Smart entrepreneurs Play CARDDS

What’s the deal with DIY?

Perfect entrepreneurs know, “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself”. But there is no such thing as a perfect entrepreneur, even you mam or sir. You probably know this, if you’re a perfectionist yourself. Perfectionism is not just having high standards. Often it means setting impossible standards because of your fear of what it will mean to release something to the world that’s not perfect.

Smart entrepreneurs know that sometimes you need to get out of your own way and you can’t do that if you’re a control freak. Aka the perfect entrepreneur. Let’s face it… if you’re a perfectionist, you like to be in control. Consider successful entrepreneurs like Richard Branson, Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah Winfrey and Arianna Huffington. All extremely intelligent and capable people, who at some point had to get out of their own way and let someone else take control of something.

Busy bees, these entrepreneurs

Every week, I meet business owners who tell me they’re super busy. They know what they need to do for their business but they’re too busy working in it to step back and take care of the bigger picture. Often the more staff they hire, the busier they get. They’re probably even high achievers and excellent at what they do.

Sadly, I’ve seen so many businesses die, even though the owner is great at what they do. You can’t build a great business if you keep ignoring the big picture. Many of these clever, talented, high achieving people kill their businesses or even more tragically burn themselves out.

Anything but not everything

You might believe to your core that if you want something done right, you need to do it yourself. But you need to consider something else. You might be capable of doing anything but you can’t do everything. Time will not allow, no matter how competent you are. You need to decide what’s crucial for your success and learn to let go of the rest.

I don’t care how capable you are, how sophisticated, how organised, how anal -you will need to decide where to focus your time and energy. If you want your organisation to grow beyond you or if you want to build something that’s valuable long after you die, you will need to stop doing everything yourself and concentrate on the essentials.

You’re not Superman. You’re not Wonder Woman. Even wearing your undies on the outside of your pants won’t make it so. Sooner of later, you’re going to feel overwhelmed and be reminded you are human. In most cases, it’s physically impossible for you to do everything. In an extreme case, you might even burn out (most likely for high achievers).

So, you probably get the point I am trying to make by now. You can’t do everything yourself nor do you need to. Work out what’s essential for you to do and those other things you need to get off your plate. Once you clear your plate (metaphorical) of the non-essentials, you make room for what matters.

Stop. Before you start working on anything that lands in your desk, remember, smart entrepreneurs play CARDDS. CARDDS is an acronym that stands for Complete, Automate, Redirect, Delegate, Dismiss and Schedule. These are the CARDDS smart entrepreneurs play to help them win the day.

Clear your plate with CARDDS

CARDDS is an acronym to help you remember your options when dealing with anything incoming that lands on your desk, in your tray, in your email inbox or otherwise gets your attention as something that should be done.

Notice I used the phrase should be done, instead of needs to be done. Other people’s expectations can often be a trap when we’re deciding how to best prioritise our time. When you use the CARDDS acronym, remember to make these decisions based on your own priorities and needs, rather than someone else’s “shoulds” and expectations!


How long will it take you to complete this task?

If it’s important and can be completed in under 2 minutes, go ahead and do it. Make sure it’s not interrupting your most important work when you do it though. Don’t even give these things your attention until you have enough time to complete these small tasks and organise the bigger ones.


How often will you need to complete this same task?

Automate any action you will need to repeat frequently. Consider how long it will take each time you stop to repeat this task compared to automating it once. Unless you’re a robot, doing mindless repetitive tasks is not the best use of your time.


Does fulfilling this request contribute to your core business?

Redirect anything that distracts you and your colleagues from fulfilling your core business. A simple and polite redirect is just a matter of pointing someone to a helpful source or someone who is better suited to help them, than you. You’re trying to be helpful but make it clear this is not your responsibility.

Important: Do not treat this as a recommendation or endorsement. If you recommend someone, you may end up being held partially responsible for your endorsement -even though you have no control over the outcome. So you might just subtly suggest by saying, “Have you tried…” and leave it at that.


What if no one else can help but this is still not your core business?

Nothing becomes your responsibility by default. It is not your fault or your problem if no one else can help, unless this request directly contributes to your core business. Sometimes you will need to say a polite but firm. “No”. Say no to anything that is unimportant. Remember your core business, your most important work and who you work for are paramount. Everything else detracts from this focus and should be dismissed.


