Simplifying Your Life!

Life’s been a bit crazy for me in the last few months. I’ve been juggling so many things that led me to feeling burned out. I realised I need to work smarter and start doing less whilst remaining as effective as I was before. 

In this episode of The Agency Accelerator Podcast, I share what I have been doing to simplify my life and get renewed focus for my business.  

Here’s a glance at this episode…

[01:55] 

There are so many distractions and noise in life that put pressure on me to do more of so many things. I realised I need some kind of filter to work out what I really need to keep doing and what I can stop doing - all whilst remaining productive and effective.

[04:10] 

Use the 4 Ds of Eisenhower’s Square to assess tasks - Can I DITCH this task? Can I DELEGATE it to somebody else? Can I DEFER it? I have to DO it.

[04:52] 

I’ve added 2 more Ds and an A. 

[04:56] 

The A is Automate. Are there tools or systems I use to run my business that can be automated? (Example: Appointment setting)

[05:46] 

The fifth D is does a task make a DIFFERENCE?

[05:57] 

The sixth D is do I enjoy DOING it?

[06:17] 

Six things I’ve done in my business to simplify and give me renewed focus.

[06:37] 

# 1: Reconnect with my vision.

[08:06] 

# 2: Put a pause on a time-intensive mastermind group I’m part of. 

[09:13] 

# 3: Choose the focus of my social media efforts.  I chose LinkedIn as my main social media platform.

[10:24] 

# 4: Resurrect my Youtube channel.

[12:17] 

# 5: Stop being distracted by new shiny objects!

[12:59] 

# 6: Work with a project manager who will manage other specialists’ tasks for the business.

Quotations

“Is this really driving my business forward? If the answer is ‘I’m not sure’ or ‘No’, then we really need to ask ourselves why we’re doing it.” - Rob Da Costa

“Doing something because you’ve always done it is not a good reason to keep doing it!” - Rob Da Costa

“All of the things you’re doing are there to help you win new business and be excellent at client delivery.” - Rob Da Costa

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 Full Episode Transcription

Life's been a bit crazy for me in the last few months, which has resulted in me juggling lots of goals and working long hours. You know, the typical lifestyle of the entrepreneur. However, it got to the point where I feel a little bit burnt out. And so I realised I needed to be smarter, and start doing less whilst remaining is effective like I was before. So I wanted to share this journey with you in the spirit of openness, never trying to look like I have it all sorted and perhaps most importantly in the spirit of sharing so that you might learn something that you can apply to your agency as well.

So that's what we're going to talk about in today's episode of The Agency Accelerator Podcast. I hope this will be really useful for you, a bit of a different episode, but let's get on with today's episode of the show. Accelerate your agency's profitable growth with tools, tips, and value added interviews with your host agency owner and coach Rob Da Costa. Today's episode of The Agency Accelerator Podcast is sponsored by Cloudways, loved by agencies around the world. Cloudways is a managed cloud hosting platform that takes care of all the web hosting related complexities, leaving users free to focus on growing their businesses and clients.

The platform offers unmatched performance reliability choice and 24/7 365 support. The act is an extension to your own team, making Cloudways the ultimate choice for growing agencies. Now, at present, Cloud Ways is offering exclusive discount for the agency accelerator listeners. So visit cloudways.com, and use the promo code AA20. That's AA20 to get a discount of 20% off your first three months on the hosting platform of your choice. OK, on with today's show. I don't know about you, but it seems that more and more, and more frequently we are surrounded by so much noise and so many distractions, with people telling us how we should run our businesses better, ads showing people standing in front of shiny, expensive cars, telling you that they made millions and you can do.

Every week there's a new book out by an entrepreneur. And of course, there are loads of social media platforms and new things coming along like clubhouse. And of course, there are coaching programmes just like mine, that help you grow your business do we're just surrounded by so much noise. And as I said in the introduction, life has been crazy for me and I've been juggling lots of things and kind of putting pressure on myself to doom more of these things. There's definitely a feeling of FOMO. So for example, when clubhouse came out, I was one of the lucky people.

