Ep 67: My Top 10 Tips to Improve Performance
Ep 67: My Top 10 Tips to Improve Performance
In this week’s episode, we’re going to be looking at my top 10 tips for better performance. This is something that has really come about after people asked me what I do in my daily routine. Things that I do, things that I take, any rituals that I have. And I just wanted to share some of the things that I’ve been trying out and some of the results that I’ve achieved. I always like to focus on how I move my energy forward, how I build a better day and how I design my diary for my dreams.
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Here are the highlights from this episode:
(01:56) Create time for nothing
(04:07) Track your mood
(08:43) Cut down on drinking alcohol
(10:01) Declutter and organise
(12:51) Think about your morning routine
(15:40) Have a vision
(18:35) Reward Yourself
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Dawn McGruer’s Marketing * Motivation * Mindset Group
Welcome to Dawn of a New Era, a business and marketing podcast with a difference, ranking in the top 5% globally for people who want to start, scale and grow their own business. Dawn McGruer shares tips to improve marketing, motivation and mindset, as well as her own real-life challenges and experiences as an entrepreneur. Guests includes some of the world’s most inspiring leaders too, so if you are an aspiring, established or serial entrepreneur, this is your go-to podcast to fast track results and rise to meet today’s challenges and master the art of online influence and business success and avoid common pitfalls along the way. Never miss an episode and subscribe and listen at dawnmcgruer.com.
Welcome to episode 67 of Dawn of a New Era, with myself, Dawn McGruer, digital marketing speaker, author, and trainer. And today we’re going to be looking at something really exciting. We’re going to be looking at my top 10 tips for better performance. And this is something that has really come around about people asking me about what I do in my daily routine. Things that I do, things that I take, any rituals that I have. And I just wanted to share some of the things that I’ve been trying out, some of the results that I’ve gotten. And by no means am I saying that you have to do all 10, these are just some of the things that I’m doing. I always like to focus on how I move my energy forward, how I build a better day and how I design my diary for my dreams. And this is about looking at what you want to do and areas that you feel need a little bit of a zhuzh and a little bit of an improvement.
Create time for nothing
So tip number one is all about space. It’s about creating time for nothing. And this sounds crazy because we’re so busy, aren’t we? And this can be busy in your career, it can be busy in your business. It really doesn’t matter what you are doing, but everything seems to be moving at this so super fast pace, and really we want to slow things down and start really embracing what’s happening, being more mindful, being more present and just reducing the stress levels around every activity we do and getting a better performance and a better experience.
So if you look at your diary and it makes you feel dread or panic, mine used to be like this, you need to give it a little bit of a vamp, and by reorganizing things, you start to understand how you perform. So, first of all, I would recommend stepping back and not rushing things. Now, so tempting, isn’t it? When you look at social media, you start to get FOMO. People seem to be doing these bigger and better things, they’ve taken action. It could be that we’ve had a holiday, it could be after summer, it could be after Christmas. It could be the start of a new year and you see people jumping on the 1st of January, epic promotions, launches, all these things happening. You’re thinking, “Oh my goodness, I’m still on holiday.”
Don’t worry about it. Because for me, I don’t come back until mid Jan and I don’t do anything until then, because what you see happen is that everyone jumps on the 1st of January and then it peters out by about day 10 or 14, and it allows the space. There’s less going on and people are back to work, so for me, I just always feel that people take more recognition. They see what we are doing because we’re not jumping on that. Now, it works for some people to do it in the first of Jan, but for me, it doesn’t. So you’ve got to find the mix for you and take a step back and don’t do anything to knee-jerk. Sometimes just assessing the situation and thinking about it and allowing yourself that space will give you better objectivity on making that decision and coming back with what is going to work better for you, for your career or your business.
Track your mood
Now, in my diary, I track my mood. Now you can do this just on a spreadsheet. You don’t need fancy apps or anything like this. You can just track in a calendar, how you feel day-to-day and when your peak times are working for you. So if, for instance, I am not a Monday person, I do not want to do a huge amount of calls on Monday, so I don’t. Thursday’s the day I do it. And I do calls on Thursdays because it just gives me that energy to just get into the week, get things done and plan for the calls. This was the most important thing for me, making sure that I had a call and I’d absolutely planned on a word document what was going to happen in the call, what the objectives were for the call and what I needed to leave with on that call. What a game changer that was.
Now, it meant that I wasn’t having calls for any pointless reason. It means that I can put reoccurring calls in and we don’t have to do the, “When are you free? Can you do a call here?” I always use a Calendly link. I never do these emails back and forward like, “Oh, let me know when you’re free.” It’s always, “Here’s my link, book it in. And it just saves time and energy for everybody.
