Wellness Coaching Australia's Blog

Boost Business Productivity with Effective Planning








If you’re like most coaches, you find that Monday rolls around and you are busy doing 1000 things to work on your business….along side the ‘other’ things in your life, perhaps another paying job, your kids, and chores.

As the week wears on, you feel scattered and spread thin, unsure of where to spend your energy.
It’s like you’re clutching at straws - doing Instagram here, email there, attending networking meetings and writing blogs. 
Then there’s all the free marketing training and e-books you’re downloading, and the overwhelming load of emails flooding your inbox.
The trouble is, none of it is getting you any traction.

That’s when you find yourself wondering:
How can I get clients to contact me?
How can I reach new people outside the people I know?
How can I make best use of my limited time?

This is where you start.

There are two steps to attracting clients:
1. Plan effectively, and 
2. Be truly productive.

Here’s how it works.

Planning Effectively

What happens when you plan and schedule effectively?
You know exactly how you need to spend your precious work time for most effect.
You have a set marketing schedule to attract a regular stream of clients.
You have set dates that you use to create compelling calls to action for potential new clients e.g., registrations close on X date, join now!
You know when you can schedule enough down time to relax.
You can work in your zone of genius and outsource the stuff you hate.
You can measure your progress by ticking off a master task and priority list

In a busy world, one of the biggest challenges is creating enough space to step back out of ‘doing’ mode, prioritise your work and plan effectively.

But when you do that, you take powerful steps forward and grow your business steadily, purposefully and professionally, attracting new clients and prospects as you go.
As a coach, you know that when you work with clients, it really helps them to zoom out and get perspective on their lives so they can distinguish real priorities from perceived priorities. 
It’s ALSO helpful in your own business.

What gets in the way of this?
Busyness, taking on too much, and lack of priorities.
Here’s how to plan effectively in business.

Using the Eisenhower Principle to Plan

In a 1954 speech, Former US President Dwight D. Eisenhower was onto a clever thing. He said:
“I have two kinds of problems: the urgent, and the important. 
The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent”.
This statement became the Eisenhower principle, and it’s said to be how the former President organised his workload and priorities.
Time management is about spending your time efficiently and effectively. 
It’s about spending your time doing things that achieve outcomes and goals, rather than someone else’s.
The challenge for most people is that we tend to react to what’s urgent, and spend time firefighting and we spend to little time on what’s really important.

Here’s what the Eisenhow Principle looks like in a diagram.


Here’s an interpretation of what these squares mean.
1. Important + Urgent = Crisis mode. 
There is the unforeseen, and the last minute. 
Example: always rescheduling clients because you double book due to poor planning.

2. Not Important + Urgent = Busy. 
These are the fiddly tasks that are better of delegated, rescheduled or deleted – but you prioritize them ahead of tasks that earn you income or deliver service. 
Example: spending hours answering emails, checking Facebook, updating your website.

3. Important + Not Urgent = Productive. 
These are the tasks that achieve tangible outcomes and goals. You need time to do these creatively, properly and without rush. 
Example: Advertising, planning, connecting with past clients, following up with new leads.

4. Not Important + Not Urgent = Time Wasting. 
These are the menial or fun tasks you do first because it feels like you achieved something, or enjoyed your work. But these tasks block your success.
Example: Tidying your desk, designing next year’s workshop flyer, researching best diaries for 2019, calling a colleague to chat about the weekend.

Where are you currently spending most of YOUR business time?

Here’s an interesting 3-step exercise – next week: 
1. Record your working hours in half hour blocks. 
2. Classify every half hour as 1, 2, 3 or 4 according to the table above.
3. Tally up the time spent in each quadrant.
Ideally, you are spending 90% of your business-related time in the Important but Not Urgent quadrant, so you have time and space to do the important work of building your business in a calm, relaxed and creative way.

Planning Effectively – Next Steps

After you’ve worked out how you currently spend your working week, the next step is to work out:
What are the priority tasks each week? 
These are usually planning, marketing, client sessions and invoicing/paying bills.
Which tasks you can delegate, reschedule or delete?
These are usually administration, detail-focussed tasks, reading emails, social media, research and even blog writing!
After that, it’s a matter at looking at your available time, and scheduling in the priority tasks FIRST.

