The reality is that most of us in small business today barely make it through the top 20% of our to-do lists. We get tangled up in issues, emails, phone calls, drop-ins…the list is endless. We severely strain our relationships, miss important life events, and generally take care of ourselves last. Stress builds and builds. Life starts to seem out of control, not even close to what we dreamed of when we started our small business. Surely, something has to give, but what? Where to start?

Imagine having plenty of time to run your small business, build ever-growing profits, enjoy a great relationship with your mate, spend time with your kids, and take care of yourself. As small business owners, most of us would shake our heads: “Yeah, right. I wish!”

How about recognizing that we often tend to be overly optimistic about what is actually possible within the time available? We often tend to over-commit, don’t you agree? We like to make a big, long to-do list so that we can check off tasks as we go, but in doing so, we set unrealistic goals for what can and actually needs to be done. Sometimes, we even put obscure items on our lists that don’t need to be done that day, if ever, just so we can keep track of things. What if we pencil in realistic activities corresponding to true times required to complete them each day? And yes, there will always be surprises. In small business, surprises should no longer come as a surprise!

Starting with the next few days, during your first working hour, take the calendar out. Consider the true times needed for each activity and start scheduling. Allow some buffer time. Allow time for planning. Allow time to mobilize resources. It will make a huge difference and immediately you will start to meet more and more of your important deadlines. It’s a great feeling. You’ll never go back to the days when you didn’t complete your most important tasks. That will be a thing of the past.

Remember, you simply cannot work 24 hours a day. We often say, we will take a much-needed break AFTER some event. If we continue on the path of doing far too much and living with too much stress, we’re simply going to burn out. We can’t continue to be thrash from thing to thing on our never-ending list of business and personal responsibilities.

Just Say No! Right now, there are some things that you’re doing that don’t warrant your attention. Delegate them or outsource them or delete them to free up your precious time.

Schedule time for rest and time for yourself. Undoubtedly, you will not only refuel your engine but rejuvenate your relationships and enjoyment of life – and THAT becomes creativity and a bottom-line win, believe it or not.

You can boost your profitability in the next four weeks!

Donna Marie Thompson, PhD
Creating your best profit solutions is my highest priority.
Remember – Just say no to the status quo!™

Author's Bio: 

Donna Marie Thompson, PhD is a Small Business Profitability Expert and Founder of Expert Profit Solutions. She is a two-time best-selling author who has spent most of her career problem solving in international management consulting.

Donna Marie has helped businesses meet their profit targets under challenging circumstances. She was a Director at PricewaterhouseCooper's Consulting, and has worked at Booz Allen, as well as local consulting firms. This wide range of experience in businesses of all sizes uniquely qualifies Donna Marie to guide small businesses to discover their hidden profit potential.

Donna Marie earned a PhD from George Washington University, an MBA from Virginia Polytechnic Institute, a CPA in the state of Maryland, and is a Master Practitioner of the Energy Leadership Index.

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