Episode 22 - Systems and Products That I Use to Help My Working Day FlowSep 08, 2021
Distractions are the plague of productivity. Whether you're attempting to focus on an extremely important task, working on a project, making plans for your business, or even sorting out your day-to-day life.
When you're trying to be productive, it's easy to get sidetracked by your child, pet, emails, social media, and many other things besides.
But if we want to make our business dreams come true, we need to boost our productivity and get it all done.
Multitasking isn’t the answer. It limits your brainpower, makes you less efficient and you end up making mistakes. Studies say that only 2.5% of us can multitask effectively.
That’s why, if you want to get that stuff crossed off your to-do list in the most effective, efficient way possible, you need to focus on your productivity. Improve your time management, get organized, set priorities, and get a little help from the available technologies around you.
In this week’s episode, I’ll be sharing with you the productivity habits and secrets I use every day to keep my working day flow. I’ll be sharing helpful systems, products, and techniques I personally do to increase my productivity and efficiency in completing day-to-day tasks.
Curious? Then hop on the podcast train and listen to Episode 22!
- Seeing my notes written out in a lovely notebook with calming colors of pen brings me joy.
- If my space isn't clear, my brain is still cluttered and I am elsewhere because I'm thinking about it.
- Just like travelling, you need to think of your business that way - do not think about it in a way that is overwhelming for you, try and think about it in bite-sized tasks just like how we do it naturally.
- When you start to think about planning out your business days or your working days, try and make it as simple as possible for yourself.
- Even though we're sitting down for long periods of time, we need to make sure that we are still moving and getting up at least every 45 minutes to move.
- If I can get as much as I can out of one product, then I am going to do that because it is helpful for my business.
- You can't do everything that you know is not your expertise, so find somebody who can. It will save you so much time and money in the long run.
Other resources mentioned:
Eleshia's Personally Used Products & Systems
- Clear Space
- Apple Watch: Track everything for you
- Planning Tools
- Home Set-up Equipments
- Editing Apps
Connect with Eleshia:
About the Show:
The Eleshia Show is an exciting new podcast that helps empower female business owners to put their well-being first whilst building their businesses. Tune in every Wednesday as my inspiring guests and I discuss strategies, share stories and experiences and dive into how you can build your business whilst trying to navigate real life. The host, Eleshia Harris is here and ready to share her decades of project management and wellness experience to help you start saying ‘Yes!’ to your business and life.
For some people, they don't want to be tied to their schedules or they hate planning. And I find this really fascinating, I don't know whether it's because I love a plan. But when you think about it, we're all natural planners.
Eleshia Harris: Hi, I'm Eleshia Harris and I am your host of The Eleshia Show. I am also the founder of eleshialifestyle.com, and I'm so excited that you're here with me and I am here with you. I'm also really appreciative. Each week, I'll be sharing strategies and stories, and insights to help you enhance your wellbeing and to build your business while still navigating life. Because sometimes we often try and separate the two and let's face it, if you are not well, you have no business. So let's try and work with these two things combined because we can enhance your lifestyle. Again, I'm really excited to have you here. I have wanted to put together a podcast for over two years, and so here I am ready to share. Let's get into this week's episode.
Hello, and welcome back to The Eleshia Show. Today, I want to share with you the things that really help my working day flow. Because I think it's important just to have some foundations in place so when you sit down at your desk, you are as prepared as you can be to get that work done in the allocated time that you have put aside for it so that you can then go and do all of the things that you really love to do. I've mentioned before that I work in condensed hours and I work around the family, and I really love that. I really love the flexibility that I have to do that. But I also know that when I have work to do, I just want to get things done, so it's really important for me to just be as organized as I can be. Sometimes it feels like it's a chaotic kind of organized. But sometimes that's how I have to roll, especially with a two-year-old. Sometimes my well-organized and well-thought-through plans just don't go to plan, and that's okay, especially if you know that that's okay and that you have things that you've already put in place for those moments. Then that is really going to help you not to feel overwhelmed as much as you may have done in the past. I really hope that this information helps you.
So I'm going to start with one of my true loves. I love stationery, I love stationery. So for me, I need a pretty book and I need a purple pen. If you know me well, you know that I love purple, and yeah, that includes writing in purple. I have these pens, and when I was introduced to these pens, my world changed. I was back in corporate and a friend of mine who was in my team showed me these pens that you can rub out, and I just felt like I was back at school but we've grown up pens. So I looked them up and I found that they had purple pens, and yes, that was the end. So that was probably about 10 years ago and since then, I have been using these pens. I love a good notebook. I feel like my best work is done when I've got a lovely notebook.
