Focus Guru Power Hours – How To Write Outstanding Content For Your Email Marketing

Keeping in touch with your customers and prospective customers using emails is one of the best marketing strategies available today. Your messages can be written and sent as and when you want, or you can schedule messages to be delivered at set times of the day or night.

This is perfect if you have a special offer to announce, or a new product launch to promote. You can write the content and it can be delivered on your unique timescale. This is where you can “write it and move on” or “set it and forget it”.

Top Tip: Contacting customers on a regular basis keeps your company at the top of the list when they need the services you sell.

Content, subject line & Consistency is key to your emails being opened
Content, subject line & Consistency is key to your emails being opened

Writing the Right Words

How do you know what to write? How do you choose the words to keep your reader interested? What are the “trigger words” to make sure they read your message? How do you encourage customers to click and buy from you and not one of your competitors?

These are some of the many questions I’m asked, and I can share with you my advice on how to make sure your emails are read and not deleted. Many people read their emails on a tablet or mobile device. This means they are making split second judgements to read or recycle your email based purely on the sender, subject and first line of your message.

Sender, Subject, First Line

In my “Unlock the Secrets of Mailchimp Success in 5 Easy Steps” Focus Guru Power Hour, I show you how to set up your Mailchimp email campaign with these key details. Having a properly formatted sender name and email address elevates your company above those who don’t take the time to check for spelling mistakes, grammar errors or missing punctuation.

Look at the difference in impact between using “Focus Guru Power Hour” and “focus guru power hour” as the sender name. Using capitals elevates the impact. It stands out more than using all lower case. Having a bigger and bolder presence in someone’s inbox helps your message to be seen. It also demonstrates attention to detail and shows value in the service being offered.

The same is true for the subject and first line. If these are potentially the only words between your email being read and being binned, it’s vital to make sure they are interesting, informative or entertaining.

Eye-Catching Images

There’s the saying how “a picture tells a thousand words” and with many email programs supporting HTML content and images, there’s no reason why you can’t add relevant images into your email campaigns.

You may wish to use your own product images, or images showing how your services can be used. Alternatively, you can find images (royalty-free or paid-for) from websites such as Canva or Unsplash. There’s no excuse for sending a plain-text email anymore!

Create Engaging Content

This comes back to writing the right words, using pictures and creating the informative, educational or entertaining content that will keep your readers interested and motivated to follow the links to your website, or to pick up the phone to speak with you.

I can help discuss the aims of your email campaign. What do you want to achieve? What do you want your customers to do? What’s the next step? If you need help creating the content for your email messages, I can help with this too.

Through the Focus Guru Power Hour “How To Write Outstanding Content For Your Email Marketing” you’ll learn how to use these steps to make your email campaigns come to life and achieve great results. You’ll learn how to set up your Mailchimp account and run successful email campaigns all year round where your customers actively read your messages and take note of your call to action.

Book your Focus Guru Power Hour here. I run 121 workshops via Zoom on many, easy to use, business tools, including Mailchimp, online calendars, networking tips and much more. Let’s get started! Book your Focus Guru Power Hour today!

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

www.getfocus.guru

Unlock the Secret of Mailchimp Success in 5 Easy Steps with a Focus Guru Power Hour

Even with today’s variety of instant messaging systems, sending emails is still one of the best ways to keep in touch. You can send instructions, entertainment, information, product updates, special offers, vouchers and more, directly into your customer or prospective customer’s inbox.

Your customer doesn’t need to remember to visit your website or Facebook page to find out what’s happening and you don’t need to phone them. They can read your emails at their leisure at any time of the day or night.

MailChimp Power Hour to get you understanding MailChimp
MailChimp Power Hour to get you understanding MailChimp

Some of my clients use emails to generate new business and others use emails to send topical information. It’s possible to send your latest blog by email, or an extract encouraging people to visit your website to find out more.

Several clients have asked for my help setting up a mailing list and showing them how to make it work for them. I’d like to share some of the steps with you now and if you’d like a 121 training session via Zoom, please click this link and book your Focus Guru Power Hour.