Is this your core business but not your own responsibility (or strength)?

Delegate anything that contributes to your core business but is not your personal responsibility (or strength). Ensure whoever you’re delegating to has the appropriate skills, confidence and authority to take care of the assigned task or project. Before you delegate, make sure you consider if this assignment will be the best use of this person’s time. Do not delegate anything if it will detract from this person’s contribution to your core business.


Do you need to bite the bullet and do something yourself? If it is going to take longer than 2 minutes, remember, you may not need to do it right now. Schedule an appropriate time in your calendar and treat it as though you would any other commitment. Make sure you stick to it.

What’s the best use of your time?

Stop trying to be the perfect entrepreneur. Think of yourself as a conductor, curator or someone else who concerns themselves with the big picture. Your most important role as an entrepreneur is to make sure all of the parts of your business work well together. That’s essential if you want to make something great.

Next time an email hits your inbox, a piece of paper lands on your desk or a client makes a request, pause. You need to decide which of these incoming requests is the highest and most valuable use of your time.

Play your CARDDS to make sure you clear your plate of anything that distracts you. Remember there are many options to get back in control of your time and work on what’s most important.

Sharpen your soft skills

6 work skills for your future

Soft skills, which have lasted for centuries, will continue to be essential in the new world of work. Instead of looking at what’s changing, maybe we need to look at what doesn’t change.

Soft skills are basically the skills that make us most human. They’re not technical skills that we can learn on the job. In fact, they’re far more complex and difficult to learn than hard or technical skills. I believe that’s what makes them infinitely more valuable.

Let kids play

According to Tynker, a website dedicated to teaching kids to code, 60 million kids have signed up worldwide. It’s great that we’re teaching kids hard skills, however, I’m worried we are neglecting the human side. What happened to letting kids be kids? Are we teaching them to be more like robots than people?

I recall as kids we used to play outside, sometimes in the heat and the cold. Occasionally we were bitten by something, burned, grazed or the one that hurt most -had our heart broken by that kid we had a crush on. We would build things, have petty fights, form alliances and talk about our crazy dreams. We learned about others. Our experiences taught us who we were too.

What will never change?

Our experiences might have been primitive as kids but funny enough, they’re similar as adults. We all have physical and emotional scars that accumulate over time. People still make irrational decisions based on emotion. None of us have let go of our primitive reptilian brain, which controls the most basic of our survival needs. People are people -and always will be.

Jeff Bezos, Amazon Founder and CEO is famous for his long term approach to building his business. He once remarked that people so often ask the question, “What’s going to happen in the next 10 years?” But few ask the question, “What’s not going to change in the next 10 years?” It is this second question around which Bezos has built his company. In my opinion, soft skills have barely changed in the last 1,000 years. I’ll argue it’s unlikely those same skills will change in the next 100 years either.

“You can build a business strategy around the things that are stable in time.”

Jeff Bezos, Amazon Founder and CEO

Our changing environment

So, for all the hype of how the world is changing, it’s probably not changing as much as we think. For example, I have explored the issue of poor focus previously but people have always had limited attention.

People are still people

Shop signs were invented to attract customers, who might have been walking past. Newspaper headlines were designed to get readers’ limited attention. Limited attention spans have always been our thing but now they’re being exploited in high volume.

In this regard, our behaviour hasn’t changed. What’s changed is the overwhelming demands and incoming stimuli competing for our attention. Our environment has changed dramatically but not our underlying behaviour for how we deal with that.

Below are some of the soft skills that will help you in the new world of work and long into the future.


People have more distractions and less time to think now. We’re learning how to live in a world with constant stimuli. Even when we participate in traditionally passive activities like walking, jogging or watering the garden, we can take our music with us, listen to a podcast or radio. Very few people give themselves time to think, reflect and become self aware.

Self Awareness is so important because it’s not just our life experiences that matter but what we learn about ourselves upon reflection. Following some of my toughest life experiences, I have been able to reflect and learn so much about myself and what I am capable of.

“What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us.”

Henry David Thoreau, American Author


We’re living through the information age and knowledge is available in abundance. Creativity and original thought is in much shorter supply than information but these things are essential to solve new problems and challenges.

The skills and discipline you require to work on specific tasks differ from those needed for creativity. There is a time for completing tasks, however, there is an equally important need for creativity. You can stand out in the new world of work if you know how to create and allow yourself space to be creative.


