and purpose? One day I had an idea to take out my resume and review my past work. I asked myself questions like, “What tasks do I feel most confident doing?”, “Where have I been acknowledged by others for doing a good job?”, “What assignments were the most (or least) interesting and why?”, “What projects do I look forward to today that put a sparkle in my eyes?” After jotting down my answers, I used the same questions to examine my roles as wife, mother, and minister. That is when my purpose became as clear as the bright morning sun.

Some insights that I gleaned from this exercise were:

  • I spend the majority of my time managing finances and administrative tasks for others.
  • The assignments that I enjoy most requires a computer
  • Using software and management tools to keep entrepreneurs on top of the financial side of business is extremely gratifying and meaningful to me.

I continue to use this process and each time that I do, I see my roles and purpose become more aligned.

Have you ever struggled with figuring out what you should be doing in life? What is one way that you have been successful in finding your purpose and staying on track?

How to Shift Your Mindset About Service and Share What You Have to Offer

helpinghandHave you ever been compelled to think more selflessly and use your abilities for the good of others? To develop a spirit of service, consider the following practices.

  1. Get rid of hesitation and self-doubt.
  2. Surround yourself with servant leaders.
  3. Reprogram your automatic response.

When it comes to giving more of your service you may come up with every excuse in the book. The reason this happens for many people is they don’t want to leave their comfort zone. You have probably had this experience at some point in your life, too, but here is what you should know. You are not alive to simply exist, take up space, or waste a lifetime. Someone is waiting on you to be a doer, not just a dreamer. So as you get calls from friends or requests to volunteer, step up. The more you exercise your service muscle, the more natural it will be to you.

There is a quote I like that reminds me of the power of association. It says that you are a reflection of the people you surround yourself with. In other words you pick up the traits, sayings, and habits of those you are closest to. It is how you learn most things including the belief that being of service is an important part of life.

I am a big advocate of mentor relationships. So much so that I started a program called Encourage U for single moms in their mid twenties to early thirties. The goal is to provide leadership development and life skills. When you serve as a role model, it help others accelerate their growth by demonstrating standards to imitate. The more a mentee sees you in action, the more receptive their mind becomes to service as a way of life.

When you take an active role and offer your time, talent, and resources it enhance others’ lives. Your eyes, hands, feet, and voice can be used for the good of others. That is why it is important to contribute from a willing heart. When you do, the act of service becomes your reward.

Are your service antennas up? Do you actively look for ways to lend a hand and help in your home, workplace, community, the world? I’d love to hear what you do. Tell me about it.

3 Questions to Help Choose Projects That Are Right For You

projectdecisionWhen it comes to projects that you take on do you ever wonder, “What am I getting myself into?” I certainly find myself in this position from time to time but I have come to learn that not every new opportunity is the right one.  Here are some questions that help me decide which projects to choose.

What is the real challenge? Prospective clients seek help from consultants and coaches when there is a problem they want to fix. Very often, you will find that by going deeper, what appears at first glance may not be the true issue at all. For example, in my practice, I enjoy helping sole proprietors figure out what keeps them from the top of their financial game. This is always the first step before digging into how to resolve the issue. In other words when I pull back the layers I expose the true challenge. When it is something that I can solve and add real value to, then the project is a win-win.

What makes this the right project at this time? Your intuition serves as an internal compass that shows up in many forms. Some people recognize it as a soft voice that guides them in their decisions. Others relate to stomach flutters, faster breathing, or gut instincts they feel inside. However it shows up in you, just know that your intuition is tuning in to facts and working on your behalf to guide you to the right answer.

What more do I need to know before making my decision? Many times what you see is not always what you need to understand at first sight. In times when you are unclear, be willing to dig deeper to get to the bottom of things. You need the facts to see if an assignment is the right fit.

What is the client’s ultimate goal? This is perhaps the most important question to take into account. It is going to require complete honesty on your part because you may find yourself turning down a lot of contracts in the process. That’s o.k because you are making room for the projects that you can really excel in. Consider the problems that your potential client has to see if your skill set and interests match. If they do not, you may decide to turn the contract down because you will not be performing at your best. Keeping the client satisfied is priority one and nothing ruins a relationship faster than being a mismatch for the job.

Hopefully these questions can help make selecting projects a lot easier because like the old saying goes, “You can’t always judge a book (or project) by its cover.”

I’d love to hear your comments. How do you tell which projects are a good fit? What do you do to weed out the wrong assignments?

How to Get People Saying, “That Woman Means Business.”

A virtuous woman is hard to find.

As an adult I often hear the phrase, “A good woman is hard to find.” Sometimes it is said in a favorable light such as when we acknowledge a woman who excels in what she does. Other times it’s in response to seeing a woman who lacks motivation in life. I used to think lightly of this quote until recently when I experienced the loss of a matriarch in my family and did a little soul searching of my own.

Yes, it’s true. Females are born with the ability to grow through womanhood but not every woman will do so efficiently and that is what makes her rare.

For example, we see women who take life as it comes and hardly puts forth any effort to stand out from the crowd. She may be at different places in life, which I call her seasons. This may be as a wife, mom, or even in her career. She is going through the seasons but not actively taking ownership in what happens with her life.

Then there is the woman who dreams a lot. She talks a good game. Sets goals but never quite gets out of her comfort zone. She knows what it will take to make a mark but fails to put the marker in her hands. She is a dreamer and ignores the work needed to put faith in action.

Finally, we have the rare woman. She is one to take action and roll up her sleeves to complete whatever needs to be done. She doesn’t start projects without finishing them whether they are in the home, the community, church, or on her job. She has grace to finish the task and she uses it.

We all come with different personalities, talents, and experiences and  every woman is wired in her own unique way. Yet we are here connected to one another because we are built to give back. I attended a service celebrating the life of my great aunt. The speaker described her life this way:

“…[She was] a woman who gave selflessly of herself. She open her hands to the poor and the doors of her home to the homeless. She cooked many dinners and fed many pallets. When she spoke to you, you believed that you were the most important person in the room. You felt the love, genuine and true that exuded from her spirit.” ~ A Tribute to Gertrude Todd Clark

How many of us can honestly say that we live a life of service? Giving of ourselves, our time, and treasure unconditionally without expecting anything in return?

I am reminded, as well as inspired, by the quote, “Begin with the end in mind” by Steven Covey. I know that each step that I take leaves a footprint. Some will be big. Some will be small. Yet, each one of them is relevant nonetheless.

As you go forward today, consider what you want your legacy to be. Know that you are never too young or old to start that dream. What is your life saying about you? Do you want a story told or will it be a one liner?