Feeling stretched? Latest time savers from The Little Space

Here at The Little Space, we have a lot going on.  This is not our only gig and there’s some family members lurking at home that seem to insist on being fed and provided with clean clothes each day.  It’s a modern malady….not enough time.  Sure, every second blog post will tell you how to get organised, save time and FEEL IN CONTROL.  Obviously that will never happen until we all actually retire and then over commit all over again.

So if we can’t reach the nirvana of the almost empty inbox, we can at least eliminate the most frustrating tasks in our week whether they are professional or domestic.

Logging in

Go on.  Have a think about it?  How often do you forget your passwords?  Feeling a little exposed on your online security? Password management apps can seem a little terrifying but the human brain is no match for the auto generated nonsense these apps generate, save and sync across all devices.  They will assess your existing password security and forgotten passwords are literally a thing of the past.  Don’t even think about saving time, just think of the drop in your cortisol levels.

Inbox discipline

This is really hard.  Get into the office, put a timer on and smash through your inbox.  When the timer goes you have to stop and get on with your daily tasks.  Do this once a day, twice a day or three times a day and work out the time frame that suits but ignore your inbox in between.  There’s a reason this is hard and there’s a reason that your reaction is “but I’ve got important stuff coming in” and that’s because when you check your inbox, you are getting a little dopamine hit (yep, just like gambling) so that’s biology telling you that.  Ignore it and get on with your list.

Travel time

We are just going to toot our own horn for a minute here.  We set up our space so there would be a co-working and meeting space where a big chunk of people live, send their kids to school and run their own business.  We are about bringing the co-working space to the people so you can WALK here, RIDE YOUR BIKE here or DRIVE AND PARK WITHIN 20 METRES.  So when the school calls to tell your kid has fallen over and needs stitches, you can be packed up and rushing them to hospital within 15 minutes.  You may have an office base outside of home but think seriously about working a day or 2 from home or have some flexibility in your day.   Seriously, imagine saving literally hours each day.

Sleep

We’re all tired.  It’s costing the economy billions.  We’re crabby and unproductive.  Each night my phone sings a little lullaby and says ‘turn that screen off and go to bed’ then it wakes me up with some pleasant classical tune and I’m out walking the dog as the sun peeps over the horizon.  That’s 8 hours just like that.  There’s nothing like getting up earlier than usual to get you feeling really tired at night.

The Supermarket

It’s perplexing to me that there are still so many people queueing up in the supermarket aisles.  They do this amazing this now where they COME TO YOU! Meal deliveries, raw ingredient deliveries – it’s a wonderland of time saving options.  And if you enjoy your weekend farmers’ market, then just get the boring bulk items online once a month and spend a day at the market with the kids to pick up your fruit and veg.

Enjoy your hours of serendipitous leisure this week!

 

 

 

The paperless office

See this pile of paper here?  This is what remains of a teetering pile of files and papers that filled an entire cabinet in my home office.  Those files have now been shredded and the information they once contained is floating in small clouds somewhere in cyberspace.  Now I can reach out and pull down the little cloud I need at any time. 

The paperless is office is not new but where it was once a ‘nice to have’ it’s now essential for a lot of business owners and employees.  Each day I go to The Little Space to work on my other business and I just don’t have the luxury of schlepping paperwork in and out each day.  I just want to take a small notebook, my phone and my laptop.  And this is not just for start ups and the self employed using cafes and co-working spaces, large companies are collapsing traditional office structures to create hot desk environments based around principals of space for specific purposes.  The new ratio is 1 desk to every 3 to 5 workers with dedicated planning, meeting and collaborating spaces. Our work needs to come with us.  Our kids will soon be asking ‘what’s a filing cabinet” just as they now ask “what’s a fax machine?”

The only danger in getting rid of paper is that we then simply push the clutter onto our hard drives and nervously click off that little message “start up desk almost full”.  

Ok, so let’s take some action! This is what I am doing to get myself, my papers and my start up disk looking spick and span for Spring.  