Rachael has been amazing helping me set up mailing campaigns for my Sammy Rambles books and dragons! She walked through all the steps from creating the account to importing contacts and sending a test email. I feel confident I can send my own mailshots after my Focus Guru Power Hour.” – Jenny Leggott, Transcend Zero

Step 1 – Creating Your Account

You may already have a Mailchimp account, but if you don’t then I will walk through the steps to create your own account where you can manage all of your mailshots and contacts. This takes just a few minutes and you’ll have your own dashboard set up to manage your campaigns. If preferred, I can manage a Mailchimp account on your behalf if you’d like to outsource this aspect of your online marketing.

Step 2 – Adding Contacts

If, like me, you’ve been to lots of 4Networking meetings you’ll probably have collected contact details for customers and prospective customers from all around the world. Hopefully you’ll have followed up with many of these new friends and contacts and, if you have their permission, they can be added to your “Mailchimp Audience”, either one address at a time or imported using a CSV file. This ensures you meet GDPR requirements. When adding addresses, I recommend setting up “tags” which can be used later in your campaigns send relevant mailshots to targeted groups of people.

Step 3 – Setting Up A Campaign

This is the exciting part! You’ve set up your account and imported your contacts. Next, it’s time to create an email to send to your chosen recipients (using the tags we set up earlier). There are two ways you can do this, either by sending a one-off email using “Create Email” or using “Campaigns”. If you’re anticipating sending regular emails, I recommend using Campaigns as this will save time in the future. In the Focus Guru Power Hour I’ll also make sure you’re confident creating engaging HTML or Text emails using the built-in design templates where you can add pictures and use different fonts, colours and text sizes.

Step 4 – Scheduling Mailings

Have you got an upcoming product launch? Or would you like to send a mailshot at a particular time on a particular day? You might want to send your mailshot at 3am so it can be opened during early business hours in America. There are many reasons why it makes sense to schedule a mailshot and Mailchimp has this facility. I call it “using your time twice” where you can make the best use of your time with multiple activities taking place at the same time.

Step 5 – Analysing Your Results

This is my favourite part where I show you the direct results of your mailshot. It’s where you can view the success (or limitations) of your campaign. Are you curious who has read your correspondence? Do you want to know if they clicked on an image or a link in your message? The real-time reports give you the information you need to measure the success of your mailshot. You can drill down to individual subscribers and follow their progress from opening the email to clicking a link to ordering a service or asking for more information.

I was really impressed with Rachael’s knowledge of Mailchimp and how she helped make it easy to keep in touch with my customers. I’d definitely recommend the Focus Guru Power Hours to anyone who wants to learn more about Mailchimp and set up their own campaigns.” – Jenny Leggott, Transcend Zero

If you’d like to book a Focus Guru Power Hour to set up (or review) your Mailchimp mailing lists, please click this link to book now. I run 121 workshops via Zoom on a number of different business tools designed to free up your time to do the things you want to do, when you want to do them. Let’s get started! Book your Focus Guru Power Hour today!

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

www.getfocus.guru

You Don’t Always Know What You Know – How Your Skills Can Help Others

How many times have you watched someone do something and it’s like they’re performing magic? In a matter of minutes, they’ve effortlessly solved a problem that would have taken you hours or even days! Maybe someone has helped you with something you’d given up on, or fixed something you’d written off as a lost cause?

How did you do that so quickly?”

Achievement list is more productive
Achievement list is more productive (picture of a Penguin because it’s cute!

I believe everyone is good at something and that we are all good at different things. Sometimes we don’t appreciate how often we know things that others don’t. Maybe we just take it for granted that we can install a complicated piece of software, re-tune the car radio, bake a delicious cake, write an blog, organise a sell-out seminar, do a Facebook live, or anything else you find easy but someone else would find impossibly difficult.

Will you show me how to do that?”

When you’ve solved someone’s problem, taken away their pain-point, and given them the ability to get on with their task, take a step back and see whether you can show them how you did what you did. Have a look at the task from their perspective and see if you can explain it in a way they can easily understand.

Can I do something to help you?”

Often our help is reciprocated, the law of “what goes around comes back around” kicks in. You’ll soon find sharing your knowledge and expertise pays back many times over. Helping others releases a “feel good factor”, we feel valued and appreciated, which plays a key part in our overall wellbeing.