I guess that got an invite very early on. I thought, right, I must join that. And then I remember spending a Saturday, just kind a listening into different conversations and then suddenly feeling overwhelmed, because if I was going to do that properly, I really needed to find time to do it. I was also a member of a mastermind coaching group that met three times a week on a needed can commit a minimum of five hours a week to do that and because I wasn't managing to do all of that, I started feeling like I was letting myself down, letting the group down and I was spending lots of money on that programme every month as well, so something needed to change.

I needed some kind of filter to work out. Why I really need to keep doing, and what I could stop doing while still remaining productive and effective, and serving my audience, you guys plus, of course, developing my content, and delivering my coaching, whether that be the one to one private coaching or one of my group coaching programme. So it's just a lot going on. And I'm not saying any of this because I'm looking for sympathy from you, but much more because you could probably relate to this as well.

And I just want to share with you as I come out the other side of that. Some of the things that I have done to simplify my life and hopefully you can apply some of this, too. Now you may have heard of the Four D's of Eisenhower's Square, where we talk about running tasks through this filter of The Four D’s. So ‘Can I ditch this task?’ And if the answer is ‘No,’ then you ask yourself. ‘Well, if I can't ditch it, can I delegate it to somebody else?’ And if your answer is ‘No,’ then you move on to the third thing, which is, ’Can I defer it?’

So can I do it on the latest date? And the answer's no to that. Then you say, OK, I have to do it. And I have always used those Four D’s to quickly assess tasks that I'm doing so that I don't get distracted by things I can quickly get done now, but they're not really important. This is all about separating the important from the urgent from the nice to do. Why taken those Four D's and I've added two more D’s an A to it, and I think that's really, really helped me.

So the A is automated. So I think when I look at tasks now, I always thinking, are there tools that I can automate. And a great example of that would be email automation for the systems that I used to run my business. For example, appointment setting, where  I use YouCanBook.me for my calendar system. But I've also is currently before on Kartra, which is the main CRM system that I use that also has a calendar booking system. That's a really good example of taking a task that can be quite time consuming because you compare diaries, and swap notes and all that kind of stuff and then just automated.

So that's my sort of fifth element to The Four D’s, which is the A for automate. But then the other two that I've been using recently which have helped me really flter things, is just to ask myself, ‘Does this task make a difference?’ That's number five. So when I look at moving my business forward, does this task make a difference and if the answer is? No, I really gotta ask why I'm doing it on the sixth day is, ‘Do I enjoy doing it?’ and if I don't enjoy doing it, but I've just been doing it because I've always done it, which is what so many of us do. Then I'm using that as a filter to say, ‘Do I really need to do this?’

So, using that filter of The Four D’s plus the A plus the two extra D's, the six things that I've done in my business over the last three months. There are simplifying things that are giving me renewed focus, that are making me feel like I'm in control of my day and my week without working crazy hours. Andi, I feel like I'm moving the dark forward, so I want to share with you what those six things are. And number one is the big game changer for me, it's such an obvious thing.

It's something I tell my clients to do it. It's something I work on with all my clients, but like many of us, I don't do it for myself. Enough, and that is reconnecting with your vision. So what that's enabled me to do is to figure out what I want to do over the next couple of years in terms of growth, in terms of focus, in terms of revenue, in terms of product development. And it's also enabled me to stop chasing things that others telling me that I should do or I should have.

There's a real danger that we look at, for example, our revenue figures every year and say I must grow by 20%, 30% next year, and we said that at a target. And then we just do that year in and year out, without ever stopping and saying, ‘Is that what I really want?’ So, I think reconnecting with my vision has been so powerful because it becomes a framework for making decisions about whether I do things or not. So I spend a day when we had some son sitting in the garden with my remarkable, and just using the template I teach.

I used my private clients using on myself to capture my vision and say OK, where I want to be in the next year on the next year after that. And that has really helped me apply the next five things. That's the number one thing that I've done, which is reconnect with my vision and stop chasing things that others are telling me I should be doing and actually start thinking what I really want to do that will make me happy, that I will enjoy on will give me the things that I need.