Interpersonal communication is a skill that I believe is in rapid decline. I believe many people are starting to understand the limits of social media, texting, 10 second videos and other new forms of ‘communication’. If you can learn to grasp interpersonal communication skills, you will have an advantage when it comes to reading facial expressions, body language, tonality, symbols and more.

So little of what’s being said is ever just words. Communication has so much more meaning than we can express in text and emojis. Communication skills will be an asset in the new world of work.


Empathy is about understanding someone else’s point of view and how they feel. In the new world of work, we have a melting pot of physical traits, nationalities, religions, cultures, classes, sexualities, political persuasions and viewpoints.

Understanding that different people, in different circumstances, have different motivations will be essential if you want to lead a team today and in the future.

Decision making

Information overload sometimes halts our decisions because we have too many options to process sensibly. When you know how to seek, filter, organise and prioritise incoming information and make a decision, you will stand ahead of your competition.

First, you need to know which decisions are the most important ones to make, so you don’t suffer from decision fatigue before you get to the most important ones.

Then, you will ideally make the right decision -although that will depend on your options, the information you have at your disposal and the urgency of the decision. Still, if you have a process and the skills required to make sense of information in todays’ world, you will stand out.


We live and work in an over-communicated, over-stimulated and super-busy world. Effective multi-tasking is a myth, yet 9 out of 10 job ads seem to request someone who can work in a fast paced environment and is a ‘good multi-tasker’. There’s no such thing. Focus is a skill that’s becoming rare.

In future, as always, focus will be essential to finish tasks, complete projects and achieve goals. Anyone who possesses the skill to focus will be able to command their own time better and lead teams to do the same.

“Embrace your imperfections. We are not machines.”

Lorin Morgan-Richards, Children’s Author

Soft skills for tomorrow

My list above is by no means exhaustive. I’m sure you can think of a few more soft skills, which will serve us well long into the future. In an age when many people fear a robot might take their job, there is only one way to stand out.

This is not a case of, “If you can’t beat them, join them”. We can’t stop robots from taking our jobs by becoming more robot like. The only way we can win in future is to develop soft skills and traits that make us human. These are the skills machines are trying to replace but they’re still a long way from that day.

SMART Goals Are Failing You

Successful people know the secret

Do you set SMART Goals? Have you ever missed a goal that you worked on so hard, for so long? Don’t worry. You’re not alone. I want you to know that missing your target was not your fault. In fact, I want you to realise you never failed at all.

SMART Goals have been failing you!

What are SMART Goals?

I’ll quickly explain what they are… George T. Doran first wrote about SMART Goals in 1981. SMART stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic and
  • Time-bound.

What do you want?

I want you to pause for just a moment and ask yourself:

  • Would you like to turn your dreams into goals?
  • Do you want to be successful?
  • Would you like to set goals that motivate you?
  • Do you want a clear roadmap to get you there?

If you answered yes to any of those, don’t worry, you’re not alone. You’re still reading, so I’m guessing you want to be successful but there’s something holding you back. Does this sound like you?

Are you ready to set your SMARTEST Goals Ever? Click here if you’re ready.

Don’t worry. By the time you finish reading, you’ll be less than 1 hour away from setting your SMARTEST Goals EVER.

I’ll help you turn your dreams into goals and layout a clear roadmap for your success. Does that sound good?

My Story

Hi, my name is Danny. A few years ago, I had the same struggles as most people when it came to achieving my goals. I would always set goals using this same old formula. Sometimes I was successful and sometimes not.

Where did it all start?

I owed around two thirds of my annual income at my worst point. It was my own personal financial hell. Let’s rewind. My debt started at a modest $200, when I first used my credit card.

10 years later, my personal debt had multiplied, over and over.

In fact, each time I maxed out my credit card, the bank would send me another invitation to increase my credit limit. I accepted.

Then I got 2 credit cards because I wanted 1 for business expenses. Unfortunately, while my business was profitable, cash flow was killing me. I never had quite enough cash in the bank to clear my credit card.

My crazy debt

Then, I began unpaid training for my next job. For 8 months,

I had to sit on my credit card, as I didn’t have an income. But it didn’t end there, of course my debt followed me and just grew bigger, like a balloon.