Be Truly Productive – Next Steps

Being productive doesn’t equate to being busy.
Productivity means that for a given amount of time, you are producing a result.
And the time required to complete any task is simply the time that you allocate for it.
To wrap it up, planning effectively is the #1 thing that facilitates productivity.
Next, you must create focus with effective time management. Here are 3 tips.

Identify Priority Tasks

When you know your priority tasks, you can create priority outcome goals, for example:
1 new Facebook ad posted this week
3 past clients contacted on Thursday
Joint venture proposal developed on Tuesday
One potential joint venture partner contacted on Friday

Use Time Management Techniques

Francesco Cirillo’s Pomodoro Technique is a great approach to help you work in a focused way to get tasks finished in a set time. 

Set Boundaries

There are all sorts of apps that can block internet access, track time, or restrict access on your calendar.
Then there is just the good old fashioned “turn off your phone” approach.

Wrapping It UP

All that said and done, what works best for you in terms of being focussed, productive and organised?
Let us know your tips in the comments below.

4 Signs You’re Blocked in Business and How To Get Unstuck


Being blocked is a big challenge for the solo business owner. It means you have obstacles that wear down your energy and stop you from getting things done. 

You're so busy scrambling to do a thousand little tasks at home and in your business, trying to remember a kajillion details, and feeling desperate to be productive and tick things off your list at the same time.

And in terms of your business, that means you're potentially stagnant, caught in a cul-de-sac.

Here’s a typical week for the blocked entrepreneur, showing you 4 signs you’re blocked in business.....and a simple exercise to help you get UNstuck.

The 4 Signs You're Blocked In Business

Sign #1 – the week starts great, but declines into treacle.


Working from home, you find that the weekend is relaxing time off. Monday is cheerful, Tuesday gets busy, Wednesday becomes hectic and then it’s suddenly Thursday afternoon and once again, you feel overwhelmed and like most of the week has gone, yet you’ve achieved nothing.

NOTHING!

(Although your washing and vacuuming are done.)

But you had a lot to accomplish at work, and now you’re somehow behind.

It’s like you started the week sprinting freely on the tarmac and now somehow, you’re wading through treacle.

Sign #2 – you’re a zombie

In your state of anguish, your become almost catatonic, unable to work effectively and productively, scrambling around at mindless, unimportant things in a vain attempt to get SOMETHING achieved.

But all you’ve really done is delete and answer some emails.

Sign #3 – you feel a bit ripped off

By the time 6pm rolls around, you turn off your computer PC for another day and lament the fact that it’s dinner next, then bed.

You feel ripped off because you haven’t had any fun, exercise, downtime or a decent break. It feels like you’re just working all the time for no tangible outcome.

Sign #4 – your sleep is suffering


You are in bed by 10pm but you know you will be waking up five hours later, mind racing, coming up with ideas and concepts, solving problems and maybe worrying about one or two things that you had trouble solving that day.

After lying awake doing this for four or five hours, you will eventually give up hope of a restful night and start work early….probably to repeat the pattern all over again the next day.

Are You Blocked?

If at least two of these signs resonate with you, then you’re on the way to being blocked.

What’s happening is this: you are getting bogged down in unimportant stuff, losing focus, and becoming anxious.

You are so wound up in this emotional stuff that you’ve lost touch with reality, simplicity and the tools you know will work to get you on track.

Know Yourself, Know Your Clients

It's no surprise that your clients struggle with this stuff, too. That's why they're coming to you in the first place!

They end up feeling this way too after their busy week of work, kids, friends and chores….who can cook a healthy meal or exercise on TOP of all that running around?

If you can help yourself get unstuck, then maybe you will be better positioned to help your clients.

Here are some questions you can use to coach yourself and get unstuck, so you can become energized and productive again.

All you need to do is set aside 30 minutes of quiet, uninterrupted time to work through these without pressure or distraction.

Create that time, schedule it in, and do this work. It WILL be worth it.