So the second thing I did, which sounds really counterintuitive given that I sell a group coaching programme, is that I put the pause on a time intensive mastermind group that I was part of. And this group is great and I'm still part of the group. I was part of like a premium part of the group but it was just taking a tonne of time, as I said earlier is taking me about six hours a week. It was costing me about £1000 a month and I was missing half sessions because I was busy with other stuff, and that was causing me stress and  I felt pressured, and there was a huge relief when I said that I need to put the pause button on this for the next few months to focus on a number of other things.

I simplifying my business. So that's the second thing I did, which was put pause on some of the external help that I was getting and actually just give me some time to implement what I've learned, and get my systems right, and make sure that I'm doing the things that I'm learning in a sort of best practise way. So, it was the second thing out of the six changes that I made it my business. The third thing I did was really focus my social media, and decided to focus on LinkedIn as my major social media platform because that's where my ideal target customer hangs out mostly. And I have spent lots of money, for example, on Facebook Ads, and I have tried to build a Facebook group, and some of you might even be part of that group and what's not closing any of that stuff down.

I'm certainly not spending any money or Facebook Ads at the moment, and it just isn't a major platform. And most of my clients tell me that they want to use Facebook for staying in touch with the family and looking at fluffy animals rather than being interrupted with business things. So, I decided to focus on LinkedIn as my major platform, and pause the effort I'm putting into Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Now that doesn't mean I'm not going to keep posting on there. I'm just not really putting the major effort.

When I spend time on social media now, it's always in LinkedIn, and it's not on those other platforms. So that's number three, which is really focused down on LinkedIn, and stop focusing on some of those other platforms. The fourth thing I decided to do, which will take more time actually, is to resurrect my YouTube channel. I have had a YouTube channel for awhile, and I have probably about 70 videos on there providing culture over the years, but I've never really promoted. I've never really thought about you know, the CEO aspect of it.

And let's face it, remember that YouTube is the second biggest search engine after Google. So it's a great platform, provided we think about SEO with the content that we're putting out, tagging and all that stuff. So I'm putting a renewed effort into that. And why am I doing that? Well, because if I go back to those six D’s, one of them is, ‘Do I enjoy doing it?’ And actually the two kind of things I really enjoyed doing most is recording podcasts and shooting videos, and I'm fortunate that in my home office I've got a studio set up.

So it's really easy now for me to record a video. And the more you practise getting in front of the camera, the more comfortable you get just like anything. So I'm going to be putting some renewed effort into that and that that's going to look like taking some of the guests podcasts that I shoot because we recorded video for them and putting them on to YouTube, creating smaller videos from them, plus creating some more YouTube content. So little pluck it. If you're not part of my YouTube channel, then please head over to youtube.com/RobertDaCosta or one word Robert D-A C-O-S-T-A. It's a very simple and you can hit subscribe.

You can look at some of the YouTube videos on there before. Obviously, I'm now going to try and grow that channel, and we'll be putting more focus on it. So those are the two kinds of social media things that I will really be focusing in on which is LinkedIn and YouTube. So that was my fourth strategy. My fourth thing that I'm cutting down on number five is stop being distracted by new shiny objects, and get a grip of hell FOMO. Oh, so like I mentioned earlier, clubhouse would be a good example of that where I jumped on board quite early on.

I probably could have put a big focus on that, and it's obviously a big grain channel. But what I didn't want to do is what I've done often in the past, which is kind of dabbled a bit but not really done it. And then you waste a lot of time, but you don't get any value from it. So I just made the decision that I'm not going to focus on clubhouse because it's just a distraction. It's a shining new object. It's the latest trendy thing, andI need to focus on the core things that will make a difference that I enjoy doing.

So, that's number five and then number six the last one, which is probably the biggest thing, is that I have worked with a number of different virtual assistants and copywriters, and I've tried to find some podcasts edited and show note writers and I've had varying degrees of success with that. But I've always had to be the project manager. There's pulling it all together that's chasing people out for content. On some of the time, I felt like it actually wasn't saving me a lot of time because the quality of the written work wasn't very good and I had to rewrite it, and I don't want to fall in that trap that a lot of my clients do who are not good delegate is because they think it's quicker to do it themselves.