I purchased a car using something called salary sacrifice, which meant I could legally pay off my vehicle and fuel expenses before the government took tax. I thought this was so clever. Well it was, until…

I changed jobs and in my new job, I couldn’t salary sacrifice any more. So, that meant my salary sacrifice agreement became a lease any my lease blew up like a balloon. Unlike a normal car loan, paying off a lease like this means you pay years of interest upfront. I couldn’t even pay it off early.

After 3 years of making payments on my car, I still owed more than the original purchase price of my car.

I was in my own financial hell

Enough was enough. I was sick of my debt. The time had come for me to make a better plan.

As far as I was concerned, I was in my own financial hell. I had piled up just as much guilt for myself, about my situation, as I had debt.

Just so you know, I had wanted to pay this debt off for a long time. I was in a world of pain and I wanted this debt gone. I wanted to feel proud of where I was in my life. Many times before I set a goal to clear my debt. Each time I had a specific, measurable, achievable target and a clear deadline. I failed, again and again.

I realised I wasn’t failing. So many experts told me that all I needed to be successful was the SMART formula. They were wrong. It wasn’t enough to have SMART Goals.

I knew what I wanted. I could picture it clearly in my mind. I had no problem working out what I wanted but I was struggling with how to get there.

Climbing out of hell

That’s when it hit me. I realised I loved the idea of reaching my goal but I wasn’t clear about the process. The parts I was clear about, I didn’t like. I had to find a way to love the process if I was going to achieve my goal.

In a movie Any Given Sunday, Al Pacino delivers a powerful speech to a football team. In it, he delivers one of my favourite lines. His team is losing so badly, Pacino describes it as being in hell. The following quote is from his speech.

“We can stay here and get the sh*t kicked out of us or we can fight our way back into the light. We can climb out of hell, one inch at a time.”

Al Pacino, Any Given Sunday

The first time I heard that speech, I thought wow. Anything is possible if you break it down into a step-by-step plan.

I had to stop thinking of the road ahead in miles and start thinking in inches. I was sure I could jump from one stepping stone to another, if they were only a few inches apart.

I created a roadmap, which helped me clarify my goals, break them down into small, bite sized pieces, and take action on them. I read dozens of books, took courses and listened to people who I knew were successful. I took action and tested a lot of what I learned. I kept what worked, tweaked it for my own needs and threw out the rest.

SMART goals just aren’t enough

I could see how much time I needed to pay off my debt and I had a clear action plan to make it happen. I set goals but I learned as much about missing my goals, as I did about achieving them.

Why did I miss my goals? Because SMART goals were only part of the truth. Management gurus kept repeating the same formula, over and over, but something was missing.

Why then, when I was failing, did people drag me through that same tired old process for setting goals?

Perhaps the managers and the people I sought advice from were happy where I was. Maybe the other things I discovered actually were a secret. Maybe they didn’t realised it was possible to achieve goals and find fulfilment, all in the same ‘brush stroke’. I’m not sure.

Why do people keep pushing SMART goals?

Most big companies want you to set goals and they are happy for you to think, as long as you stay within the box they designed for you. They’re afraid you might find out there’s life beyond those 4 walls. You might find work that’s more fulfilling than what you do now.

They run the risk that you could stop working on what they want and start working on what you want instead.

Once I added a few missing ingredients to my own goals, I quickly paid off my debt. Within 2 years, I achieve 2 more BIG life goals. I married my beautiful wife and we saved a house deposit. Less than a year later, we moved into our dream home. I was ticking off goals faster than I ever thought possible.

I want to share what I know, so people like you can get what you want. That’s why I created my Goal Setting Masterclass.

Who else did this help?

My goal setting techniques worked for some other people I know too. One retiree hand wrote a testimonial for me because she wanted more out of life and I helped her do that.

A personal trainer I know told me that since he and his family have used the techniques I taught to achieve their goals AND free up time. How is that possible? Because they have laser like focus on the things that will help them achieve their goals and they say NO to everything else.

Once I had the manager of a local heritage listed function centre approach me 1 full year after my workshop. She explained how I helped her prioritise an extremely busy workday. She still uses what I taught her every day.

How else did this help me?

Not only did setting goals start to make me more successful but I was finding greater fulfilment.

I was able to prioritise and focus more intently in what I was doing. Living life on purpose.

That’s exactly why I created my Goal Setting Masterclass, so I could share what I learned with others and help them get more out of life.

