The 12 months till Christmas

I know it’s mean to talk about next Christmas when the last one has just faded away under the weight of our resolutions.

But next Christmas is only a year away, and time is moving faster and faster.

Could the Universe be playing a joke on us? It’s actually cut in half every second, so our world spins on its axis in 12 hours instead of 24 and goes around the sun in six months instead of 12, but we don’t know that yet.

Or is it just that what we think we should be able to do in the time we have to work has doubled? In either case, time is getting shorter, and how we use it is becoming more and more important.

There has been a lot written about productivity, and this ebook of posts from one of the previous Word Carnivals, Productivity, How to Get Stuff Done, has some great tips.

The problem with some of our plans to be more productive is that it takes as much time to put the systems, processes, tips, and techniques into place as it does to do the work itself.

And if the amount of work you have to do is double the amount of time you have to do it, which is the case for many of us, you won’t be able to meet your goals no matter how hard you try to be productive.

So, what about these twelve months until Christmas? What can we do to avoid being disappointed if we don’t reach our goals or have to make concessions, or even worse, if we wear ourselves out by month nine or ten? Here are some ideas I’m experimenting with. They might help you get to Christmas next year with less stress and more success.

Reduce your hopes, but don’t give up on the challenge.
Why do you want to do whatever it is that you have set out to do? How much does your “why” affect what you do?

Be honest: Can you really reach your first three goals, or are they just pipe dreams?

If you have a goal that doesn’t help you or your family, get rid of it.

Be responsible for how you spend your time.
How many hours did it take you to do what you did that built your business? Working hard is sometimes a code word for working for a long time.

If you work ten hours a day, seven days a week, it’s likely that most of that time is not spent working. Working is defined as doing something that takes work to get a certain result.

You might love what you do during those hours and days, but don’t fool yourself into thinking it’s work when it’s really just fun.

Playing is a good thing to do. If you love what you do, you’ll feel like you’re playing most of the time. But if you don’t hold yourself accountable for your time, you can use that as an excuse not to do the things that are important for your business to grow. Like doing paperwork, writing your sales brochure, or making those calls.

Filter your connections
Listen for the nugget that will help you connect with someone you can help and who will most likely help you in return. You can do this online or in person.

Stop putting together clusters. It doesn’t matter how many business cards, likes, connections, or followers you have. You’ll waste time trying to collect them because you’ll want to think that you’re building your business.

Time what you do online
Those little red counters that show how many emails, Facebook, and Linkedin messages you have are addicting. Try it out. Next time you think you’ll just “quickly” check them out, set a timer.

You won’t believe how long you’ve been doing it. Not only has time been wasted, but people have also lost their way. When you’re talking about something that wasn’t on your agenda, it’s hard to stay on track.

We should be taking part in conversations on social media and answering emails because it’s good for business.

But we love it because it’s a right-brain activity, which is why we lose track of time when we’re doing it. As a result, we think of it as play.

Unless you are between the ages of 10 and 20, you usually have to be in a certain place and at a certain time to play, like when you play tennis, go out, or do something creative.

We should handle these messages the same way. They are a reward for doing something you have to work hard to finish.

Play with a goal.
Don’t do something unless it fits in with the main goal of your business. If you aren’t sure what the point of your business is, put in the time and effort to figure it out.

It can be hard to do that, and you might end up having to start over. When I took the Key Person of Influence course in 2012, that’s what happened to me. Worth all of the trouble.

Without a clear idea of why you do what you do, you could waste a lot of time between now and Christmas. It’s the most valuable thing we have. There’s nothing like wasting time and knowing it to make you lose focus and feel bad about yourself.

Make a group
Most importantly, the best way to build a business is to build a group of supporters and contributors to the community.
Here is an A-Z list of how to build community.

I’d love for you to join me at a Build A Clan Discovery Session to help you build a clan and figure out why you do what you do. They are free and small groups of business people with similar goals get together to talk about where they are now and where they want to be.

Let’s use your time until Christmas to get the most done and have the most fun we can.

*I got rid of “don’t eat anything white,” which was a good way to eat healthy. Done carefully, takes time, and what else? No white wine, crunchy bread, or brie every now and then? Forget it.