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Working for yourself: maintaining focus, building resilience

Archived content

This page has been archived because it is no longer current information but is still relevant, or it is current but over 12 months old
  • Publish date: 01 October 2014
  • Archived on: 11 February 2016

One of the seminars at September's Setting Up in Practice event (3 September 2014), hosted by Olivia Landsberg, was Working for yourself: maintaining focus, building resilience. This article provides the key ideas for those who weren’t able to attend this seminar.

The event explored 3 key subject areas:

  • reframing what marketing means to you;
  • scheduling time for "important but not urgent" tasks; and
  • creating your own informal advisory board.

Marketing, regulatory issues and work-life balance are common concerns for members. The context for the seminar was to regard these not as problems but as a way of thinking. A resilient mind comes from being aware of as well as challenging our assumptions and understanding that they are different from facts.

That's easy to say, but, for example, look at marketing. Many people regard it as hard, manipulative or asking for favours. Others regard themselves as "not a marketing person". These are all assumptions – justifications to avoid the risk of rejection or taking action. So rather than view it as marketing, why not describe it as something that you actually feel engaged with – a phrase that works for you, such as:

  • talking to people;
  • listening to people/understanding issues;
  • implementing a marketing strategy;
  • sharing information;
  • helping people be tax efficient; and
  • providing for my kids.

Whatever you call it, consider that you are not asking for clients, you are setting up conversations.

The session also provided practical exercises based around Stephen R Covey's Time Management Matrix. You can do this exercise at home. Given that a week comprises of 168 hours, write down all the activities you do and how long you spend doing them. Divide them in to four kinds of activities:

  • urgent and important eg, taking Harry to football, visiting a sick relative, crises, firefighting;
  • not urgent but important eg, planning, relationship building, marketing, self-care including sleep;
  • urgent, but not important eg, other people's demands, some emails, telephone conversations and meetings; and
  • not urgent and not important eg, worrying, procrastinating, surfing the internet, watching TV.

Once it totals 168 hours, redo the list, but think about how your ideal productive and balanced life would look like. Remember to also schedule time for the "not urgent but important tasks".

The third subject area was around creating your own support network. Again, if you don't like the title, call it something else, such as your advisory board or support team. Having trusted people on hand is essential to your mental and professional health – whether it’s to assist you with generating new business, listen to you, brainstorm with you or help you feel less alone. A mentor is also recommended – someone who has already been through what you are facing and can advise on some of the challenges and logistics. Why not draw up your advisory board list and nurture those relationships?

By implementing these three ideas, you'll be well on your way to creating a genuinely fulfilling practice.

October 2014