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Why You’re Not Getting Any Business Results (But Still Working Like Crazy)

Why You’re Not Getting Any Business Results (But Still Working Like Crazy)


    You’ve taken the leap, started your business, and have been tackling your million-item to-do list. Problem is, you’re still not seeing the kind of results you want. Whether it’s web traffic, lead generation, sales, etc. By whatever yardstick you’re using, not much is happening. You’re working nights and weekends, but can’t seem to move the needle. You’re frustrated, discouraged, confused, and maybe even depressed.

    And not alone.

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    Every entrepreneur wrestles with these periods. You’re working your butt off, and can’t seem to make headway.

    So what’s the problem?

    You can check out some of the most common reasons why you aren’t getting results to see if you’re falling into any of those traps. Reflecting on my own work habits, a lot of the time I spend working is actually busywork–that is, work that’s pretty low value and doesn’t move me significantly toward my goals.

    For example, starting any business, one of the first tasks that might come to mind is writing a business plan–after all, that’s what any business-school professor would tell you. Problem is, writing a business plan takes a ton of time, and doesn’t have much value–the time spent on it won’t get you customers. Do you really want to waste a month writing a plan that you won’t use?

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    How to get faster business results with “high-value” tasks

    Recently, I discovered something that’s gotten me more results, faster: focusing exclusively on high-value tasks.

    Instead of spending your time on that low-value task, identify and take action only on high-value tasks: those tasks that will immediately propel you toward your goals.

    If you’re familiar with David Allen’s Getting Things Done system, high-value tasks are similar to “next actions” (you can read a bit more about “next actions” here and here); a “next action” is defined as “the next physical action that can move the project forward.” For example, if you have a project named “get my first client,” you’re next action could be one of the following:

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    • Make a list of prospective clients.
    • List at least 5 marketing channels where I can find prospects to contact.
    • Call Mr. Flapjack Turnbuckle, VP of Sales, at ABC company to identify his pain points and show how I can help.

    For high-value tasks, I go a step further than the generic “next action” definition, and identify the task that has the biggest payoff. In the above list, talking to a prospect is going to be incredibly valuable, since you can get a ton of info on your market’s pain points and how you can pitch your services to them. That task is going to accelerate ALL your marketing efforts much faster than either of the other “next actions.”

    So, instead of just doing whatever work comes to mind, focus exclusively on high-value tasks and IGNORE everything else. You’ll be surprised at how fast your progress will be.

    Now it’s your turn: In the comments below, list one high-value task that you’ll work on over the next few days.

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    (Photo credit: Hard Work, Businessman via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on December 17, 2018

    Read this and stop feeling overwhelmed…for good!

    Read this and stop feeling overwhelmed…for good!

    We live in a time of productivity overload.

    Everywhere you turn are articles and books about how to be more productive, how to squeeze 27 hours of work out of every 24, how to double your work pace, how to do more and more all in the name of someday getting out of the rat race. Well this is about the side effects of those ideas. If we aren’t multitasking, we feel lazy. If we aren’t doing everything, we feel like we’re slacking. We compare ourselves to others who we think are doing more, having more, getting more and achieving more, and it’s driving us crazy. We feel overwhelmed when we think we have too much to do, too much is expected of us, or that a stressor is too much for us to handle. And we respond by lashing out with emotions of anger, irritability, anxiety, doubt and helplessness.

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    This season especially is the most stressful time of year. Between the holidays, final exams, family gatherings and general feelings of guilt that it’s the end of the year, it’s easy to get overwhelmed thinking of all the things you still need to get done. But if you use these tips, not only will you get the important stuff done, you’ll keep your sanity while doing it!

      Is this you?

      Change your thought pattern-stop thinking negatively

      When you feel overwhelmed, the first thing you do is start thinking negatively or begin to resent why it’s your responsibility in the first place! The first thing you have to do is to stop! Stop thinking negatively immediately. Instead, focus on the positive. If you’re stuck in traffic, think of how great it is to have some time to yourself. If you’re rushing trying to get things done by a deadline, think how lucky you are to have a purpose and to be working towards it. If you’re stressing about a final exam, think of how fortunate you are to be given the opportunity of higher education. After you’ve changed your thought patterns, you must then say to yourself “I can do this.” Keep saying it until you believe it and you’re more than halfway to ending feeling overwhelmed.

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      Take a deep breath/change your body posture

      When you’re stressed certain things happen to your body. You start to breath shallowly, you hunch over, you immediately tense up and all that tension drives your feelings of stress even more. Relax! Straighten your posture and take at least ten deep, cleansing, breaths. Force yourself to smile and do something to change your state. It could be as simple as giving yourself a hug or as silly as clapping your hands three times, throwing them up in the air and shouting “I GOT THIS!” Think to yourself, how would I sit/stand if I had perfect confidence and control of the situation?

      Focus on right now

      Now that you are in a better state of mind and are no longer thinking negatively, you need to focus on the here and now. Ask yourself this question: What is the most important thing I have control of and can act on right now? Keep asking yourself this until you have a concrete next step.

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      Take Action

      Now that you know what’s most important and what to do about it, do it! Start with the first step and focus on getting that done. Don’t worry about anything else right now, just on what your first step is and how to get it done. Once that’s done with, determine the next most important step and get that done.

      Let go of what you can’t control (the gambler’s theory)

      Seasoned gamblers understand the importance of due diligence and knowing when to let go. The Gambler’s Theory is that once your bet is placed there is nothing you can do, so you might as well relax and enjoy the process. The time to worry is when you’re figuring out the best odds and making the decision of what to bet when you can actually take action. I used this one a lot in college. After an exam, there is absolutely no point in stressing about it. There’s nothing you can do. And the same goes for feeling overwhelmed. If you can do something about your situation, do it, focus and take action. But if you’ve done what you could and now are just waiting, or if you’re worried about something you have no control over, realize that there’s no point. You might as well relax and enjoy the moment.

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      yoga-422196_1280
        Relax and enjoy the moment

        Stop feeling guilty

        Finally, stop comparing yourself to others. If you are at your wits end trying to keep up with what you think you should be doing, you aren’t being fair to yourself. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t strive for improvement, just don’t go overboard because you feel like you have to. Only you know what’s really important to you, and your personal success journey so focus on what your top priorities are, not someone else’s.

        Everyone feels overwhelmed sometimes. The important thing is to realize it’s normal and that you can do something about it by taking focused and deliberate action. Happy Holidays!

        Featured photo credit: Stress Therapy via flickr.com

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