Simple Questions To Get Unstuck



  1. What, specifically, is overwhelming me?
  2. What’s different on the days that I’m feeling energized, powerful, calm and productive?
  3. What have I really, truly achieved this week? (make a list)
  4. What was my trigger for feeling overwhelmed, busy or anxious? (if you can’t work it out, start keeping a mood/feelings diary)
  5. What happened two steps before that trigger?
  6. What will I do next time I see that trigger or roadblock coming up?
  7. What is missing in my day, that causes me to choose to lie awake at night ruminating?
  8. What are the things I need to do during the day at work, to ensure I get a good night’s sleep?
  9. What is it about my environment or habits that I can change to help me put my mind at rest and allow me to feel calm?
  10. What are the rituals/time requirements I need to put in place, so I can plan and execute tasks more effectively and feel productive?
  11. When do I need to do those things?
  12. What are the specifically steps I need to do, and how do I create the space for that?
  13. How do I know when my week is at comfortable capacity (in terms of responsibilities/tasks) – what does it feel like?
  14. What is the absolute minimum I will be happy to achieve each day at work?
  15. What mental state do I need to create each day to set me up for success – and how do I create it?


What have you learned?

Hopefully by now, you have some inkling of what’s going on for you.

At some point in the week, your energy and enthusiasm seem to turn to dust. These questions aim to help you work out when, why, and what you can do about it.

Perhaps you are a bit like your client who is overenthusiastic and busting to get results NOW. They are so excited that they want to exercise 7 days per week, drink 3L of water per day and eat 21 perfect meals with absolutely no alcohol. 

Check in with yourself and see what's driving you, and what's blocking you.

Your emotional states of enthusiasm and love of your business help to propel you forward.

Your logical reality is what will hold you on a steady, sustainable, productive and fulfilling course.

Both of these need to be nurtured. The trick for you is to work out the structures that will help you combine these two in absolute harmony.

Need help with managing your productivity and energy at work?

Contact me for a 15-minute chat and let’s see if I can help.

A New Slant on Goal Setting


We always encourage coaches to work with clients to create positive goals that take them in the direction of what they want!  This fits with the idea of running towards, rather than away from things in life.  

I recently had an interesting conversation with someone who had been at a conference on death and dying, with one of the speakers raising the idea of having a “Reverse Bucket List”. A very strange notion I thought - where does that go?  

The “Reverse Bucket List” consists of things that a person no longer wants to do!! Now that might mean saying “no” to a number of onerous tasks that drain energy and take precious time away from doing what we do want to do.  

It also might encourage our clients to take a good hard look at what they spend their time on - believing that they enjoy it and yet we come to the realisation that we don’t enjoy it any more!  

This type of “bucket list” can actually be very empowering!  Yes, it might be more meaningful to us as we get older and realise the value of the years left to us, but I think it's worth considering and playing around with. It’s really no different from asking, “What do we want more of?”, and “What do we want less of?” Try asking it of yourself and see what comes up! 

Happy culling of unwanted and unrewarding activities!


What does personal organisation have to do with Wellness?




Everything!  We are writing new material for our courses and simply have to include this very relevant area as it is becoming one of the biggest obstacles to people achieving their wellness goals. Sound ridiculous?  Well consider:

What do people say prevents them from, let’s say getting fit?  
Number 1 obstacle – lack of time.  Really? (They have the same 24 hours as all the other exercising people.)

And perhaps, lack of sufficient, good quality sleep?  
Number 1 obstacle – worry about work or an inability to switch off.

What about eating well?  
Biggest obstacle – it’s easier to grab food on the run, eat at my desk, replenish with a sugar hit when I have had long periods without food

Cutting down on alcohol?  
We often hear – “How else would I unwind at the end of a day?  My list is just never done.”

Something is going wrong here and it would appear that the ability to organise our time is slipping away from many people.

