Challenge: Design YOUR ideal working week!

by Peter Crocker Each year or so I embark on a lifestyle or productivity challenge. This time I’ll attempt to combine several life hacks into one golden week. I invite you to join me. In the past, I’ve attempted to go from night owl to early bird in seven days, battled email addiction, road-tested new week and new year’s resolutions, …

The power of less: Four things to stop

by Peter Crocker Since reading ‘The Power of Less’ by Leo Babauta, I’ve been intrigued by the idea of minimalism in business, and life. Its promise: Do less. Get more done. In music, design and architecture, minimalism is a method that strips things down to only their essential elements.

Do you have these four small business addictions?

by Peter Crocker In business, and life, we repeatedly make resolutions, take stock, turn over new leaves and pledge to give things up. Problem is, cold turkey never works (for me anyway!). So what to do? The answer, as best I can tell from dozens of failed attempts, is to skip the cold turkey and aim to turn ‘strict rules’ …

How to procrastinate: nine tips from a pro

by Peter Crocker Why is there such focus on how to be productive when many of us spend our time faffing around? There should be more tips on how to procrastinate. Here they are. Having studied my own habits – in between randomly browsing infographics, social media and videos of classic newsreader bloopers – I’ve compiled a set of sure-fire …

The soloist rollercoaster: Plotting my next mood

by Peter Crocker I wouldn’t describe myself as moody, however my non-scientific self-analysis reveals clear trends in the ups and downs of the small business journey. It seems we’re all in a spin cycle. Here’s how it works for me.

Challenge: From night owl to early bird in seven days

by Peter Crocker Benjamin Franklin famously stated, “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” This week I plan to test this theory for myself. Care to join me? All my life I’ve been a ‘night owl’. Whether it’s reading crime novels, cramming for exams, copywriting to hit deadlines or mindlessly watching crappy TV …

5 tips to staying motivated

by Steve Manning Working for myself and being able to do it from home is fantastic. But there are some downsides of course, and one of them is a lack of motivation on the odd occasion. The surf might be calling or the kids hollering, but you know you need to bunker down and keep working. After all, that thing …

Four common home-office interruptions

by Peter Crocker Why do you never hear this at the front door of an investment bank? “Yoo-hoo … anybody home? I was in the area, thought I’d pop in for a quick cuppa!” In our recent Performance, Productivity and Profit webinar (replay online), performance guru Andrew May cited findings that the average worker is interrupted every three-and-a-half minutes, and that the …

Half time! Now regroup, refocus and fire up!

by Peter Crocker Have some water, grab an orange and gather round. As the financial year draws to a close, it’s time for the half-time pep talk. Having been roped in to ref my daughter’s soccer games this year, I’ve been reacquainted with the coach’s half-time rev up.

Embrace the chaos? Or fight for control?

by Peter Crocker I expend a lot of energy trying to create order and calm – to-do lists, project plans and research. The reality is that any sense of order rarely lasts, and it’s getting worse. Despite dutifully updating my action list and the best intentions to stay focused, I find that only half of any day’s activity relates to …

When golden ducks kill the golden goose

by Peter Crocker Do you struggle to get runs on the board for your business under the relentless barrage of distractions? It happens to the very best. Captivated by the drama of fading veterans, floundering newcomers and stunning collapses, I’ve been watching far too much cricket this summer.

Note to self: Man up! Your regrets lie waiting.

by Peter Crocker There’s that moment after a funeral, usually sometime after the third wine, where friends ask one another “Am I doing enough with my life?” Most of us tend to avoid facing the reality of our mortality, but there’s nothing like death to crystalise the mind. The admission that we want something ‘more’ from our lives and careers …

Is it time to crack the WIP?

by Peter Crocker A mate of mine kicked off this year by escaping the office to develop new plans, products and growth strategies for his business. What happened was unexpected. Rather than return with a to-do list full of new actions and exciting plans, he came back with a to-do list shorter than when he left. After careful consideration over …

SMART goal setting: Making ‘New Week resolutions’

by Peter Crocker Over the summer, I love imagining grand visions for a glittering year ahead. But when it comes to developing the necessary action plans, I start to nod off. As we’ve talked about a lot, January is the ideal time to make resolutions, set goals and create marketing strategies for the year ahead. I usually do these things, …

Want simplicity? Be prepared to fight for it.

by Peter Crocker From product design and processes to marketing and language, small businesses need simplicity to prosper. So why is it so elusive? “Less is more”, “short and sweet” and “Keep it simple stupid (KISS)” are powerful philosophies. They sound straightforward, but are actually tricky for small businesses to attain. Things start off simple. Innovative products, start-up business models …

How do you get in the zone?

by Peter Crocker Elite sports people often have a routine they go through before a game to help them get ‘in the zone’ to perform at their best. This powerful concept can apply to business professionals too. Also referred to as being ‘in the flow’, ‘in the groove’, or simply ‘completely absorbed’, the concept has been studied by psychologists for …

Like to improve your productivity?