One of the things that I love to do when I travel is to go to stationery shops. And then I will purchase stationery from that city or that country, and I love it. I love the feeling of opening up my notebook and seeing my notes written out in a lovely calming color and yes, that brings me joy. A lot of the time when I see clients, I like to handwrite notes of our conversations and things that I think that we can work on or things that I think we can expand on and ideas that I have. I write them down in my notebook first before I type them up and send them to them. That just helps, I love the fact that I can write in a notebook.
I also like to be able to just do morning brain dumps or even evening braindumps of everything that I want to get done over the course of the day or anything that comes to mind. I like to just write it down. And then at the end of the day, then I review it, and then I decide whereby I'm going to do it the next day or if it's something that can be left for another time.
I think I've said this before but I really love a clear desk. In fact, I like a clear space. If my space isn't clear, my brain is still cluttered and I am elsewhere because I'm thinking about everything else that I need to do to make sure that I can work so I am literally distracting myself. A lot of the time, when I come into my space, I spend a little bit of time just tidying it up before I sit down to get to work. Because otherwise, I know I'm going to be distracted, I know I'm going to want to hoover in the middle of the day when I'm supposed to be doing something or I'm going to want to wipe down walls or I'm going to want to clean my desk. So I make it a habit now that I'm trying to leave my space clear at night, but if I can't, then the first thing that I do when I know that I'm coming back to work is to spend 5-10 minutes just clearing up my space so that I can sit down and enjoy the time that I have in a tidy space.
I also love my diffuser. I love my diffuser, and that's because I love the different smells that I can bring into my space. I've also recently started to use organic candles again, especially when I am recording or I am on a client call because sometimes you can see the mist. You can see the mist of the diffuser and a couple of my clients have said, what is that? Or you can hear it. So I usually tend to leave but put it on for 10 minutes before I am due on a call so I can get all of those uplifting smells, or I put on my candle so I can get the same. But my go-to preference is definitely my diffuser because I love it.
One of my favorite oil blends to use when I am sitting down to focus is frankincense and wildflower. I've mentioned before that I love doTERRA oils, so I usually put those into the diffuser with a couple of drops and then I'll put the diffuser on for, as I said, 10 to 15 minutes before I'm ready to go on a call and then switch it off. I also love, love, love, and it was Mairi who told me about this, I love spearmint now. Lavender on my throat. It opens up my throat when it comes to actually talking. So having now an online-based business, I spend a lot of the time online so I'm always forever speaking. And sometimes, I stumble over my words, so I've really enjoyed putting in those essential oils. Not neat, but I use a barrier oil on my throat to open up my throat. So thank you, Mairi, for that tip. She mentioned it in one of our previous episodes.
I love, love flowers and plants. I have a dragon plant at the moment, and I absolutely love it. I need to get some more plants. I have an orchid. I need it to grow again, I need to give it some love. I frequently buy myself flowers, but I also have dried flowers. My friend bought me a lovely candle which I've been burning and dried flowers. I never thought about dried flowers before. I always thought about it, being from my mom's age or my grandma's age, but I've really loved them. Especially coming into my room now and seeing them, that for me was a really nice investment, and I've had them now for over six months and they look amazing. So I would highly recommend that if you're not a plant person, although you should be because we're still spending a lot of time in our houses, so getting in more plants to provide you with more oxygen and so forth is really good for your health.
I have a lot of greenery outside. But again, because I'm on calls all the time and because of my surrounding neighbors, I can't always have the windows open. So I'm going to get a few more plants, but yes, I love my dried flowers. So thank you, thank you, T. I love them.
My Google calendar is a lifesaver. For some people, they hate a schedule. But for me, if I don't have certain things that I need to get done in my schedule, it doesn't get done. I've said this previously before that I love to have all of the workouts in my diary. I have reminders to take my vitamins. I have water reminders in my diary. I have all of my clients in my diary as well. On a side note, I also use acuity that is integrated into my Google calendar and also into my zoom account. And again, that really helps. I know having a system like Acuity may seem like it's another extra cost. But when you think about how much time that you are spending manually going back and forth with clients to get times in the diary and appointment set up, I really want you to consider how many hours that you are wasting. Think about it from a perspective of your hourly rate, and the fact that most people will make their appointments at either early morning or late at night, that's the trend that I've seen. So I like the fact that I can give my clients a link and they can go ahead and schedule their own appointments, or when we are on the phone together then we can quickly open up each other's diaries and we can look at the times that we have both got. I can do it manually for them within acuity and that can set up recurring appointments for them for their coaching or their Pilates classes.