It took over 100 hours to create this course

You don’t need to spend 100+ hours reading books

It took me months of 5am starts (I do this before my day job) to put the content together for this course. Not to mention the dozens of books I read, so I could find and test the best content. I spent hundreds of dollars on books and courses, and hundreds of hours reading them.

My local bookshop owner ordered some of these books from overseas, even finding some out of print books.

It was all worth it because now you get to take my course, Goal Setting Masterclass, which selects the best bits. You don’t need to invest hundreds of hours in studying because I have already done this for you.

My course takes less than 60 minutes

Now you can take this course in less than one hour and be well on your way to achieving your goals. I have made the content in this course clear and concise, so instead of investing all of that extra time reading or studying, you can get to work on your goals right away!

Why take my Goal Setting Masterclass?

Here are just some of the benefits you will get when you take my course:

  • Define 7 Steps to Master Your Time, so you know what you need to work on to get back in control of your day
  • Set Your SMARTEST Goals and find 3 secrets hidden from the SMART formula
  • Discover the 6 A’s of Goal Setting, which will increase your chances of success
  • Define Your Success, so you can be crystal clear on what you want and go after it
  • Use the Power of Visualisation, so you can start building your dream in your mind, even before it’s real
  • Start Living on Purpose, so you know what to prioritise and where to focus

What do my clients say?

Don’t just take my work for it. Here’s what others are saying:

” [Danny Hile’s Goal Setting Masterclass] course so far is very thought provoking. And I am now ready to take some action.”

Tony Heywood, Director at Optimal Bookkeeping

“[Danny Hile’s Goal Setting Masterclass has] Great content ! I incite the teacher to launch a course video about the whole content of his book !”

Vay Ross, Udemy Student

“Thanks Danny for your [Goal Setting] Masterclass. I am grateful to have come away inspired & looking forward to making actions on my goals.”

Michael Cluff, Sales Team Leader

Would you like to get access to my Goal Setting Masterclass? Do you want access to:

  • My 10 video lectures?
  • Full slide deck to download or print?
  • 1 page goal setting template? AND
  • Bonus first 3 chapters from my book?

Well, for less than the cost of a single cheap pub or fast food meal, you can. I know I said it’s my duty to share what I know but if I don’t charge you a small amount, you won’t value it. If you don’t value it, you might not follow the plan.

Imagine how much more this course is actually worth, if it helps you finally achieve your BIG life goals.

What’s the value of this course?

Now, it would be impossible to show you ALL of the benefits of taking my Goal Setting Masterclass right here but I want to show you some of the things you will experience once you’re on the inside.

Of course you’ll get all of the video lectures and my complete course. Plus, you will receive a one page goal setting template, a chapter from my book AND lifetime access to me -so you can ask any questions you want about my course and I will answer.

A good coach could cost you $2,000 or more. If you read the DOZENS of books I have about goal setting and achievement, each book would cost about $25. Even similar courses to this one cost $200 or more.

Okay, but what’s the price?

  • If ALL this helped you do, was achieve your financial goals, would it be worth it?
  • If ALL this course did, was help you with your personal health and fitness, would that be worth it?
  • If you ONLY became more successful in your career, would it be worth investing the small fee to take this course?

Yes, it would… but the step-by-step process I share in this course is universal. You can improve ANY area of your life you really want to by setting effective goals and doing the work it takes to get there.

You can take this course right now for $24.95. Get started.

PLUS, you get a 30 day money back guarantee. If you’re not happy with the course, Udemy will refund your money -as long as you let them know within 30 days.

Buy this course now because I’m not sure how long I can keep it at this price. It’s going to go up in price soon.

So, click on the button below. You will go to my course on Udemy, where you will be able to purchase my course and start watching it instantly. Don’t put it off. Start working on your biggest goals today.

    P.S. This is not for everyone BUT if you’re a motivated person who wants to get the job done -this is for you.

    Is ‘Hustle Culture’ killing entrepreneurs?

    Is ‘hustle culture’ killing entrepreneurs? Ask any self employed person how they’re doing and you will usually get a reply, “I’ve been so busy”. If you were to go into their workplace for a day and observe them, you would probably find that’s true. Everyone is busy.

    Culture of busyness and hustle
    Hustle is the latest buzz word.

    How many of those projects and tasks, that entrepreneurs busy themselves with, really propel the business forward? We have a new breed of gurus telling new entrepreneurs that the secret to success is hustle. So it seems success can then be measured by the long hours you spend in the office. Lack of sleep, poor physical and mental health and social isolation can now be warn like badges of honour.