By Steve Manning Well, exercise could be the answer! We all know the physical benefits of regular exercise. It’s good for our heart, lungs, muscles…pretty much our whole body. But did you know that exercise can also help maximise our productivity at work? Generally speaking, we tend to feel great after a good dose of exercise. Our respiratory system is …

Seven things I’ve learnt from big business

by Peter Crocker It’s easy to criticise large institutions for their bureaucratic processes and customer service shortcomings. But, by examining what they do well, there’s a wealth of ideas for small businesses. Here are seven… 1. Be firm. Try negotiating the price of a Big Mac, or getting a cinema to change the time of a movie. It’s easy to …

Where do you do your best thinking?

by Steve Manning Ok, I’ll admit it. Some of my best ideas occur when I’m naked. Yes that’s right – the shower is the place where I often do my best thinking. And that got me thinking (in the shower of course); where do other soloists come up with their bright ideas and solutions to life’s problems? Is there a …

I’m still addicted to email. Are you?

by Peter Crocker In my earlier article Confessions from an email addict, I spilt the beans on my compulsive email behaviours. Despite some frank self talk and bold promises, I’m sorry to report that my email addiction continues. Behaviour such as checking email in the middle of the night and getting anxious if away from email may seem extreme to …

Confessions from an email addict

by Peter Crocker When I woke up the other morning at 3am to go to the bathroom, I thought it would be a routine pit stop. How wrong I was. Seeing the office door ajar, I quietly crept in and did the unthinkable. I woke up my peacefully slumbering computer and hit ‘Send/Receive’. I even glanced at my mobile phone …

Lose the busy competition

by Peter Crocker Meetings, deadlines, multi-tasking, smart phones, caffeine and chaos: it seems business is all about busyness. Ask people how they are and you’ll often get “Mate! Busy!” But why is busyness considered a virtue? Surely running around like a headless chook is a sign of failure? At the very least it’s a symptom of bad time management, a …

False economy: Beware the lure of the quickie

by Peter Crocker So your customer rings and says, “I need something fast, cheap and cheerful, nothing fancy. Could you have a quick look?” Don’t believe it. This is false economy and the result can be less than satisfying for all involved. Having done quite a few of these small ‘favour’ type jobs over the years, I can tell you …

Feeding the time-hungry beast

by Peter Crocker Recently, I was talking to a friend who described his excavation business as a ‘time-hungry beast’. It sits by his side all day, every day, at night and on weekends with its gaping mouth drooling for time and attention. But I realised “That’s life.” Wherever you turn there’s family, friends, customers, television, kids, telemarketers, books, chores, telephones, …

Everybody runs their own business

by Peter Crocker Whether you’re leading a team from the corner office, crafting clothes from the kitchen table, working in a shop or bringing up children, I hereby declare you a solo business owner. You are the CEO of You Inc. Life’s big challenge, just like in business, is turning the limited resources available into something we find rich and …

Is your business leaking money?

by Peter Crocker There are two basic ways to keep your money box full: 1. Make more money, 2. Spend less money. I’ve always thought maximising your income through professional development and better business operations is the best way to go, but losing site of costs can be, well, costly.

Have you eaten your frog today?

by Peter Crocker Here’s something that used to happen to me all the time, and it completely infuriated me… I’d head into my home office around 8.15am all ready to go. I’d pop back out and boil the kettle. Open up the email, check who won the cricket, drop by a few of my favourite sites. I’d re-boil the kettle. …

The soloist ‘away day’

by Peter Crocker If you’ve been around a corporate environment, you’ll be familiar with the concept of the ‘off site’, ‘away day’, ‘strategic review’, ‘conference’, or ‘executive retreat’. Apart from an excuse to over-indulge at the gala dinner, hug your work colleagues and sit on the photocopier, there’s a good reason all major companies do this – because it works.

Faster decision making by caring less

by Peter Crocker Soloists are generally 110% passionate about what they’re doing. Passion is a good thing, right? Maybe not when it comes to effective decision making.