I know for some people, they don't want to be tied to their schedules or they hate planning. And I find this really fascinating, I don't know whether it's because I love a plan. But when you think about it, we're all natural planners. For example, when you go on a holiday, you sort out where you want to go. You think about it, then you research the country or the city that you want to go to, then you look around to see what you can do and the accommodation that's available around where you want to stay. Then you book your flight to your trains, and then you start to think about what you're going to do when you get there, how much money you're going to need, what you're going to need to take. All of these things are part of a timeline, unless you decide on the spot and decide, oh I'm going on holiday tomorrow. Then usually you've got some time to wait for your holiday so you plan your holiday, you scope it all out, then you implement the things that you want to take.
You take action on getting your money and your currency and so forth, and then you go on your holiday. You enjoy your holiday and then you come back. And that's the same as running your business. You have to think about it this way. Try not to think about it in a way that is overwhelming for you. Try and think about it in bite-size tasks because we do it naturally. It's just like if you, again, another example is just like if you were planning your birthday and you wanted people to come out with you. Again, you would think about where you want to go, then you would reach out to your friends and ask them if they had any ideas or you would tell them exactly where you want it to go, what the dress attire is, how long you intend to be there for, what date it's going to be and all of that stuff. You get really detailed. You decide on what clothes you're going to wear, what shoes you're going to wear, what are you going to do with your hair, what kind of makeup you're going to wear, and that's me anyway. And then you might even do a little rehearsal. You might speak to your friends, you might take some pictures and get them involved. But that's again, all part of planning. So try not to get overwhelmed when you start to think about planning out your business days or your working days. Try and make it as simple as possible for yourself.
As humans, we are constantly in planning mode. And then, when it comes to our business is we resist it and then we start to wonder why our businesses are not growing or we don't have strategies in place to grow our businesses, and that's usually because we don't have a plan underpinning what it is we want to do, where and how far we want to take our businesses, how we want to scale our businesses and what we need to put into place for growth.
I also love to use Google Docs. I love Google Docs because it means that I can share with other people. I can share with clients, I can share with team members. Other people can be working within the same document at the same time as you. That's pretty spooky sometimes when I see somebody else working on the document that I've sent them, but I love it. I love it because it means that when you have time, you can really get super organized and have all of your documents in one place and create different folders for them, and just be able to get to documents fast. I love that I can access documents on my phone and that everything's really integrated on my phone or my laptop and on my iPad so I can get to documents even when I am not at my desk. Another big win for me is a second monitor. In fact, I would love to have a third monitor. But at the moment, I only have the space for one. But that has been a big game-changer in terms of just saving time. Being able to have two documents that I'm working on two different screens or even if I'm reviewing something and I'm trying to amend something else, just being able to have the option and the flexibility of having two screens. So if you can and it is affordable to you, then I would highly recommend that you are working from a desktop or laptop and that you have a second monitor.
I know that you can get lots of apps and you can work from your iPad, but it's so much easier when you're trying to navigate some of these applications or trying to pull documents together to do it from a desktop or a laptop. It just is, and it's going to save you so much time and just lessen the overwhelm and the distraction when you're just sitting down and just being able to look at two screens or three screens or however many screens you want, but it's just for me, it's been really super helpful.
I also love an app called GoodNotes. Yes, I am a paper and pen kind of gal but I also love digital planners. I have created a few digital planners myself. I love to work on digital planners. I also love worksheets. If I'm doing some kind of self-development course, I love to be able to download these worksheets and be able to write on my iPad because it just means that I can do that from anywhere. And when I'm on the move, then 100%, I love to use my iPad. But usually, I'm at my laptop when I have got a designated time to complete things. If you are more into digital planners, then this is the app that you really should invest in. I don't think it's very expensive, and you can just get a lot done. So I use GoodNotes on a daily basis as well because that's where my templates are. When I'm creating templates, I like to create a template and then I like to use it myself to ensure that it's user-friendly. I will download it to GoodNotes and then write it all over the worksheet just like I did with Summer School. The participants got workbooks and I made sure that I completed the workbook myself. From a perspective of I want it to also plan, I want it to be in that planning mode as well so it felt like we were all doing it. But also, I just wanted to make sure that there was enough writing space or it just felt like it flowed. So I would always recommend that if you're creating something that you do that to you, make sure that you try it yourself to make sure it's something that you would use. And again, as Michelle said in a previous episode, you need to feel like you're making this product for yourself first. You need to get excited first before you put it out into the world. And that's just me paraphrasing what she said. If you want to go deeper into her mission and her ethos, then you need to go back and listen to the episode titled The Magic is You, because they are magic, so go back and listen to those.
