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Organise your life for better outcomes

25 January 2019

Finding more time

This year I decided I wanted an hour more a day for myself. It was an hour to be used to think, read, write, romanticise, day dream. It was not for doing my admin, or ringing family or preparing lunches for the day ahead or housework or catching up life details. The new hour was for a wider, greater purpose.

If my new routine was to succeed I knew I couldn’t set my alarm for 6am straight up - that was bound to fail. Instead, I read somewhere, I needed to start the goal in bite size chunks, establish a ritual around it, make it a habit, and never lose sight of the ‘why’. The first step has been getting up at 6.45am with the same ceremony every day. It should take me about three weeks to make it a habit. I will then move the alarm to 6.30am and repeat, then 6.15 and finally 6am. In 12 weeks I will have my hour.

Another helpful tip for establishing new rituals is to prepare the night before for the day’s start. Maybe clean your space and lay out pencils and book, or laptop; have the kettle ready for a cup of tea or prepare the floor mat for a more vigorous wake-up with a few stretching exercises. Keep your purpose in mind. Run through your ‘why’ like a mantra.

The whole routine is not far from the advice Lorraine Murphy has in her new book, Get Remarkably Organised (Hachette Australia, 2018). In it the entrepreneur and author establishes the importance of making small, repeated changes on a daily basis to establish routines and, in so doing, declutter your life, get organised and find more time to create the space for business and career success.

Over the years Ruby has tapped into successful women in business for their strategies for getting ahead. Here are some of their top tips.

Ruby asked The Salary Coach, Catherine Heilemann what strategies she recommends: “Knowing your base income is one place to start. Knowing what you’ll accept an hour will put you in control of the hours you work, and help you define what you should be doing and what would be best left to others. Many business women find, they are ‘doing everything’ and often that can come down to not knowing your worth and being able to say ‘no’. Learning to understand that certain work would be better outsourced to others is a skill. Having a financial benchmark makes it possible to delegate or say no to the things you are asked to do that just don’t add up for you financially.

“For example: Imagine your time is worth $50 an hour, and you are wasting time on tasks that could be done by another for $25 an hour. It makes sense to outsource those tasks leaving you available to do your financially lucrative work.”

Westpac’s Davidson Institute experts recommend regularly monitoring your business performance and modifying your goals or activities as needed to keep your business current and relevant. Having an up-to-date business plan is vital. Your business plan is like a roadmap for your business. The plan enables you to explore different scenarios and select the ideal path to get to your desired business destination. The road map won’t serve your business’s needs if the ‘locations’, ‘landmarks’ and ‘roads’ are out of date.

When Rhian Allen began Healthy Mummy, she never imagined it would one day be turning over $20m, and heading towards a $100m turnover by 2022.

Rhian says her business plan is her customer: “Everything I do is around what my customer needs and where I can create a unique service, support and product offering helping mums achieve health and weight loss after having children.”

“Most of the women I speak with have begun their businesses for flexibility and because they believe in their product or service. They are there for the passion, the purpose, a new way of doing things,” says Sheree Rubinstein Co-Founder CEO of One Roof, a co-working space for entrepreneurial women.

Gillian Corban of designers and manufacturers Corban & Blair says: “This idea that somehow you've got to be big and growing all the time, I think it can ruin things. You just have to be sustainable. We’re profitable and motivated creatively. Our interest is maintaining a business that people want to work in, that does good things.”

Gillian and Amanda Blair saw themselves as an iconic Australian-made brand, but found they weren’t operating on a level playing field with others who were manufacturing off-shore: “Amanda and I went through quite a difficult emotional time to make that change [moving their manufacturing off-shore] but we did, and we've been manufacturing most of our leather products, by hand, in China, ever since.”  

As Victoria Kluth the founder of Araza (a Westpac Business of Tomorrow winner) says of her strategy: “Make things personal and have as much direct contact as possible. That is a real advantage when you are starting out, that big organisations struggle to be able to do that but a small business has that luxury.”

Deborah Cox’s full-service communications agency Loulaki Blue says being able to scale your business to cope with demand is important and to do that you need great networks and connections. Her business was founded for reasons of flexibility, lifestyle and because she wanted the space to develop exciting and innovative communication ideas for the marketplace.

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