What to do when you have an off day in your business.

Nobody has a great day in their business every day. Truthfully, most days may feel like a struggle. But, then there are those days when you just down-right aren’t motivated, nothing is working like it should and you become overwhelmingly frustrated. The harder you try, the worse things seem to get. What should you do when you’re having a day like that?

Get out of the office for a while.

Many times, all it takes is a 30 minute break away from your work environment and a breath of fresh air to help you refocus and tackle your day that is going so poorly. Here’s a few suggestions:

  • Go grab a coffee out somewhere.
  • Take a 30 minute walk.
  • Take a 30 minute nap. I’m not a huge proponent of napping, but I find that my workday doesn’t go well if I’m lacking for sleep. A 30 minute snooze may be just what you need to get recharged.

Work on something completely different.

Habitual procrastination is the downfall of a lot of business owners, but temporary procrastination can be valuable. It’s those tasks that we really dislike doing that can be the force behind our terrible day. If you’re struggling to make progress on a particular task, don’t waste your time sitting there stewing over it or staring at the walls. Turn your focus toward something else completely for an hour, especially if it’s something you like doing in your business. A few ideas:

  • Take time to set or review your goals.
  • Practice creative thinking for your business using the ‘Twenty Ideas” exercise.
  • Try implementing something new in your business that you’ve always wanted to, but never got around to doing it before.

The key here is accomplishment! We’re more motivated to tackle tasks when we have a sense of accomplishment.

Just leave for the day.

This suggestion will make most business owners cringe. I don’t know about you, but I can’t sit still when I’m not working and know I should be. If there’s something that needs to be done in my business (which there always is) or if my wife is hard at work and I’m not, I feel guilty about not working. So, I open up my laptop and pretend to be busy. We have a stigma in our culture that if you’re not busy 24/7, you must be lazy.

Sometimes, your terrible day just won’t get better. This is what I call a “lost” day. Don’t fight it, just leave for the day. Go do something you enjoy. Most importantly, take the day (or even half day) off and don’t feel guilty about it. There’s two ways to look at it: you can either take the day off, get nothing accomplished, enjoy yourself and recharge your energy or, you can stay at work and get nothing accomplished and further your frustrations. Which one do you think will lead to a better work day the following day?

Hey, if you liked this article and found the suggestions useful, please share it on social media with your friends and fellow business owners! Thank you in advance for doing so! I also enjoy getting feedback directly: you can email me at [email protected]!

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Solve multiple problems in your business with one solution

Six steps to building a better business; it’s the process I use to accomplish my mission of helping business owners and sales professionals develop a business they can be proud. If you’re not familiar with the six-step process, here’s the abridged version:

  • STEP #1 – Breaking Things Down
  • STEP #2 – Setting Goals
  • STEP #3 – Getting Organized
  • STEP #4 – Time Management
  • STEP #5 – Sales & Customer Experience
  • STEP #6 – Continuous Improvement

So many businesses and business professionals get stuck because they don’t know what to begin changing or where to focus their efforts; they only know that they want better results. That’s what makes this process so effective; it’s easy to follow. We start with STEP #1, and complete each step before moving on to the next.

“Begin with the end in mind.” – Stephen Covey, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

The true goal of STEP #1 is to clear the confusion and take an objective look at your business.

How can you start getting better results in your business?

By understanding what’s causing you to get the negative results. When I help people break things down in their business, we make a list of results or changes they want to see come about.  We’ll divide a sheet of paper into two columns, and list those changes in the left column. In the right column, I’ll list the six steps to building a better business. Then, we draw lines between the changes they desire, and the step that will help bring about those changes.

Let me give you an example:

Jim tells me “he is constantly overwhelmed and can’t manage to get anything accomplished on a daily basis. He doesn’t even know where to begin most days.

Jim wants to work on making progress in his business, not just taking care of problems all day long. If Jim can get more organized (STEP #3) and learn to budget his time better (STEP #4), Jim will be able to be proactive in his business, instead of reactive.

After mapping out each one of your desired results or changes and matching them to the steps, you’ll quickly see that many of your problems are related. Improve one aspect of your business and it can solve several of your problems at one time!

For example, in STEP #3 – Getting Organized, I might work with business owners on developing processes and habits for managing their team. If the owner starts to take interest in each team member’s success, shares the company’s mission repeatedly with the team and ensures that the entire team understands the goals, it can lead to:

  • happier, motivated team members
  • more sales
  • increased customer satisfaction -> which then leads to more referrals
  • higher quality of work [less mistakes, less “dropping the ball”]

All of this is the result of making a few minor adjustments in how you relate to your team!

What I want you to takeaway.

Don’t think that you have a thousand different problems to solve in your business. Match your problems or desired results to actionable steps that you can take using the exercise I outlined above. Find correlations among your problems and you’ll be much more likely to succeed in producing results!

If you’d like help gaining an objective look at your business and areas for improvement, shoot me a message at [email protected] to see if one-on-one business coaching is right for you!

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I sound like a broken record, but, how you use your time is the greatest determining factor of your results in business and life. When I work with business owners one-on-one, this concept is arguably the most important one we cover during the process. Most business owners and sales professionals already strive to use their time wisely. They prioritize, plan, schedule and pay close attention to how they’re spending their minutes and hours. Even so, it’s not uncommon to look back and wonder where our time went or why we didn’t get more done. I’ve found there is one main factor that’s the culprit: disorganization.

