Each week I set aside “business development” blocks of times. I approach these with the best of intentions, while not always getting the best results.
My (fortunately not too common) bad days are punctuated with spells of aimless web-surfing, too much time on Facebook or Twitter, and uncertainty about what to do next.
On my good days, I hit the floor (or more accurately the desk) running and I rip through my to-do list. I even tackle the big items that I’ve been idling over. And I purr myself to sleep that night.
I now understand what makes the difference.
Some days, I am simply not in the right frame of mind to work on the big projects. I can’t declutter my brain enough to extract the good ideas. The secret to surviving those days, I’ve learned, is to put one foot in front of the other. Do the absolute necessary, keep the tasks small, and be gentle on myself.
Other days are predetermined by the prior night’s lousy sleep. I’m just too pooped to get much done. My brain feels gelatinous and even my muscles ache. Those days call for a 40-minute walk outside (forget the “brisk” part), and a mindless desk or closet clean-up, or setting up a networking cup of coffee.
On my normal energy days, that’s my chance to get my creative juices going. This means glancing at my emails, attending quickly to the urgent and client-related ones, and then shutting out all distractions. I don’t answer the phone, I turn off my email and twitter “announcers”, and I mentally shut the door to any intruders.
I write. Or make videos. Or make mind maps of new products for my business.
If I have spent some time creating a plan of action in advance – an action item list, a monthly marketing plan, a project outline – it’s much easier to figure out what to do, especially if I am trying to match my activities to my mood and energy. Even on the bad days, there is always something I can cross off my list if I have the list to begin with.
My most productive periods are when I’m working with my own coach, and I’ve promised to get something done. I even asked my buddies on Facebook to hold me accountable for finishing something last week (a bigger project) and sure enough, one of them checked in with me. I was happy to report a positive outcome.
Since I don’t have an employed assistant in my office, I’ve learned to rely on the able help from a Virtual Assistant, many states away. Since I’ve also given her the job of bugging me to take care of certain routine tasks (like writing this newsletter!), I am being held accountable in addition.
How can you use these insights to build your business or practice?
- Set aside time, even two hours, every week to work ON your business or practice
- Know and respect your energy and mood and select tasks that match them, for that day.
- Have a plan (business, marketing, to-do list) that you can pull out of your pocket or desk to act on, no matter how you feel.
- Implement SOMETHING from your plan, no matter what!! It’s action that builds businesses.
- Ask someone to hold you accountable for accomplishing a goal, big or small.
- Reward yourself if you get the task done
- Determine what you can ask someone else to do – make outsourcing or delegating your Holy Grail of business productivity.
- Celebrate every time you achieve a bigger goal – in that way, business-building starts to become fun!!