But let’s ask, what’s so productive about producing a lot of something, if it’s not the thing you wanted in the first place? Producing a lot of what you don’t really want or need isn’t productivity in my world; it’s busywork.
True productivity begins with focus, with getting clear about what really matters to you and your business. What MUST your business do for you? What must it do for your clients? What must it do for the world? What do you as the owner of your small business want to be, do and have now and in the future? We gain focus by sticking with just those things we really want to be, do and have, and letting the rest go.
To say that something is a priority means that you will attend to it first. You express your true priorities by giving them your time + attention + energy + money. So true productivity asks us to think of the smallest, easiest step we can take to move us closer to our heart’s desire, then doing that step before we do anything else. To take any other step is to be less than our productive best.
When small business owners adopt this definition of productivity, the results can be astounding. We see small business owners who are set free to do their best work (not just busywork.) We get less stress and more ease. Less effort. More success.
It takes a small investment of time to figure out what we really want. And by small, I mean around 2 percent of a working year. Really! In 8 hours (all at once or spread over several days) it is possible to make a very good annual plan. Breaking it down into a quarterly plan will take about an hour each quarter. Dividing that quarterly plan into a fresh monthly plan takes about 30 minutes each month. Then checking in and transferring tasks to the calendar requires about 15 minutes each week. That’s less than 2 percent of a work year spent on planning.
Who among us has not wasted at least 2 percent of a day or a week by running around working on things that didn’t actually have to be done? (That busywork again!) Investing a small amount of time in planning will create the focus needed to move ahead with a minimum of wasted effort, so that owners of very small businesses become focused and genuinely free, creating wealth and sharing it widely.
When owners of very small businesses are truly productive, we get people who have time to spare and money to share. This is what it takes to change the world.
The smallest shift can have immense impact down the line. Think of the train that leaves Washington, DC heading west. When 2 sets of tracks diverge, the difference between them is just millimeters at first. However, that one small choice determines whether the train ends up in Winnipeg or Waco.
What’s your plan? Where would you like to go? What’s the smallest, easiest step that will take you in that direction?
Do it now!
In 2003, Margaret Lukens founded New Leaf + Company to work with owners of very small businesses. Through Plan To Thrive™, a proprietary program Margaret developed, she gives small business owners the tools and skills they need to build a business they’ll love. A popular speaker and workshop presenter, she travels widely (which she loves.) She actively supports programs that improve access to education and increase economic opportunity, especially for girls and women. To learn more visit her website at http://www.newleafandcompany.com, and schedule a complimentary consultation at bit.ly/MargaretsCalendar.