Why is this so?
There are many complex reasons why we feel we are losing control our lives.
  1. We never switch off – Many employers expect their team to be available virtually 24/7.  Other people waste so much time on Facebook that they forget to spend their time on things that are important – ie lifestyle habits that might help improve their health and vitality.
  2. We juggle multiple roles – One hat comes off the other goes on, except often we end up wearing 10 hats at once doing this wonderful thing called multi-tasking. 
  3. We can’t see the wood for the trees.  Our world becomes a jumble of “stuff’. Unfinished paperwork, household duties or simple tidying up.  How could we ever allow time to go for a run/meditate/prepare a meal from scratch?
  4. Our ability to categorise information is depleted.  We no longer can put things in their separate compartments and clear some head room for the task at hand.  Or we find it impossible to retrieve information once it’s gone in
  5. We spend our time on “shallow” work, not “deep” work.  The former includes all these administrative tasks like answering emails, calls, doing expenses, checking facebook, checking facebook.
  6. We rarely get time for the “deep” work – that sense of focus with out distraction when we use our strengths, work that has an impact.
  7. This flows into our ability to do the activities that give us the “wellness” that we crave.  We are too busy dealing with non-important busyness to ever get to what we really want to do
Is personal organisation important for increased wellness? Most certainly.

If Multi-tasking is not a good thing, why do we do it?



Things have shifted in the world and the idea of multi-tasking being a positive, admirable way of working has changed as we learn that perhaps it may not be the best way of being productive?

The evidence for this is clear. Whereas we think we’re doing several things at once we are actually just switching from one task to another very quickly.  And every time we do this, there is a cognitive cost!    

Multi-tasking increases our production of cortisol (the stress hormone) and adrenaline and both can cause fogginess and lack of clarity in thinking.

A wonderful description of multi-tasking, by Daniel Levitin in his book “The Organised Mind”, is ,“(Multi-tasking is ….like a bad amateur plate-spinner, frantically switching from one task to another, ignoring the one that is not right in front of (him) but worried it will come crashing down at any minute!”  We become less efficient and less effective.

So why do we do it? Well, this is where it becomes interesting.  You see, our brains have a novelty bias so that every time we receive new stimulation, we get a shot of dopamine and if there is a choice to be made, our pre-frontal cortex (the part of our brain that we need to focus with ironically) leans towards the new distraction! Which is why we are so often tempted to move from one thing to another!

And of course society encourages this… with all our technology and constant attachment to our devices we are expected to be available at all times.. and there are so many things to distract us!  Email coming in, Facebook to check, the multitude of tasks that await us that sometimes we feel we can just keep an eye on everything at once, or just take a peep at that email while we’re on the phone. 

The result? A somewhat absent person.  

Here’s another interesting point. If we multi-task while trying to study (or learn something new), the information will go to the wrong part of the brain, not the hippocampus where it is organised and able to be retrieved.  

We burn through glucose much quicker when we multi-task, causing us to be exhausted after a short time as the nutrients in our brain are depleted.

And finally, if you’re not convinced, multi-tasking involves making many decisions, and they have found that making even small decisions is hard on your neural resources  - we quickly lose impulse control – making numerous small decisions which may lead to potentially bad important decisions.

Convinced?  I am.

Belonging - Join the club


This weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Queensland State Surf Life Saving Championships and watching some of the country's elite athletes perform in some of the tough events that exist in that sport. As the weekend approached the final few hours, the big events were being televised and the crowd grew larger and excitement rose. 

The funny thing about sport is that we have long known it is a showcase for seeing some of the best and worst of human behaviour. It is also interesting to observe as an innocent bystander (i.e. not a competitor, nor a life member of any one Club), what makes the whole thing work.

The great thing about any sport is when people compete for a Club.  Yes, we love individual superstars, but the Olympics are evidence that representing something bigger than ourselves is an honour that is highly sought after. 

So here we are on the beach at Mooloolaba - watching these athletes compete for their Clubs.  The Clubs with the strongest competitors had the most people down there watching.  Yet I saw smaller Clubs get behind their members and cheer as loudly and with more heart than often the bigger name Clubs. What is that about I wonder?

And a metaphor for life came up. Or perhaps simply a classic example of a principle of motivation.  Most people have a need for achievement and mastery.  A big driver for many. But we also have a strong need for affiliation or a sense of "belonging". It is my belief that the Clubs who support their members across the board, who value participation as highly as winning, who encourage the less talented but determined competitors, who recognise the loyalty and devotion of older masters competitors, will be the Clubs who grow and who really represent what Surf Life Saving is all about. Caring for our community.