On a personal level, it’s very satisfying implementing systems and processes to make life easier for people. I work with individuals and teams, streamlining procedures and making life run smoother both at home and in the office. Initially, this was based around helping friends locally, then I realised the potential to help people further afield and today I’m working with clients across the world.

How can I do that?”

Turning your skills into a business service is easier than you might think. I recommend starting with a list of ten things you think you’re best at. Then ask a trusted friend or colleague to do the same. I can almost guarantee there will be differences between the two lists! Other people are great judges of your skills and the reason for this is simply because you will almost certainly be taking some of your skills for granted. Perhaps you think “everyone can do this” or “everyone should be able to do that”, but they can’t.

Already this month, I’ve helped my 4Networking teams create ways to find new visitors for our meetings. I’ve worked with my Arbonne consultants to promote our products and generate new sales. I’ve worked with clients on accountability, time management, motivation and goal setting. Plus, I’m excited to be offering Mail Chimp training, including software set-up and creating targeted customer lists.

You don’t always know what you know.”

Remember, everyone is good at something and we are all good at different things. I’m offering a free 15 minute call to help identify your own key skills and strengths. You might be surprised what this uncovers. Once you know what you know I’ll help with strategies and suggestions how you can make the most of your unique abilities. Let’s chat! Please call me on 07756 772950 to get started.

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

www.getfocus.guru

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

How A Time Intensity Grid Will Help You Choose What To Outsource

Are you feeling overwhelmed at the moment? Do you wish there were more hours in the day?

Don’t worry, you’re not alone. The last few months of lockdown have been hard for many people for many different reasons. It’s also been a good time to stop and take stock of what works in your life and what can be changed or dropped altogether.

One of the tools I use is a Time Intensity Grid. It’s less complicated than it sounds, and it simply means I divide items on my Achievement List into sub-categories, based on how much time or energy I estimate they will take. I can show you how to do the same and in just a few minutes you will see exactly where your time and energy is going.

Know the Source

Knowing the source of what’s making you feel overwhelmed is part of the solution. It’s a lot easier to solve a problem when you know what the problem is. Identifying your “brain drains” and “time thieves” is the first step. It will make you think and re-evaluate whether the task is important or necessary. But it may also prompt you to think whether the task is best achieved by someone else on your behalf. How much time could you save by outsourcing a troublesome task?

A client recently said to me how stressful they were finding it to choose a new car. They admitted spending hours on car websites, looking at manufacturers, models, specs, interior and exterior trims and features, safety features, fuel economy and much more. They had spun themselves into such a muddle that the idea of buying a new family car, which should be an exciting achievement, into a spiral of stress. Guess what, they were still driving their old car two weeks later.

This made me think about how much energy we use thinking through problems. Things we find incredibly time consuming, difficult, and stressful, other people consider a breeze. I phoned my client and recommended outsourcing the search for their new car. They created a brief list of the features they wanted and their budget. Suddenly, the list of thousands became a shortlist of a handful cars available on the market. A couple of test drives later and they have their new car. A great result!

Outsourcing Works

The simple step of outsourcing this task saved time, effort, energy and potentially a couple of family arguments. Outsourcing can be applied to almost anything. If you stop and think about the tasks you dawdle over, the things you procrastinate and put off, the “tomorrow tasks”, you’ll know the ones you need to look at.

When chatting with clients about outsourcing, some of the most popular tasks to delegate are:

  • Finding sales leads and booking appointments
  • Sending quotes and answering common enquiries
  • Invoicing, sending statements and debt collection
  • Filing and putting receipts into the accounts

By outsourcing these tasks to a Virtual Assistant (VA), the cost of hiring someone for a few hours per day, week, or month, can suddenly free up your time and brain to focus on what you do best. I can help with all these tasks and more. Please call me and we can chat about saving you time and stress by delegating tasks like these.

At home, some of the popular tasks my clients said they wish they could outsource were tidying up, cooking healthy meals, washing clothes, cutting the grass, buying birthday presents and checking utility prices for the best packages.

