Three frogs were sitting on a log. One decided to jump off; how many were left on the log? The correct answer is three. One frog decided to jump off, but he got distracted and never really got around to actually doing what he decided to do! Much like many business owners who develop elaborate business plans, conduct endless meetings and talk about all the things they are going to do… without action, nothing changes.
The last couple of months we have discussed reviewing your business and developing a plan of action. Today is about action: not talking, not planning, and not thinking of all the reasons to delay a decision... Putting your plans into action requires you to actually do something! So, go get a pad of paper and a pen ready, it's time to take the first step in putting your ideas into action.
1) Make your to-do list
The old-fashioned “to do” list is still the most efficient way for me to get something accomplished. Many times my head becomes so full of tasks to do that I forget tasks, or find myself becoming paralyzed by all the details that I need to remember. The simple act of writing things down on paper (or digitally) free up my brain to focus on the task at hand, and it also seems to reduce my stress because I am not worried about forgetting something. Additionally, it makes me feel really good when I can go back later and cross a completed task off my list! I really do get a feeling of accomplishment even if it is a simple task like taking out the trash on the right day.
2) Setting priorities
Not all tasks are created equal! You may not realize it, but your sub-conscious will assign every task in your memory equal importance. So, taking out the trash is right up there with a conference call to close a big contract. When you write down your action list, it allows for you to assign the mission critical tasks a higher priority in your day. As you developed your business plan, there were certain things that you identified as critical to your operation like hiring a sales person, however there were also items that could wait until you could find the time. You only have so many hours in a day, so if you are dedicated to taking action, you must make your list, and pick the priorities, otherwise you are subject to the crisis of the hour. Don’t get caught up in activities, focus on accomplishment!
3) Just do it!
Nike’s famous slogan is the perfect fit for putting plans into action. You will never have all the data you would like to have. There is seldom a perfect time for any business to take on new activities, however when you take action and “Just Do It!” there is an equal and opposite reaction… things happen! You may find that your planning and preparation has paid off and you are on your way to improving the business, or you might find that this may not be as smooth as you planned. Either way, you have encountered a valuable experience that will allow you to adapt, and update your business plan. There is no better indication of whether your plan is correct than to put it into motion… and that requires action! You can watch endless videos of how to swim, or you can attend swim classes, however you don’t really know if you can swim adequately until you actually get in the water! So, I invite you to jump in the water and soon you will know if all the planning and review has prepared you for the experience. It may not be pretty at first but if you have reviewed your lessons, and planned accordingly, it can be an exhilarating experience. But as we all know, it is best to swim near the life-guard!
Progress is always going to require making a decision, and like the frog story above, following through on the decision with action! Be bold, and write down your to-do list, prioritize your list and then pick one that you can do in the next 10 minutes to cross it off your list. It will make you feel good, and it will spur you into action on another one that you can do before today is done!
Just so you know, after reading this blog, there are now only two frogs left on the log!
Until Next Time…