Yay, it’s time for diet commercials! (and I’m writing this a week or so early, but I know it’s coming!) Even Oprah is getting in on the game. They start on December 26th (or earlier) every year, telling us about all kinds of foods and gadgets that will help us become the ideal person. As if we’re not already perfect. (We so are.)
Sure, I may be perfect, but as the year ends, I’m finding that I’m not where I want to be. Juggling my personal life, my full-time job, and this company can be overwhelming. I like to think that I’m catching everything, but I’m not. My goal for 2016 is to figure out a way to accomplish more and miss less by working more efficiently.
My first step to working smarter was to redeem the prize of a free coaching session that I’d won in October from Roe DeSaro. (from an awesome event called “Women in Entrepreneurs Rock!” by the local Small Business Development Center at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park – yes, THAT Stone Pony. Check out your local SBDC for great events if you are a small business owner!)
The coaching session (my first) turned out to be as helpful as I’d hoped. The preliminary questionnaire helped to identify some places that needed work, especially related to The Strap Saver. Plus, my home office is a never-ending pit of stuff – (I don’t know why everything ends up in there, but it always does) and I always feel behind. I hate that.
Roe asked me about my goals (to build the business, to make a difference, to retire!) and how I spent my time (endlessly running) and then got more specific – what are you actually doing? I am not sure that I had an answer for her. Checking things off of my list? Solving problems? Taking it one day at a time? I feel like I am constantly working, but am only incrementally closer to my goals.
She also had some great suggestions for me – and it began with process. As in, we lacked one. Almost everywhere. Things are much easier to manage when they are predictable. Of course they aren’t always going to stay that way, but that only happens sometimes. For the 80% of the time that things going according to plan, why not… have a plan! (She had some specific ideas for my business – but we’ll get to that in a minute) Of course, if I were on the outside looking in, I might’ve seen this too, it’s amazing how caught up we all get in our own ‘stuff’ – and how useful that outside perspective can be.
Another bottleneck that Roe found was that I was intent on blazing my own trail – which is potentially a waste of energy. (I’m all about working smarter) One example is a marketing plan – there are many, many great examples on the internet. Why not learn from someone else’s example and modify it for myself? It’s not ‘cheating’; it’s using my resources wisely. If you have a goal, I recommend checking with Google (or Bing or DuckDuckGo – take your pick!) to see how others have reached it and if that path (or a version of it) works for you.
So in 2016, the answer for me is all about process, not about goals or gadgets. It’s my way of declaring a New Year’s Revolution on the resolution – not saying what I’m going to do, but how I’m going to do it. If you have a resolution, try finding a process that works for you. Set aside time every day to follow it. It could be taking time to pack a healthy lunch (for health or to save money!) or sitting down at a scheduled time to write this week’s blog entry (hint, hint!). Eventually we’ll reach our goals, but just declaring the end result and not giving ourselves a path to success sets ourselves up for failure. Defining that process will help us develop the right habits to sustain our goals – if it’s a broader reach for our writing or a more organized home.
Since I know you’re dying of curiosity (not really), here are my goals and plans for 2016:
-Use my time more efficiently: I can’t use a digital to do list. It’s just not for me. I love lists, but I’m more of a pen and paper girl. I do like a digital calendar in general – but not for getting things done. I searched for a long time and settled on the Spark Planner. It’s a bit more… guided than I might normally like, but I have important goals this year, so maybe guidance is good. I’m hoping it will help me to organize my thoughts and tie up loose ends (and I’ll finally remember to buy a frame for our newspaper article and our trademark certificate! I’m so proud of these accomplishments – I want to display them!)
-Get more done: We’ve made a digital calendar just for The Strap Saver. This will help Beth and I keep our goals aligned and stick to deadlines.
-Achieve bigger goals: I’ve blocked out time for my weekly goals. I’ll put it into the Spark Planner, but I know how much time I want to spend each week working on this blog, social media interaction, etc, so that I know that each of these goals are being met each week vs. “I’ll get to it” – we can also test effectiveness and when some of these new endeavors become habits, we can add to them.
-Think beyond a week at a time: We’re adding some quarterly plans. This way we can spend time in 1Q planning for 2Q promotions. Of course, that puts us a little behind for 1Q, but we’ll figure it out. Think of how much time we’ll have for 3Q! (what do we have planned for 3Q again? :) )
-Block out some me time: I’m hoping that all of this will allow some hours on the weekends to read a book, one of my favorite activities. It really helps me to take a break from life and decompress.
Whatever you want to achieve in 2016, I wish you the perkiest year on record, because we all know that when the boobs are looking good, we all feel better!