So new year, new year and all that. On New Year’s Eve I sat down and wrote a huge list of things I was going to get done for 2017, and there are a lot of them, the biggies on the list are as follows:
- Launching the new Zero3 Training academy
- Getting fitter and healthier
- Launch Quill Trading clothing line
- Getting the dogs further up the grades in agility competitions
- More time on personal development
And a whole lot more besides, having shared those with some friends, came the comment – how the hell are you going to get all that done? I’m exhausted just reading it. Well yes, most people are exhausted when spending time around me.
See I’m lucky enough to have a fast moving, multitasking brain which is both a blessing and a curse. It leads me to have LOADS of ideas, all the time, from everywhere, relentlessly. I have notebooks with ideas of things to write and do, lists of stuff to do all over the place, I write notes in my car, on the phone, out walking the dogs, watching the tv… it never switches off. Now this is all very well and good, but how to make sense of all that noise and get anything done.
FOCUS, that’s how.
And a relentless drive to be better, and do better.
One of the plans for 2017 is to launch a new division to the regular Zero3 Marketing company, now I already have a full time ‘job’ creating and delivering marketing materials for my lovely clients, which generally I enjoy. However, after going on a roadtrip last year I came back home and started questioning what I was doing and why. Now some people would just go, ah well that’s life, we all hate work just suck it up buttercup and get one with it. But in my mind we are not born to just work to pay the bills and then shuffle off the mortal coil. So I hired a coach, and gave him the license to rip through all of my life and slap some sense into me, it cost a lot, it hurt a lot; facing up to your own fears, and some home-truths sucks, but after working through it I have more focus and determination than I have ever had before.
One of my teachers is a guy called Robin Sharma, he teaches that change, for that is what was required, is difficult at the start, messy in the middle and beautiful at the end. And he’s right. It is hard, it is messy and having worked through all that I’m now just starting to see the beautiful bit.
Coming out of the 3 months of analysis and planning we discovered that I am a creative person – well yes, anyone who knows me knows I love to draw, I’m a graphic designer as part of my work so it’s a flipping good job really; but creativity is not just about drawing stuff all day, it’s about creating new stuff all over the place, and for me that now includes creating materials to help people better their businesses. The other thing that came out of it all is that I actually really enjoy helping people, but, and it’s a big but only if they are willing to help themselves. As part of my regular ‘job’ I spend a lot of time with clients discussing what they want to achieve with their marketing activity, usually it’s something along the lines of increasing sales to gain more money. However, what tends to happen is that some of my clients, lovely people though they are, struggle to find the focus to actually do this. The ‘Urgent’ gets in the way of the ‘Important’, we write some beautiful plans, and I colour code them and make them look all pretty because I can’t abide a black and white spreadsheet, Gantt chart type thing. We get all fired up and then…. Momentum goes, clients become ‘too busy’, a crisis happens and we get derailed, and we do a 3 month review realise we have done bugger all on the plan and then the cycle begins again. This is clearly not the way to get stuff done.
So how to break that cycle? Ditch the excuses – no one is too busy, what we have is a lack of priority, the big players, the game changers, they have the same 24 hours that we do. They just use them better.
So how do we get stuff done?
- We work out what it needs to be done
- We plan what we are going to do
- We do it.
And it’s step three that usually goes wrong. Because we are distracted, unfocused and we don’t want whatever ‘it’ is badly enough. See in my mind you can only give your all to a small number of things. Those that achieve aren’t brilliant at everything. Mohammed Ali was a great boxer, he was not, as far as I know, also a great pianist, flower arranger and hamster trainer. He focused on his chosen few things. And that’s the message really. Do a few things well. ALL. THE. TIME. Small little steps of incremental change, if you were going to run a marathon you wouldn’t just train once would you? You’d train every week for it. Same principle to getting stuff done. Just do it.
Which leads to productivity. There are a ton of how to be more productive courses, tools, books etc and it’s clearly a big issue, particularly in today’s modern world with a colossal amount of distraction. But all the tools in the world won’t work unless you do. There is no quick fix, miracle cure, magic wand. It’s you I’m afraid, and only you who can change your stuff, do your stuff. But as I found, a coach giving you accountability for getting your stuff done really, really helps. So much so that I’ve hired someone to keep me accountable for getting the academy launched, because otherwise I’ll just get distracted. At least I am practicing what I preach right? And throughout 2017 I’ll be working with my clients to keep them accountable for their side of the deal so we don’t just keep revisiting the same plans and just moving the timeframes along.
Over the coming months I’m going to be writing some of the tools I use to get things done, testing them out on me first – because if I, with my million miles an hour distracted brain can do it, the everyone else with a ‘normal’ brain can too. 2017 for the academy, and for my regular clients too, will be all about getting it done, and no excuses.
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