Is your POA {Plan of Action} DOA?

Nothing is less productive than to make more efficient what should not be done at all.
~Peter Drucker 

Businessman Brainstorming About Action

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Is your Plan of Action ~ Dead on Arrival?  I don’t know about you, but one of the biggest challenges I face as a business owner starts the moment I get to my desk in the morning.  At night, I try to create a detailed written list of Must-Do’s for the next day and I get up early to do creative work in the cocoon of my quiet living room with a cup of coffee nearby to keep me company.

Then I arrive at the office.
Then, I arrive at the office. The phone is ringing, staff members start coming in, we begin to talk about what happened yesterday, family issues, shipments that arrived, the weather, things that need repairs, items that are selling well and need to be reordered and on and on.  Then the UPS man arrives, customers start coming in (we love that!), and so the day begins.  Suddenly, it’s 4 pm and our MUST DO list is forgotten in the bottom of our beautiful Vera Bradley bag.

This seems to be almost a universal issue and the conversation comes up almost every time I get to sit down and visit with fellow retailers, business owners or service providers. We have great intentions and desperately want to be productive, knowing that time is our most precious commodity, and yet like sand, it seems to slip between our fingers and is gone so quickly. I recently did a Facebook Post on this subject and had several responses from people were all over the board when it came to making a plan. There were some that don’t even write down a list, many that do keep a written list, but it falls to the wayside during the day, those who accomplished something and THEN wrote it down so they could cross it off  (yes, I’ll admit to that one on occasion), and those who are very task oriented and keep and work off of their lists very efficiently. Let’s start at the beginning and create some goals.

The Road to REMARKABLE requires a PLAN
Ray Silverstein of Entrepreneur Magazine gives this advice:

“Make an Action Plan! This is the number one secret to effective goal setting; regardless of what your goal is, the key to reaching it is always the same. The best, perhaps the only, way to turn an abstract goal into an attainable reality is to create an action plan; a nitty-gritty, no-nonsense action plan.

Many small-business owners are wishful thinkers, full of big ideas. They spend hours talking and dreaming about what they’d like to accomplish, but never in concrete terms. They repeat the same ineffective activities over and over, and then wonder why they’re not getting anywhere.”

Ray goes on in this article to say: “Achieving your goals, even big goals, doesn’t require brilliance or talent. It does, however, require determination and tenacity, and most of all, a realistic action plan. If you don’t plan, you plan to fail.”

Block Out Time to Get Work Done
One thing that does work for me is to set aside blocks of time to work on projects.  If I have creative work to do such as catalog layouts, write an ad, or work on an upcoming event, it takes quiet time to be able to accomplish these projects. Many times you will need to physically leave your office and go home, to a coffee shop, or somewhere that it is quiet and distraction free to get real work done.  Some people can simply close their door, let other staff members take phone messages, and let it be known that they are not to be disturbed.

Even if I have “left the building,” when I am in “Project Mode”, it also means that I do not check Facebook, Email, or let myself go anywhere on the Web that will distract me. I use an app on my iPad called focus@will that helps me to stay focused for a set amount of time and I have found it definitely amps up my productivity. “Focus@Will technology delivers various “Attention Amplifying” music channels scientifically designed to engage with your brain’s limbic system. This soothes the easily distracted fight or flight mechanism, increasing attention span and general focus.” I know it sounds a little bit “out there in woo-hoo land,” but when you are so easily distracted like I am, we need some great tools in our productivity tool box to stay focused.

Get up Early
I believe one of the best productivity tools is simply your alarm clock.  John Lee Dumas of Entrepreneur on Fire says that getting up early is his “secret sauce” to productivity. He is a 5 am guy and gets more done by 9 am than most people get done all day. When you can work distraction free for just a couple of hours, you will accomplish more than you will the rest of the day.  A good action plan is to start setting your alarm clock 15 minutes ahead of when you normally get up for three or four days, then set it another 15 minutes ahead for a few days, then do it again, and again.  Try to go to bed just a wee bit earlier and soon you will have another whole hour of very productive time in your workday.

Many of you will think, “I’m so not a morning person” and will write this one off, but I promise you, if you give this one a month, you will really realize some fabulous results!  What could you accomplish in 5 or 10 UNINTERRUPTED hours of work each week? The Road to REMARKABLE requires changes to old behaviors, and this one action item will be a life changer!

What can we do to Revive our Plan of Action?

My accountant says that he tells his staff if they interrupt him, it costs $400. What is your time worth?
1.  Every evening, create a list for the next day, and prioritize that list. What is busy work, and what is on the list that is “Making it Rain”?
2.  Block out one working hour per day for Project Time, and do not allow disruptions.  My accountant says that he tells his staff if they interrupt him, it costs $400.  What is your time worth?
3.  Get up earlier. Over the course of the next week, set your alarm and get some very productive work done in the mornings. Give it a month and see what your accomplishments will be!

Every day that I procrastinate, every day that I sit stagnant in fear, every day that I fail to better myself, someone else out there with the same goals and dreams as me is doing the exact opposite.Elizabeth Grace Saunders

As always, I would love to hear how your journey on the Road to Remarkable is going, so please leave a comment in the box below. What are some of your best tools for staying focused?  ~Vicki

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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