Now, I also do recording on a Thursday. So on a Thursday afternoon, I would like to do like social media content for training courses and just getting everything in place. I might do a batch of podcasts in that time. So by content chunking, it means also I plan for that time in the afternoon, I’ve got time and energy and space. I prefer to record in the afternoon because I am up, I’m ready. I’ve been speaking, I’ve been doing so when I come to creating content, it’s not like the first thing I’m doing every day.
Now, on a Friday, I have specific things I do every Friday morning and I have a Friday afternoon off and a Wednesday afternoon. Friday less free space, it’s more catching up on things. Whereas Wednesday is I don’t put anything in, and it may be that I do end up working on my business because it gives me that time and energy just to sit and plan and look at forecasts, look at strategies, look at what we’ve been doing, do a little bit of an audit of what we’ve been doing online. And sometimes it might be I’m working on something for a client, so I might want to take that time just to go and order everything, do some research. So Wednesday afternoon is more about my space and clarity. For instance, as I said, on a Monday, I don’t want to be doing anything in terms of calls. That’s my day of catch up and admin. I get rid of all the things I don’t like doing on a Monday, so by Tuesday, my energy is changed and I’m into my working week. So you’ve got to find what works for you.
Now, number two. Sometimes if you struggle with a bit of brain fog or you struggle to get into projects, you’re procrastinating, you just need a little bit of a refocus really. I’ve started taking these Bach Rescue capsules called Fresh & Focus. Well, they say they show up in the mind for focus for busy days and they’re all about supporting concentration, focus and mental clarity. They’ve got different plant extracts and botanical extracts in there, so things like vegan omega-3, B vitamin, flower essences, all these things. Now, I have no idea whether these things work, but for me, it makes a difference. Now that could just be the placebo effect. Who knows? But it definitely does something for me and just getting into that routine, it just means that I feel that by the time that I start work, I’m on it.
Now, number three, I do this every month and it’s something I’ve started doing recently, and it’s an Adaptogenic juice cleanse, a medicinal juice cleanse by Purearth. Now there’s loads of different juice cleanses out there and I’m definitely not someone who wants to do it for three days, seven days. I know people who do it for a whole month. For me, 24 hours is enough. And what I do is they deliver the juices, everything’s ready, and the whole focus is about boosting your energy and really managing your stress levels, and this medicinal juice cleanse, everything in it is about nurturing that.
So all the Ayurvedic herbs in it and the lovely milks and juices. There’s a broth at night, I just feel like it resets my sugar levels and things like that, so that for me mentally, if I’ve done that for 24 hours, I am less likely to eat things that I shouldn’t be eating thereafter. It just resets and makes me behave a bit better in my eating. And also, I feel better the next day. I just feel lighter, more focused, just more energy.
Cut down on drinking alcohol
Now, number four is something that I do as well. I’m not saying that I don’t drink, I’m just saying I’m trying to reduce some of my drinking. So you see some people doing a dry January. I’d be more about a damp January, where I might have the odd drink, but generally I don’t want to be drinking as much, so I reduce it. So I’ve been using Three Spirit. Now, Three Spirit is a great, great drink. It’s been designed by plant scientists and bartenders, and it’s meant to stimulate the palette, body and mind. So they’re using all of these different sort of herbs to really kind of change the way that your mood is to give you a bit of a livener, and they even have one, which is a night cup to help you sleep.
So there’s three different drinks, Livener, which gives you a bit of boost, so it’s like your party drink. Then you’ve got your Social Elixir, which is just like a mood booster, and then you’ve got your Nightcap, which really helps settle you down before you go to bed. So completely non-alcoholic, and I just put things like sparkling water in. There’s all sorts of different recipes you can use in there, but they’re really low calorie and vegan. Even if you’re just finishing work and you feel that you just want a different drink, have one of these as your routine. Now, loads of different ones on the market you can try. I just particularly like these, I like the taste and I like the feeling that they gave me.
Declutter and organise
Now, number five is about decluttering and organizing. So I’m the sort of person who really needs clarity and focus, which is around organization. So I like to feel control. So I know that if I go and clear out my clothes and get everything organized, my desk and things like that, it’s like a tidy mind, means that I really feel like I’m on track. So if I get everything else I can sorted, then I’m left with this smaller list of things that I need to deal with. And for me, it’s about decluttering and organizing. So once a month I might just say, “Well, for this week, I’m just going to declutter 10 things a day,” and just try and think about it.
So my clothes are out of control. I just do not know how I have collated so many handbags, shoes, clothes, things like that. So I’m trying to get organized. So I will literally put my partner through the pain of trying things on and saying, “Shall I keep? Shall I get rid of?” And just by having someone there to just make me cleanse and get rid of things and put things in bins or put things for charity, it helps, and then I feel better because I can start to see my clothes better, and when I’m getting dressed in the morning, it’s organized, it’s color coded. It’s great. And then it gets out of control again and I have to do the whole sorry thing again.
