Kicking back? Kicking it up? How ‘bout both?
Folks in the northern hemisphere are basking in the start of summer. If you’re like most
such people, you’re looking forward to vacations and road trips and some lazy days off.
The question is, Can your business afford to take a complete break?
The challenge in this situation is one every entrepreneur is familiar with: How do you
find an effective equilibrium between two competing imperatives?
You’re faced with this type of question every day as you decide what takes precedence:
- client work or business development
- marketing strategy A or B
- on-line or in-person connections
- work or recharging
This kind of thinking can make you totally crazy, because it implicitly assumes that
there’s only one “right” choice. This either/or approach creates an amazing amount of
unnecessary stress; you not only have to decide what that “right” choice is, but you then get to worry about whether you chose wisely.
Fortunately, there’s a straightforward way to avoid this trap: Choose to live from a
position of both/and.
- You can both do work for existing clients and engage in ongoing business development activities to attract new ones.
- You can allocate resources to both strategy A and strategy B.
- You can maintain mutually beneficial relationships both on line and in person.
- You can both bring focused energy to work and take time for guilt-free self-care.
Productivity requires both focus and relaxation.
This approach is not without its own challenges, of course, since you’ll need to
determine what combination of activities is right for you and your business. However, there are some big payoffs to living from both/and:
- You eliminate (or at least minimize) the worry that you’ve made a “wrong” choice.
- As a corollary, you minimize the chance you’ll look back and regret “the road not taken.”
- You’re more open to possibilities, which in turn boosts your creativity.
- You stay emotionally engaged because you have a greater variety of activities to work
So how can you practice a both/and approach to life and business?
- Enjoy summer while still working your business: Take off every Friday (or Friday afternoon); set aside one week or more to unplug and completely step away from work (I know, easier said than done); and stay intently focused on work the rest of the time.
- Pre-plan your work so stuff gets done even if you’re taking a break: Use available tools such as HootSuite, TweetDeck, MailChimp, and LinkedIn’s Pulse to schedule publication of content at a future date. (This is a great tactic at any time of year.)
- If you’re traveling somewhere for your down time, consider writing some blog posts while riding in the car or flying – then put the laptop away when you arrive. (This is what I plan to do on my way to two upcoming conferences; since one is in Florida, the other in California, and I live in Iowa, you can see that I’ll have a lot of time to write.)
- Take advantage of any seasonal slow-down in client work by ramping up your business-development activities.
- Better yet, schedule time every week for business development. Such “Quadrant II” activities, which are important but not urgent, have a nasty habit of getting ignored when there are revenue-generating client projects to work on. But this is a habit that will make life harder in the long run, since it makes you susceptible to the revenue roller-coaster (lots of client work, no time to market but lots of income > completed client work, lots of time to market but little to no income).
What are some ways you’ve found to intentionally approach your personal and professional lives from a both/and perspective? How has that benefited you?
Or are you so busy reacting to phone calls/emails/Facebook notifications/LinkedIn updates that “being intentional” is no more than a fantasy? If that’s the case, I might be able to assist.
My specialty is showing insanely busy and/or overwhelmed and/or stuck entrepreneurs how to earn more money and feel less stressed by tossing aside what’s slowing them down and focusing on what will propel them forward. Are you someone who could benefit from this? Maybe.
One way to find out is to get acquainted by phone. I don’t know whether our mutual decision would be “Yes! Let’s start yesterday!” or “No way in hell!” or something in between; however, I do know that we’ll be confident it’s the right decision for both of us.
If that’s worth exploring, let’s set up that get-acquainted call. You can do that by calling me at 319-20-1214 or by emailing me with “I want to both explore possibilities and not be obligated” in the subject line. We’ll see where we end up.
(By the way, thanks to Kyle MacKenzie for posting the both/and image in the Creative Commons section of Flickr.)This entry was posted in effectiveness, productivity and tagged action plan, business development. Bookmark the permalink.