How to constructively think about your business without totally ruining the holidays
Great business planning (and New Year’s resolution-ing) involves a lot of intentionality, self-reflection (on both yourself and your business), and reviewing business stats (like financials, CRM data, etc). You need to take a hard look at your business, what’s working, what isn’t working, and what can realistically be accomplished. Butttt, that isn’t exactly a fun way to spend the holidays. This is our time to relax, self-care, and pretend work doesn’t exist for a week. Not time to dive into your shortcomings and business data (unless that’s your thing, then hell yeah 🙌).
Instead of hardcore business planning or working on your business, take this quiet week as an opportunity to do some light thinking, reflecting, and letting your mind wander. Casually think about where you want your business to be, where you want your life to be, and the progress you’ve been making. Whenever you have an aha moment or think of something good, quickly jot it down in a note on your phone. Then, when we’re all back at work, you can use those notes to inform your New Year’s resolutions and new business goals. Or, if you’ve already done your business planning for 2022, you can use those notes to review your current plan and make sure it’s inline with where you really want to go and what you really want to achieve, because those targets are sometimes forgotten during traditional analytical business planning.
Choose a few open-ended questions to focus on:
Write a short list of open-ended, low-stress business questions to mull over. Avoid stressful, mission-critical questions like how to finish that client project, how you should respond to an unreasonable client, or that proposal you still need to finish. Leave those difficult questions for normal workweeks and go a little more philosophical. Ask questions where everything will still be alright if you don’t find an answer.
Processes that’ve been stumping you: There’s probably a process in your business that’s good enough, but could be improved. And, constantly working at it or forcing it to happen isn’t helping. You need some time to brainstorm it and really think thru the options. For example, my sales and onboarding processes could use some work. So, I added a note on my phone called “Sales & onboarding flows.” And, I’m mapping my pipeline stages, what information I need from new clients, and thinking thru all the steps. I don’t need a perfect new process by the end of this week because my current one is good enough. But, I’ll be able to take all my loose thoughts and turn them into a plan in January.
Business thought exercises: Most business thought exercises (eg, SWOT analysis, ideal client avatar, lean business plan, etc) are very difficult to complete in one sitting. We need much more time to mull over our thoughts than we allocate to these exercises. Pick an exercise and use that as your open-ended question. For example, if you chose a SWOT analysis, just write down: “What are my strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats?”
Keep your questions in mind :
Write your questions somewhere you’ll regularly see them. That could be a note on your phone, a notepad by your bed, or a sticky note on your computer screen. You want to keep these questions top of mind, so when there’s nothing else going on, your mind wanders to these questions (as opposed to wandering to another slice of cake).
Just let it marinate :
It’s very difficult to be truly creative and really think outside the box while your brain is ‘on.’ That’s why your best ideas usually come to you during downtime like when you’re in the shower, while you’re going for a walk, or when you’re eating dinner. That’s when your brain is ‘off’ and creatively thinking about whatever issues have been on your mind. Let whatever question you’re tackling marinate this week and just hang out in your subconscious.
Add a list of questions to your phone. Or, write them on a page by your bed.
And, if you haven’t set an Out of Office message, do that too.
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