My husband and I purchased bikes when we first met over 25 years ago, and we still ride those bikes together today. This summer, our children rediscovered the enjoyment of biking with their friends. One day as my younger daughter was getting ready to leave the house, I asked her if she was meeting up with Lilly. She told me that Lilly's bike was stuck in first gear, and she didn't like riding together because it was a struggle to keep up.
If you are a bike rider, you know exactly what Lilly means. First gear is a tremendous aid when you are peddling up a hill. There is little resistance at this gear ratio so that when you move onto flatter surfaces, you find yourself peddling rapidly without getting the wheel rotation needed to reach faster speeds. It is this design of the gear system that makes bicycling an efficient mode of transportation.
So why am I talking about bikes and gears, and what does this have to do with business? We have two months remaining until yearend for most small businesses. And because of the upcoming holidays, many of us have only 6-7 weeks of productive work time to complete our goals. In other words, it is time to kick it into high gear and sprint for the finish line.
I want to share the guidance I am giving to my clients as we discuss this reality.
DON'T LET THE URGENT
OVERSHADOW THE IMPORTANT
As I have said many times, I find many of the "old school" authors are as relevant today as they were decades ago. And that is why I share the work of Stephen Covey with my clients. He wrote The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, and we are discussing Habit #3: Put First Things First.
This graphic from Stephen Covey's work requires little explanation, but focused attention to execute.
During these final weeks, it is paramount to be judicious about maximizing the time you spend in quadrant 2 (Q2) by eliminating distractions and waste. Additionally, it is crucial to regularly commit time to working on the important things that are not presenting with emergency flashers.
I recommend two steps to make this happen.
ONE. Set a clear intention for what you must accomplish before the yearend.
TWO. Follow the advice of author Tim Ferriss and start each workday by identifying two to three objectives that become the primary focus of your attention and effort.
Most of us are happy to see the end of 2020 drawing near. We are eager to put the disruption of the global pandemic in our rearview mirrors. Ending the year strong, however, requires us to do more than crisis management. To strengthen your business, you've got to gear down and power up by committing time and attention to quadrant 2. It may not be possible every day, but make sure that this gets no less than 20% of your time each week.
And don't forget, if you are feeling stuck in first gear, you can take advantage of my FREE initial coaching session. I'll be happy to help you get UNSTUCK and moving FORWARD.