I was recently chatting with a bookkeeper about various things when she said to me, "I hope I'm ready for the program." And so I said to her, "Would it be okay if I ask what you mean by whether I'm ready for it?"
As it turns out, she's a really busy mama like me, and she's taken over an organization and she's got a lot on her plate. And it's really just one of the big factors for her is TIME. She's trying to prioritize her health, which I absolutely believe– your health is your wealth. She's trying to be a loving mom to her children. And then on top of it all, she is trying to take this bookkeeping business that she has purchased and to tidy it all up and make it all work. And she desperately wants into The Strategic Bookkeeper Program, but one of her problems is time. And so, right now I'm going to dive into how to help you with how to pull more time out of your business, and maybe even your life.
Something I will say about the program is that it's for the long-term, it's not about working harder. In fact, I'm not going to ask you over the long-term to work harder. Maybe in the early days I will ask you to. I mean, there are times when we've all got to put in, okay? Even for me, after I've built a lifestyle business, there are times when building The Strategic Bookkeeper Program where I pull 11-hour days on top of being a mom and everything else. It's not because I have to, it's because I've chosen to for PURPOSE and LEGACY.
So, what I will say is that rather than ask you to work harder over the long term, I'm going to ask you to make harder decisions. And I'm going to help you with it every step of the way.
I am going to help you to build powerful HABITS and be accountable.
Harder decisions more than harder work.
Now, there are three things that we all need from our business. That is profit, cash, and time. And time is what will allow you to live your dream on your terms. The advice that I gave to this beautiful bookkeeper to help her with time is a little kind of process that I have...
So step one is what I call, get sh*t done
In terms of when you're just frazzled and you're busy and you're trying to do it all and you've got this big list, I want you to sit down at your desk, put your head down and your bum up, and just get sh*t done.
Try and clear as much as you can, laser-focus relentlessly, and just get sh*t done.
And with regards to that, if you're thinking work-life balance and the fact that you're a mom and all those kind of things, here's what I want to tell you about WORK-LIFE BALANCE: It doesn't exist. It kind of does exist, but it doesn't exist.
I want you to imagine a pendulum, and in terms of the way that we live and the way that we work, it's not about so much striking a balance as it is accepting that our energy is always tipped into different areas in different ways. Sometimes we'll find that our energy is tipped into being a mom more or leaning into family, community – and your energy is tipped in there. And while your energy is in there and the pendulum swings that way, you put your energy into that. Now, when that happens, you'll have less energy going into, whether it's your work or whether it's whatever else is happening. The pendulum is simply swinging the other way.
Now, there will be other times where the pendulum swings back to work. And I know personally as a mom, when that happens, I feel guilt and I feel like, "Oh my goodness, I'm not being a good mom. I'm not giving him enough time and attention." But the truth is, that pendulum swings. It's not about work-life balance.
And it can be the same with our health. So let's say the pendulum swings back to work, and I'm aware that I'm not getting to do the things that I would normally say, make up a beautiful miracle day for me, which would be really getting outside and walking, and maybe Latin dancing and doing any gym work I want to do, and all of those things. So when the pendulum swings and I notice that I'm not putting the energy that I would like to into the various parts, the best thing that I can do is accept that.
"Oh, okay. Right now my energy is at work."
Because, for example, I'm working really hard on what I'll be delivering in the program, and that's okay because the pendulum's swinging that way. If I accept it, I'll know that in a few months I'll then be able to take a breath – the pendulum will swing into some more health and some more mommy stuff and other things.
The pendulum is not intended to sit in the middle of the work-life balance.
So step one, get sh*t done. Put your head down, get as much shit done as you can, and clear a whole lot of stuff off your plate. As you're doing step one, I want you to start having an awareness of something. Once, I heard this cool little thing and it goes, there's three A's to change, Awareness, Acceptance, and Action. So right now, when you're doing step one, I want you to sit in the awareness phase where, as you're doing all of the things, I want you to start thinking about something that leads into step two. And that is, of all the things that I am doing, are there any of these things that aren't particularly impactful?
We're going to look for the 5% activities that get us 95% of the results, and we're going to look for the other 95% that get 5% of the results. Or, we could talk about the 80/20: the 20% that gets 80% of the results, that's science-based and proven, and the 20% that gets 80% of the results.
So, we're just going to start to become aware of that and we're also going to start to become aware of what we could possibly DELEGATE. This is about really understanding what you could possibly just not be doing at all, where you go, "Yeah, it's on the list and I'm doing it, but is it really that impactful?" – because, you're probably better off going for a walk. But again, right now, head down, bum up, get sh*t done, and start to become aware of what I call the f*ck-it-off list. That is, I could just f*ck this task off and it wouldn't matter. The stop-doing and the delegate list.
So step two – after you just clear a whole lot of sh*t up and you start feeling so much better,
then step two is going to be to stop.
