Squirrel! Squirrel! Squirrel! How to Beat Your Distracting Squirrels

How many times have you started to do something and then something else grabs your attention and you forget all about the task you began? Then something else catches your eye and you stop and start something new. Then something else…

I call these “Squirrels”.

Ban the Squirrels, take back control
Ban the Squirrels, take back control

Squirrels are the activities which steal your time and energy away from ticking the items off your Achievement List. They’re subtly distracting you from your long term goals. It’s the “five minute phone call” that lasts an hour. It’s the “just a quick look” you promise someone. It could be receiving a Facebook notification saying you’ve been tagged in a photo, or a discount voucher email from your favourite shop. Anything that takes you away from what you wanted to get done.

Squirrels can take a minute, or an hour, or a day. While they undoubtably provide short term satisfaction and entertainment, let’s face it, squirrels are really cute, they can be a menace if you have a deadline to meet or a place you need to be.

Have you got a friend who’s always late when you arrange to meet up? Do you know someone who can’t stop checking their phone? Maybe you’re the person who seems to be here, there and everywhere? The reason could be squirrels!

This isn’t to be confused with being genuinely busy.

It’s perfectly possible to enjoy squirrels once you’ve achieved everything you wanted to get done. Sometimes what looks like a squirrel will become an important item on your Achievement List. But, things may not always go to plan. Things will crop up and take your attention. It could be a family emergency. It could be a client needs to rearrange a meeting. Things inevitably will happen outside our control.

This is where it’s essential to have the self-discipline to recognise what needs doing and what’s a squirrel. With great time management, accountability and outsourcing, it’s possible to achieve everything you want to do and still have time to have fun.

I’m a “Go To Person” who loves helping people improve time management and accountability skills. I work with individuals and teams, identifying your unique squirrels and creating innovative solutions to streamline your systems and processes. This might include suggestions for outsourcing or automating tasks which can be performed cheaper and quicker, leaving your time free to focus on what you need to do.

Rachael is a FIREBALL! She understood my needs and got straight to the point. No messing about. Highly recommended!” Vernand Fong – Pain Free Ninja

With my Focus Guru services, I’ll guide you away from the distracting squirrels and help bring out the best in you and your employees.

It all starts with a free 15 minute no-obligation telephone call. What are you waiting for? Is there a squirrel attracting your attention? Please call me on 07756 772950 and I can help!

Rachael Chiverton, Focus Guru – Giving You Your Time, Your Way

www.getfocus.guru

Why Your To Do List Isn’t Getting Done

For many of us, having a To Do List is our way of remembering what we need to do and crossing items off the list once they have been achieved. Your list might be the top three things you want to achieve this morning, or it might be a list of everything you want to do today.

Achievement list is more productive
Achievement list is more productive

When working with clients, I’ve seen To Do Lists which include items that can’t possibly be achieved in a day. Sometimes people show me their To Do Lists spanning weeks or months with a bottomless pit of items.

There comes a point where a To Do List becomes more of an Ideas List, a brainstorm of items you’d like to get done, maybe, sometime, one day. You might have a list like this that never seems to get done.

Scrap Your To Do List

My advice is to bin your To Do List, that’s right, to scrap it completely, and start again. But, this time, I’d like you to create an Achievement List with all the things you’d like to get done. The simple act of changing the name of your list from “To Do” to “Achievements” mentally reinforces the good feeling you get when a task is done.

Then I’d like you to look at all the items on your Achievement List and group activities where possible. You may need to rewrite your Achievement List a few times to put things in groups to start with, but this becomes easier over time.

For example, I like to make phone calls on my walks with Missy. We have about an hours walk twice a day and this enables me to use my time twice. I still take in the scenery and fresh air and get to play with Missy, but I’m also crossing off items on my Achievement List at the same time.

Another example would be to post letters on the way to the supermarket. Both tasks need doing and if I combine them into one journey it becomes an efficient use of my time and my petrol.

Order Your Achievements

I also try to prioritise items on my Achievement List. To do this, I use a Time Intensity Grid and allocate a value to each task, whether it is a high or low intensity task using lots of energy, strength or brain power, or a high or low time task using minutes, hours or days of my time. It can help to annotate each task with HIHT, HILT, LIHT or LILT so you can prepare yourself for how long or how intense each task will be.

For example, my trip to the supermarket and posting my letters would count as a LIHT task, because although it’s easy, it takes time, especially at the moment where there are sometimes long queues to go into the supermarket.

Add Times For Your Achievements

If you have a lot of tasks on your Achievement List it can be helpful to divide your day into blocks of 15 minutes and allocate blocks of time to each task. For example, my walk with Missy takes about an hour, so that’s 4 x 15 minutes blocks of time.

I can add to this by allocating a time of day to this task, for example Missy likes a morning walk, so I can allocate 9am to 10am for our first walk. To use my time twice, I will often pre-prepare some phone calls to make during this hour as well.

Our second walk usually takes place just before an evening meal and we often meet friends on this walk to share our day and catch up on news, socially distancing of course.

Try This For Yourself

At the beginning, I encouraged you to bin your To Do List and change it into an Achievement List. I’m pleased to say my advice and tips have worked for many friends and clients over the years. I recently gave a 4Sight at a 4Networking business networking meeting talking about Achievement Lists and Using Your Time Twice.

