Are you your own worst enemy?
You can tell a lot about an entrepreneur by the way they spend their time. We all spend our time in various ways. Many small business owners tell me that there’s not enough time in the day to get everything done. Personally, I believe there’s always enough time in the day to do all of the things that are ‘worth’ doing. The key is to identify what is worth your while.
The Busyness Trap
Sometimes activity or ‘busyness’ can be a form of anesthesia to dull the pain of not achieving the results you want. Action is always better than procrastination. On the other hand, more activity is not always better.
What about ‘busy’ activities? If you’ve ever spent your day — stuck in back-to-back meetings, responding to routine questions from your team, answering emails, and tidying your office, then you know exactly what I mean.
It’s easy to spend large amounts of time on ‘busy’ activities. In fact it is possible to spend all your time on these activities, creating the magnificent illusion that you are hard at work, simply because you are … so busy. You are working hard, but you have very little financial results to show for it. Your day is full of tasks and as it draws to a close you are exhausted – so you must have put in a hard day’s work, right?
Unfortunately, these habitual ‘busy’ activities can keep you trapped – simply maintaining and not growing. By filling your days with tedious and mundane tasks, you are in effect avoiding the very activities that you know will really move your business or career forward and produce tangible results – what we might call ‘productive activities’.
These activities rarely happen automatically. They require focused attention. And, all too often, they get relegated to ‘tomorrow’ or ‘sometime soon’.
Changing Unproductive Business Habits
A great many small business owners, like to think of themselves as entrepreneurial, but would rather do anything other than face the thought of ‘productive activities.’ They probably have these things on their ‘to do’ lists, but after another day of busyness, they say to themselves, “It’s okay, I was really busy. The business planning review will have to wait until tomorrow.”
The problem is this … if you’re waiting for the best time to do critical ‘productive activities,’ that time will never come. Tomorrow there will be more busy work to do and your unproductive habits will fill the rest of the day, and the cycle will start all over again.
Today is a new day – the past is over and has no relevance in the present or in your future. Successful individuals are not without problems or challenges they just simply refuse to carry the same dilemmas or hurdles for months (or years) on end. They seek solutions, face obstacles, overcome problems and move on. Most importantly, they make time to focus on ‘productive activities’.
Produce Positive and Productive Results
Successful entrepreneurs rise above the ‘noise’ of busyness, create ways to focus their mind on the things that really matter right now and get on with the task at hand. They set specific goals, monitor outputs and take action based on financial trends in their businesses. They don’t try to do ‘everything’, they focus only on the very things that will give them the most leveraged and positive result.
And a thriving business owner rarely blames external circumstances when things go wrong, instead they take personal responsibility for what they choose to spend their time pursuing.
In the end, success is achieved with less not more and it’s actually easier than you may think. Working like a dog to avoid dealing with problems and keeping yourself immersed in ‘busy work’ – now that’s hard work! Why would you choose to do that when you could simply take a step back and choose to do the 1-2 things that you know would move your business forward right now?
Isn’t it time to start taking it easy?