3 steps that put you in control of your day

THE ROLLERCOASTER OF BUSINESS

Running a business is like being on a rollercoaster – it’s intense with rapidly changing priorities.  Even though you prepared well for all your projects, it can sometimes feel like the business is out of your control. 

WHY NOW IS EXACTLY THE RIGHT TIME TO SLOW DOWN

However, when you’re very busy is precisely the time that you most need to slow down and step back, to work on your business and not just in your business. 

Why?  It’s when you have the most customers in front of you that you learn the most about them.  It’s when your team is under most pressure that you see what they really need from you.  It’s when you have all the balls are in the air at the same time that you understand most about yourself as a business manager. 

But you can only gain all these learnings if you take the time to step back and take the time to notice what’s happening. 

THE MOST IMPORTANT 15 MINUTES OF YOUR DAY

The most important 15 minutes of your day is in the morning.  It’s the 15 minutes before you meet any of your team, any visitors and even before your open your emails or social media accounts.  It’s 15 minutes where you decide to lead your day, not just react to what comes at you.  It’s the 15 minutes where you decide to lead your day and not just react to what comes at you.

AVOID EMAIL AND SOCIAL MEDIA UNTIL AFTER YOUR 15 MINUTES

Can’t imagine not checking your email or social media first thing?  Yes, many of us have gotten into the habit of checking these things first and have given them utmost priority in the day.  We forget that our email inbox is nothing more than the amalgamated To Do List of all of our connections.  It’s full of things that other people want you to know or want you to do.   By checking in there first, we give more importance to other people’s priorities than we do to our own.  Avoid doing that so that you give precedence to what matters most to you and your business.

THE 15 MINUTE MORNING FOCUS CHECK-IN SHEET – WRITE IT DOWN

Use these 15 minutes to check in on yourself and your business every morning.  It’s vitally important that you write things down as this helps clarify thinking.  Writing has more impact than typing so I strongly recommend that you use the trusty and traditional pen, rather than the keyboard.  It also means that if you keep a record of what you write every day, you will have a log of your best learnings and insights from the season.  This is valuable data that will serve you as you plan the further development of your business into the future.

To help structure this journalling time and to act as a good log of your thoughts, I’ve created the 15 Minute Daily Planner Sheet.  Here's an image of it - email [email protected] if you'd like to get a free copy.   Print one off for each day and keep it in a folder as a record of your week or month.  There are three core parts to this, and we’ll talk through each one below. 

BREAK YOUR 15 MINUTES INTO 3 STEPS

  1. Key Projects

Select a maximum of 3 projects per day.  For each one, identify 3-5 actions you will take to help you progress those projects. 

  1. Key People

Before looking at email or social, list the people you need to connect with today to help you progress your projects.  This is your contact list for today.  At the same time, note people who you are expecting to get back to you so that you can progress a project or item.  When you do open email, check if any of those have come back to you.  If not, add them to your list of people to contact. 

  1. Key Priorities

This is my favourite one.  Starting with the sentence “I will do this thing today no matter what else happens….’ Focuses your mind on ensuring you feel you have done what you need for the day and haven’t sacrificed all your time to external demands. 

BUILD YOUR 15-MINUTE RITUAL

Make this a morning ritual.  Carve out the time.  If you don’t, you’ll be busy all day long and all year long and you won’t know if you’re adding value or making real business progress.  When you are busy is perhaps the time when you can harvest the best information about your business. 

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