The good news is that all these tasks can be outsourced as well. It might feel strange at first letting someone else come into your home, cook your meals, or make changes to your filing system. But by changing small things now, you’ll find you have more time to spend with your family and friends and more time to expand your business.

What works for you might be different to what works for someone else and that’s why the best way to start is with a Time Intensity Grid. Please contact me and I’ll help create your Time Intensity Grid and show you how to put it into practice. You’ll be surprised how much time, energy, and money it will create for you and your family.

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

www.getfocus.guru | 07756 772950

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

How Much Have You Changed Your Business This Year?

At the beginning of 2020, the last thing on my mind was a worldwide lockdown. I hadn’t thought about the potential difficulties buying everyday items in the supermarket, or not being able to visit my Mum. Attending networking events and client meetings face to face was cancelled almost overnight. Looking back, could this have been predicted?

Take the dog for a walk - best habit
Spending extra time with Missy is a bonus

After the initial shock, annoyance, anger and panic, things are settling down into the “new normal”. We’re in a world where we can be even more connected than ever before. Instead of travelling to see friends, we can meet virtually, via Zoom, WhatsApp, Facebook, Skype, Houseparty and many different apps. It’s not the same, but it is essential for us as humans to keep in touch with each other.

With travel restrictions, have you needed to work from home? Has this revealed hidden benefits, such as financial savings on fuel, time savings on not travelling, spending more time with family? Have you missed your daily commute? How much have you changed this year?

The lockdown has made me rethink my working day. One of the big changes has been to rethink my networking routine. Instead of attending face to face breakfasts, lunches and evening meetings, I can “teleport” all around the country and abroad. I can meet people virtually, exchange ideas, support and advice. I’m doing business with people I might never have crossed paths with.

Being at home more has given me extra time to spend with my family, including my dog. She thinks it’s great I’m around all day! On Fridays she comes networking with me at a specially themed “Dog Lovers Meeting” which I run as part of the 4Networking Online National (and International) Business Networking Groups. She’s not the only dog there either. Everyone at this themed meeting either has a dog, works with dogs, or just loves dogs! It’s great fun and business happens as people get to know each other in this relaxed, friendly setting.

I’m also involved in the 4N Sunday Sesh (the UK’s first Sunday 4Networking group) for those of us who don’t keep Monday to Friday office hours, and also the 4N NW Group aimed at people in the North West but open to everyone. Each meeting provides the opportunity to meet business owners and decision makers in many different trades and industries.

Perhaps the most exciting new development in my networking world is the launch of 4N Down Under connecting business owners in the UK with business owners in Australia. Imagine the travel time and cost attending a meeting in Australia in person. Yet we can be connected for less than the price of a Hungry Jacks!

These are some of the key changes I’ve implemented in the last few months. I’m spending much more time online in Zoom meetings than ever before. It’s working. I’m still able to speak with my clients and help them with their business strategies and streamlining. I can offer my accountability services virtually to business owners and there are now even more opportunities to promote my work with Arbonne, helping friends, family and clients with botanically based skincare, make-up and nutrition.

If you’d like to find out more about taking your dog networking, my Focus Guru services or just fancy a chat, please give me a call on 07756 772950 or visit www.getfocus.guru.

The 4 Best Ways You Can Market Your Business In 2020

As 2020 begins so does the marketing cycle. For many business owners it can be confusing to know where to start. What should you spend your budget on? How do you get the best value for money? Should you spend big on printed material, or social media, on networking or referrals? These are some top tips:

Print marketing is still one of the most cost-effective and versatile ways you can market your business. Think beyond postcards and flyers. Today’s print marketing includes your message printed on anything from tshirts, caps, mugs, pens to billboards and more. It includes adverts in magazines and newspapers. It includes advertising on the side of a car or a bus. If you can think of it then it can be printed. Print is one of the most personal and powerful marketing methods and it’s here to stay.

Another marketing method that’s greatly underutilised is social media marketing. A grey area for some business owners who worry their message won’t get taken seriously, or they think it gives staff an excuse to “waste time online”. But this is far from the case because whether we like it or not, we all use social media to find out about events, products and activities. We like and comment, share and tweet. With a little effort, posts can go viral, and end up across the world in seconds.

