How The Mad Hatter Can Improve Your Productivity

Being self employed gives you great freedom and flexibility, there is no office politics, you can turn up in your PJ’s, your co worker is the dog and the conversation is great because no one disagrees with you. While this is all great, one of the problems is you have no one to be accountable to. This lack of accountability means that you can let things slide, it’s harder to plan and you can find that you lose focus quickly.

While it sounds utterly batty, about a year ago I started to carry out weekly meetings with myself! I have found it is an incredibly effective way of gaining a new perspective on your progress, it also makes you significantly more effective and focused on your job.

This lack of accountability means that you can let things slide, it’s harder to plan and you can find that you lose focus quickly.

Become The Mad Hatter

Chatting to another entrepreneur sparked the weekly meeting idea for me. We were having a little rant about how hard the one woman show can be and she said ‘I wish I could have a meeting with the ‘me’ team and sort this s**t out’. I walked away thinking, what if I did actually have a meeting with me? What would it achieve and what would it look like?

I decided to go for it – You probably have an image of the Mad Hatters tea party – me on my own in a boardroom with loads of tea cups and note pads, delivering a presentation and running around the room to give my input as each member of the team. However, it’s a lot less chaotic and yes, I do sometimes have a little conversation with myself, but it is a very structured process so you can get the most out of it.

How to have a meeting with yourself.

  1. Meetings are sacred – well, good ones are – they have a whole etiquette to them that requires a productive and focused approach. For a meeting you have to book a room or a quiet space where you will not be disturbed.
  2. You create an agenda that you adhere to and have a number of goals and will be looking for specific information.
  3. In order for your solo meeting to be successful you need to treat it with respect and act as if you are the manager of the ‘me, myself and I’ team. I find that a weekly meeting works best. Let’s look at what needs to be addressed your solo meeting.

Meetings are sacred – well, good ones are – they have a whole etiquette to them that requires a productive and focused approach.

Review the previous week

  • What has happened since your last meeting,
  • Did you achieve any goals that were set from the last meeting?
  • What tasks were completed and what were sidelined?
  • What has changed – new clients, closed accounts etc.?
  • Profits and expenses, what costs did your business incur and what revenue did you bring in?
  • Where are you with your marketing efforts so far – what worked or didn’t work?

Look at the week ahead

  • What are the tasks and goals internally do you need to achieve over the next week – this would include things like your accounts, marketing efforts, purchasing etc.
  • If you have products what do you need to promote, replace, drop, add etc. If you are a service what business do you need to close or chase?
  • Define your priorities – some tasks will have higher priority over others, identify these and structure them so they are addressed promptly.
  • Identify any deficiencies that you may have – are you time poor, do you have a wedding in the middle of your work week, do you need training or research that might be of value?

Structure a Schedule.

  • Once you have identified all the issues, you need to allocate time and task to yourself just like you would a team.
  • Review your schedule, outline what’s happening for the week ahead.
  • Find realistic time slots where you can work on your own business tasks and development.
  • Make a clear time table of client, family and personal events so you can mange your time more effectively.
  • Plan your marketing activities, goals and forms of measurement so you can be ready for next week’s meeting.

Close the meeting

  • Set a date for your next meeting and create something similar to minutes so you can easily review and avoid forgetting what you have ‘discussed’.
  • Create a clear list of tasks, goals, targets and activities to refer to during the week and for the next meeting.
  • Also, as with any business, you need to remember that your main job is sales, so there is no harm on setting a target for the week, this should be a little higher than your average weekly intake but also achievable around the commitments you have that week.
  • Thank everyone for attending, I don’t do this because it wakes up the dog.

What I love about this idea of having a meeting with yourself is you are accountable to you. If you were in a company you would feel the pressure to deliver something to you meeting, you would be concerned about your targets and your tasks. You would also have a clear idea of what caused you to go off track or to change your plan, simply because you have to justify what happened to another person.

Remember for the meeting time, try to treat it like your meeting with a team. Find a place to have the meeting – this could be an office meeting room, the guest room of your house, a quiet cafe or hotel lobby. Make sure you turn off all alerts on your mobile and laptop so you are not disturbed. Set a start and a finish time, don’t be late and don’t run over either. Finally always bring biscuits, preferably chocolate ones.


3 Comments

  • Moira Dunne

    August 8, 2017

    Superb read and great tips too.

    Reply
    • admin

      August 8, 2017

      Thanks Moira, I hoped you would like it.

      Reply
  • Orla

    August 8, 2017

    I LOVE it! Well done Avril! So true. I particularly like the bit about recording the financials… New clients/income etc. This is my goal for this week now! Thanks for this!

    Reply

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