It happens to nearly every one of us. When summer arrives and the kids are out of school, life outside of the business becomes more prevalent, if not more important. Family vacations become the priority. Spending more time with your children when they have the free time becomes more important. The work/life balance you strive for has become skewed. Then, you wake up one morning and find that the business goals you set for 2012 are still a long way off. Your desk is a mess and you have no idea where information is. Your thoughts are scattered and you are having trouble identifying how to get back on track. Take heart! This is not a unique situation. You are still in the fight. You just need to get back on track.
Imagine yourself in a helicopter 3,000 feet above your business. You can see where you want to go in relation to where you are and where you are in relation to where you have been. Getting that picture will help you to begin forming the plan to get back on track. That picture will also help you identify where your energy, and the energy of your staff, needs to be focused. A key to getting back on track is to not panic. If your employees sense that you are in a state of panic, they will become restless and less productive. This will derail your efforts to get back in the game, driving towards your goals. Stay calm and start with the low hanging fruit. These three simple best practices to help trim the low hanging fruit:
1. Clean up your email inbox – no one should have 1500 unread emails.
2. Organize your desk – if it has been on the bottom of a pile for six months, chances are, it is not that important. File it away or shred it.
3. Utilize your gatekeeper/voicemail – unplanned interruptions can kill a schedule. Protect your time and rely on the resources at hand to do so.
By implementing these three, simple best practices, you can alleviate some of the overwhelm you are feeling and be better prepared to tackle the activities that matter most to your business.
Next thing to do is identify what activities will give you the most bang for your effort buck. What drives the activity in your business? What is it that you do that contributes most to the business reaching its annual goals? Whatever those activities are, plan them. Build them into your daily schedule. Treat those activities as if they were the most important things in your business life and don’t let anything interfere with getting them accomplished. If you don’t, other things magically fill the void and time slips away and your goals become a figment of your imagination. Get back to doing the things that made you successful in the first place and watch those end-of-year goals get closer and closer.
Alan Lakein said, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” What must your plan include to ensure that you reach your 2012 goals?