Time Management Skills for Small Business Owners

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Time management is something we hear a lot about but never seem to get an understanding of what we need to do about it. In this article, you’ll get 4 time management skills for small business owners. You may not like them, but they work.

1) Log your time
Take a day or a week. (A week is preferable) Log all the time you spend doing all your activities. You can grab a sheet or use a spreadsheet depending on how analytical you are. Start from the moment you wake up and end when you go to sleep. Track every single thing you do in a day and the number of minutes it takes you to do it.

2) Go over the log and identify your big time wasters.
Categorize your activities. Figure out how much total time you spent on each activity. Determine the percentage of time you took to do each activity category. You want to find areas where you’re spending too much time like meetings, email, phone calls, etc.

3) Apply the 80/20 rule to your time.
The 80/20 rule says that 80% of your results come from about 20% of your activities. You need to figure out those activities that give you the best results and increase the amount of time you spend on them. You’ll need to keep analyzing this and keep increasing the time on the activities that only get you results. The rest is not important.

4) Delegate your time. 
If you spend a bunch of time on your email, find an assistant to handle your email responses and send you only the most important ones. Email is usually a big time suck. Give away those activities that don’t get results. Give them to an employee who can handle them for you and train that employee to do them for you. Then, trust that employee to do the job you’ve trained them to do and move along doing the things you need get you the best results.

I hope these tips have helped you with your time management. If you’ve got questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.

 

4 Tips on Finding Your Path and Purpose in Life

4 Tips on Finding Your Path and Purpose in Lifepath

I remember an adult once telling me when I was young that I needed to try different things in order to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. I remember thinking, “How could I possibly just fall into something I love by chance? Into something I’m meant to become? Is it perhaps a bit more predestined than that?”

I’m certain it’s normal to search for meaning and purpose. It is, after all, our nature as human beings. I was reminded this morning of an uber-successful millennial who struck it rich with a tech startup and become an instant billionaire, only to reach age 30 and realize no one cared about him and he was doing something that left him empty. The point is that everyone wants perfection.   Everyone wants financial stability. Everyone wants productivity and some degree of a routine. Everyone wants certainty. Everyone wants to give love and to be loved. The reality is that these things just don’t exist because the perfect version of yourself is constantly changing as you learn and grow! As you expand, your goals expand with you.

Isn’t the search, perhaps, less about attaining the perfect life and more about finding the perfect path?

The Perfection Competition
As you browse through Facebook and Instagram you will see updates and posts of what other people are doing and accomplishing. For me, this has led at times to feelings of jealousy or thoughts that perhaps I’m not accomplishing enough or getting enough out of life. I’ve realized that, when I set concrete goals for myself that are followed-up by smaller goals that help me achieve the big ones, I become more confident. I feel more productive. I feel like I’m on the right path for me. All of a sudden, I can’t identify as much with someone else’s’ perfect life and I feel more fulfilled with my own. So, I’ll ask you, what are your goals for yourself?

Learn the Signs of Misdirection
Feeling uncertain about your life, your goals, or your purpose is all normal. But what’s not normal is to feel uncertain every minute of every day. If that’s going on, I can say with complete certainty you’re not on the right path. Red flags and alarm bells should be going off all over the place for you right now! Instead, try to become more aware of your thoughts and feelings so you can be prepared to take action. Begin briefly journaling those feelings along with your ideas for what may be causing them. What is the root of it all?

Ask for Help
I know for a fact that I am my own worst enemy. But I have to stop and remind myself that, many times, I’m doing better than I think I am. Thankfully, in my case, I have two trusted people who remind me of that. I can be open and honest with them and they will give me a candid opinion of what I should consider changing. Everyone needs someone in their life that won’t just tell them what they want to hear. Do you have someone like this?

Purpose is Divine
I am a Christian and it’s taken me 33 years to realize that, when I focus on anything other than my faith and God’s will for my life, I grow unhappy, worried and frustrated. We all have talents. We all have a reason for being here. So instead of trying to figure it out for yourself, try praying about it. Now that I finally feel like I know what path I’m on, I pray daily that God will give me eyes to see Him, ears to hear Him, a hunger to do His will in my life, and that He will help me with each step along my path. For me, He has been faithful and helped me realize that I can’t do this alone. He has called me to be greater and, because of this, he has blessed me with purpose and passion! So are you praying regularly for purpose?

 

5 Tips to Turn Your Dream into a Career

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It’s not considered work if you love what you do for a living, but could you actually make the something you love into a career? There are many career options out there, some you’ve thought of and some that are so bizarre might not have crossed your mind. There’s always a rising star popping up in the media, there’s always a new best-selling author, there’s even a guy who sells snow! The possibilities are endless as far as how you can make money and more importantly how you can turn your dream into a career. How exactly do you go about doing so? Use these tips to get started.

1.) Educate yourself: If you want to work in a particular field, you have to know it inside and out. Research what it takes to make it in your chosen profession, take necessary classes, or even find a mentor whose walked the same path and found success at the end of it. Educating yourself on everything involved in your dream will bring you closer to seeing it unfold before your eyes.

2.) Make goals: Once you’re aware of how to go about obtaining a position in your career choice, you can begin planning the necessary steps that’ll take you from where you are now to where you see yourself in the future. Setting goals not only pushes you through the journey, but allows you to see your accomplishments along the way.

3.) Work hard: As important as it is to set goals, there will be no progress if you don’t reach them. Put forth your best effort in any free time you can manage so you can achieve each goal and move on to the next one.