If you have the courage, face-to-face networking is an excellent way to promote your business. When you stand up in the room with the opportunity to say who you are, what you do, how you can help and who you’re looking to meet, the world opens up much wider than the 10, 20 or 100 people in the room. With a “face behind the product” other networkers can easily understand what your company does and recommend you to their colleagues and connections.

This leads into the fourth of the best ways you can market your business in 2020 which is through using genuine referrals from people who know you and your company. If you have succeeded with your print marketing, social media and networking, then the recommendations and referrals will come. Remember, giving a referral is just as important as receiving a referral. Everyone wants to feel valued. With a little planning you can introduce incentives to encourage people to talk about your company and refer business to you.

These are four valuable ways you can market your business in 2020. It’s important to keep your message positive and visible using a variety of different marketing methods. For more information on how to market your business, visit http://getfocus.guru/a-post-a-day.

Make It Easy To Schedule Your Social Media With “A Post A Day”

This is a new service I’m offering to help small business owners keep on top of their social media. Instead of posting messages on an ad-hoc basis, I can help to write and schedule your posts on a daily, weekly or fortnightly basis. It’s never been easier to take a hands-free approach to staying in your customer’s and prospective customer’s mind.

It's easy to stop social media overload
It’s easy to stop social media overload

How “A Post A Day” Works

It’s easy to get started with “A Post A Day”. With a simple phone call, I’ll ask questions about what you want to achieve with your posts, whether they are to inform, to educate or to entertain. We’ll chat about which social media platform will work best for you, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, or multiple platforms. I want to be sure you get the most out of your posts so the phone call to research your aims and objectives is vital.

Why You Need “A Post A Day”

In social media today it’s increasingly difficult to stand out. By continuously posting new and original content the search engines will notice the steady stream of posts and award a higher status to your pages. Many small business owners simply don’t have the resources to dedicate the time and effort for doing all their marketing and social media in-house. If this is you, please get in touch and I will be happy to help.

How to Get Started

We’re all busy people so I’ve made it as easy as possible to get started with “A Post A Day”. You can get started today if you wish. I will run through the following steps and set up the scheduling to begin as soon as you’re ready.

  1. Phone call to discuss which social media platform(s) will be the most suitable for your posts.
  2. Choose the frequency, e.g. every day, weekdays only, weekly or fortnightly.
  3. Decide if you wish your posts to be informative, educational, entertaining or a mixture of these.
  4. Choose whether to add stock photography (or your own photos) to the posts, or use text only.
  5. With these ingredients, the content will be created, and the schedule set up for you.

That’s it. As soon as we’ve chatted, working with my team, I’ll create the content and show you for your approval. Then your posts will be scheduled to go online at the time intervals you have chosen.

Everything is posted using your own social media accounts giving you full transparency and control over the posts. By posting on a regular basis you’re giving yourself and your business the best chance of being seen by your potential audience.

In 2019 there were 3.48 billion people online and realistically it would be impossible to put your message in front of everyone. This is where the targeted posts make the most of your marketing budget. Using “A Post A Day” will take the stress out of your social media.

If you’re going round in circles wondering what to write or whether people will see what you’ve posted, please give me a call on 07756 772950 or visit http://getfocus.guru/a-post-a-day and let’s get started.

How 2 Litres of Water Helped Me Beat Decision Fatigue and Changed My Life

This blog is focusing on my personal journey which I talk about in presentations and in 4Sights at 4Networking meetings. I’d like to share some of the steps I’ve taken to get to where I am today. I hope my experiences will help you take control of your lifestyle, your time and your income. There are many opportunities available which easily fit around your current commitments.

Seeing plants fourish
Seeing plants flourish

It’s said on average humans make 35,000 decisions every day. Many of these decisions are made at home before we even think about going to work. For example, a typical man makes 3 decisions when choosing which shirt, trousers and socks to wear. In comparison, a woman might make 10 or more decisions including clothing, make-up, jewellery and accessories. That’s before choosing whether to have toast or cereal with tea, coffee or orange juice. So, it’s easy to see how the number of decisions each day adds up to tens of thousands of micro-decisions taking place every few seconds.

