Oftentimes I have my wife proof the final version of my blog. On my last blog, when she was done, she said, “It’s okay ... but what’s the point? What are you trying to get across by writing your blogs?” Ouch! As I paused and thought about it, I acknowledged that I wasn’t intending to convey anything particularly brilliant or necessarily brand new, but rather was trying to share business information that might not be top of mind for some people.
I hoped to bring a concept up in an interesting way or with some ideas about implementation. Really just reminding readers of something they already know but might not be executing as well as they could be. After trying to justify my blog, it made me ask myself a follow-up question. If everyone already knows the things I am blogging about, then why aren’t we already doing them?
The answer: stuff happens. Emails, voicemails, phone calls, people stopping in with things that are urgent for them that take up our day. We end up working on what seems urgent, instead of what’s most important. Other people and other things tend to control our day and time. To be productive and make your business and yourself better, you need to identify ways to focus on what is important and not get distracted.
One technique that I like is making goals and important tasks visual. This can be accomplished in many ways. A common example many people use is to-do lists. One danger to watch for here is working on a list of many little tasks so that you can get the satisfaction of checking a lot of things off the list. This doesn’t mean you are necessarily getting the big impactful things done. Some people I work with have project lists of major items they are working on. These project lists will often include due dates, milestones, and priority status. These techniques keep the important items in front of them. Many members of our business development staff have begun using dry-erase white boards in their offices to visually keep their goals top of mind.
My individual goals are very big picture. They are things like new business ventures, investor relations, and strategic planning. These can easily be ignored for days or even weeks without popping up as urgent items on any given day. For me, having a Post-it note on my desk with these goals keeps me focused because I can’t help but see them every day. I can get busy with other items, but I can’t visually ignore the things that I know are the critical components of success both in my role and in the success of our company.
Taking it even further in terms of visualization of a daily task to be accomplished, a person I used to work with used both a visual and physical technique to stay productive and reach her goals. She had five marbles in a small jar on the left side of her desk and she moved them to a small jar on the right side of her desk as she made her required five sales calls each day. Again, this was a physical reminder of what needed to be done, and could not be ignored. Visual cues will help keep you focused, whether they are using any of these ideas, or something utilizing technology like Outlook tasks or setting the screen saver on your phone to be a list of your goals.
So back to my wife’s original question: “What’s the point of this blog?” The point is I’m pretty sure we all know what our major goals are and that accomplishing them will help move the needle for ourselves and our businesses. However, if you aren’t getting these goals accomplished as effectively as you would like, consider some type of technique to make those goals more visual and help make the success you envision a reality.