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Why Business is Not about ‘Busyness’

Can you manage your time well, or do you always need more hours in the day?

Harry Welby-Cooke

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Just imagine if your business was like a formula 1 pit team: how successful do you think you would be? Would you be the team manager calmly orchestrating the events from the safety of the pit wall?  Or would you be the one running round trying to do every job because you can’t bear to delegate, getting in everybody’s way but feeling good about yourself because you are busy with the end result that the car goes out late and with only 3 wheels?

One of the biggest problems for business owners is that we convince ourselves that being busy is what business is all about and that as long as we are giving our all, then there is not much else that we can do. While we all know that we need to work smarter rather than harder, the reality is that life always throws us curve balls and we end up reacting to the environment we find ourselves in and going back to our old ways.

The reason for this stems from why we got into business in the first place. When you are starting a business there is a real buzz from getting things off the ground, everything is new and exciting and the dreams that you set off with are still clear in your mind. At this stage you have to work hard, because there is nobody else to do the work and if you don’t do it, it doesn’t get done. Unfortunately, herein lies the root of our future problems.

Too busy

When we are busy like this we usually end up running on high amounts of adrenaline. Pumped up, working long hours and overcoming great challenges and with every win we have we make imprints in our subconscious mind, linking working hard with success. These imprints are made deeper by the people we tend to meet, who are usually similar to us, doing the same things and ending with the same results. The downside is that we actually become workaholics.

Just like an alcoholic, we become addicted to the buzz that we get doing what we know is bad for us and the last person to realise what is happening is the person with the problem. Also like an alcoholic, it’s the people around us that suffer the most. Family is neglected; friends become acquaintances and worst of all employees, who provide support, are driven away if they too are not workaholics. This only goes to reinforce the bad habits set by the business owner.

So if you are a workaholic, what do you do? Well, the steps are similar to addressing any addiction.

Becoming aware of habits

The first step is always being aware that you are a workaholic. The signs are quite clear and if you need help to see them ask somebody close to you to be honest with you. Some of the more obvious ones are:

  • struggling to sleep at night because your mind does not stop
  • getting stressed and losing your temper at relatively minor things
  • starting things and not finishing them
  • working late at night or at the weekend when those around you seem to be off enjoying themselves
  • finding yourself being accused of not listening to other people.

Once you are aware that there is a problem you then have to take ownership of the situation. There is no point in blaming anybody apart from yourself. You can’t blame your team, the bank, the government, the economy or your customers. Where you are is a direct result of the decisions and actions you have made to this point. The good news is – that where you will be in the future will be a direct result of the decisions and actions you take now.

Know what you want

So when you are clear that you would like to change things what can you actually do to help you wean yourself off your ‘workaholism’? The first thing is to be really clear what sort of life you want to lead: how many hours per week, days per year you want to work, what will your team do for you and what would you rather be doing instead of working all the time? This is really important because if you don’t have something you would prefer to do, you will always end up doing what you are doing now, even if deep down you don’t feel fulfilled by it.

Now you know what you want, decide the time scale in which you want this to happen.  Then plan out what needs to happen each quarter in order for you to get there.

Remember, it takes 21 times to create a good habit and the longer you have been a workaholic, the longer it will take you to change your many bad habits.

Finally, be honest with yourself and admit it when you need help and embrace it.  Other people will see you fall back into your old ‘busyness’ habits far sooner than you do.

So go on, rev up your business and get yourself out of the pits.

Harry Welby-Cooke is the Master Licensee for ActionCOACH South Africa. He is also the President of COMENSA (Coaches and Mentors Association of South Africa). ActionCOACH is the world’s largest executive and business coaching company with operations in 39 countries. It is also on the list of the top 100 franchises globally. As a highly successful Business and Executive coach, Harry is a master of teaching business owners how to turn their businesses around and accelerate their growth. Email him at harrywelbycooke@actioncoach.com or call 0861 226 224

Get Organised

(Infographic) 9 Productivity Mistakes You’re Making In The First 10 Minutes Of Your Day

From setting goals to drinking coffee, these bad morning habits might surprise you.

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There are a number of things you’re probably doing every morning that are actually hindering your productivity.

If you’re an avid coffee drinker, you might be surprised to find out that drinking coffee between 8 and 10 a.m can make you more stressed throughout the day. That’s because caffeine early in the morning interferes with the time that the stress hormone, cortisol, is peaking in your body. It’s best to get your fix between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

When you get into the office and try to jump right into the top of your to-do list, you might find yourself confused and not very productive. When you don’t let your brain empty and refresh before starting a project or task, it loses a sense of control, becomes overwhelmed and ultimately, makes you less productive. Something else to avoid is checking email or social media right when you wake up. Typically, after checking your inbox, it takes a person at least 25 minutes to get back into a productive state. If you start your day off reading and responding to email after email, it will take you a long time to get back on track.

Another surprising mistake is setting self-imposed goals. Setting goals and deadlines for yourself might seem like an obvious productivity hack, but it turns out, that’s not the case. Instead, share your deadlines with others and you’ll feel more pressure and responsibility to get things done.