    There’s only one problem with this approach. It’s bullshit. Do you think the only difference between you and the billionaire, Richard Branson, is that you worked 12 hours each day and he worked 13? Do you think if you sleep less, skip exercise, eat fast food and stay late at the office you’re going to be successful?

    High Achievers are Most at Risk

    I know you probably think I’m talking about someone else. You’re an extremely capable person and you have got this covered. Well, if you’re driven and successful, I am talking to you. High achievers like to think they’re immune to burnout but in reality, they’re often the ones most at risk.

    Look, a Unicorn!

    In fact, many of us look at Silicon Valley only see the unicorns (privately held companies valued at over $1 Billion). But working in technology start-ups is not all beer and skittles. First, unicorns are the exception to the rule. More companies will fail than those that succeed. Second, many workers in these large tech companies report they are suffering extremely high rates of job burnout.

    In fact, ‘Blind’, is an anonymous social app for tech employees. They conducted a survey with 11,487 participants, who were asked, “Are you currently suffering job burnout?” 65% of respondents from Expedia were. 60.4% at Snapchat, 60.16% at Lyft, 59.53% at Amazon, 57.94% at Airbnb and 57.46% at Apple, just to name a few. Yep, that’s right. The beer and skittles are just to keep people at work longer.

    Burnout Among Entrepreneurs

    Burnout is not just a problem in Silicon Valley. Researchers recently conducted a survey of 326 entrepreneurs (95.6% had fewer than 250 employees), who were members if Business Networking International (BNI). They wanted to find out what makes entrepreneurs burnout. 25% of those surveyed replied that they felt moderately burned out, 3% felt strongly burned out. So, over one quarter of entrepreneurs are burning out at some level. Those findings were published in Harvard Business Review.

    If you’re an entrepreneur you need to ask yourself, “How long can my business keep running like it is? How long could my business survive without me?” They’re important questions. After all, what would happen to your business tomorrow if you suddenly had a heart attack? What would happen if your circumstances changed and you were required to take care of a sick family member? Who will carry on your important work tomorrow if you cannot?

    Who Will Drive Your Business?

    I’ll let you in on a little secret. Looking after yourself is just good business. If you work alone, chances are you are the engine that drives your business. If you lead a team, good leadership needs to start with you. If you want your team to show up for work fresh, enthusiastic, focused, energetic and motivated -you need to lead the way.

    What’s Your Highest Value Contribution?

    Most entrepreneurs I know start a business because they have something uniquely valuable to offer. Do you? For an individual, I believe that’s where passion, ability and reward come together. I like to think of the point where they intersect as your ‘highest value contribution’. It’s the most valuable thing you can do with your time.

    Daniel Priestley introduced me to the idea that every one of us has a unique backstory in his book, Key Person of Influence. We each have a unique set of skills and experiences. In other words, the thing that makes your business or your workplace so special is you… and “there’s no one you-er that you” (thanks YOUI).

    Busyness is a Trap

    So, what happens to your firm if you’re always busy, responding to incoming demands on your time? You might be failing to serve clients properly or provide the value you promised. If you’re not making deliberate decisions about how to invest your time, you might not be working on the right things. In short, you might not be making your ‘highest value contribution’.

    Being busy can make you feel stressed, overwhelmed and put you at risk of burnout too. Welcome to the world of information overload, 24/7 contact, anxiety, technology induced attention deficit disorder and the drugs we can be subscribed to fix them all.

    Burning Out

    Carter (Psychology Today, 2013) listed the symptoms of physical and emotional burnout including chronic fatigue, insomnia, impaired concentration, physical symptoms, poor immune system, lost appetite, anxiety, depression and anger. If you are constantly ‘under the pump’ at work, you might already have some of these symptoms. It can happen slowly, over several years. It’s like a snowball, rolling down a hill, getting bigger as it goes.

    Many of these symptoms are linked too. I know when I haven’t slept well, I eat poorly (to try and get some energy). I have a poor immune system when I get really fatigued. When I get really fatigued, I get in terrible moods. My wife can tell you!