Clean up that hard drive

Ok first things first – clear the workspace.  I have a heap of photos and documents on my computer and I am never going to trust just one back up. So what to do? 

  1. Get it all onto an external hard drive.  I get my husband to do this (largely so I can just shift the blame in case it goes wrong) but this step is a no brainer. 
  2. I have an iCloud back up but I’m taking an extra step and also putting my photos and videos onto Google Photos and my documents onto Google Drive and Dropbox but I also make sure I have my hard drive back version in my drawer.  
  3. Clean everything off the laptop!

Declutter the old paperwork

I take just a few files each day and upload the information into Podio.  It’s a brilliant free platform that does absolutely everything I need it to.  I can set up separate areas for my businesses and my personal affairs.  It has great messaging functions as well as task management and customer relationship management. I know there are loads of these types of products on the market but it takes a little time investment to get familiar with these platforms so the more it can do for me the better.   Best of all, it can store documents so on they go and then into the shredder with the original. Ever the nervous nelly, I also have a backup protocol in place – just in case!  

The day to day stuff

I do find it hard to go past Evernote as a way to capture all the daily stuff I need to organise. From a recipe in a magazine, paint colours and decorating ideas to school class lists – it all goes onto Evernote.  It’s my messy top drawer in my pocket.  Now I simply pay the gas bill, snap a pic on my phone, upload to Evernote and throw out the original.  Tax records are the only exception to my shredding policy.

Keeping up the good work

 The trick with all these systems is keeping up the good work and habitually clearing and backing up.  I’m looking into a general offsite crash back up plan because I know myself well – whatever my good intentions, things will be creeping back onto my hard drive before long.  I will keep you posted but why now check out something like Crashplan – and let me know how you go?

Sagittarius Full Moon in Mars Retrograde

Yesterday Liz and I took a day off. It wasn’t a decision we made together or even planned that we would have the same day off but that is just how it worked out to be.

Did our business collapse in a major pile of rubble? Did our homes fall down from the piles of laundry and dirty dishes? Did our children turn into delinquents and drop out of school? No, no & no.

The Little Space didn’t fall apart, our houses did stay a little messy and there were certainly dishes left in the sink but we could deal with them at a later time. Our children were happy at school and PJ was even happier as she had the full attention of Liz, who babysat for me for a couple of hours, and then me, her Mum, who is usually responding to an email, updating a website or stalking Facebook looking for new clients.

It was lovely and much needed for the both of us.

Bookings still came in, new enquiries were made and our lovely clients still turned up to enjoy the space we created for them.

Today showed me how important it is to take time out. I was told last week that the moon was in Mars Retrograde and this alongside a Sagittarius Full Moon was not good, what that means I do not know, but I was told that this was causing havoc with my starsign.  I was advised to ‘look after myself and reflect… take some time out’– now I am not particularly ‘into’ starsigns and how it affects my life but I felt like I was struggling a little and I am all for trying something new, so I did it. I took some ‘time out’.

I cannot tell you how much happier it has made me feel, refreshed and settled, almost instantly. Just one day.

Now, I will always juggle – home, life, work, children, school committments, children’s extra curricular and anything else that is thrown my way and I believe Liz is the same. But I actually enjoy it, I enjoy juggling and anyone who knows me knows I almost always bite off more than I can chew but I chew like mad and I have quite a large appetite – so I do usually come out ok at the end.

Now, I am certainly not a writer, I actually don’t even enjoy it. I usually let Liz handle that side of things so I don’t even know how to actually finish this post. I am simply typing as I think and I am sure there are many corrections to be made in grammar and punctuation and maybe even spelling but, I think I just wanted to be another person to tell you that taking time for yourself is actually good for you.

I guess I’ll just end it by saying:-

Take time for yourself. It’s important. It’s as simple as that. It worked for me. Try it, it may just work for you too.

Rachelle

Quiet blog but busy workspace

As I hit ‘publish’ button on this blog, I’m confident it is now flying through cyberspace at lightning speed as we celebrate our newly upgraded internet service here at The Little Space.

