Getting It Together

You know that your ideal life does not include working 18 hours a day – 7 days a week. You also know that to start making the necessary changes in your life, you need to build a real support network. But you also need to make some real structural changes to how you handle your day.  You need to change the way you think. 

You might actually end up being very surprised at how much physical energy you’re going to have to exude just to put your brain waves on a slightly different path. Not because what I’m telling you is difficult, but because North Americans have been programmed that the only way to be successful is to work non-stop.  The real hard truth is that in reality, the truly successful people simply do not work every second of every day.   How could they when they’re always in the newspapers and magazines playing golf and going to parties?  They know how to set up barriers between their personal and business lives and they know how to use their down time for rejuvenation.   

Here we go though – I’m about to pull out hose two dreaded little words – you know the ones – time management.  Do not immediately scroll past this post!  I know that this phrase sends visions running through your head of yuppies with sweaters tied around their neck and releases the blocked out memories of long, boring seminars and endless piles of daytimers and colour coded calendars. 

The problem with time management though is that it became an industry onto itself that the message was lost in all of the marketing.  The message itself is important though and the implementation is actually quite simple. I’m going to  present it to you short and straight because it really isn’t difficult to master and the lessons you will learn will truly enrich your life.  

The first lesson of the day is:

Not today, not tomorrow, not next year – there is never going to be a moment when you’re going to sit down and think, “Gee, I have nothing to do”.  You own your own business and that’s just the way things are.  Finally realize that it’s o.k. if everything doesn’t get done.  What is the worst thing that could possibly happen if you don’t finish all of your invoicing today or don’t send out all of your company Christmas cards?  The world is not going to end if you don’t get everything done, because if it were, it’d all be over by now. 

So you now have a new mantra:

“It’s o.k. to leave things for tomorrow”

“It’s o.k. to leave things for tomorrow”

“It’s o.k. to leave things for tomorrow”

Good air in – bad air out

Seriously though, get used to running that thought through your head because as an expert multitasker, there’s a small drop of masochism in you that actually enjoys the drive of 16 hour days and full pots of coffee – but it’s time to let go before you have a caffeine overdose. 

Second Lesson of the Day

Remember Perfectionism does not equal profitability

Do you really need to colour code your files? 

There was a very lovely lady who ran a very clean office.  There was not a paper or paperclip out of place.  Every label for every file folder had to be typewritten and no letter was to leave the office until reviewed by her.  Every invoice was filed in triplicate and there were signs posted around the office giving instruction on how to make the coffee, how to organize the supply cabinet and how to keep the bathroom clean.  If ever a piece of paper was accidentally filed under “halo” instead of “haley”, there would be a full-blown hour long meeting reminding the staff of the importance of organization and the file clerk’s work would be monitored for at least a full week afterwards.   

Yes, you could definitely say that there had never been a more organized office in the history of offices.  This lady worked every day from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. (never venturing out for lunch), as she developed new spreadsheets, new forms and new procedures for keeping the office spotless.  

The only problem was (other then driving her staff insane), that even in her world of perfection, the business wasn’t growing.  She had the same clients for years and would occasionally attract a new client from the phone book ad but even though she was excellent at maintaining the status quo, just imagine what she could have done with all of that time she spent micro managing.  She could have been circulating business cards at chamber of commerce meetings.  She could have been attending tradeshows and she could have been taking the time to research potential new markets.  Instead, she worked incredibly hard to reach a plateau and then she stayed there until she finally retired.  If her energy and dedication had of been focused on growth instead organization, she could have been huge. 

Remember that book – don’t sweat the small stuff – well this is it.  Having the most organized desk this side of New Mexico isn’t going to make you a million dollars.  Having your pens colour coordinated in their holders isn’t going to help either.

Let’s stick to what is actually important


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