    Arianna Huffington wrote a brilliant book called The Sleep Revolution. I must admit, I wasn’t that excited by the title but the book was fascinating and I read it cover to cover. Huffington explores the science of sleep and details how it can enhance our mood, cognitive ability, immune system and energy levels. My key takeaway from this book was, if you want to make your best decisions, you need a good night’s sleep.

    Intelligence and Success

    I know what you’re thinking. “I can handle this. I’m a capable person.” But intelligence doesn’t make you immune to sleep deprivation or even burnout. Nor does success. Trust me. There’s a long list of extremely successful rock stars, actors, entrepreneurs, professionals, tradies and more who experience burnout.

    In my own roles, I have shown extreme signs of burning out. In a previous corporate role I wasn’t sleeping enough, not spending any time with my family or friends, had a poor diet and wasn’t exercising. In the end, the most telling sign was me becoming angry for no particular reason.

    I have seen signs of burnout in others too. From mild cases of stress or anxiety, through to people quitting their work they do or even taking their own life, even when they were at the top of their game. Sometimes, something can happen that’s not so extreme, like someone quitting their job or business.

    Let’s Get Real

    Pause for a moment and ask yourself a few questions, so we can put things in perspective:

    • How will I make great decisions if I’m always tired?
    • What if I never have a holiday again and I burnout?
    • What if I don’t take care of myself and I become too ill to work?
    • What does the future of my business look like without me?

    Let’s not pretend you or your business are indestructible. In layman’s terms, if any of these things happened, your business or ‘side hustle’ would be up ship creek (yes, SHIP CREEK!). Unless of course, you have a great backup plan. And if you do, good for you -you can already afford to take a break.

    Let’s Talk Work Life Sustainability

    I believe we need to start talking about ‘work life sustainability’ because too many people view ‘work life balance’ in the extreme. Many employers shy away from the concept of balance because it sounds too much like leisure. What if we see this for what it is? If we don’t address this as entrepreneurs we might be risking our health, our sanity, our most valuable employees, our most important work, our income and indeed all of the rewards that come from doing what we love. We can’t keep going like that.

    Write goals and keep them close

    Do you write goals?

    If you don’t write goals, how will you know where you’re going?

    My wife and I were moving house a couple of weeks ago. Our lives were in transition for a few days, living from tarp like bags and boxes with all of our worldly possessions. In our living room, we sold almost every piece of furniture not screwed down.

    In the end, we would move into our new house. So, the tiredness, inconvenience and feeling of homelessness while we were moving would all pay off. We could see the pot of fruit loops at the end of the rainbow.

    One morning when we had our things packed up ready to go, I was getting ready for work. I started to panic that I was running late.

    Clocks keep you on time

    I looked up where our vintage clock previously sat on he bookshelf and it was gone. Looking around for the smaller clock we kept on the hall stand, that had been packed up too. I couldn’t even see the bottom right corner of the TV from where I was getting ready because we had sold the stand right from underneath it. “How would I know if I was early or late?” I thought to myself.

    My clock usually kept me on time. I knew how long I had before work and what time I had to leave. I knew the ideal time to have a shower, sip of my coffee and a shave. Even the ideal time to brush my teeth and put my shoes on. But on this day I felt a bit lost.

    I had so many unknowns. Would I get to work on time? Did I have enough time to eat breakfast at home? Could I watch Home and Away re-runs before work or would I have to record them? I’m just kidding. I don’t watch Home and Away. My wife watches it. No, really.

    Anyway… I was a bit lost that morning, until I found my watch. My feelings of panic started to disappear as soon as I could see I was on time. Mini crisis averted. I got to work on time but I probably would have struggled if I didn’t find my watch.

    Calendars mark important dates

    When I arrived at work that day, I checked my calendar to remind myself of any upcoming meetings. I keep my calendar close at hand (actually, I use a smartphone calendar) and set reminders to keep me on track.

    Imagine if I wrote dozens of my most important appointments for the year in a paper diary and then stuffed it down in a drawer for the next 12 months. What are the chances I would be on time for every appointment? Probably not that great. In some cases, I would probably forget who I was meeting, where I was meeting them and the purpose of the meeting.

    Imagine if we did the same thing with our goals. Just wrote them down and stuffed them in a folder or drawer for the year. Oh wait -most people do! Or worse still, they don’t write goals in the first place. Following are a few reasons your should write goals and keep them handy to refer back to.

    Why you need to write goals

    There are many reasons to write goals, instead of just keeping them in your head. Aim, progress, accuracy and accountability are a few that come to mind.