For those of you fortunate enough to live in one of the rare buildings equipped with fibre optics, NBN or are a user of  any network other than the Australian copper network, you will be perplexed to discover that Bondi Junction, a commercial business centre less than 5km from the Central Business District of Sydney is still labouring along with substandard internet service. However, we have emerged victorious (and with a little less in the bank account) but we are now fast and furious with upload speeds to burn. (And have aged a little in the process).

So whilst we have been dealing with the perils of daily business life, our little space has been doing a beautiful job looking after our lovely co-working and desk users.  

We are now in post internet installation re-launch mode here and are keen to let Sydney start ups and those needing workspace either casual or long term know we are alive and well.  We have a few free trial weeks to give away for those people looking for desk space or office space in Sydney.  Our space was created specifically to provide a workspace for those living in the Eastern suburbs and who need to be close to schools, home, Bondi beach (!) or simply wishing to avoid the city commute. We are here so come on in and give it a go! 

And don’t forget, terms are as flexible as you need – just a day here and there or a permanent place to park yourself and get on with work.  

We also have our lovely workshop space and meeting room for the days you need to see a client in a slightly more professional environment than the local cafe or a space to host your own event and kick start your own business dream. 

So next time you wish to find a space to work and don’t want to head into Sydney city, come and visit us here at The Little Space and ask about our free trial.  Co-working, meeting space and event space. 

See you soon at The Little Space! 

Top floor, 384 Oxford Street

Bondi Junction

www.thelittlespace.com.au

liz@thelittlespace.com.au

A late night reflection at the end of International Women’s Day.

I didn’t formally celebrate International Women’s Day.  Between all the rushing around I didn’t get organised in time to attend a lunch or breakfast. The irony is not lost on me. So just before I head to bed I am having a small celebration of my own over a cup of tea in a quiet house with lunches made and an orderly house.   I have finished all the ordinary tasks that women do every day and now, for a little while, my time is my own.

As I drove to the office this morning, I listened to a ABC Radio.  A journalist was reporting on a fundraising event organised by Oz Harvest.  Celebrity chefs and CEO’s cooked for the disadvantaged and in a short sound bite he interviewed a woman who had never had a meal cooked for her as an adult.  She was a full time carer and said she was on a budget and tried her best but it was a struggle.   She wasn’t complaining.  She was describing, factually, her state of endurance.  She was thrilled to have this special day.

So, personally, today I feel that I want to celebrate women’s endurance.  For women who endure pay disparity from the lowest paid to the highest paid positions. For those who endure sexism and bullying on their way to the tiny number of board room seats women now occupy.  For those who endure domestic violence, very often to protect their children.  As a former family lawyer I have seen extraordinary courage from women – from both those that stay and those that leave.  For women who carry water and children for long distances in poor countries.   And middle class women who work another 8 hours in the house after their day job is done, be that raising children, caring for family or paid work.  It’s all bloody hard work, whether you get paid for it or not.  I raise my tea cup to us all!

I like a good quote and here’s a lovely one from a book I have only just finished.  Niall Williams’ “History of the Rain”.  The protagonist describes her mother after the death of her brother.

“…she carried on. Women carry on.  They endure the way old ships do, breathing into outrageous waters, ache and creak, hull holed and decks awash, yet find anchorage in the ordinary, in tables to be wiped down, pots to scrub, and endless ashes to be put out.”


Happy International Women’s Day.

Away days, off sites and all that jazz…

Work culture is changing.  How we work, where we work, when we work.  

Technology has changed work forever.  Cloud computing allows me to produce an invoice on my mobile, instantly send to my customer and be viewed by my business partners and accountant wherever they are – hopefully they working remotely on a palm fringed beach somewhere.  We (should) have nice clean hard drives on our laptops and instead be filling our cloud services so we have a secure and shareable world of work. (Personally I’m still working on that one!)  If we pop into the office, we need to pull up at a hot desk –  sitting or standing – you can choose!  And this is not the Google offices, these are conventional workspaces for whom dedicated paper clutter offices no longer make economic sense.  Let’s face it.  How often have you emailed a colleague just a few desks away?  Or your spouse…from the bedroom… when he /she is sitting right next to you….hmmm.   Nothing really beats a face to face conversation but we meet when we need to.