Now, number six, this is about not spending hours on Netflix. What I found is that in an evening, there’s lots of things I need to be doing, but when I was finishing and, for instance, I’d have my dinner and I’d just sit down and watch hours and hours of it, you have to limit it or at least do some of your tasks and then sit down and do it.
I’m not saying get rid of it because I do quite enjoy watching box sets and movies and spending time with partner doing it, but making it more planned and thinking, “Right, okay. Do X, Y, and Z,” and then sit down and maybe at nine o’clock, move into it, and then do not get into the, “Oh, let’s watch another box set,” which we’ve all been there and done, where it’s two o’clock in the morning and you’re like, “Let’s just do one more. We’re nearly at the end.” You have to have a cutoff time and try and get into a normal bedtime routine, which brings me on to number seven, which is about your routines.
Now, most people think about having a bath at the end of the night and having a bedtime routine, which I’m a total advocate for, using things like pillow sprays and dehumidifiers in the bedroom. We bought a dehumidifier and I put it in the bedroom and it’s got a mental scent as well. All of these things are great. And for me, having a nice, clear atmosphere, it did help my just whole feeling. So again, making sure that the space you’re sleeping in is nice and calm. And fresh bedsheets and routines and not being on your phone all the time is great, but think about your morning routine as well, not just your bedtime.
Think about your morning routine
So everyone thinks about getting up in the morning, whether you’re in the 5:00 AM club or whatever, and it’s like, “Right. Go, go, go.” Well, maybe you just need a slower morning routine. And this is something that made a life-changing, life-changing impact on me. So I was used to getting up, getting to my desk. That was the focus, that was the only thing. So by 7:00, you’re just on it, you’re doing emails and things like that. And then I would just sit at my desk for hours and hours and hours through to lunch, from seven o’clock through to one o’clock and I wouldn’t move.
So maybe slowing down your morning routine and thinking about having a bath in the morning. What do you want to do in the morning? For me, I like to get up, do my walking machine. I’m not really a runner, I like to do fast incline walking. And then for me, we were very lucky to buy a hot tub and just going out and sitting in the hot tub after that, spending time, just chatting through, working out my day and then having breakfast and then starting work at 9:00. What’s wrong with that? Even just getting up and having just 10 minutes on your own before everyone else gets up. Whatever works for you, but just maybe slowing it all down and thinking, what is the rush? You don’t have to be doing things just because society says that we work amazingly well at 5:00 AM. I’m not ever going to be in that club. And if you are, great, it works for you. But for me, it’s just not the thing that, I suppose, motivates me, it doesn’t invigorate me.
Even getting up and doing exercise, what I found is certain exercise works for me. So number eight is all about how you plan doing your self-care and exercise. So in the morning I like walking and I didn’t want to leave the house. I just wanted to do it there, put my gym stuff on and just get into the day. And what I found is by doing my personal training session, so I do three a week on an afternoon, I do them at three o’clock. That felt really different for me in terms of energy, but also it gave me a cutoff for work to stop and take time out because if I just stayed at my desk, I would just work forever. So I needed something that would reinvigorate, and then switching up the exercises and not doing too much. So I have a different trainer each time in those three sessions, which is great because I have different conversations, different energy and different exercises totally. It’s a whole different workout with each person because they have their different style.
And then on a Sunday, I’ve started doing reformer Pilates in the morning while my partner goes road biking. So if you’ve seen this, it’s on a machine, and I just really like the energy for it. So I’m not doing too much, I’m just spacing out, and then I’ll have Tuesday, Thursdays and Saturdays off. I’ll probably still do maybe my walking, could be indoors or out and I’ll do something. But if I didn’t, it doesn’t matter, I’ve done my other exercises.
Have a vision
Now, number nine, this is about having a vision and I do my vision board on a canvas and I just stick different things onto it and I have it on a little easel. It’s small and it’s just on my desk, so it’s just constantly in front of me, and it has just simple things. I don’t ever go past 10 things. I like 10 as a number, and I just literally have three in my work focus, three in my life and relationship side of things, and then I have three which are in my really enrichment, big dreams side of things, and then I have one which is an overall goal.
So the other thing I do is day-to-day, I have what I call my road to enrichment actions. I have this in a spreadsheet and these are things that enrich me, things that I have control of. So what do I want to be doing? It’s just things that make a difference. Now, these can be small things. It could be about you just really want to take your journal and go and sit in a cafe and have a coffee for an hour. Those are the enriching actions. Anything that really brings joy to your life needs to be on this list and you just start working through it, like what do you want? Do you want to go for a massage once a week? Do you want to be meeting a friend for a coffee or your family or something like that?
