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Have you ever had days where you felt like you were just going through the motions building and running your business?  You know, that feeling where you were totally disconnected from the purpose of the business and the goals you set for yourself?  Did it feel like some grim combination of drudgery and running in quicksand, and that your business was in charge of you rather than the other way around?  Me too.  To say the least, it's not an inspired or creative state.

I have worked with small business people for a while and I am frequently amazed at how creative they are.  The sheer volume of things created from nothing but an inspired idea is stupefying.  It is the genius driving the economy and it is a pleasure to watch.

However, building and operating a small business is extremely difficult, given the number of tasks you have to take on.  There are marketing activities, sales activities, online activities, providing the product or service, customer service, bookkeeping, strategic planning, normal administrative things, collections, payments, personnel issues, and learning to do all the things that you don't know how to do.

With this bewildering array of hats to wear, it's not surprising that business owners disconnect from the purpose of their business.   Bookkeeping, paying vendors and learning how to do SEO are not necessarily inspiring, and may have little to do with the purpose of the business or why you went into business in the first place.  And yet it all has to get done.   The problem is that doing all of this can cause a form of burnout, robbing you of the inspiration and creativity necessary to be successful.

Here are three things that you can do to prevent this form of burnout and stay inspired about your business and connected to its purpose.

  1. Connect with your purpose every morning
  2. Prioritize and time block your activities
  3. Eliminate, delegate and outsource

1.  Connect with your purpose in the morning

I don't know about you, but my thoughts will go in any direction they wish if I don't tell my brain what to do.  I am not a morning person and most days I do not wake up inspired to build my business.  I don't wake inspired to do anything.  That said, going out into my day with whatever random thoughts and emotions are running around in my head doesn't lead to inspired performance from me.  Running my business with that lack of focus can feel like drudgery.

There are several cures for this.  Some might include:

  • Writing out your primary vision and goals in the morning along with what you can do today to achieve them.  Doing this will enhance your focus and sense of purpose.
  • Meditating about your vision for your life and your business first thing in the day.
  • Read an inspiring story every morning.  There are several books that are compilations of inspirational short stories available.
  • Listen to audio programs that are inspiring on your way to work and throughout the day.

Connecting to my purpose in the morning helps me stay motivated to accomplish my vision and goals.  Try it.  It works!

2.  Prioritize and time block your activities

Not everything you do is of equal importance, so in a day with a limited number of hours, doing the most important things first seems only logical.  However, tasks don't present themselves in their order of importance.  Further, there are a lot of unimportant things that seem urgent and will drain away your day if you allow them to.  Then there are the easy, comfortable tasks that pass the time which are by no means the most important things we need to do but we do anyway, giving us the illusion we are accomplishing something.

Here are some tips to get more done in your business day.

  • Identify the most important things you need to accomplish today and this week.  Do these items before doing anything else.
  • Time block important activities on your calendar as if they were an appointment with a client and keep the appointment as if it were an appointment with a client.  During this time, do only the most important things in their order of importance.
  • If your business involves leaving the office and meeting with clients or prospects, try and group these out of office activities on the same days, where possible.  Do the same for office work.  Try and group office activities on the same days to give you a chance to build some momentum in your office work by being able to do the work for an extended period of time.  By eliminating the time it takes for you to transition from out of office mode to office mode, you will be more productive.
  • Don't do some things at all.  See point 3 below.

By deciding to do the most important things, you will be running your business instead of the other way around.  Feeling the empowerment of being in control your business and minimizing the daily overwhelm will help keep you connected to your vision and goals.

3. Eliminate, delegate or outsource

How much is your revenue generating time worth?  That is, the time you spend providing your product or service, finding new clients, staying in touch with old clients or creating effective marketing campaigns.  Now compare the value of that time with what you could pay someone to do some of your non-core business functions like database management or bookkeeping.  If your time doing revenue generating activities is worth more than what you could pay someone to do a non-core activity, delegate or outsource that activity making more time available for your core business activities.

Another thing to consider is whether a task is worth doing at all.  Does it really need to be done?  Why?  Eliminate something that is non-core to your business and use the time to work on revenue generating activities.

By eliminating, delegating and outsourcing non-core business activities in favor of core revenue generating activities, you will accomplish two things:

  1. You will make more money because you will be focusing your efforts on the things that make you money.
  2. You will stay more connected with your vision and goals because you will be focusing on the core purpose and activities of your business.

Suffering from overwhelm and being stretched too thin, and finding yourself in the proverbial weeds is an occupational hazard if you run a small businesses.  They can disconnect you from your vision and goals, make your work seem like drudgery and harm your ability to develop a successful business.  Using the tools described in this article will keep you connected to your purpose, make your days seem more rewarding and eventually make you more money because you will have run your business in an inspired and creative way.

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