The Secrets Of Very Productive People - Emmas Isaacs, CEO of Business Chicks

Posted on 10 August 2015


It doesn’t matter what you do or where you do it – everyone is always looking for ways to be more productive. Excessive amounts of caffeine and list-making won’t get you any closer to reaching peak productivity levels though. Being productive is also not about one’s intellect or capability. Being productive is about practicing certain habits over others, so that you can get the most out of your days. In our Productive People series we will be profiling successful and influential women in business (VPPs) who not-only view health and fitness as a non-negotiable investment in their wellbeing but also see it as a complete necessity for their productivity.  This week we chat to mum of 4 and founder of Business Chicks - Emma Isaacs!

    Tell us a bit about yourself? How did you get to where you are today?

      I’m the CEO of Business Chicks, a global network for women in business, with over 35,000 members and headquarters in Sydney, Australia and New York. I’m also a keen property investor, having bought my first at 19; I’ve raised over $12million for various not-for-profits, and have four children aged three months to six years. I’m inspired by people who take risks and are determined to get where they want. I started my first business when I was 18 and have always been an entrepreneur – I’m probably not employable anymore!

        What is one of the most important lessons you have learnt as an entrepreneur?

          Your mindset and belief system is far more important than any raw talent or skills you may have. As an entrepreneur you have to be able to master resilience and have to be prepared to ask the questions others are too scared to ask. You have to be prepared to bounce back quickly from the failures and continue to think positively!

          What daily habits keep you productive?
          Breathing deeply, hiring great people, managing my self-talk, and trying to smile as much as possible. Practically speaking though, I couldn’t live without my assistant in my business and my nanny at home – these two women keep me doing what I do best and I couldn’t live without them.

          Why is health and fitness a priority for you?
          I’ve had my own businesses for about 17 years now and have fluctuated with the amount of time I dedicate to my health and fitness. I can say, hand on heart, that when I’ve devoted time to my health and fitness it’s made me far more productive and I’ve noticed the difference. As I’ve gotten older, and the sleep deprivation that comes with raising four young kids has crept in, focusing on the fuel I put into my body and how much I move it, has made a profound impact.

          How do you prioritise your workload each day/week?
          I learnt a long time ago that the only way to get through my workload was to outsource as much as I could. I have a brilliant team around me who over the last ten years, have helped to grow the business and offer their expertise in areas that weren’t my strengths. It’s been one of the most liberating things, but was also one of the hardest things. When you’ve built a business and are so used to being involved in every single part of it, letting go of that control is tough! I’m pleased to say though that now I’m an expert delegator.

          What do you do to concentrate?
          I’m a people person, so I purposely designed our headquarters as an open-plan office. It’s lively and exciting and there’s always discussion and collaboration. I’m pretty well-adapted to working through noise (at work and home), but I also get a lot of work done when I’m on my own. I find that picking just one or two things to get done in a day helps me to concentrate and focus.

          Do you have a morning routine or ritual?
          I’m sure I’ll find routine one day (maybe?), but with four little cherubs, mornings in my household are hilarious. My big girl Milla (who’s 6) is usually running around nude refusing to put her school uniform on, while the middle two (Honey, 4 and Indie, 2) are throwing food around or packing six handbags to take to school (they promise me they need it all), and my baby boy Ryder (3 months) is usually just chilling waiting for someone to notice him.

          Then there are those wonderful mornings where I’m on a business trip, and I leave my gorgeous nanny and my husband to tackle the big three. I just spent five days on Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island for a Business Chicks leadership gathering after a few weeks in the States launching Business Chicks USA – and it was bliss to just have the baby to deal with!

          All that said though, I do try and spend a few minutes in quiet meditation before I get out of bed just trying to create my day and not let it run me, and also being in gratitude for everything I have.

          What do you do to unwind?
          I cherish any moment of time I get by myself, even if that’s as simple as taking a little longer brushing my teeth while the family piles into the car downstairs, or packing up my laptop and heading to a local café for an hour of solid, uninterrupted work. I have a weekly massage therapist that comes to my home and I try to watch my breathing always to ensure I’m slowing myself down.

          At Vie Active we celebrate the notion of being FLAWSOME, realising that we can’t always be perfect and that our imperfectness is what makes us who we are – what makes you FLAWSOME?
          I have all the same worries that all working women do – am I spending enough time with my family? Am I being enough of a leader to my people? I always come back to my values though – being a role model for women is everything to me, so I am fine as long as I’m connecting into why I’m doing this.

          What are your thoughts on mistakes, challenges or failures?
          I relish them! I crave them! Growth happens right after mistakes, challenges and failures, and it’s where you want to spend a lot of your time as an entrepreneur. As hard as it can be at the time, I always find I step it up a notch after I’ve gone through a failure – I use it to fuel me onwards to the next thing.


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