Back to school, back to work!

This Saturday, September 22nd, is the official first day of Fall, but for nearly everyone, the fall season is already upon us. The kids are starting week three (or more) of school, the bumpy first weeks of that rhythm are behind us, and the M-F schedule is settling back into the closest thing we can find to “normal.” It feels like a fresh start, a chance to reset, refocus and recommit to goals we were moving toward before summer happened and routine went out the window.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had conversations with clients on what it looks like to get back on track with schedules, on how to get that rhythm and routine back in place, and how building plans will influence a strong end to 2018 and a strong start to 2019. I would encourage you to do the same. Spend some time thinking about what your ideal day, week, and month look like. Write down your objectives for the rest of 2018, and consider how accomplishing them will influence 2019. Put on your Owner’s Hat (even you don’t own the business; think about your role and responsibilities as if they were your own company) and think entrepreneurially and strategically about what needs to happen to move you toward your own personal version of success. Give yourself the gift of time, and spend that time building your plan:

  1. Set Goals. Make them SMART (Specific, Measurable, Aligned with your values, Realistic, and Time-Bound). State your goals in the present tense, as if you have already achieved them and you are looking back on the journey it took to reach them. Note what needed to happen in order to achieve those goals. Write it all down; this is the basis of your Personal Strategic Plan.​
  2. Establish your priorities. What is most important to you right now? What needs to happen, what actions do you need to take, what do you need to accomplish, in order to reach your goals and achieve your version of success? Where and how is your time best spent; what activities give you the biggest ROE (Return on Energy). What needs to be cleared off your plate in order to focus on those activities?
  3. Build your schedule. I love block scheduling. Look at your week and carve out specific blocks of time to work on your priorities and those activities that are most important. Make appointments on your calendar to get specific things done. Do you have clients that require time and focus on a weekly basis? Set appointments for yourself, and spend that time on those clients. Block out time for all the necessary activities you do, then hold yourself to that schedule; you’ll spend time on what matters, and you will see where you have openings to take care of the inevitable things that come up and need to be handled.
  4. Make lists. Every day. Close the workday (or start the day off) by writing down everything that needs to get done the next day (or that day). Spend five minutes building the list. Then, go through that list and rank the activities by importance. I like the A-B-C, 1-2-3 method. Mark all the crucial items as A’s, the important but not urgent with B’s, and things that need to happen sometime but with a flexible timeline as C’s—anything below that should be delegated or eliminated, as it is simply not a good use of your time. Finally, rank the A’s 1-2-3…., the B’s 1-2-3…., etc. Work on A1 single-mindedly, and do not move on to the next task until it is finished. Then make your list again the next day, and the next, and the next, until it is a habit.

Finally, get to work! Commit to action and hold yourself accountable for the things you want to accomplish. Take action, and get yourself moving toward your goals. Get specific about what you want, and what needs to happen to get there. Use the changing season to change your routine, and build the good habits that lead to success!

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