I then read a report this morning on Global Workplace Health and Wellness and see that in their key findings (aside from the health of their employees) engagement, morale and fun were listed as some of the top objectives to achieve sustainable success of a program.

Knowing that workplace wellness is closely correlated with financial success of a company, I could see the parallel between the world of sport (in this case it happened to be surf lifesaving) and business. Perhaps we should work out what needs to be focused on and make that a priority?  It isn't always about winning and measuring the success of a company, or a club, in terms of medals or financial profit. These factors may not always be a good indicator of future retention and growth of our people.

The Tail of a Wild Dog


It's February!  How did that  happen we ask ourselves?  Weren't we just looking at the first page of our fresh and new diary, thinking what a glorious feeling it was that the year had yet to unfold and what possibilities lay ahead?


Then suddenly, it's February.  I asked a colleague how her week was going the other day.  She responded with, "I feel like I'm hanging on to the tail of a wild dog!" That made me smile as I recognised the feeling.  And I know for a fact that I am not alone.


So why is this one of the most often cited reasons for people feeling, well, less than perfectly in control?  This sense that life races ahead and unless we hang on tight, we get left behind. I have two Labradors. On our morning walk to the park, they are also like wild dogs. After a run, they are calm, well-behaved and willing to be gently led to the next activity.  I want my life to look like that. Calm, obedient, good looking and satisfying!


We could list the many reasons why life today is this chaotic and demanding.  Technology; expectations (our own and others), distractions and multiple roles to mention a few. We need to manage time better. Or do we? Perhaps managing priorities and even our energy is a better place to start?  

Priority Management

How often do people say, "I have no time to exercise"?  Of course, they do.  It's just that exercise is a lower priority than the other things in their life.  And we all have that choice.  If we ask ourselves the simple questions:

What do I want more of?

What do I want less of?

The answers will be revealing.  The things that get in the way will be competing priorities.  What counts is  how much you want that missing aspect of your life.  How  much do you value it?  Worth spending some time thinking about that.


Energy Management

Then there's this question of exhaustion, or simply feeling too flat to be bothered. Try asking:

  • What gives me energy and what drains me?

    When am I at my best? 

With a bit of careful planning it is possible to organise our day so that we play to our strengths. If you do you best thinking in the early morning make sure you have a way to record your ideas. If your energy is low in the mid afternoon, perhaps plan to do mundane tasks that don't require much thought. Or find a way of boosting it by slotting in exercise at a time that gives a flow on effect. Don't leave the things you hate doing for the time you feel the least motivation to do anything! Take time out to work out how your natural energy flows.


Time Management
We can't make 24 hours any longer than it is.  But what we can do is ensure that we get the maximum result from the time we spend on a task/project.

Mind Management


To do this we have to organise our mind rather than live to the clock.  Margaret Moore writes of the six Rules of Order in her latest book "Organising your Mind, Organising your Life" and she stresses the need for developing the ability to focus and cut out distractions at appropriate times.  On the flip side, we also need to cultivate the ability to switch tasks without getting flustered and annoyed.  Very often our emotional state prevents us from being at our best and neuroscience shows that our thoughts can in fact calm the pre-frontal cortex - the part of our brain that  produces emotions that can sweep us along in a positive, or sometimes negative way.  Panic, anxiety, frustration all work against our working in a  relaxed steady state.  If we can start to recognise what patterns we fall into that make that dog run (the one we are trying to hold onto), we can then begin to retrain our brains and regain control.

Wellness Coaching is a rapidly growing field


Contrary to what people think, poor lifestyle habits do not stop at what we ingest, whether we move enough and what tine we go to bed.   Instead we are working with people at a deeper level to help them be more better performers, have more peace of mind, improve the quality of their relationships etc.  Together we set not only physical goals, but mental ones as well.  Exercise, nutrition, managing thoughts and emotions become the tools to create change and much of our work focuses on helping people work out what they want and why they want it and then understanding  why it is difficult to achieve.


This realisation is spreading through the health, fitness and wellness industries and very quickly into the corporate world where the main measure of success has always been financial return on investment.  What is happening now is that companies are recognising that what goes into creating this success is a multitude of factors, many of them concerning the people who work in the organisation and their level of satisfaction or "wellness".  





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