I recently ran across this riddle and wanted to share it with you since there’s a cool learning lesson in it. It will get you thinking about how interconnected things are in your business and your life.
Suppose a water lily is growing on a pond in your backyard. The lily plant doubles in size each day. If the lily were allowed to grow unchecked, it would completely cover the pond in 30 days, choking out all other forms of life in the water.
For a long time, the plant seems small, so you decide not to worry about cutting it back until it covers half the pond. How much time will you have to avert disaster, once the lily crosses your threshold for action?
Consider that for a moment. Before you read further, do you have the answer? The answer is, “One day.” The water lily will cover half the pond on the 29th day; on the 30th day, it doubles again and covers the entire pond. If you wait to act until the pond is half covered, you have only 24 hours before it chokes the life out of your pond. I ran across this story recently in the works of Linda Booth Sweeney, Author of Connected Wisdom, who also teaches about systems thinking in schools.
It’s a good illustration of just how procrastination can choke the living daylights out of other parts of your business. It can go the other way too. As you get clear about your direction and take action, you grow your business exponentially. Just this week I heard from one of my Success Circle Members who attended my live event in May. Just two short months after learning about the systems approach, she secured three national accounts, which was a first for her. It’s really cool to watch how much more effortless marketing and sealing the deal is when you look at how each part of your business is connected.
Enjoy this week’s high-content article about being vigilant about your time…
Create a great life,
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…And here’s this week’s high-content article.
Be Vigilant About Your Time
Clients are curious about how I manage to get so much done. They often remark about my continuously growing business and ask how I find time to write for three other websites, my own weekly e-zine, conduct live workshops, speak to associations and organizations, as well as carve out free time for the important people in my life.
Before you assume I have it all worked out perfectly, I have a number of unanswered emails in my mailbox and, admittedly, every so often, a few things fall through the cracks.
Face it, we all have 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour and 24 hours in a day. What I realized from coaching people over the years is that I’ve figured out ways to get it all done, or at least a lot of it, while building a business and enjoying life. It’s about being vigilant with my time.
Over the years, these tried-and-true tips have helped me and thousands of my clients, and I’m confident they will help you, too.
Link your Activities to Your Goals. When you have clearly defined your goals, it helps you to steer clear of any distractions that might get you off track. One of the advantages my clients have is that that they build their own map or Business Blueprint of how they are going to get from where they are today to where they want to be. When something unexpected comes up, they don’t have to decide if it fits into their plan. A quick look at their Business Blueprint and they can determine if it fits in; and, if it does, when it fits in. If it doesn’t directly relate to their goals, they pass on the task. When you link your activities to your goals, you will cut a large portion of time wasters off your list.
Stick to Your Agenda Like Glue. If you’ve been a client, heard me on a teleseminar or saw me speak, you know that I’m observant of managing our time together. Whether you’re managing a meeting of one or many, Agenda Management doubles your meeting productivity:
1. Start your meetings on time. When you are punctual, it sets an expectation. It shows others that you respect their time and that you command respect over your own time.
2. Set an agenda for all meetings. When people attend my events or meetings, they always comment on just how productive my meetings are regardless of the meeting’s length. Everyone also feels like they’ve been heard too. It’s all about managing the Agenda. Avoid marathon meetings that don’t accomplish much by setting the expectation on exactly how much time is set for the meeting, assign timeframes for each topic, and discuss each topic in the allotted time.
3. Wrap up the meeting at least five minutes prior to the end time. This gives you time to set the expectation the meeting is about to conclude and to reiterate the to-do items. Make sure everyone understands the action items by summarizing them. Identify who is responsible for each action item and the date it can be realistically accomplished. Before you end the meeting, make sure there is consensus around the due dates and that you evaluate the meeting. When evaluating the meeting, go around the table giving each person a chance to define in their own words what went well and what should be done differently.
Leave Room for More. If you jam pack your calendar, you’re not leaving room to accomplish the follow up items that were discussed in those meetings. Leave additional time after a meeting to make sure you have room to complete those items. Remember to also leave wiggle room in your calendar to invite in new things. If you fill your calendar to absolute capacity, you’re not leaving room for new opportunities to enter your life, the unexpected, or periods of restful time.
Serve yourself first to be able to sustainably serve others. So many well-meaning entrepreneurs try to help others but find themselves without enough time to run their own business. While it may be well-meaning, it ends up being self-sabotaging. This is especially true for people who are people pleasers. How many times have you done so many things for others that you ended up getting sick yourself? It’s just not a healthy approach.
Instead, think of your time like the oxygen mask on an airplane. When you board a flight, the flight attendant explains that, should there be an incident where the masks come down, put the mask over your mouth first, securing it before tending to a child or another adult. The underlying principle is that if you can’t breathe, you cannot help others. To build a continuous and sustainable business, you must feed yourself consistently and continuously. The next time someone asks for a “little bit” of your time, look at your goals and needs first. You might need to set some boundaries with yourself or others. Politely decline invitations or let go of activities that get in the way of meeting your goals.
The reality is that if you’re not vigilant about your time, nobody else will be. You have the power, accountability, authority, and responsibility over the results you achieve and the life you want to lead. Implement these tips and you’ll find, like I did, how much more you get done and how much more free time you have to enjoy it all.
To learn about how to get more done in less time and grow your business in record time, I recommend you start taking the systems approach to profitability. The tool that will help fill your practice in record time is the Entrepreneurial Edge System Biz Boost Self-Study ProgramTM. It is everything you need to know to automatically bring in pre-qualified clients no matter how long you’ve been in business. All of the tools, exercises, scripts, marketing templates, and examples are included. It’s a step-by-step comprehensive program and comes complete with three free months of coaching support. This is the reason why my clients have gotten such great results from the systems approach. Learn more about it at http://www.getmoreclientsnowvideos.com