Yes, even if you prioritize and plan, you’re not going to be as efficient if you are disorganized. What types of disorganization am I talking about?

  • Physically disorganized. Do you have papers and junk piled high on your desk or in your office? This wastes time two different ways:
    1. A cluttered workspace causes people to not be able to focus on the task at hand.
    2. Finding the tools and items needed for a particular task is difficult.
  • Electronically disorganized. I’ve seen people’s desktops so full of icons they can’t fit anymore. Likewise, I’ve seen “documents” folders packed with thousands of files and not a single sub-folder. Even with the search capabilities of modern computers, it can be difficult to find files you are looking for. Remembering to save documents, backing up digital information and keeping all of your devices in sync are other sources of disorganization.
  • Systematically disorganized. Efficient businesses are ones who have systems and processes for all areas of their businesses: sales & marketing, accounting & financials, management and human resources. Businesses that lack well-defined systems and processes waste more time and don’t execute consistently.

When a business is able to become more organized and develop systems and processes, it makes for a dramatic shift in their efficiency. Suddenly, they understand the best and fastest way to approach problems and goals, and have clear plans for making progress. What does it take to become organized like this? I have a couple tips for you to try.

Where are you at right now?

This first task for becoming organized is to figure out which areas you need to focus on first. What seems to slow you down: having a cluttered workspace? Not having processes for a certain area of your business? Make a list of four or five areas that you’d like to improve upon.

Take one step at a time.

If you try to tackle everything at one time, you’re only going to end up frustrated. With your list of four or five areas you’d like to improve upon, which one would have the greatest impact in your business?  Start with that particular area and stick with it until it’s complete. Then, move on to the next. If you want to accomplish it quickly, spend at least 10 minutes per day making progress.

Form a habit.

It takes a long time to climb a mountain and just a few seconds to fall all the way back down. If you want your new-found organizational skills to stick, form a habit out of them. One habit I have is the “touch-it-once rule.” If I pick up a piece of paper (or any physical item), I handle it immediately and file it away or throw it away when I’m done. This helps keep my workspace clean and organized at all times.

Stop wasting time in your business by being disorganized. Work on taking small steps to get organized in all areas of your business and I promise you’ll start seeing results.

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Why your days run together - productivity, procrastination [BLOG POST]

My wife often makes fun of me for getting sidetracked and forgetting where I’m headed when I’m driving. I’ll be cruising along and miss a turn or even drive right past our destination. On long trips, I sometimes look at the road signs and think, “I don’t remember driving that last 30 miles.”

While that probably doesn’t happen to you, I bet you experience something similar during a normal week. One day you look at your calendar and think, “how is it already Friday?” Where did those other 4 days go? You’re pretty sure you lived through them, but if you think back, you can’t exactly remember what you did each day. Am I right?

I’ll let you in on the secret as to why our days tend to run together: we spend most of our time in reactive mode instead of proactive mode.

Reactive mode doesn’t always mean ‘taking care of emergencies and problems.’  You’re “reactive” if you’re:

  1. working on tasks that you’ve procrastinated on
  2. avoiding work that you don’t want to do but is vital to your progress and success
  3. spending time on meaningless activities instead of advancing your business
  4. having no plan at all to start the day

How much of your day is spent in these four categories? If we want to have a healthy, growing, successful, fun to work in business, we must spend the majority of our day in proactive mode. Here’s three techniques to help you get focused and become proactive.

#1. Write everything down.

It’s funny how we “forget” to do something when we don’t want to do something. “Dropping the ball,” as I like to call it, is the result of disorganization and procrastination. You can eliminate disorganization very easily; write everything down in ONE place. No little sticky notes or pieces of paper scattered all over. Get a three-ring binder or spiral notebook and keep ONE sheet of paper with a list of all your tasks for the week. Every time you get a new task, write it down immediately on that sheet.

Bonus tip: In my e-course on productivity, I offer a “productivity sheet” to use on a weekly basis that will help you organize your work and life tasks, all in one place!

#2. Start ahead of time.

Procrastinating, or not giving yourself enough time to complete work, leads to more procrastination and time spent in reactive mode. The deeper you dig your hole, the harder it will be to get out. You can avoid this cycle by starting projects ahead of time. Once you get all your “pain in the butt” work done, you’ll have more time to spend in proactive mode, working on things that you’re excited about and help you grow.

Think about this: success is nothing more than a compilation of doing many small things right over a period of time. The faster you get to work on doing those many small things right, the faster you will achieve the success you’re looking for.

#3. Follow up on status and details.

Don’t mark anything as “done” until you’re 100% sure it’s taken care of. Follow up with your client, your employee or your spouse about the task in question. Make sure no details were missed and that everything is resolved. By doing this, you’re reducing the chance that it will come back to bite you in the future. The more future problems we can eliminate, the more time we can spend in proactive mode.

With these simple steps, we can start to take control of our days and spend our time being proactive. Don’t allow your days, weeks and months to blend together anymore!

When you’re serious about taking control of your days and making the most of your time, consider purchasing my e-course “Scheduling Your Day Like a Pro.” It is an easy to implement, step-by-step process to help you get organized, become efficient and start seeing actual results in your business and life.

 

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