Updated: May 12
If you missed the first couple of blogs in this series you can find them right here.
What I know is that the hardest part of running a successful business is not losing yourself in the process. You might think it’s finding new business or managing your finances but that isn’t so. They are certainly important, but they are not as important as your happiness and sense that everything is as it should be.
Think about it … Have you ever met someone who has the business you’d like to have one day, but you’re surprised to see that they are so unhappy?
Me too. Thankfully I met this person early on, and from time to time I have met his doppelgangers to remind me to stay true to myself.
Beginning in blog 189, I shared asking for help, saying ‘no’ more often, and being better organized. In blog 190 I shared taking breaks, embracing the 80/20 rule and the necessity of unplugging from the digital breeze.
Now we’re going to turn a corner …
7. Set more ambitious goals.
It’s great to set a task list for the day and cross it off. It feels good, and you feel like you are accomplishing something and you will go home in better shape more often. Momentum is a beautiful thing, and one of the reasons I am so strict about the 80/20 rule is that it keeps the momentum rolling.
However, you still need to set some bigger, loftier goals. Where are you taking your client? What are you working on that will truly shake up the status quo?
I’m typing to you this morning from my cabin. A week from tomorrow, my very first group of financial advisors EVER will show up here, in my not-so-secret summer lair for a 3-day immersive customer experience workshop.
I have never done anything like this before. I’m equal parts excited and terrified.
People who set bigger goals feel more satisfied and fulfilled. Set some goals that take a month, or two months or more, to accomplish. Business and personal goals are important.
Zero in on the 80/20 activities and abide by them. But make sure that in the next 12 months, you ship at least two big projects/events to dazzle your clients and keep you feeling like you’re making progress.
8. Designated email time.
I assume you are focused on your key activities and priorities all the time, so let me just say that if you have time throughout the day to check and monitor your emails, then you have too much time on your hands and you need to get focused.
Some days you’ll do these things almost unconsciously. You’ll get a little bored or lose your ability to focus on a given task, and you’ll opt to “just check my emails”, then you’ll get sucked in for 20 minutes or more.
Don’t. This constant losing of time will create a lot of stress, and stress costs energy.
I wake up in the morning and do all my creative work and writing. I don’t check my emails first thing because email requires action. I want all of my energy and focus to be directed at something that helps me get ahead. I don’t typically check email until around 11AM.
“But what if there is an emergency?” Your client will call.
For those of you who use Gmail, I suggest you take the time to learn how to use it effectively, setting up different folders etc. I track all kinds of details for my speaking events. Everything just flows into the appropriate folder, so when I have a question I can find an answer, easily, in 9 seconds.
9. Dig your well before you’re thirsty.
There has to be a payoff. I remember one time I said to an advisor who was working his life away, “It shouldn’t feel like a miracle to get a Friday off.” That hit him right between the eyes.
Most people are not very organized, so they waste a lot of time each day and they are unaware of it. Look at the person working closest to you. Does s/he waste a lot of time? If that person worked with a little more focus, could they carve out 30 minutes to get up and go for a walk each day?
Take mini payoffs every day. When I have been working at something for 45 minutes, I’ll take a break with a coffee and stand outside in the sunshine. Doesn’t sound like much, but it’s enough to help me reset. I reflect on what I’ve done, talk myself up a little (“Alright, this day is going really nicely”) and get my head together for what comes next.
Take big payoffs too. Long weekends, holidays, trips, whatever suits you. Just make sure you put them on the calendar today. Being burned out is a lot like being thirsty; by the time you’re tired (or thirsty) it’s already too late.
Often when you’re too busy, there is no time to schedule a break. You have to schedule breaks and holidays before you need them, then stick to them.
One thing I do is never talk to anyone on a Monday or a Friday. My busy days are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. I build these two days into every week of the year, to ensure I always have the time to tidy up, catch up or rest each week before I need it.