4.) Don’t make up excuses: Doubt will visit you without an invitation; it will lead you down a trail of thoughts which will have you questioning your worth, your talent, and your time spent. This is an inevitable factor. What is in your power is whether or not you let doubt consume you, and if you don’t want your hard work to go to waste, don’t allow it to stay. Maintain confidence, remain focused, and keep telling yourself you’re almost there.

5.) Don’t let failure stop you: Not everyone has an insane amount of luck to succeed on the first try. If you do, that’s great, but for the rest of us who have to face rejection, we must understand that it’s okay to fail. One or even multiple failures does not set you up for a lifetime of failing. You don’t stay on the ground when you fall, you get back up, brush yourself off, and keep going. So don’t give up; keep moving forward.

 

Deciding Where to Focus in Your Business

focus2I’ll never forget the one, gut-wrenching moment when a business mentor called me out on everything great we were doing at our firm. “Valerie, you keep telling me all the things you guys are but what I’m not hearing is who are you not?” It hit me like a bullet between the eyes! He was right! In fact, he was so right that there hasn’t been a day that’s gone by since where his words haven’t echoed like a freight train in my mind. We had grown an amazing business but were wondering why we couldn’t get to the next level and it had to do with one simple thing…we were focused but not focused enough!

Until that day, I thought I fully understood the power of focus, – in marketing, in strategy, in client service, in virtually every area of our business. For me, focus always came instinctively and, as a business owner, my nature has always been to question whether every action we take will lead to a nice return on investment (ROI).

Return-on-investment usually boils down to money; what will give us the best return for a given investment of resources. I believe you can only pay yourself in two ways: 1) by making more money, or 2) by finding more time to do the things you love. I think we often forget to focus on what parts of our business we find satisfying and fun because we’re too busy focusing on what the market looks like or on what types of customers we can reach.

So, for us, the question, “who are we not?” led us to the answer we’d been searching for all along. It redirected our focus to the opportunities we saw in the marketplace and away from the parts of the business we didn’t enjoy. Today, the payback has been exceptional, and I owe it to a perceptive, bold coach who was willing to risk telling me something I may not want to hear.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you could use some advice on keeping your business goals in focus.

 

Deciding Where to Focus in Your Business

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I’ll never forget the one, gut-wrenching moment when a business mentor called me out on everything great we were doing at our firm. “Valerie, you keep telling me all the things you guys are but what I’m not hearing is who are you not?” It hit me like a bullet between the eyes! He was right! In fact, he was so right that there hasn’t been a day that’s gone by since where his words haven’t echoed like a freight train in my mind. We had grown an amazing business but were wondering why we couldn’t get to the next level and it had to do with one simple thing…we were focused but not focused enough!

Until that day, I thought I fully understood the power of focus, – in marketing, in strategy, in client service, in virtually every area of our business. For me, focus always came instinctively and, as a business owner, my nature has always been to question whether every action we take will lead to a nice return on investment (ROI).

Return-on-investment usually boils down to money; what will give us the best return for a given investment of resources. I believe you can only pay yourself in two ways: 1) by making more money, or 2) by finding more time to do the things you love. I think we often forget to focus on what parts of our business we find satisfying and fun because we’re too busy focusing on what the market looks like or on what types of customers we can reach.

So, for us, the question, “who are we not?” led us to the answer we’d been searching for all along. It redirected our focus to the opportunities we saw in the marketplace and away from the parts of the business we didn’t enjoy. Today, the payback has been exceptional, and I owe it to a perceptive, bold coach who was willing to risk telling me something I may not want to hear.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you could use some advice on keeping your business goals in focus.

10 Productivity Tips for Realtors {Anatomy of a Happy Office}

Having worked closely with many realtors in my career, I love the opportunity to share here some of the tips I have given them to help them have a more productive, successful business.   It is not easy to stay on top of everything but if you can take some of this advice to practice, you will start to see some amazing results.

10 Productivity Tips for Realtors

  1.  Break big tasks into smaller pieces.
  2. Set your priorities.
  3. Isolate the one task that you have to get done.
  4. Start easy.
  5. If it is not your forte, delegate it.
  6. Set deadlines.
  7. Don’t start your day with emails.
  8. Create a flexible schedule.
  9. Forget multi-tasking.
  10. Work hard when you are in the zone.

My infographic below gives more details on these tips.  Keep following my blog for more ways to increase productivity and see more success in your real estate business.


All through November, all of the advisors at our office are doing a series of articles, tips and tools and geared toward the “Anatomy of a Happy Office”.  Follow all of our blogs to read it all.
Northside of Average by Valerie Leonard
TAG-Living Loud by Trent Grinkmeyer
Motivated Monday by Caleb Bagwell
401kBizResource by Jamie Kertis

I Smell Results

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Have you ever been on the cusp of doing something you never thought you could do?  Perhaps as you read these words you feel like you are destined for something greater?  Maybe you’ve dreamed a dream and are longing to feel it, see it, and taste it?  Does the very thought of it seem so exciting you can actually smell it?  If so, all that’s standing between you and your dream is FOCUS…

In today’s society, focusing isn’t easy.  I’m willing to bet that right this very moment you are battling one or more distractions.  Look around you.  Think about your day. Can you name more than one thing that bothers you?  So how on earth do we reach our goals when we’re overwhelmed with everything and everyone that pulls us in different directions?  I’ll tell you how.

This part is important and it hit me square in the face when I first heard it: “devoting a little of yourself to everything means committing a great deal of yourself to nothing,” says author Andy Stanley.  Think about that.  Re-read it: “devoting a little of yourself to everything means committing a great deal of yourself to nothing.”

Could this be why you aren’t living your dream?  Something’s gotta give…so what is it?