It's great if you can take a day out. Because, we can get really busy with the busy work, but busy with the 95% that's doing 5% of the impact. We want to really work on the 5% that gives us 95% results, which is absolutely what I want to help you with as a member of The Strategic Bookkeeper as part of my tribe.
So step two is what I call the "don't do it" list or the "to don't" list, the "fuck it off" list.
And the other part of it is if it really, really needs to be done, can it be delegated to someone?
(Just hot tip there: If you delegate something, be clear about the scope in terms of the task and the time expected. I once had team members spend in excess of 10 hours on a task that was done fortnightly, that I expected to take well under an hour. And that's on me for not briefing them properly. So just a hot tip there.)
Basically, what I want to tell you here is every time you say yes to something,
you are saying no to something else.
Every time you say yes to a client, "Yes, I'll do a proposal, yes, I'll take you on as a client," yes, whatever, same in your personal life, "Yes, I'll answer that phone call, yes, I'll help that person." — you are actually saying no to something else without even knowing about it, because you're shrinking the time that you have in your life and your business to devote to other things. The things that you may have on the list, or you may not even have on the list that they need to get done, won't get done, because when you say yes to anything, you reduce the amount of time you have to say yes to other things.
So that's what's really important about the to don't list. Once you've got the to don't list and the fuck it off list and you start to wrap your head around the power and how freeing it is just to literally not do a whole lot of stuff that you realize is busy work, not impactful work. And part of what I do is I test and measure this stuff so that in the program I can say to you, "Don't do that. Don't spend so much time on that, but do do this and do spend time on that."
Once you free up time by doing all of this, one of the things that you get to do, if you want to do it, is The Strategic Bookkeeper Program. So if you feel like, "I don't have time," then that is one of the things you get to prioritize as you come up for air and realize, "Okay, I'm not as time poor as I was before because I've got shit done, I've thought about what I could just probably not do or do less of and what I could delegate to other people."
If you stop doing the low value stuff or spending too much time on things that you should only be spending a little bit more time on, and you actually do join The Strategic Bookkeeper Program, then it is going to be one of those 5% things that make 95% of the difference. I know that because I've been there, done that. I continue to be there and do that. And I have worked my ass off to make sure that I can give you the upfront and ongoing support that you need to solve all the problems that you've got and to build a thriving practice, delight your clients, and live your dream on your terms.
That said, I do want to tell you that I definitely designed the program so that you can learn and implement on the fly. So I give you ways to take action no matter where you're at, and I give you content to digest even when you're folding the laundry. I want you to be able to take small things and get big IMPACTS out of them. But then as you progress to freeing up that time throughout the program, then I will help you work more strategically by reserving an hour or so a day to get bigger, more massive, better results. We go on our laps around the sun together.
Step three, I would like you to listen to Podcast Episode 10,
and it's called Harnessing the Power to Build Your Dream Business and Life.
I need you to use the first step to form new habits to get sh*t done, and then stop and do the to don't list, and acknowledge that every time you say yes to something, you're saying no to something else. This is a really great cycle to use, but you want to form the habits around that so that on a daily basis, you're constantly assessing whether something that you've been asked to do, or something that's on your agenda is worth doing or not,
because there is a massive power in just not doing sh*t.
Just a really simple example is, we have tested and measured putting in a lot of effort into organic social media. And at the end of it, we came up with a formula that gave us exactly how much time and effort you should put into social media, which is a fraction of what we tested, and the return on investment that you'll get. So we decided to stop doing something specifically because we analyzed the return on investment. The 5% activities, they get 95% of the results. Social media is still critically important, but you need to understand how much time to invest in it. In the program, you get all the done for you social media templates and strategy and help to implement it all, which saves you tons of time and money.
So that is the third step. Take what you've learned in step one and two, embed into habits so that you actually stop doing so much, so that you form what I call the MASTER HABIT in business –
To be proactive rather than reactive, and that is step four.
So ultimately, to be able to free up the time, you need to do the high value activities that help you build a thriving practice, delight your clients, and live your dream on your terms, whatever that is.
And for the bookkeeper who asked me this question and shared with me, her dream on her terms is so similar to mine. It's to be able to prioritize her health first, to get her health right. And then similar things to me, then to be the best mom she can and show up the best she can for her children. And then purpose, our businesses and our jobs give us purpose. So I call that our empire building. We want to build our beautiful empires and be wildly wealthy women and men who have a positive impact on the world.
So, your dream on your terms, and the income and lifestyle that you want and deserve –
it is for you to prioritize what that looks like.
So back to step four. The first thing I'm going to direct you towards to help you with that is a book called "The Science of When" by Daniel Pink (and I recommend that you use the Blinkist app to read it because that way you'll be able to digest the highlights in 10 to 15 minutes). It is a science book. It's why they do surgeries in the morning. And I actually structure the work that I do around The Science of When, and it's been quite transformational for how I work and the results that I can get.
So what is proactive versus reactive? Most people are in the habit of reacting to what's coming at them. And I work with amazing business owners who relate to this, because one of the things I say to them is, "What's the first thing you do in the morning when you go into work? Is it basically open your email?" And they say, "Yeah, it is open my email."
