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The sweetspot mindset – how to ensure you achieve your goals this year

Join us at our next Sweetspot workshop (Sweetshop) where we will be going through the Sweetspot exercise to kick start your journey to living in your Sweetspot and clearing out any other tasks that won’t help you towards you 2021 goals.  

Register here:


Using Sweetspot to reach your goals

Sweetspot is a way to spend time doing what you love, are great at, and adds most value to your life. The exercise and book are designed to help you clear out all activities that do not serve this purpose, allowing you to achieve your goals and purpose and live a more fulfilling life.

Good habits are the foundation for achieving goals and when it comes to the Sweetspot exercise, although it is quick to deliver its benefit (some have got a 100x ROI from a on hour workshop), the real payoff comes by making it a habit and a mindset.

Committing to repeating the Sweetspot exercise every three months will ensure the Sweetspot habit  becomes a mindset and begins to profoundly affect your decision-making. For example, if your career starts to plateau or your business stops growing, you’ll instinctively think of the challenge in terms of Sweetspot thinking. This mindset will help your reasoning and problem-solving: you’ll understand that somewhere in your organisation there’s someone (maybe you) not fully in their Sweetspot and therefore change is required.

For example, at a quarterly planning session in a small business, the company faces the challenge of improving how marketing generates leads. The CEO leads the marketing function personally, and on reviewing the scope and tasks of the project, as a Sweetspot expert, a voice at the back of his mind says ‘None of these tasks are in your Sweetspot. If you agree to doing them, they won’t get done.’ So, the first task of the project is changed to the CEO recruiting a part-time marketing manager to come in and lead the project. 3 months later, the marketing targets are being hit and the company has returned to growth.

Having a Sweetspot Mindset will also make you constantly open to opportunities for efficiency improvement. If you’re at an event and meet someone who offers a service that can save you time, or you see a book on improving productivity, or the opportunity to attend a course on self-development, you will instinctively have an increased willingness to invest in such opportunities.


Setting Boundaries

One of the most profound changes in mindset is an improved willingness and ability to say ‘No’. If we’re used to having a Sweetspot mindset, when an opportunity or request comes up, we’re clearer about rejecting those that do not sit in our Sweetspot. For example, an independent coach, when offered a lucrative opportunity to return to consulting work was tempted by the project. However, when he honestly reflected on his Sweetspot, he quickly recognised that consulting work, which he was good at, would take him away from what he’s great at – coaching. So, the answer was ‘No’.

This mindset applies equally to the strategic decisions of a business. In the early stages of setting up and running a company, it’s necessary to say ‘Yes’ a lot. If a customer has an opportunity or project, in the interests of getting sales, early-stage entrepreneurs bend over backwards to be accommodating. As a business matures, however, success derives from being able to say ‘No’. A customer asks for a project outside the business’s core products; an opportunity arises to invest in a product or market that is unfamiliar; or there are team members around whose skills and abilities don’t meet the needs of the business anymore. In all cases, the Sweetspot Mentality is ‘No’.

The same mentality applies to professional roles – younger executives often have an attitude of ‘I’ll do whatever you need me to’. For example, when asked to take on work in different areas, such as a finance executive asked to take on projects in operations and HR, less experienced team members are more willing to accept these challenges (and then struggle and get over-stretched). It takes experience and confidence to be able to decline and maintain focus on what we do well.

More generally, there are so many distractions that pop up on a day-to-day basis that can be hard to refuse: an introduction to someone looking for insight but who can’t help us; an event that sounds fun but won’t benefit our networking or learning agenda; an old contact now in a new business who ‘would love to catch a coffee’. The fact is that these are distractions that will take away the two most precious resources we have – our time and our energy. 

A direct ‘No’ is not always the most appropriate wording for setting boundaries. Sometimes a better form is the ‘Yes, if..’. For example, if asked to run a training on an area of expertise to an external group, a better answer than a straight ‘No’ might be ‘Yes, if you cover my training fee’. Or, if asked to organise the company Xmas party, a better ‘No’ might be ‘Yes, if you pay for a virtual admin resource to support me.’ The ‘if..’ encourages a critical assessment of the conditions that you would accept and it establishes boundaries the other party can respond to.


Productivity in the 21st century

When we take an honest look at how we spend our time and productivity, one particularly difficult area is our digital lives. Being connected to the internet, on a phone or a computer, is to be constantly bombarded with distractions. Emails and instant messages ping, the lures of unlimited news or YouTube videos beckon, and once we start swiping and scrolling on social media, it’s as if real time has stopped. 

To deal with this, the most helpful mindset is to force the computer to behave like us, not for us to try and behave like a computer. A key functional difference between people and computers is that computers can parallel-process, but people can’t. A computer can run multiple programs and work on different tasks at the same time, humans cannot. When we’re distracted from a task, we don’t just lose the time of the distraction, we also lose the time it takes us to focus back on the task. When compounded to multiple activities at the same time, overall productivity just keeps going down. This means that when we’re doing something, we need to just do that one thing. These digital hygiene behaviours will help you remain productive:

  • Remember how much you used to get done on a plane before there was Wi-Fi? It’s easy to re-create: when writing a document, just switch off the internet connection! This removes the inbound distractions, the mails, messages, and pings that take away focus. Also removes temptation.
  • Batch email-processing into 1–2 sessions a day. Schedule a specific time to deal to do this, don’t just leave it to the cracks in the rest of the day. Put the time in your diary: ‘Clear emails’.
  • Work emails sequentially. It’s most efficient to works emails one at a time. Don’t get sucked into reading several emails out of interest and then going back over them. Go one at a time, and each to completion (i.e. resolved, deleted, or moved out of inbox).
  • Get to inbox zero every day. It is possible, and it’s efficient to maintain once you’re there. Managing multiple folders in your Mail app to place certain categories of mails (e.g. ’travel bookings’, ‘upcoming reservations’, ‘Customer xx’) is key to achieving this.
  • Delegate email processing. You can allow access to your Mailbox to a PA, and agree with them rules for the processing of emails (e.g. ‘forward anything related to finance and accounts to the FD’) that saves you doing it.
  • Unsubscribe unsubscribe unsubscribe. Remove yourself immediately from any mail group you inadvertently get added to.
  • Switch off banners and badges on your phone. Yes, including social media, message apps, and email. You don’t need to know every time someone likes your post, or a group welcomes its latest member. If you drop in once a day, you can batch process your responses.
  • Change working locations regularly. Set a block of time in the calendar for a task and go somewhere different (coffee shop, meeting room, upstairs, downstairs) to get it done.

Finally, remember the rule – ‘If in doubt, delete’. It’s easy to leave mails in your inbox that clutter up your day, because they feel important. If you look back in a week or a month, they are almost always redundant. We naturally over-emphasise the importance and urgency of emails people send us. Let them go. To the Trash.

Join us at our next Sweetspot workshop (Sweetshop) where we will be going through the Sweetspot exercise to kick start your journey to living in your Sweetspot and clearing out any other tasks that won’t help you towards you 2021 goals.

Register here:

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For an honest conversation with one of our leading coaches get in touch.

Speak to us today.

For an honest conversation with one of our leading coaches get in touch.

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