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Showing posts from December, 2019

Embrace the Forced Down-Time or Time Off

When you're forced to take a day off, such as the upcoming Christmas Day or New Year's, what's your first reaction? Is it dread because you have too much to already do and this will just make you more behind and overwhelmed?

Or is it worry about the lost income or a combination of the two?

All of these are legitimate (although there are ways to help you be less overwhelmed; message me and we can talk). But since there's not much you can do to change the holidays (nor should you try to), why not make the best of the slow times? 

I will admit that I wasn't looking forward to these two weeks, in part because I'm actively looking for new clients and work. But after feeling sorry for myself for a few days, I decided to embrace the free time and make it into a mini vacation: I sleep later every day and don't begin work until noon. 

I'm also doing an online course with my son and letting myself be lazier than usual otherwise. 

My hope is that this quiet time will n…

Hack the "Shoulds"

I know that I recently told you to get off of autopilot, and I meant it, but shortcuts—or hacks—are not the same. 

To me a hack is a way to achieve the end goal with less effort, time, or money, so it's a win-win. And the areas of your life ideal for hacking are the ones you do because you "should." 

Similar to the Delegation Test, ask yourself what is the end goal of the thing you "should" be doing? Then ask yourself if there's a quicker or easier way to get to that goal.

Here's a personal example that I've only just accepted.

You've probably figured out that I love to read books. I do read fiction too, and work and do improv, so there is never enough time to read all the business books I want to. And there are many books I feel that I should read—either because of reviews or who the author is or what the topic is—but I just can't get into them. Since I refuse to force myself to read something I'm not enjoying, I used to skim these books to…

Get out of Autopilot and Slow Down

I'm a fan of automation and streamlining. I also am a strong believer in not taxing our limited mental bandwidth by trying to keep things in my head or by making needless decisions on what to wear. (Those are both their own topics, but if you're curious, reach out and I'll fill you in.)

But habits and autopilot have their downside too, especially when it comes to people and making strategic decisions. 

If a customer or employee has a simple request, there should be a standardized answer. But if that initial response isn't enough to resolve the situation, a human being needs to get involved—and not follow a script. And if a customer or employee are unhappy, I'd recommend a human being get involved right away.

Autopilot can also be dangerous when you're tired and overwhelmed, since you may do things without really thinking them through. A good practise is to "audit" your habits and routines once a month to see if they still add value or are needless or eve…

Look for Learning and Inspiration

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Leadership is hard. Running a company, dealing with all the risks, and still being there for everyone who is joining you on the journey is a constant juggle.

You can definitely help this by hiring and delegating, as discussed before, but you also have to take care of yourself: you are the linchpin. Part of that is recharging (discussed here); the other part is looking for opportunities to learn and get inspired.

For the former, read! Even the books that entertain have positive benefits, but ideally also read nonfiction on leadership, management, business, etc. If you need some good recommendations, contact me and I'm happy to share.

For the latter, there are a multitude of sources. If you have children, spend some time with them; if not, spend it with your family and friends. If you like nature, take a walk without your phone and just take it in. 

There are also apps out there that can help. My favorite is Momentum, which capitalizes on all our browser time by making new tabs a thing …