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Design Your Days, Step One: Get Clear in just 9 minutes.

Do you ever feel like you have one foot on either side of a crevice? Do you dance, do you jump, do you fall through? If you’ve ever felt conflicted, listen and/or read on, to get clear in 9 minutes. From Sue West and myself, the “Design Your Days Duo!”

listen here: JUNE 20.2013

Or read here:

Sue: “I really want to focus on my growing business that is my passion. But I need to pay my bills. I feel stuck.”

Carol: “I sell equipment that earns me a good living, but my true business dream is not much more than that- it’s just a pipe dream at the moment. What should I do?”
Carol: Do any of these sound familiar to you? If so, you have found the right place. This is Carol Williams, Productivity Coach at EpS, Efficient Productivity Systems.

Sue: And this is Sue West, Life Transitions Coach and AD/HD specialist

We have joined together as the Design Your Days Duo for this series of audio interviews to give you short, “use today” pieces of advice, in 5 to 8 minutes.

Carol: Last time we spoke about Clarity as it relates to becoming better organized and shared some A-HA moments when our workshop participants began Designing Their Days. When we get clear, we open ourselves up to the possibilities that are often hidden just below the surface.

Sue: Today we are going to address 2 questions- because those questions, or questions like those, could pertain to you. If you are a creative entrepreneur, or, if you think you want to be a creative entrepreneur, you might have those questions locked up inside.

Carol: When we work with someone in the Design Your Days framework, we ask, What Gets in Your Way? This is the first step in seeking clarity. If you think about the questions above, they are really pointing to WHAT might be getting in each person’s way.

Sue: Let’s start with the first question. Growth, new passions but then ah, yes, reality strikes.

Try a couple of important ways to direct your thinking: (1) a reality check on the financial gap (2) Where’s the passion, really? (3) Focus – defining that more clearly and (4) Stuck – and how you’ll know that you’re beginning to get Unstuck.

Here are questions to answer which will help you figure out how to create enough time for your business, and also get your bills paid:

  1. Get clear on what amount of income you need to pay for things you NEED, not want. This gets you two important pieces of information: What’s the financial gap between your business income and your bills. But also it asks you to put some “skin in the game,” by identifying if there are things you think you need in your business or in your life, but really, they are “wants,” not “needs.” Liz Pullam Weston writes about this practice. This is the reality picture. And keep track – especially if you’re not now – even of cash or debit out of pocket. Most people spend more than they think.
  2. Get specific and clear on your passion: What are you passionate about, in particular – what facets or activities? Are there other creative ways to deliver on the passion or use similar skills, but in a part time paying job? Think chapters or phases of time. Can you do something else part time, for pay, which helps with the bills. It’s the combination of part time and growing business that might help your situation.
  3. Get clear on what you mean by “I want to focus.” How is it that you are “focusing” now on your business? What does focus look like to you – the number of days or time of day? Look at the time and the activities. Are they payoff activities? Again, this is where tracking can come in; keep it simple, but effective. What can you do differently, do less of, or do later on, if the activity is not, today, making you income? Saying “no, not now” is not the same as saying “no, forever.”
    1. Talk with others or with a coach and figure out whether you are maximizing the time you DO have on your growing business.
    2. When you think you are stuck, how “a little less stuck” would feel – how would you KNOW that things ARE improving. Do you have a plan of ANY sort, so that you know when you HAVE made progress, when you ARE headed in the “upwards” direction, so that “stuck” begins to feel “less stuck.”

Carol: Thanks Sue…great ideas. Now, on to the second question. This person sells equipment, and that person makes a good living from selling it. But- boredom can prevail when your job does not excite you. When the passion dips, productivity often dips too. Procrastination enters- and sales can plummet. How can a creative entrepreneur follow his or her dreams while earning a living? Do we all need to be “starving artists?”

No. The trick is to keep your passion alive, while continuing to earn your living. This does not mean “throwing the baby out with the bathwater.” Have you ever heard the saying, “yes, you can have it all, but not all at once?” Tracking progress can really help, and here are some ideas as to how that could happen.

  1. Bookend your weeks. At the beginning of your week, map it out. What one thing can you do to move your creative project forward? Can you block out a couple of hours on Wednesday night to do x, y or z? At the end of your week, evaluate. How did it go? Did you do it? If not, why not? Could you have changed anything? Learn, and move on.
  2. Bookend your months. After 4 or so weeks of bookending, what has been done? How far did you THINK you’d get, versus how far you actually got? Learn, assess, move on.
  3. Bookend each quarter. After 3 months of doing steps one and two, you should have a little data. You may be much further ahead, or much further behind, than you thought you might be. But goals that are measured are far more likely to be achieved. Think, pause, and measure for success.


As a reminder, you are listening to a podcast series. We’d love your feedback.  If you have a question you’d like answered, please visit our new Facebook page called Design Your Days. If you’d like to add yourself to the successful professionals we help go from good to great, contact one of us to get started with personal coaching. We’ll help you become more AWARE, and kick off the transformational process of Designing Your Days.

We are also the co-creators of the Design Your Days framework, which we teach in workshops, so if your group of business owners is ready for us to speak at your group, please contact one of us!

Please LIKE us on Facebook as Design Your Days and/or contact us individually through websites:

Sue’s is

Carol’s is


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