Jill Chivers is a speaker, writer, coach, creator, author, designer, professional facilitator and workshop leader and avid movie watcher. She works with individual and groups, designing and delivering work that inspires real and lasting change in how people think, feel and behave. I got to spend time with her recently when she spoke at the AAPO (Australasian Association of Professional Organisers) conference in Sydney. Here’s what she shared.
Jill: I have a portfolio career where I do a range of things. I have a couple of online businesses, the most prominent being Shop Your Wardrobe – it is an online program for women who shop too much and want to stop, but they don’t know how. I created it because I was a compulsive overshopper for many years, and I didn’t know it or the impact it was having on me until my shopping started to spiral out of control in 2009. My journey of healing started when I had a year without clothes shopping in 2010, a year that changed my life. I am now an advocate for conscious consumption and sustainable style, and I write, speak and appear in the media often to talk about these topics.
I am also the creator of the Media Mastery Home Study Program for Entrepreneurs – for small business people who want to take their big message onto a bigger stage, I show them, step by 39 steps, how they can attract and maintain the mainstream media’s attention. This program came about because of my own success in the mainstream media, appearing in over 50 media stories on television, on radio, online and in print in the US, Australia, New Zealand and Europe. I am also a coach, mentor, consultant, speaker, emcee and facilitator. I work in a creative way with a range of big corporates and solopreneurs to help them create products that reach the legitimate and deep needs of their clients, raise their profiles with purpose, and perform at their peak. More where corporate meets creative.
Angela: You have a lot going on. How do you stay on top of your to do list?
Jill: I’m very organised! I create a to do list every morning, and adjust it as things get done and more things are added. My to do list is often for a few days at a time, and it guides me throughout that day or a series of days. I also use my calendar extensively, and create appointments that are really tasks or actions. One of my regular calendar items is “TODAY” where I list all the things that must be done that day. Having a list is just the start of staying on top of my list – doing them is the next. I am focused, I don’t allow my time to sift through my fingers like sand on the beach, and I am not a perfectionist so I can get things done without being hung up on endless iterations of decreasing improvement.
Angela: Love that. Yes you are organised. So, what about delegating? Which tasks do you delegate, and who to?
Jill: I have a few people I work with regularly. My webmaster, Aileen, is indispensable. She does all manner of things for me on a regular basis (since we started working together in 2009, not a month has gone by where she hasn’t done work for me). I didn’t consider it a good use of my time to learn the back-end technical issues of getting a website up and running or keeping it maintained. I can upload my blog articles myself, update my pages and so on, but beyond that, Aileen does everything – it is a much better use of my time to have her do those things than me learn them. I have a book keeper, Gary, who comes regularly to input data and do bank reconciliations – I didn’t feel it was a good use of my time to learn MYOB (Mind Your Own Business, the accounting software system preferred by a lot of small businesses). I also have a marketing VA, Vanessa, who formats and sends out my monthly newsletter – I send her the content and she takes it from there. I’m a fairly lean operation, but I use the skills and time of others wisely.
Angela: What’s your favourite iPhone app?
Jill: Ah, iPhone apps. I am woefully slow in adapting to app technology and I don’t have any on my iPhone, beyond what it came preloaded with. I am willing to be guided by others! What iPhone apps should I consider having?
Angela: What about your diary? Paper or electronic?
Jill: Electronic. I used to be a Filofax queen – loved my Filofax, and it provided an excellent upper body workout to carry it around with me! Man, was it heavy! I migrated to a Palm Pilot (remember them?!) in the early 2000’s and after a fairly pain-free teething period, have never looked back. I find it easy, simple to use, and very neat. I can change things easily without my diary ending up a mess, and I can also put more things in it – there is no real limit to the size of a Note you can attach to a calendar item. And because it beeps at me when I have an appointment or an action item, I never forget anything.
Angela: Yes, I do remember Palm Pilots. What a step forward that was!
Learn more about Jill, her productivity secrets and even about her shoe collection and a special something that’s earned its place in Jill’s office when the interview continues here.