Can you imagine what it would feel like if each of these micro-decisions took several minutes to make? This is known as “Decision Fatigue” and it’s a sign our brains have become overloaded. Simple tasks become agonisingly difficult. It’s where molehills become mountains. It can feel like you’re walking through treacle. Over time, decisions can take longer and longer, until the difficulty of making a choice becomes painfully slow, causing stress symptoms, anxiety and depression.

One tip I can offer is to lay out the clothes you want to wear tomorrow as one of your last tasks before bed. In the morning everything will be ready, and you’ll have a few less decisions to make.

Our decisions have a huge impact on our lives. To do, or not to do, that is the question.

In my teenage years, I had an incredibly tough decision to make. At age 18, from a busy, active and energetic life, playing hockey at club level, swimming at county level, canoeing, playing the violin, viola and singing in voice choirs, always on the go, suddenly the backache I’d been ignoring became serious. I was given a terrible decision to make. To undergo high risk surgery or live the rest of my life in a wheelchair.

I chose surgery and after a successful operation on the 14th of October 1997 I spent 5 weeks in hospital relearning how to stand, how to walk and how to climb stairs. With the metal rods in my back, even now, I sometimes feel like a cyborg. My recovery took months of physio plus lots of support from my family and friends. Instead of the super-active lifestyle I was used to, I took up gardening, cycling and joined an orchestra. I made the decision to love the new life I had been given.

Around 15 years later, I aggravated my back slipping down some stairs. I was in agony. I had a beautiful garden that needed my attention, yet I could hardly move from the sofa. Without my care, the precious plants I’d nurtured from seeds would wither and die. They became my motivation.

Again, I had choices. Should I ask my husband to help water the plants? That was an option, but previous experience told me the plants would probably die. Should I give up? In this option, the plants would certainly die. The third option was to find a way around this. To find a viable solution.

I chose the third option. There would be a way around this problem. I just needed to find it.

To aid the recovery from my back injury, the best advice was to walk and to increase my walking every day. Once I was walking freely and unaided, I started carrying some weights around with me to build up my strength and resilience. I didn’t have traditional weights, so I made my own. I used a 2 litre bottle of water.

At first, I only filled the bottle enough so I could water one of my plants. I chose the one plant that meant the most to me. The one I wanted to help survive while I was recovering myself. Having given the plant enough water, I refilled the bottle, again just a small amount, but enough to water the next plant. It took time and patience, but in the second week I could fill the bottle enough to water 2 plants in one go. Then in the third week, I filled the bottle enough to water 3 plants. Then within a month I could fill the whole 2 litre bottle and carry it around. It was enough to make sure I didn’t lose all my garden.

It wasn’t extra money or time at the gym that helped my garden to flourish. It was the power of the 2 litre bottle of water. It gave me the strength to build up my muscles without straining my back. I regained my posture and my confidence.

Seeing the plants thrive in the garden reminded me of the power of water.

As humans, we benefit just as much as plants from drinking water. Keeping ourselves hydrated throughout the day is like putting fuel in a car. It’s like recharging a mobile phone. If you find yourself lagging during the day, if your eyes itch or you are easily distracted, take a few sips of water.

You’ll find when you’re properly hydrated, decisions are easier to make. You’ll have more energy and feel more awake. I can also recommend cutting back on tea and coffee, these drinks will dehydrate you during the day. If you need help remembering to drink more water, set an alarm or ask me to be your accountability buddy.

This is how 2 litres of water helped in my recovery from my back injury and gave me the tools to help my garden survive. Water has helped build my strength and my confidence. It helps maintain my health and has been massively beneficial for me in many ways. I believe every problem has a resolution and I enjoy thinking outside the box, finding solutions for myself and my clients.

What simple thing in everyday life has helped you?

Rachael is an excellent 4Sighter! I recently saw her 4Sight at Leek Breakfast and her story really made me reflect on ways I can stay focused when working from home. I’m now more aware of the breaks I’m taking and I’m making a conscious effort to drink more water! Thanks Rachael!” – Sarah Spicer, The English Coach, Macclesfield.

If you would like to hear my 4Sight in person with more details about my journey, surgery, recovery, the plants and the solutions I find for others, please give me a call on 07756 772950.