    Write goals to clarify

    When you write goals, you clarify exactly what your target is and at what point in time you expect to make it. Not only does the end point become clear but so does the path to get you there.

    Write goals to measure

    Once you have defined your end point, you can also set milestones along the way. Instead of waiting until the deadline for a major goal, you can check your progress along the way against these smaller steps. Think about the purpose of the minutes and seconds hands on a clock (although there are possibly many). Most of your appointments might be on the hour, however, if you check the minutes and seconds hands before the appointment you will know if you’re on track.

    Write goals for accuracy

    Accuracy improves when you write goals. If you don’t write goals, it’s too easy to shift the goal posts depending on your mood or what you think at the time is realistic. If you allow other people to take control and set your goals, (a manager for example) they will probably shift the goal posts on you too. I remember once that I doubled the sales required according to one of my sales targets. But instead of being praised or rewarded, one of my managers decided the original target was no longer good enough. So, in their eyes I failed. Imagine how I felt. How could I ever be successful if the goal posts would shift every time I kicked a goal?

    Write goals for accountability

    Take ownership of your goals. You improve your chances of success when you accept responsibility for your goals and hold yourself accountable for success or failure. Set a big goal but one that’s actionable. Set a goal that’s within your control.

    Take ownership

    Of all the reasons for getting your goals on paper, accepting ownership of end results is the most important. You will always face external forces. Some will set you back and some will push you forward but they will often be beyond your control. Writing your goals is the first step to taking responsibility for what happens to you. There are some things you can control, so focus on those.

    “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are” -Theodore Roosevelt.

    Some people believe in fate. That outcomes can’t be altered. Chances are, if you’re not setting goals, you’re not leaving it up to fate. Instead, you’re falling into someone else’s plan. What someone else wants to happen, is not necessarily what is meant to happen.

    Write goals. Keep them close.


      Business Meeting Management

      Business meeting management is about steering your meetings towards the desired outcomes, in a timely manner. Most daily and weekly catch ups are a string of clichés, bad boss jokes and hardly a motivating way to start the day. No offence to my current boss of course, whose jokes are always on point!

      Before every business meeting, management should ask, “Why is this meeting necessary?”, “Who needs to be at this meeting?” and, “What’s the best way to conduct this meeting?” Please don’t schedule a meeting to repeat the numbers your team already has access to. Worse still, don’t just rattle of a bunch of cliché phrases and sayings. Remember, there’s actually no such thing as 110%… so just stop it!

      Meetings are not always the best approach. Part of effective business meeting management is deciding whether a meeting is even required. Eliminate unnecessary meetings if you think another approach is more suitable. Is there a way your team can work together on a document or project without being in the same room at the same time? Perhaps email, intranet, a conference call or web conference might be suitable alternatives to a physical meeting.

      Consider the cost of a meeting before it starts. What does it cost in lost wages for each attendee? What does it cost in lost productivity? Does the benefit of this meeting outweigh the expense?

      If you catch yourself using phrases like “catch up”, “it would be nice” or “we haven’t had one for a while”, stop and think. Is this meeting really the best use of our time as a team? It might be nice to catch up but what’s the specific purpose of this meeting?

      Be clear. Specify your meeting’s objectives. Here are a few business meeting management tips, so you get the most out of your next team catch up:

      Before your business meeting

      • Management should clarify the meeting’s purpose
      • Specify who needs to attend and who does not
      • Specify each outcome you would like to achieve
      • Prioritise your single most important outcome
      • Establish a brief agenda ahead of your meeting
      • Circulate the agenda, so attendees can start thinking about each point

      During your meeting

      • Determine which actions are required following your meeting
      • Assign responsibility to specific attendees for follow up actions
      • Ask if additional resources are required
      • Decide how and when to check progress or collect feedback
      • Schedule a follow up meeting time and date immediately

      Set a clear start and end time for your meetings. If another attendee wants to present during your meeting, you should ask how much time they require. If they need too much time, explain their topic might be a subject for another meeting. If you agree to let them present, hold them accountable to the time they asked for.

      You need to remember your time and that of your attendees is valuable. Everyone in your team plays a role and you’re asking them to take time out to attend. Business meeting management is about steering your meetings towards the desired outcomes, in a timely manner. Make sure you’re not wasting your team’s most valuable resource; time.