And I say to them, because I want to help you understand why that is not the first thing that you should be doing, I help them understand that by directing them to The Science of When, and then helping them to understand that when you open your email, you start reading emails from people and the things they want from you, and that is their agenda. And you start reacting to what other people want, rather than proactively deciding on what your agenda should look like and sticking to your agenda. Now, I don't know how easy or hard this will be to comprehend, but it is transformational from reactive to proactive.
Another example: when the phone rings, are you in the habit of simply answering it? Because I work in The Science of When and I work in a proactive way, I will put my phone on do not disturb in the morning, from, say, whatever time I'm working until whatever time I want to stop working on the most high value stuff that I want to work on. Let's call it 12 o'clock, one o'clock. Because, you'll learn in The Science of When that the middle of the day, I call it the multitasking middle of the day, is the best time to check your email – because your brain function actually changes.
So, I've absolutely got to check my chat channels and my emails and my tasks, et cetera, but remember the three A's to change, so Awareness, Acceptance, Action. I'm very acutely aware of proactive versus reactive. So if I sit down and I know what I've got to get done or what is the 5% activities, and I've prioritized the various things that I need to do, and then I sit down, put my phone on do not disturb, do not open my email, and I get done what I need to get done, and then later on I tend to my email. I also accept that I'm not going to get everything done and I am going to have to just simply not do or delegate some things.
The only way I'm really going to get what I want out of my business and my life is if I've set my own agenda, and if I proactively stick to that agenda.
And one of my clients told me that when he adopted this, he actually won back the time to fly to Adelaide and win a massive job and expand his business down there. So that's outside of bookkeeping, but success leaves clues, my friends.
In terms of being proactive, there is a brain model.
And it goes primal brain, reactive brain, proactive brain.
The primal brain is flight or fight, so very little children will have that. It's hit first, sink later. It's the saber tooth tiger chasing us and we just run.
Then there's reactive brain or kind of monkey brain, which is where we just react to everything that's around us. So if our child cries, we react to them. And so, the reactive part of our brain has a very important feature and function. It's also the multitasking part of our brain, where we can be folding laundry and doing a million things at once as a mom, and we're reacting to really important things around us because we need to react.
Then there's the proactive brain, also known as empire building brain. And I want you to think of it as a muscle that you need to work out over time, by forming habits. Because, to build a thriving practice, you need to strengthen the empire building part of your brain. So at work, you need to really exercise and develop the master habit of being proactive rather than reactive. So Daniel Pink, The Science of When on the Blinkist app is a great place to start.
Now, just to rinse and repeat for a minute, I really took a moment to think about and ask myself, as a bookkeeper, even going back to my journey and when I am busy, what does it look like for a bookkeeper who's really busy to join my program?
And I'm a trainer and assessor, so I need to know that I can deliver content to all different bookkeepers with all different time constraints, in a way that helps them. Let me tell you about how I've gone about doing that. So, I do imagine the busy bookkeeper, who might also be a mom and everything else. The way that I structure my content, and the way I will continue to show up and support you, is to be able to give you easily digestible content that you can begin to implement on the fly. So literally even in the free trainings, I get people say, "Oh my goodness, Jeannie told me that immediately after this training, I need to do this two-minute activity,"– and they win a new client!
So, what I'm acutely aware of is that, if you are really time poor, then you are still going to get massive results from the program if you let me hold your hand and challenge you
to start out time poor,
implement on the fly (progress over perfection!),
jump in, use everything we give you, and
let me help you implement it all to get results.
But over time, I am going to help you form habits in order to free up your time slowly. And there will be a beautiful magic that happens on the day that you start to realize that you can spend an hour or two or more, working on your business rather than just in it, in a proactive way that gets you the really big sustainable results and just gets you the lifestyle, similar to what I achieved five years in.
So, the program is fine if you don't have any time – as long as you can get in and talk to me about what's challenging you most, so I can point you in the direction of the parts of the program that you can pick and choose that will solve the immediate problems for you. Whether you are super busy or you're not super busy, the program is absolutely going to help you. And I believe that you will be able to get a return on investment greater than the fee.
And I believe that so much that I offer you a full money-back guarantee.
So after we work together for 12 months, if you cannot get a return greater than the fee, I will give you your money back. That's how confident I am that no matter how busy you are, I can get you there.
So, that is my four steps to winning your time back and your sanity back, and to get to prioritize the things that are important to you, and swing the pendulum back from all work and no play or all work and no mummy time. That was step one, get sh*t done. Step two, the don't do it list. Step three, form the habits from the first two, and step four, ultimately, become proactive. In The Strategic Bookkeeper Transformation Program, I want to inspire you around this and more. I have a passion for what I call mindset matters because your mindset really does matter. And so, if you do join us, you are going to get all the support around the businessy stuff, and all the stuff around the businessy stuff that makes it all work.