What really is the thing that makes you happy? And these are the things that go on your road to enrichment actions. And honestly, when you just check in with these once a day, and you can even do it on Trello, so that it gives you reminders and you can link it to your calendar and you can start to put these things in, it just switches your focus. So if you’re feeling a bit down or you ever feel a bit depressed, you have to change course. So then go back to your road to enrichment and do one thing from there, and honestly, it’s very difficult to stay in that mood.
Sometimes you’re not going to get out of a depression because these things are a cause that you need to get over and it takes time. So healing is not something that happens overnight. What you can do is just make yourself feel marginally better. And sometimes when we think about success, success is often just picking yourself up and getting through the day. So success and milestones don’t have to be big things. If you are at a place where something has happened and it’s really knocked you off course, if you’re getting up in the day, you’re giving back, you’re doing something and you’re just surviving that day. Sometimes that is just enough.
So just be very mindful that when you see people’s goals and ambitions online, people are at different stages, people have different things going on in their life. And you have to be risk respectful to yourself and think if you need to take time, take the time. It’s not always about you see these people, everyone’s talking about, “Oh, you’ve got to add the next million to your business.” Success is relative to you and where you are at. If you’re just starting your business, it’s completely unrealistic, so just block those things out and think about what success is to you and focus purely on that.
Now, as we come to the end, this is my favorite one. This is number 10. And number 10 is about rewarding. So I’ve started playing this board game, which I’ve made myself, which is my road to enrichment and it’s drawn out and it’s a little road. You can do this on a piece of paper. If you’re creative, you can do it online. If you’ve got graphic designing experience, you can make it look amazing. But it’s literally just a little road and I have different milestones, I have 10, surprisingly enough. And for each milestone that I hit, I have a little reward.
So at the moment there’s a pair of shoes that I feel that I need in my life. There is no rational reason I need these, I just like them, and they are Dior trainers with a gold heel, and they are amazing. So I need these and something that I’ve got on my reward game board. So as I hit a milestone, I get that reward and it means that I know that I’m really working towards something because for me, motivation is not just about money, it’s not about hitting all of these goals in business. It’s sometimes about just having a little treat and just breaking that success cycle so that you are recognizing it, celebrating and rewarding. So think about what you want in your game board and put 10 really exciting milestones on. Really inspiring, really big things, and then go out and celebrate. Now, it doesn’t mean you have to buy something for yourself. It could be giving something to your family, it could be booking a holiday or going away with your partner. But make it about you, something that really, really will make a difference.
So I hope you enjoyed my 10 tips. I hope they were useful. And just a quick reminder, number one is about creating space, getting your diary in order. Number two is about my clarity and focus. I’m taking obviously these Rescue remedy, but what could you do to brighten your mind? Number three was my cleansing, and you don’t have to do a juice cleanse, but maybe it’s just one day a month, you do something different. Number four is about obviously my not drinking. Am I having my damp January or my damp February? And having these drinks. Now, it could be that you just like having a latte or a coffee out somewhere, but changing up, what are your mood lifters.
Now, number five, decluttering and organizing, making sure that your mind feels organized and free. Number six, not getting drawn into the Netflix, but having a clear schedule to get things organized. Number seven, looking at your evening, but also your morning routine and maybe having a slower pace. Number eight, choosing a time that exercise is better for you. Number nine, your vision. Your vision board, and your road to enrichment actions, things that really make you happy. And last of all, number 10, having your rewards and making sure that you have these milestones in place that are really inspiring, these big dreams. But also that breaks down into these little actions, these little milestones are getting you towards that bigger goal, so that you’re rewarding yourself on the journey, because remember we have to enjoy the journey, not just be focused on the goal.
So I hope that was useful. I hope you enjoyed it. And let me know how you get on with your actions. And don’t forget, you can follow me. If you head to dawnmcgruer.com, you can find, obviously my books, my podcast. And also on the academy, if you just go to Google and if developing your digital marketing skills is something you want to do, then head on over. Business Consult Digital and Social Media Academy. We have trained and certified over 30,000 students. So if online marketing is something that you really want to add to your goal list, go and check us out. Lots of courses and qualifications, and they’re all Chartered Institute of Marketing accredited, so you get an amazing certificate for achieving any of the courses, or also we do qualifications too. And if that’s something that you’d like to know about, go on, head over, find out bit more about us, lots of free resources on there, guides and videos. And remember to follow us @businessconsort or @dawnmcgruer. So take care and I will see on the next episode.
Thank you for listening to Dawn of a New Era podcast. And for your free checklist to find out how to boost your business for growth, profit, and success, and join our community, go to dawnmcgruer.com.
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Dawn McGruer's Marketing * Motivation * Mindset Group
Speaker. Author. Podcaster. Strategist.
Multi-award-winning speaker, strategist & best-selling author of Dynamic Digital Marketing - Helping to inspire entrepreneurs to rise to meet today’s challenges and be powerfully present to shine online.
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