By Monique Y. Wells –
Second Q 13 is half way over! How is your business measuring up thus far compared to the plan that you created for the year?
What’s that? You don’t have a plan for 2013?
Sadly, you are not alone. In a recent survey that I conducted among the members of my online community (Getting over Overwhelm), the majority of participants identified the following statement as their biggest source of overwhelm:
I’m always reacting to things – I can’t seem to create or stick to a plan.
Why is this?
One of the most common reasons is that solopreneurs and other small business owners fail to identify, write down, and consistently reflect on GOALS for their business. Without clear goals, there is nothing concrete to plan for and it becomes impossible to prioritize projects and tasks. In this environment, every idea for getting new clients or offering a new product or service can seem attractive – and even necessary – for growing your business. Think “bright, shiny object” syndrome…
Another reason that people fall into a pattern of reaction instead of pro-action in business is that they believe they are planning, when in fact, they are scheduling. “Planning” indicates that you are thinking things through before you do them – you are evaluating what needs to be done and the resources (skills, personnel, budget, and time) you need to accomplish it. In contrast, “scheduling” means that you enter specific tasks into a calendar or daily planner, and not necessarily with forethought or intention.
Without forethought or intention, scheduling simply becomes the first step in an exercise for getting things done – whether or not they serve your business. And moving your “to-dos” around or bumping them off your schedule becomes a random act instead of a purposeful adjustment.
Don’t get me wrong…you’ll need to rearrange your schedule even with excellent planning. The difference is that with planning, you’ll understand which elements need to be rescheduled and by what date or time, and which ones can be postponed repeatedly or perhaps even indefinitely with little to no impact on your productivity. Without planning, anything that happens during the business day has the power to divert your focus and lead you down the path to low impact, low yield activities. You end up being busy, but not productive.
If you are frustrated because you’re frequently working in “reaction mode” and because circumstances are the driving force in your business instead of you, resolve to create and follow a GPS:
1) Write down your Goals and select the one goal that you believe is most important for you to accomplish.
2) Create a Plan that will allow you to achieve that goal.
3) Schedule your daily and weekly activities in accordance with your plan.
So the questions of the day are these:
1) Do you have specific, written goals for your business that you keep “top of mind” during your work week?
2) Do you mistake scheduling for planning?
Answering these questions honestly is the first step toward “getting over overwhelm” due to poor or no planning and finding a way forward to true productivity.
Dr. Monique Y. Wells is a 21-year resident of Paris, France. Known as the Paris Muse of Time Management™, she is committed to helping passionate, high-achieving solopreneurs and small business owners “get over overwhelm” so that they can find peace through productivity. Her clients can expect to enjoy less stress, more income, greater job satisfaction, and more time to spend with family and friends outside of work – guilt-free! To access Monique’s free 3-part video series on Getting over Overwhelm, visit her Web site at http://gettingoveroverwhelm.com.