Related: 5 Surprising Elements That Boost Your Productivity (One of Them Is Colour)

Check out resume.io’s infographic below for more productivity mistakes you’re likely making in the first 10 minutes of your day.

1538429589_9-productivity-mistakes-infographics-7934969f76af5ebe1b5b0b84ce9053ec43752717512fb7d9339e84f86afe91d1

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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Workflow And Business Efficiency – 5 Strategies You Ignore At Your Peril

Emails alone don’t cut it as an efficient way to communicate with team members. You’re not still depending on email, are you?

Toby Nwazor

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An inefficient business can cost you a lot more than just growth – it can affect your revenue, too. According to a report by IDC, your business runs the risk of losing 20 to 30 percent of your revenue due to inefficient systems.

Unfortunately, many companies still struggle to implement the right systems to improve their workflow. Others have it worse, because they have no systems. In those situations, projects take ages to be completed, more time is spent on menial tasks and teams never seem to get enough done during work hours.

If that describes your company, your company’s profits may start to plummet, too.

Every successful business, then, has clearly defined systems to help the business run like clockwork. Improved workflow, better management and business efficiency save time, increase the bottom line and ensure a higher profit margin.

In fact, in an article on ContractZen, Tim Cummins, president of the International Association for Contract & Commercial Management, wrote that, “The average corporation could boost its bottom line by almost 10 percent if it invested in improving the quality of contracting.

For many companies – especially those in more complex, project-based industries – the prize could be much higher – perhaps as much as 15 percent.”

Related: Become A Life-Hacker

Unfortunately, some companies fail to provide systems that put users first, taking a negative toll on those companies’ workflow and efficiency. The good news is that they’re only five strategies away from turning this around:

1. Automate all you can

automated-emails

From email lists, bookkeeping, invoicing and contract management, to social media posts and payrolls, almost everything can be automated. For a business that aims to be more efficient, automation is a must.

Automation doesn’t just save you time, it can be the one strategy that can guarantee explosive growth and higher conversion rates. According to this Lead Generation Marketing Effectiveness study, 63 percent of companies polled that were outgrowing their competitors said they had automated their marketing.

Automating monotonous tasks that have to be repeated several times during the day helps you be more productive in tasks that require your personal attention.

2. Invest in customer-relationship management software

It’s not uncommon to find businesses that are barely able to keep up with their leads. Some waste hours hunting the low-quality leads instead of focusing their energy on those ready to buy. Here, a customer relationship management (CRM) solution linked to these businesspeople’s network phone system is a great way to enhance customer communications.

Customers value businesses that provide excellent customer service. A CRM solution increases the ability to keep track of customer information, monitor leads and provide efficient delivery. Businesses can provide for their customers’ needs faster and make effective business decisions. With CRM, businesses can also keep their focus on quality leads that will drastically improve conversion rates.

Related: 11 Ways To Maximise Every Part Of Your Day

3. Set up a task-management system

slack-logo

Emails alone don’t cut it as an efficient way to communicate with team members. Email makes it difficult to carry everyone along. However, setting up task-management software like Slack, Trello or Asana makes it much easier to have everyone’s tasks in one place and ensure that everyone is carried along in the project.

Task-management software helps members of a team track their progress and ensure that everyone is working on their tasks.

4. Sync your calendar with that of everyone else on your team

How many times have you had to reschedule appointments because you didn’t know you had other meetings lined up for the day?

Aside from leaving negative impression in clients’ mind, this error makes you less productive. Having to go back and forth until you have settled on an appropriate date can be cumbersome especially when different time zones are involved. So, do this instead: Sync your personal calendar with your work calendar, and make sure that everyone in your team is synced to the latter, too.

This will ensure sure that everybody is “on the same page” in terms of appointments and deadlines. Google Calendar can help you do just that. Once everyone is synced up, any change in the calendar will be seen by everyone so they can manage their own appointments.

5. Block out chunks of time

time-management

Constant interruptions hamper your workflow. Imagine having to deal with turning over a project on a deadline while you’re stuck in a series of meetings throughout the day. It can get very difficult to focus on completing your most urgent tasks.

Block out chunks of time on your calendar for uninterrupted work. It’s better to schedule a series of meetings in one day than to spread them throughout the week.

If you’re creating content, block out one day to create all the content you’ll use for the week. That way your business will run more efficiently.

Related: 3 Reasons You Should Embrace Change

Wrapping it up

With the right strategies, you can turn your business around to make it efficient and lucrative. Automating your processes, setting up the right software and remaining focused on the tasks at hand will go a long way to help you do this. But just as with every good strategy, you need to remain consistent and give it time to do its magic.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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How To Multitask Like Tim Ferriss, Randi Zuckerberg And Other Very Busy People

Nine entrepreneurs tell us how they get it all done.

Entrepreneur

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Think you’re busy? Take a look at Guy Fieri‘s calendar. Or a U.S. Army general’s. Or an in-demand teenage actor’s. Or the CEO of a globally recognised company’s.

Some of the busiest people on the planet took time out of their days to tell us how they get it all done. Take note!

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