In just a few days, the U.S. will celebrate Thanksgiving. Where has 2013 gone?
Once the Christmas / Hanukkah holiday season arrives, the race will be on to get things done before the end of the year in your business - finish projects and prepare invoices, send season's greetings to current and past customers, organize documents for income tax preparation . . . . It is a time of high excitement but it can also be a time of high anxiety!
Productivity = knowing what matters and getting it done.
- Monique Y. Wells
So how about taking some time right now - BEFORE the holidays - to reflect and review. I'm talking about a "deep dive" into the heart and soul of your business, the very foundation of it, to reaffirm your BIG WHY - the reason that you started your business in the first place!
When you (re)connect to this, you will easily be able to see how much of what you're getting done from day to day really matters in your business and how much of it is off target or not well focused. You'll be able to congratulate yourself on what you've done well and identify steps to "course correct" for the things that are falling outside the realm of your business purpose (why you went into business), mission (what you want to accomplish in your business), and vision (what achieving your mission looks like - how you make it happen). You'll also be able to anticipate how well you can fulfill your commitments to family and friends during the holidays and minimize the stress that you may experience as you strive to balance these commitments with those of your business.
Take a look at the following pre-holiday tale:
Vanessa is a social media consultant who has an amazing command of the use of Facebook. She believes that social media is the most powerful marketing tool that small businesses have at their disposal and that it should be accessible to them regardless of their level of skill or the amount of time that they have to use it. She has worked miracles for these businesses with her strategies for running Facebook ad campaigns and using contests to build her clients' mailing lists and generate pre-qualified leads that convert handsomely into paying customers. She enjoys being one of the most sought-after consultants on the Web but her desire to maintain that level of recognition has driven her to take on more clients than she can effectively handle. Several of these clients are major corporations and their projects now require the majority of her time.
Vanessa recognizes that she needs help to maintain an optimal level of service for her clients but cannot decide if she should hire someone full time or continue to use virtual assistants. (She doesn't even believe she has the time to think about this!) She also recognizes that she is no longer as available for her husband and children as she'd like to be and that she both resents and dreads the long list of social engagements, school events, and extended family dinners that loom ahead during the month of December. Her workdays are filled with anxiety about potentially letting her clients down and guilt about not being fully present for her family during her off hours, and she knows that things will only get worse during the holiday season because of all the promotional campaigns that she has committed to prepare for her customers. She is not sleeping well and is growing increasingly irritable with her family.
Finally, after a particularly unproductive morning due to computer problems and an unexpected errand that she needed to run for her kids, she decides to take the rest of the day off. She goes for a long walk to relieve her frustration and clear her head and finds herself reflecting on how her business has grown and what it means to her. Suddenly, it is clear to her that though she has accomplished a great deal and markedly increased her revenue during the course of the year, she has sacrificed serving small businesses in favor of working for corporations. She's lost the joy and passion that she had for her business and has overcommitted herself personally and professionally. She is dismayed to realize that despite the money she has earned, she is deriving little to no satisfaction from her work and can't remember the last time she felt free enough to enjoy the time spent with her family.
Always one to make decisions quickly, Vanessa phones her productivity coach her productivity coach on the spot to explain that she needs to schedule a session to devise a strategy for dealing with the upcoming holiday season and restructuring her client base so that she can serve more small businesses. She immediately feels her mood lighten and she begins to hum to herself as she turns her steps toward home.
In taking time to reflect and review prior to the holidays, you have a golden opportunity to congratulate yourself for what you've done well and envision a strategy for dealing with the projects that are not in alignment with your BIG WHY or have become overwhelming. This action alone will provide you with peace of mind because you will know that from that moment forward, you'll be acting with full understanding and intention. This will give you an opportunity to boost your productivity throughout the holiday season and start 2014 with a huge bang!