As a small business owner there’s always a long list of jobs to be done and especially this time of year when you’re counting down to a holiday.

I’m a mother of two teenagers, a step-mother of six, a wife, a consultant, a business partner, and director of two companies.

I know how far down the list my professional and personal development needs are

….actually, they’re not even on the list.

I’ve worked with many female consultants, solopreneurs who run their own business and who give everything their clients and their families.  It easy to forget that sometimes you need to give yourself the oxygen first.

The highest value work you can do needs planned time to:

·      think

·      leverage value

·      understand and assess your true worth

· recognize your unique skills

According to this research by Mavenlink your time is worth more than $500 an hour!

There’s so little real-time for the urgent stuff let alone deep work. (Thanks Cal Newport now there’s another thing I’m not getting done.)

So what can you do to support your knowledge, build your skills and make life just a bit easier in the next 8 weeks?

Productivity Tips that have worked this year for me:

1.     Stop doing the things that don’t matter.  Having a stop doing list forces you to focus on what’s really important. Do you really need to do it?

2.     Outsource the repetitive, low value, work to Upwork or Fiverr.

3.     Find a good bookkeeper. Your time is worth more than you give yourself credit for.

4.     Make time for your own development – two hours a week for reflection and planning – that’s only 4% of your 50hr week.

5.     Block out time in your diary to do the important work.  If it’s not in your diary it doesn’t get done.

6.     Find someone to check in with who will keep you accountable to getting it done. A coach or a mentor or a mate who’ll ask a few tough questions.

7.     Turn off Facebook or Instagram or park your app on page 3 of your phone. No one will notice you’re not posting.

8.     Cancel Netflix for a few months.

9.     Be ruthless with saying no. Try…”I’d love to help you but my diary is full for the next few weeks.”  Seth Godin & Tim Ferris had a great chat on Tim’s Show on ways to say no for freelancers.

10.  Check your cashflow to February and make sure you’re covered for your low season and holidays. Get brutal with non-essential expenses.

11.  Commit to being a better leader next year by learning some core business skills.

The Growth Education Institute has a 14-week business accelerator course specifically for solo and micro and small business owners launching on November 15. I’ve signed up as I need external accountability to pay attention to the important but not urgent part of my business.

Give yourself an early Christmas gift to get ready for 2020. What else can you recommend to make the next 55 days more effective?

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