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Systems and efficiency expert and the creator of The Daily Page Planner.
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Whether you own your own business or are chasing corporate career dreams, you’ve probably had times where you weren’t sure where to focus your time and energy. This is super common for entrepreneurs (we tend to be a little overzealous and multi-passionate) but I also commonly see this with professionals across various industries who have too much on their plate and aren’t sure where their time and energy is best spent. Today I’m going to introduce you to a simple method you can do at home. It takes about 5 minutes but can offer you incredible insight and clarity.
Truthfully, all of us find ourselves in that spinning-wheel phase from time to time, and the important thing is to know when and how to snap ourselves out of it and refocus.
Raise your hand if you could use help with any of these things:
If you raised your hand at least once I think that you will really enjoy today’s episode. As I mentioned earlier, when you find yourself in a season of business where you feel like your wheels are spinning and you’re not sure if the day-to-day work you’re doing is making the impact you want it to, you need a quick, reliable method for snapping yourself out of it and refocusing. I use a method that I call Clarity Lines. It’s a simple exercise that takes 5-10 minutes and can help you gain the clarity you need.
I’m going to walk you through the exercise now. Feel free to just listen to get an understanding of how to do it, or pause throughout the episode and work through it in real-time.
Before you start, determine what time period you want to gain clarity on. You could reflect back on tjust the past week, past month, past season, or the past year. For the sake of this exercise, we’re going to reflect back on the past month.
Once you’re done, you should be able to see where you are spending your time — the tasks at the top of the list — as well as what tasks are actually directly contributing to your big wins (the tasks that have the most lines.
Ideally, the tasks at the top of your list will have the most lines —which would mean you are being efficient with how you are spending your time (the bulk of your time/energy is resulting in the bulk of your growth and income). But, I’m willing to bet that will *not* be the case the first time you do this! You will likely realize that you are spending a lot of time doing a task that isn’t directly contributing to your growth.
I want to give you an example of how I used Clarity Lines in my business to accelerate growth. When I did this a couple of years ago, I realized I was spending the bulk of my time packaging and shipping orders for my shop. But, *packaging* the orders isn’t what led to me making the sales. It was really clear to me that if I wanted to continue increasing sales, I needed a shop manager ASAP! Clarity Lines showed me that my BIG WIN of increasing sales was being driven by blog posts, Instagram content, and YouTube videos. By outsourcing my shipping needs I freed up hours each day to focus on creating more of that content.
And did it work? It sure did. 2019 was the best year I’ve had for my shop and business, but sales in my shop increased by 369% YoY in 2020!!! And by the end of the year, I was able to add additional revenue streams in the form of online courses, eBooks, and business coaching….all thanks to the clarity and extra time that this little exercise brought me! I recommend making this a regular practice in your business, and certainly sitting down to do it any time you are feeling overwhelmed, aren’t sure what to say ‘yes’ to, or are thinking of adding another member to your team.
When you do this exercise, though, please remember that it’s okay to spend your time doing things simply because you enjoy them. It doesn’t have to be all work and no play.
To help make that a priority you can take Clarity Lines to the next level by adding some color-coding to your list of tasks before you start drawing in the connecting lines. For example, you might highlight any tasks that you absolutely LOVE doing and would want to do even if they didn’t result in a penny of earnings in GREEN.
Tasks that are mandatory and need to happen no matter what — either by you or a team member — could get highlighted in yellow to show that they are fairly neutral. And tasks that you really don’t like and would be thrilled to outsource could get highlighted in red.
This can help give you a bit more perspective at the end of the exercise, and determine what you want to do yourself, what you need to outsource, or tasks that you can stop doing altogether without impacting your bottom line. It’s fine to start simple with Clarity Lines (just make the lists and draw the lines for some perspective) and then work your way up to get more detailed the next time you work through the exercise.
And that’s it! I hope this post and the Clarity Lines exercise are helpful to you as you continue to grow your business!
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