Block Scheduling – Theme your Days – Wednesday – Connect! Educate! Read!
This episode was taken from a LIVE Periscope Training: Episode 120
If you’re just joining us, today’s Scope is the fourth part of a series on Theming Your Work Week and in case you missed either the introduction, or the first 3 episodes, let me give you a very quick synopsis…
Several months ago I implemented a simple technique that has helped me become more efficient, get more done and makes my life a little less hectic. After a conversation with my friend & colleague, Carol Keplinger from Timeless Traditions last week, I recorded Episode 117 as an overview of how to block schedule your work, and have decided to focus on this subject on our scopes this week.
It’s called theming your days.
Whether you love planning and execution or hate it, theming your days can help you do both without having to hold actual planning sessions and meetings with yourself every day. There’s nothing complicated about it…in fact, this has become a habit in my life that has almost become second nature. Although never perfect, it is a way that even when you are super busy and can be pulled into a million directions, it brings you back into focus, at least once per day.
I do want to insert right hear a big shout out to my rock star friend and fellow retailer, Carol Keplinger, owner of Timeless Traditions in Overland Park, Kansas. She sent me a screenshot of the dashboard on her new MacBook Pro last night with perfect little sticky notes that she Themed her days on… I love it and of course, had to copy it right away! I’ll post a photo over on the Remarkable Retailer Facebook page so you can see how she did it. LOVE that our RR community is not only listening, but TAKING ACTION! Great job miss Carol!
OK, Back to today’s episode!
Today we’re going to focus on Wednesday’s theme: Connect! Educate! Read!
I have been a retailer for 33 years, in a very small town in central Kansas… Just for a little background, I actually grew up in southern California, in the LA area, and married a Buhler, Kansas boy…then found myself in the middle of nowhere for the past 33 years! Many of those first years, I felt very isolated, didn’t know very many other retailers, and built this business on a lot of trial and error, with many mistakes made along the way.
I give you this background to help you understand how much I value connection with other small business owners and retailers. Several years ago, I began to intentionally connect with other retailers. This takes effort and sometimes it can feel like trying to make a new friend in Junior High…but I want to encourage you to hang in there and reach out to others in your profession!
One of my first retail connections was over the phone lines through a mini-mastermind group that Bob Negan of Whiz Bang Training had done. I think there were 4 retailers plus Bob as our facilitator who met once a week on a group phone call. There was another attendee, a lady named Terri King, that I really resonated with… after the program ended we stayed in touch and bounced ideas back and forth, and after months of “phone-dating” planned to meet at the next market that we were both attending.
We have been uber-connected and supported each other in many ways since then. I have gotten to know Terri’s husband, ooh and ahh over her darling little grandson, met several of her staff members, and have learned so much from this lady! Through the years, Terri has introduced me to several of her retail friends, who have become my friends as well…I in turn, have introduced Terri to some rock-star retailers that I had connected with… Terri was one of the first members of our MasterMind Group, and I am so grateful for her!
These relationships don’t just happen. You must be intentional about reaching out and connecting with others. I would go for months at times and realize that I hadn’t really talked to anyone from the group of professionals I had met. There were times that I felt really alone, frustrated and burnt out while trying to do retail alone. Let’s face it, unless they are involved in the business, our family and circle of friends just do not talk in our retail language. They don’t care what your IAT is, how your last coupon or catalog performed, or what exciting new products you have ordered.
I decided to make it a part of my LIFE to reach out and connect with another retailer at least once per week, and in order to make that a HABIT, set Wednesday morning drive time (my drive time is only 8 minutes, by the way) to call another retailer. Usually these phone calls went out to someone east of Kansas because of the time difference, but over the last couple of years, I also call someone west of here in the afternoon.
I cannot even describe how valuable this has been to our business! First of all, those retailers you call are usually feeling just as lonely as you did and they love to hear from you. If you’re thinking, “I don’t even know anyone to call…how did she meet these people?” I exchange business cards with people I meet at market, or vendors, or sales reps. Many times I will make a little note on the card so I can remember what they looked like. Other times, I ask to take a photo with them, so I can remember. If you don’t know anyone, you can always give me a call…I love to talk retail!
OK, back to Wednesday and theming your week. So, although at this point, there’s really never a day that I’m not talking or texting with another retailer, I still set aside time on Wednesday to be INTENTIONAL about it. Last week I had a great conversation with Tami Anderson, owner of Tapestry Boutique in Winnemucca, Nevada. Yesterday, I reached out to Kristen Holbrook from the Mole Hole in Michigan…I had never met her, but follow her store through emails and social media. She does a great job!
The other part that makes Wednesday so valuable is that this is also the day that I try to watch tutorials, videos, take an online class, read blog posts, etc. I have always been a firm believer in educating yourself, and could make an entire year’s worth of Periscopes on that subject because the world is changing so rapidly, you must take time out of your week to FOCUS on EDUCATION!
Today’s ACTION Plan:
I want to be in full disclosure here…just in case you think that my week runs in perfect accord with what themes I have on each day, it just doesn’t work out like that! My life has it’s fair share of craziness just like yours does. Things go wrong. Ice Storms Hit. A staff member gets sick. You have a week of market and get off schedule…that’s real life.
However, by theming your days, you know right where to get back on to get your most important work done! Also, I don’t spend all day working only on the “theme” for that day. The change I have made though, is that I am not jumping around from theme to theme as I know that if it is marketing work, it will be done on Tuesday. If it is financial, I will take care of it on Monday, etc. Of course, there are always exceptions!
Do the work! Get out a calendar and pencil in some major themes of work that you must get done on a weekly basis. Most everything you do will fall under 5 or 6 “umbrella themes.”
To quickly recap…Wednesday’s theme is Connect! Educate! Read!
(Leaders are Readers!)
Get specific! Instead of me just saying “On Wednesday I’m going to call someone”, I might say “On Wednesday I’m going to call Genia Vineyard & Connie Gauntt. I will also watch Michael Hyatt’s latest video, and will read 3 chapters in my current book, The Power of Habit.” This way I can check it off of my list and know I am accomplishing my goals.
Also, keep a folder on your computer or in a file with the names and contact information of other business owners that you meet, and make a note of when you talked to them last. Don’t put this off! Start to connect with someone in your profession TODAY! I cannot even stress enough how important this is to the long term success of your business.
If you would like to work with me to Build Daily Habits and grow your business, just go to the Remarkable Retailer Website and click on the “Work With Vicki” tab at the top. I would love to set up an appointment to “Talk Shop” with you!
My goal is to bring daily energy, experience and insight along with tips and tactics to help you grow your business!
If you’ve just discovered Remarkable Retailer, let me introduce myself: my name is Vicki Adrian…I have been a small business owner of Adrian’s Boutique in the community of Buhler, Kansas for over 33 years. I love to brainstorm and bring experience and insight to help small business owners thrive in today’s economy. I believe that the BEST way to build a successful business is to create a Rock Solid Client List and then to take care of those customers for life!
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