The 4Sight was very well received and I had a 121 with one of the attendees who commented, “If nothing else, that bit (about Achievement Lists) has made this 121 worthwhile”. So, I encourage you to try this for yourself and turn your To Do tasks into Achievements.

Rachael Chiverton, Focus Guru – Giving You Your Time, Your Way

www.getfocus.guru

Merry Christmas And End Of The Year Reflections

Over the last twelve months I’ve covered many different topics through the Focus Guru and RachaelChiverton blogs. Some of the blogs have been written to address common questions I’m asked about business and contracts and others have been about mindset, creating habits and making the best use of time.

End of year reflection, what have you achieved
End of year reflection, what have you achieved

Here is a re-cap of everything I’ve covered, from my Communications and Cashflow Workshop with James Perryman, to the business skills we can learn from our pets.

I’ve had some lovely feedback from clients in different sectors who are gaining huge benefits from the improved time management and streamlined processes I have helped to implement.

If I can help you or your staff with any business related issue, please contact me either by emailing rachael@rachaelchiverton.co.uk or by telephoning 07756 772950. I offer a free 15 minute consultation and will work with you to make small changes that make a big difference.

January

February

March

April

May

June

August

September

October

November

December

Thank you for sharing this year with me. As 2019 draws to a close, I hope to continue working with you, developing new strategies, boosting your social media presence, creating new habits and being accountable with sticking to them, writing your contracts and enhancing your processes and productivity. Let’s make 2020 your best year yet!

Lessons from Formula 1 – How to spot warning signs of burnout and how you can help yourself and others.

It’s often the last person we expect who burns out and comes crashing down, their mental and physical health pushed to the limit and causing a breakdown in their personal or professional life. It can happen to anyone at any time. It could be your boss, co-worker, a supplier, best friend, son, daughter, partner, but what if it’s you?

There’s nothing wrong with being busy and juggling lots of tasks. As humans, we thrive on mental and physical activity. We perform our best when we are happy and fulfilled. We can take on a variety of different things at once, but if we don’t allow ourselves the capacity to rest, relax and recover, we can miss the warning signs of burnout and become detached, withdrawn and potentially seriously ill.

The good thing is if we can spot those signs early, in ourselves or other people, the better prepared we can be and the more positive steps we can take. Just as you would carry out a service and MOT on your car, it’s important to do the same for yourself.

If you think of your mind and body as a high-performance Formula 1 car, you’ll know choosing the right fuel is as important as choosing the right parts, the right tyres and the right people to have in your team. These are key ingredients to long term success, finishing the race and taking home the trophies and prizes.

Don't get burnt out before you've time out
Don’t get burnt out before you’ve time out

Top 3 Causes of Burnout

Just as in motor racing, our lives run on time, money and energy. If we’re low on any, or all of these we can suffer. Perhaps it will only be for a short term, but if the problems with time, money or energy are prolonged, they can compound, and become harder to solve as your resources are depleted and eventually run out.

Symptoms of Burnout

Going back to spotting the warning signs of burnout, do you feel more tired than usual? Are you sleeping well? Do you have frequent colds, or loss of appetite? Have you lost a lot of weight, or gained a lot of weight? Do you feel trapped, hopeless or helpless? Have you cancelled plans with friends, or lost interest in a favourite hobby? Do you dread answering the telephone, checking your email, or even going into the office?

On their own, these symptoms can be easily overlooked or dismissed as “not a problem” or “something to deal with later”, “I’ll be ok”, or “everyone goes through this”, but this isn’t true. Unlike a car, you won’t have a bulb light-up on your dash to say something needs fixing, however learning to spot the symptoms and warning signs is the first step to getting back on track.

Effects of Burnout

As well as your own mental and physical wellbeing, burnout can affect those around you, perhaps even without you realising. You may feel more cynical or critical than usual. You may be sarcastic, irritable or quick tempered, raising your voice, becoming angry or violent. Feeling detached and withdrawn is equally common. Cancelling plans. Arriving late, or not at all. General apathy towards yourself and others.

Even the simple act of closing your office door or screening yourself from co-workers with paperwork or desk debris, can be the beginning of cutting yourself off from others, including those who haven’t already given up asking you to join their activities.

Tips To Avoid Burning Out

Keeping track of your time, money and energy are three effective ways to look after yourself and can greatly reduce the time you are “off the road” or out of action. Just as in Formula 1, always check the warning signs on your dash, take the time for regular pit stops, and make time for repairs earlier rather than later. Find the best people to be on your team, those who will have your back and those who want you to succeed.

These are things I help my clients with every day. Working with you on an individual basis I can help analyse your time and tasks and make recommendations for software and processes to give you more time, more money and more energy to be in pole position for success.

If you’d like to find out how this works, please book a 15-minute exploration call with me and I’ll get you to the front of the grid.

“Perfection has to do with the end product, but excellence has to do with the process.”

Perfection has to do with the end product, but excellence has to do with the process.”

(Jerry Moran, American politician, 1954 – )

“Perfection has to do with the end product, but excellence has to do with the process.”
“Perfection has to do with the end product, but excellence has to do with the process.”

Is your process delivering excellence?

Does your end product deliver perfection?

I specialise in processes and procedures. I learn about your business then research the most appropriate systems and help you implement them so you achieve excellence in what you deliver.

Book your call with me today.