If you are going to be sitting for hours on end, you need to make sure that your chair is supporting you. It is not some old chair that has got no back support or basically one of your dining chairs. You need to make sure that you're supporting yourself but equally, you need to make sure that you're getting up at least every 45 minutes to move, to make sure that you've still got the movement going throughout your body even though we're sitting down for long periods of time. We need to make sure that we are still moving, so invest in that chair that you want. I also have a laptop cradle so that I can maneuver the height and how it is placed on my desk so that if I want to stand up for a meeting, I'm able to stand up and still be able to be seen on the screen. That's been a really important thing for me over the last 18 months to be able to really look after my body and really listen to my body. So if I need to move or if I need to keep it moving whilst I'm on a call, then I'm going to go ahead and do that because I've only got one of these. So yes, a laptop cradle is a good investment also. And also a webcam for moms. For moms, I hadn't even thought about purchasing a webcam. And then I was in a Pilates class and our teacher said, Eleshia, why don't you think about buying a webcam? And I was like, oh yes, why don't I? That has really helped. It just makes you look better. It just gives you that crisp look when you are recording and when you are showing up to your online meetings. So yes, invest in a webcam. Everything that I've spoken about, I will share in the show notes for you to make it easy for you to access all of the things that I am recommending.
I use ClickUp for my project management tool. I know there are so many others out there like Trello and Asana and monday.com, and all of those. I prefer ClickUp, it just works the way my brain works. I've invested lots of hours in learning how it works. Although they are forever updating it, which can be annoying sometimes. But actually, it's really good because they listen to their users so they're always making it more user-friendly. They're changing their interface so it's helpful for us as users. So I highly recommend ClickUp. I keep all of my plans in ClickUp. Everything that I am working on in my business goes in there. My clients and implementation plans, they also go in there so that we can discuss where we're at and where we're going to. So I keep a record of all of that because when you work with me, it's not just about coaching, we're going to implement. So we are going to implement that plan that we put together.
I also use Kajabi. I absolutely love Kajabi. It is where my website is hosted. It is more than just a website host platform, it is a CRM as well. I do everything from Kajabi. And yes, some people think it's really pricey but at the same time, the way I look at it is as a small business owner. And because most of my business is done online, I don't have huge monthly expenses when it comes to running my business. So for me, if I can get as much as I can out of the one product, then I am going to do that because it is helpful. It's really easy to use but it's not my expertise so I have Darren who is amazing at using the interface. He does all of my web pages for me, and he does all of the operations of everything that you guys see, and he also manages the backend for me.
I can't do everything. So if you know that you can't do everything and you know that this is not your expertise, find somebody who can. It will save you so much time and so much money in the long run. So yes, I let him roll with everything at Kajabi and he loves it.
I know we all love Canva and it is so good from a branding perspective. The graphics are absolutely amazing. It saves you so much time. You don't have to employ a graphic designer. You can really dive deep into making amazing graphics for your business, for your brand, and for social media. I would definitely recommend upgrading to the Pro, and just have fun with it. Just have fun. They have so many quick tutorials on how to use it. I would just say, spend some time just learning how to navigate it because again, it is going to save you so much time and money when you really get in tune with it. It's going to save you so much time.
My Apple watch has kept me so accountable when I don't have anybody else to do so around. I stopped wearing it for quite some time and then it wasn't until a couple of months ago that I was like, let me start wearing this again. Because again, sometimes we can be sitting stagnant for so long, but my Apple watch reminds me to stand up. It reminds me to take some deep breaths. It reminds me again if I don't have my phone nearby because sometimes I just like to put my phone on Do Not Disturb and just work through my tasks that I need to get done. But my Apple watch will ping me and tell me to stand up. It will tell me to take my vitamins, it will tell me to make sure that I've drunk enough, and all whilst not getting distracted by picking up my phone or looking at social media or going down a Facebook rabbit hole. So I love my Apple watch, and also it just helps me to track my steps again. That's been really important to me to make sure that I'm getting enough steps over the duration of the day.
I also try to make sure that I am fully prepared with snacks and water for hydration and smoothies and all of the good stuff because when I am not, then I will tend to grab crisp and chocolate, and that makes me feel lethargic and then I don't want to get my task done.
And then accountability. I think I'm going to do a whole episode on how accountability has really helped me because there are just so many different facets to what and how you can be accountable to yourself but enlist others to help you. So yes, I'm going to end it here and I will be back with a whole episode on how you can gain more accountability. Enjoy the rest of your week. Bye-bye.
Thank you so much for listening to this week's episode of The Eleshia Show. If you know somebody who needs to hear the conversations that we are having, please share it, take a screenshot and send it to them. Also, I would really love for you to rate and review the podcast as this really helps, and I'd love to read your comments. Lastly, remember, you need to invest in yourself first because you are important and amazing. Take care until the next time. Bye-bye.
Jenna and I on the Gold Digger podcast
When Jenna told me the date my episode was going to air, I shrieked and got to work to implement the podcast strategies she shared.