Too much butter on my bread, too much social media, and too many late nights. Sound familiar? Except, one bad habit I’ve developed about working on my business has ceased over the last six weeks.
If you’re a business owner or aspiring author, do your plans for the week include a few “work-on-the-business” hours? Do you guard these hours like valuable treasure and use them to improve your reach and efficiency? Nah, me neither—until recently. What to know how I overcame this business admin procrastination?
The bad habit of avoidance
Over the last two years, I rarely achieved any “on-the-business” action. Each week for the last 78 weeks, I rolled forward eleventy-squillion business development tasks to the following week. I’d contemplate them and decide to do client work instead. This too, I justified. Delivery generates revenue. Sometimes this work carried over into the weekend and I secretly high-fived myself for building such a successful writing business.
Last December, I burnt up the last of my industrious and enthusiastic fuel. With an empty tank, I realised I needed to implement some of the long-intended systems and processes currently dormant at the bottom of my to-do list.
How do co-working sessions work?
In January, I joined a CEO mastermind group. A group of us business owners meet weekly for coaching, discussions, and co-working sessions. I was ambivalent about the co-working sessions, but the coaching sounded great! Little did I know the value was the other way around.
Because we’re strung across multiple time-zones, co-working sessions are run at different times, enabling us the option of joining at least one. The Australians, like me, can even attend multiple sessions if we are happy to start at 5.30am. Seeing as I get up at 5.20am anyway (yeah, I know) it seemed perfect.
Until January, I hadn’t experienced the power of a co-working session. We dial in, turn our cameras on, state what we’re working on and get started. Over two hours we sit, muted, at our desks, blasting our productivity tunes, side-eyeballing each other. In moments when I flag, I look at the intense expressions of my global co-workers. Their eyes bore through the screen at me even though they’re merely concentrating on their work, and I get back to it.
I have never been more productive than in those two-hour long sessions. It’s so good, a couple of us have scheduled extra co-working sessions together and repeat the process even more frequently.
Instead of thinking about my email welcome sequence for 19 months, it took only two co-working sessions to write it, load it, test it, and let it go live. I have actioned long overdue website updates. My email list grew 20-fold in one month (not hard if you start in single digits). I requested fresh testimonials from recent clients, and mapped out a marketing plan.
Bad habits begone
I work harder than ever, but I’ve evolved my business systems. I’ve improved my processes. I am better organised to do the admin work faster, and to deliver client work to a higher standard too. I’ve reshaped my whole week to ensure I focus on clients for four long and productive days.
I anticipate my “on-the-business” day with an emotion resembling joy. I look forward to choosing one or two business development areas to work on. I’ve restructured my long list of overdue tasks and it is getting shorter every week.
Who knows, I might even be ready to tackle my excessive butter habit now.
You can access virtual co-working sessions through organisations like Learn Omnifocus and Focusmate, but you don’t even need to pay the low, low fees for these services. Talk to a fellow business owner or writer, set up a virtual meeting via Zoom or similar, state your intentions to each other at the start of the session, and get started.
Looking for other ways to overcome your bad habits around (the absence of) content creation?
If you’ve got a writing or marketing habit, you’d like to crush, you can get started with as little as 7 minutes per week. Curious to know more? Get in touch to find out how a little-known technique can help create your written content. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll get back to you promptly.
I’m Rananda, a Sydney-based writer and editor.
With 25-plus years in corporate life, a financial background, a science education, and a lifetime of writing, I know there is more to starting and growing a loyal following than just the words on your website or saving that draft manuscript in a folder.
I bring comprehensive practical experience to supporting your writing needs.