By Tina Dietz
October 23rd, 2013 Edition
Over the years of coaching people from all walks of life, I’ve found that a large part of growing your business is giving yourself permission to experiment with making your schedule your friend and making powerful requests. Like most people, you’re probably juggling multiple priorities. What if you could “dance” through your day, nimbly mambo-ing around the unexpected or waltzing through phone calls? I’m going to give you some examples of what I’ve personally learned about dancing with priorities today, and invite you to use those examples to generate ideas for yourself.
As an entrepreneur, do you find yourself best served by a 9-5 schedule? Observe what times of the day are best for you to do any given thing, and organize your schedule around it—is your best concentration first thing in the morning? Right after lunch? Schedule your most important tasks for when you’re at your peak. If you are a parent, as I am, having a “non-traditional” schedule can make it easier to have time to spend with your kids after school. Back when I was still working for someone else AND developing my businesses I spent about 6 months getting up 45 minutes earlier than everyone else in the house and using that time to set my goals for the day as well as sending out any key email communications. Twice a week in the evening, my husband would take the kids to the YMCA to swim and I would work on developing my programs and other content, or coach clients. They had special time together and developed a skill, I built my business. Did I watch much TV? Nope. But I was doing what I loved and made tangible progress in developing my business so I was energized and I didn’t regret missing the new season of my favorite show after all (I just watched it on DVD later!).
It also helped that I wasn’t allowing myself to work late, late into the night. That drain on my body would’ve killed my productivity totally. Putting time limits on your working hours and focusing on key tasks tends to create more results in growing your business, and this is illustrated by something called “Parkinson’s Law,” which I also call “goldfish syndrome.” That is, the amount of time it takes to complete a task is relative to the time allowed to complete that task. The more room or time you have to get something done, the more time it tends to take to get it done. You can’t procrastinate when you can’t procrastinate!
Establishing a regular routine puts you in the best possible mindset to accomplish any priority you might approach. You’ll find yourself more prepared to tackle any hurdles when you’re expecting certain tasks at certain times. I like to write my blog posts on Friday mornings, usually at a coffee shop (hence the picture that accompanies this post). KNOWING that I have that time set aside in my schedule each week helps me stay grounded, eliminating the feeling of frenzied, “OMG when am I going to get this done?!” It’s a priority to be in communication with my community, so I take the time for that. As ideas come up during the week, I use my “personal assistant” to capture those ideas and then review them on Friday mornings during my writing time.
If you have a routine, it’s also easier to add positive habits. Just weave the new habit into your regular activities. Much like creating a schedule that works for you, you can work with what already works for you and build upon that. For example, if you’re trying to remember to take vitamins, you could make it a part of your routine as you clean up after breakfast—perhaps placing the bottle on the counter by the sink, so you see it as you rinse your dishes. Yep, that’s another personal tip from me. This is particularly helpful as you practice bringing your Perfect Day into reality by reviewing it daily and set your daily actions based on your 5 Year Strategic Vision Plan. One of the best things you can do for growing your business is not just having a plan, but WORKING your plan with daily strategic actions. I’ve even had clients keep a copy of their Perfect Day in the bathroom so that they remember to look at it every day!
If you’re going to change your life, you’re going to have to change your life. It takes time and discipline but it’s worth it for a lifetime of freedom. There’s new dance steps to learn, new routines to practice and develop, but if you keep at it soon you’ll be ready for the world stage.