Come Up for Air – Don’t Drown
Warning Business Owners: You need that breath of fresh air.
Given my hectic day-to-day, it’s easy for me to get sucked into all the urgent stuff. It's that urgent thing staring me right in the face.
It may be important, but it’s probably not as important as tasks I need done today that move me towards my goals. Those are the business or life goal I’ve set for myself.
My answer to correct this comes right out of Steve Covey’s, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” His habit, “Start with the end in mind” is my mantra. I say it’s my mantra because it never seems to fully sink. I've got to work on it.
As much as I know I must do it, if:
- I don’t repeat it,
- say it a loud daily,
- remind myself with sticky notes, and
- make it my top focus,
I stray off course. Quicker than I can notice, I see myself deviating. Before I know it, I’m giving myself kudos for clearing my to do list, but I didn’t take a single step towards achieving the goals I've set for myself.
This is what happens to me. I head up sales, marketing and account management. That’s at odds with my technical skills. My tech skills are what enabled me to start my business. I never would have launched it without those. What I discovered as I grew the business is I’m better at sales, marketing and account management that at the tech stuff so I’ve trained my team to do them.
Then, of course, an email comes in from a paying client with an urgent issue. My gut reaction is to “get right on it.” It’s a reflex. I feel anxious NOT handling it. Customer service is important, right?
Then again, I’ve got my team that monitors the queue. They may not get to it within second or minutes, but they will definitely get to within a few hours. With rare exceptions, a minor delay in responding doesn't affect our ability to exceed customer expectations.
If I follow my gut and lose my focus, what suffers is my revenue. If I get caught up handling urgent customer issues, I don’t get to all my daily sales calls. I fall behind:
- writing blog posts,
- recording programs and video blogs, and
- interacting with Facebook groups.
These aren’t urgent. No one I reach in my sales call ever asks, “Why didn’t you call me earlier?” No one misses a video blog or a program I publish behind schedule. No calls me saying, “Why didn’t you answer that person’s question in a Facebook group?”
What does eventually happen is sales go down. And then the non-urgent, important calls I should have been making and the content marketing I failed to publish become extremely urgent, in my face and crisis driven. That’s no fun.
A practical tool that works for me addressing this is the Self Journal. You can find it at www.BestSelf.co. It’s a daily planner with a simple goal setting process. I use it daily and it’s been extremely helpful at keeping me focused on the things that matter most any given day. They are all checked against my goals so I specify what I need to do that gets me moving towards my goals.
Give it a try and let me know what you think.
Hope this helps.