Here at The Little Space we are seeing the workplace revolution first hand.  Our business began as a co-working space but seeing a need in the area, we opened a dedicated workshop and event space mid way through 2015 and have welcomed a steady stream of corporate groups seeking an alternative space to spend their away days, off site meetings or group collaborations.   They might be spending time away from the office in an environment conducive to creative thinking and collaboration or increasingly, they are work teams who work remotely during the week and need a space to come together.  These workers may all live locally or around the country and we offer a genuinely great space – not a sterile, exorbitantly priced hotel venue or a dingy boardroom but lots of light and comfy lounges.  

And these workers are hungry! We now have a range of catering options for our customers delivered to our door from morning tea to all day catering.  

It’s all about evolution in business and we are evolving as fast as our customers!

If you need workshop, off site or away day event space or a meeting rooms for small groups just stop on by at www.thelittlespace.com.au or drop us a line at hello@thelittlespace.com.au and you can check out our space (or we can send you our corporate information pack).   If you like we can organise everything for you – you don’t need to lift a finger!  

Hope to see you soon at The Little Space!

Liz and Rachelle.

Big lessons in small business.

Our working year is almost at an end.

We have wiped out the office fridge, stocked up the sparkling wine and done just a little internet shopping for party frocks for the rounds of events that seem to starting very early in December.

But before we get too sozzled, we thought it would be nice to share our take on ‘big lessons in small business’ from a little start up in Bondi Junction!

Here are our top 5…

Drive your business like a skilled racer

A year or so ago, we had an idea for a new kind of co-working space.  Something that was like an idealized home office – light filled, beautifully decorated, warm, inviting, positive.  Not a ‘boys club’ or the domain of under 30 hipsters but something professional, convenient and productive.  A place where you won’t be ‘pitched at’ or feel overwhelmed.  In short, we created our own ideal workplace.  Very soon we were also inundated with requests for a space to meet or host events or workshops.  Companies approached us to host their own corporate off-sites and away days so suddenly our business model was morphing into something new – new and wonderful by the way.  We have since expanded our physical footprint here in Bondi Junction and now have co-working AND event space and our lovely caterers trek up and down our staircase bringing a never ending supply of beautiful catered lunches and morning teas to our lovely customers each week.   We didn’t expect this and hadn’t planned for it but all of a sudden we are also an events venue.  Sometimes, you just need to toss the road map away and drive by the seat of your pants!

Shout out loud!

No one is going to pay any attention to you unless you shout loudly.  Tell the world you exist, that you are awesome and that you love your business.  (We do actually love our business!)  Being enthusiastic about what you do can be irresistible.

We have got a little shameless getting ourselves out and about at as many events as we can muster the energy for, introducing ourselves on LinkedIn to every Tom, Dick and Harriet and collaborating with other business owners who, well, who we just like hanging out with (Natalie Goldman and LauchPod I am looking at YOU!), having a laugh with and who have the spirit and get up and go we just love to be associated with.   We have sprawled ourselves liberally across social media.  It’s an extraordinary time really with so many platforms to speak from and to an audience that would once have been impossible to reach.

Cut off the dead wood

Sometimes people aren’t very nice.    Let’s call them the ‘toxic customer’.  We had one or 2 in our early days of opening and we learnt quite quickly that if we don’t want to be around these people then no one else will either.  Sometimes, in the nicest possible way, it’s just better to ‘let them go’.   Goodbye and don’t come back!!

Finances – urgh!

Weirdly this is something that is often ignored. A business lives and dies by its profitability and of course in the early days there is no financial track record or pattern and usually more debt than profit floating like a menacing cloud at the end of each month.  It’s tempting to look away and get on with the day (and the fun stuff) but there is no point at which this is a good idea – it ‘s numbers all the way.  Not just turnover but also profit.  In a growth phase this also means staying on track to reach the financial goals and always, always looking on with a cold hard eye.  If you can’t do it – it’s not too hard to find someone that can.

