That’s cruel I know, reminding you of next Christmas when the last one has only just disappeared behind the mighty weight of our resolutions.
But it is only 12 months to next Christmas and time is increasingly mercurial.
Is it possible that the Universe is playing with us? It’s actually halved each second so our world spins on its access in 12 not 24 hours and rotates around the sun in six not 12 months, but we just don’t know it yet.
Or is it just that our expectation of what we must do in the time we have to work has increased by 100 percent? Either way time is compressed and our productive use of it is ever more important.
Much has been written about productivity and there is some excellent advise available in this ebook of posts from one of the previous Word Carnivals – Productivity, how to get your s&*t done.
The trouble with some of our plans to be productive though is that it takes just as much time to implement the systems and processes, tips and techniques as it does to actually do the work.
And, if the work you need to do exceeds the time allocated to do it in by 100 percent, which is the case for many of us, then no matter how diligent you are in implementing productivity plans, you’re going to fail to meet your expectations.
So what of these 12 months to Christmas. What can we do to avoid disappointment in not achieving or having to compromise on our objectives and worse, wearing ourselves to a frazzle by month nine or ten? Here are a few ideas I’m trying out. They might help get you too to get to next Christmas with less stress and more achievement.
Pare back your expectations but don’t compromise the challenge
Why are you wanting to achieve whatever it is you have set out for yourself? How much of it is to do with the ‘why’ of what you do?
Be honest, can you really achieve the first three goals on your list or are they pipe dreams?
If there is any goal extraneous to your wellbeing and that of your family, dump it*
Hold yourself accountable for your time
What did you achieve that built your business today, and how many hours did it take? Working hard can be a euphemism for working long.
If you’re working ten hours a day, seven days a week, the chances are you’re not working much of that time. Working is defined as an activity that requires effort to achieve a certain outcome.
It could be that you love what you do during those hours and days, but don’t mislead yourself that it’s work, when it’s play.
There’s nothing wrong with playing. If you’re passionate about what you do, work will feel like play much of the time. But if you don’t hold yourself accountable for your time, it becomes an excuse for not doing those tasks essential to moving your business forward. Like paperwork or writing your sales brochure or making those calls.
Filter your connections
On or offline, listen out for the nugget that will forge a meaningful connection with someone you can help first and who will most likely help you in return.
Stop collecting clusters. Piles of business cards, likes, connections and followers are meaningless. Collecting them will drag you into wasted time because you’ll want to believe that what you’re doing is building your business.
Time your activity online
Those little red counters that tell you how many emails, Facebook and Linkedin notices you have are addictive. Try this. Put your timer on the next time you think you’ll just ‘quickly’ check them out.
You’ll be shocked at how long you’ve been at it. It’s not just the lost time, it’s the lost direction. Focus goes out the window when you’re absorbed in a discussion about something that wasn’t on your agenda.
We should be actively engaged with discussions in social media and answering emails, its business building.
But the reason we love it is because it’s a right brain activity, (which is why we lose sense of time when we’re involved) and as such it’s play.
Usually, other than for a tween to twenty year old something, playtime is set by being in a specific place and bounded by allocated times, as in playing a game of tennis, going out or doing something creative.
We should treat those notifications in the same way. They’re a reward for getting something you must get done with focus and purpose.
Join the Slow Marketing Movement
An initiative of Tea Silvestre (the Word Chef) and Racheal Cook (The Yogipreneur), the Slow Marketing Movement is a manifesto that suggests we live in an abundant world and that panic is not a business strategy. Take a read, it gives you permission to take the time to consider your next move.
Play with purpose
Unless an activity specifically aligns with your business purpose, don’t do it. If you’re not clear on what exactly your business purpose is, then invest in the time and energy to discover it.
Sometimes that’s pretty challenging and can mean you end up reinventing yourself. That’s what happened to me in 2012 when I did the Key Person of Influence course. Worth every bit of the pain.
Without complete clarity on why you do what you do, you could spend much of the 12 months to Christmas wasting time. It’s our most precious commodity. There’s nothing like knowing you’re wasting it to erode focus and feel your wellbeing ebb away.
Build a clan
Most importantly, build you business an advocating, community-contributing clan as the best practice business building strategy. Here is the A-Z of Building Community.
To help you build a clan and to get clear on why you do what you do, I’d love you to join me at a Build A Clan Discovery Session. They’re free and an intimate get-together for like-minded business people to explore where you are now and where you want to be.
Let’s harness your time for maximum productivity and enjoyment in the 12 months to Christmas.
*I dumped ‘not eating any white stuff’ – a worthy healthy eating idea. Carried out diligently, time-consuming and what? No white wine, crusty bread and brie from time to time? Forget it.