Only 1 thing to do
I used to have a to-do list.
As “to-do” suggests I used it to list all the things I needed to do.
It used to sit there, silently mocking me, as I tried to turn “to-dos” into “dones”. But it never seemed to reduce in size, so one day I sat down and analysed what was on my list and tried to work out if there was a better way of dealing with it. What I realised was:
- There were a few bits and pieces I did need to do and should have done them straight away rather than list them.
- Some of the items were so old I could disregard them.
- BUT THIS WAS THE IMPORTANT DISCOVERY: 90% of the items were things that I did as part and parcel of the daily grind of work and therefore didn’t need to list them.
So, my to-do list got the sack. But, what was I supposed to do without this metaphorical rudder to keep my boat sailing straight?
In fact, losing the to-list was liberating as it moved me away from focusing on working “in” the business i.e. day-to-day stuff, to working “on” the business i.e. growing it. One (slightly oxymoronic) idea I had been “umming & aahing” about for a while was to double the circulation of the magazines and gain some time back to spend with my family. So in my list-less situation, I wrote this idea on a Post-it note and stuck it on my laptop so I would see it regularly. Would it work or would I go back to making lists?
The “in-your-face” position of the Post-it definitely kept me focused on it. Then, after about four weeks it stopped being a reminder as I took the steps to move it from an idea to a project. Once I started the process it took shape quite quickly and three months later I had worked out the fine detail. Then I took the final step to implement it. And it worked, not without bumps and a few curved balls along the way, but it worked. The biggest struggle I found was that first month where I had change my mindset from working in, to working on, the business.
If you want to give it a go, turn over your to-do list for now so it won’t distract you. Then, on a post-it note, write down one of your ideas for growing* your business and stick it somewhere you will see it daily. If you take it forward I estimate that within 3-6 months you’ll start to see a sea change in your business. In fact, I’m so convinced that I’ll bet my son’s X-box on it, and trust me if I thought there was any margin for error on my part I’d be offering my engagement ring instead!
*Remember that “growing” does not necessarily mean you are seeking to be in direct competition with the multi-national equivalent of your business although that’s a great aspiration. It may be planning ahead to ensure you have enough work to see you through your quieter times, or reviewing your pricing structure to ensure that your I&E remain in line without you having to work 24/7.
OVER TO YOU
If, when you write your post-it note, it makes mention of advertising to gain more clients then don’t forget your local neighbourhood magazine is a brilliant place to start. Get in touch on 07976 869435 or email [email protected] for more information about how I can help.