Step back and celebrate

Where were you last year compared to now?  Have you gone backwards or forwards or even sideways?  Don’t worry about one bad week or one bad month or one cranky person in your day  – take a decent sample and send it for testing!  Then when the lab tests come back, look at what worked and what didn’t and then change it if it didn’t work, keep it and crank it up a notch if it did.  Then you can sit back and pop the cords.  Well done you!

And into the home straight…

Although our business  never sleeps (The Little Space bookings run 24 hours/ 7 days a week just like our children), as mothers we still seem to divide the year into school terms because when the kids are at school, we go into top gear!   So it’s now into the term 4 home stretch.

How to get it all done? We all do an enormous amount every day and yet still often feel strangely ungratified most of the time surrounded as we are by the ‘not dones’.  I certainly don’t sit down at the end of the day and say “Wow, great day, did 3 successful heart transplants.  What a sense of completion!.   We know how it really works, we just get the 3 most important things done each day no matter what we wrote down in a glorious moment of ambition the night before.  (I love printed stationary items more than most but they do put a lot of lines in the ‘to do’ column to encourage us).

My wonderful business partner Rachelle is a big list writer just like me but I thought I would share her special secret to overcoming list fatigue.

Introducing… the Done List.

It’s ok, you don’t have to do away with your To Do list, it’s still a wonderful way to purge your brain. But sit down tonight and just write a quick chronology of all the things you actually achieved.  It is indeed startling and gratifying and certainly will entitle you to a well-earned glass of Riesling in front of the Bachelorette. Well done you!

The Little Space has lots of wonderful events coming up (personal development, business, creative classes and fashion pop-ups).  Join our newsletter list to receive a monthly update.  You can subscribe by clicking here and then have a look in the bottom left corner for our newsletter sign up!  We even give away lovely prizes!

What it takes to slow us down.

These feet can take you anywhere you need to go

“Oh hi – how are you?!”

“I’m really BUSY. Good but busy.  You?”

“SOOOO busy”.

Yep, we are really busy. And it’s all a bit of an adrenalin rush.  We rush to work, from work, to the coffee shop, to the dry cleaners, in to school, to after school activities, to the dentist, to yoga (the ultimate irony).   In between we text, check emails, forward emails and update Facebook and LinkedIN.   And for a small business owner, it sometimes feels that if we stop the activity rush the wheels will fall off and there will be a catastrophe.  I’m addicted to busy.  A lot of us are addicted to busy.  Then in the last month, a couple of interesting things happened.

Firstly, my car broke down.  I was rushing as usual.  Rushing to school pick up.  I rolled to the curb, got out and thought.  “I’m too busy to deal with this car” and I left it there.  About 5 days later I thought I had better sort out a tow.

But between the date of abandonment and the date of repair – about 2 weeks all up, something interesting happened.  I started walking and riding my bike.  Planning ahead a little about what was realistically achievable in my day.  It’s actually hard to rush a long walk to school or work.  I converted my daily run into a means of transport to an actual destination.   I got a bit less busy, I still got stuff done (actually the important stuff got done), my heart rate went up because of exercise instead of stress.   I made my kids walk home.  They whined a bit but they were laughing and playing the whole way home.

Then one day I had to leave my computer behind at the office.   I thought I would pop back later but then forgot. My business partner was going to bring it home for me but then she held onto it.  That day I did some great stuff.  I caught up on the housework, did some work with a notepad and pen.  I took the dogs for a walk.  I had some time to think.  The world didn’t end after all.

So the car is back now, and the computer too.  But once a week I turn off my computer for a whole day and a night and once a week I run to school at pick up time, and I walk with my 3 beautiful children all the way home.  It takes us an hour but it’s the best day of the week.

And a little shameless plug for the day – if you live in the Eastern Suburbs, you can walk to work at The Little Space and on the way pick up a really terrific coffee.  See you there soon!