But when it really is quicker to do it yourself, you need to do something about it. So change the structure of that, and thanks to the coaching programme that I'm part of they just taught me this concept of hiring a project manager and then hiring some delivery people. And so that's what we have been putting in place in the last few weeks. Really. So we now have a project manager that looks after all of the stuff that I just talked about. So they will take the raw footage for this podcast and they will make sure that it gets edited on.

They will make sure that the show notes get written and they will make sure that it gets uploaded to my podcast hosting platform, and then they'll make sure that some social media posts get written. So I've got a project manager, who is then managing some specialists who are managing my admin for, you know, reconfirming client employments, managing the creation of the podcast, both from an audio editing and a show note perspective, but also video editing, and also creating social media posts from the podcast, and from my weekly email, and then doing some admin like up loading the content to my platforms. And this is going to save me a tonne of time.

And I think I'm finally nailed this, like a lot of you who were listening. I don't aspire to grow my business by hiring lots of in-house staff, but having this project manager, who then manages these other people and make sure that not only things get done when they need to get done. But it's also the first kind of gatekeeper point for quality control is just changing my world completely. So if you're really busy, this is a really good structure that I would encourage you to do so if you're looking at outsourcing aspects of your work, the key person you need to find is the project manager who can be the shepherd to make sure that all the things that getting done, and also the gatekeeper to make sure that they're the first point of contact for quality control before get things get passed over to you.

So that's probably the biggie number six, which is hiring a different structure for my virtual assistant, and my content creation, and copyrighting, and video editing, and audio editing. So lots of stuff go into making these podcasts and getting them broadcast out and then shared out, as I'm sure you're more than aware with the marketing that you do. So those are the six things that I've done to simplify my life. So first of all, reconnected with my vision, really sat down and thought about what is that I want to achieve over the next year and in the next couple of years, break that down into quarters and then in two months, and then make sure that the things that I'm doing every day of driving towards delivering the month and in the quarter than the years goals, and not just doing things because people telling you that I should be doing them. The second thing I did was put a pause on the intensive mastermind group, but I'm still part of the group. I'm just not part of this premium programme that's giving me back about five hours a week, which is amazing and taking some stress away from me.

We shouldn't be doing things of it's causing us a lot of stress. The third thing was to focus just on LinkedIn. And the fourth thing was YouTube, and for my social media and stop really putting too much effort into Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. That doesn't mean I'm abandoning them. It just means I'm not getting a tonne of effort in. The fifth thing kind of aligned to that was to not be distracted by new shiny objects such as clubhouse. And then lastly, to put this new VA structure in place. And I already feel like a weight has come off my shoulders. I already feel like I'm going to be dropping less balls, and I already feel like I don't need to work 10 hour days and a Saturday in order to just keep up with the volume of activity that I had self-created. That actually wasn't always moving the needle forward. And that's one of the filters that we have to be asking ourselves, which is ‘Is this really driving my business forward?’ And if the answer is ‘Well, I'm not sure’ or ‘No’, then we really need to ask ourselves why we're doing it and remember doing something because you've always done it is not a good reason to keep doing it, especially if you can't measure the effectiveness and the ROI. Because at the end of the day, all of the things that I'm doing ,and all of the things that you do are there to win new business, and to be excellent at client delivery and to make sure that the product or service you're delivering is as premium as it possibly can be. So, that's why I wanted to talk about today. Like I say in the spirit of honesty I wanted to share with you.

Some of the stresses that I've been feeling over the last six months and how crazy life has been, and how that resulted in me kind of just stopping, taking stop, and saying there must be a better way on and what do I need to do to keep my sanity but also keep my business. So I hope that helps, I love you to share this episode if you found it useful, please do consider leaving a review, hit the subscribe button, and I will be back with you next week for our next guest interview.

But until then, have a brilliant riff of your week and a great weekend. And I will see you next Thursday!

    Rob Da Costa

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