If you’re like many of my coaching clients, you use your Friday as a “catch up” day. Is that a wise use of your time? What are you letting fall through the cracks if you’re catching up on Friday? Are your Fridays productive? If they aren’t you should work to make them more productive.
Here are some ways to regain control of your Friday and sail into your weekend with your work behind you!
Get out of the office and attend a networking event.
Sign up for a class or attend a conference at which you can enhance your business acumen.
Take an online course and set aside time on Friday to delve in and get the work done.
Block out a couple of hours to read through trade magazines, enewsletters you’ve signed up for or newspapers or other printed matter that you don’t get through during the week.
Plan for the next week.
Look back on your successes of the week that’s wrapping up.
Make phone calls to potential clients.
Make phone calls to colleagues just to catch up.
Clear our your email inbox so it’s bare bones when you get back to the office on Monday.
If you have a daily to do list and are diligent with your marketing and getting your tasks done during the week Friday can be a day when you may deem it a “catch up day” but you’re also being productive and learning or attending networking events at which you can grow your potential client base. Getting out of the office is also a great way to practice your elevator pitch on the colleagues with whom you’re networking and you can also see who the competition is and what skills they may possess that you’re lacking. It’s a great learning experience and a great way to continue to grow yourself and market your business.
The following is a story of unknown origin dating back to possibly a reference by Orson Welles in 1954. It was most probably based upon an ancient Sanskrit story of a scorpion and a turtle.
I share this story as we sometimes forget that promises can be broken, and we need to consider the consequences we face regarding our decisions.
The Scorpion and the Frog
One day, a scorpion looked around at the mountain where he lived and decided that he wanted a change. So he set out on a journey through the forests and hills. He climbed over rocks and under vines and kept going until he reached a river.
The river was wide and swift, and the scorpion stopped to reconsider the situation. He couldn’t see any way across. So he ran upriver and then checked downriver, all the while thinking that he might have to turn back.
Suddenly, he saw a frog sitting in the rushes by the bank of the stream on the other side of the river. He decided to ask the frog for help getting across the stream.
“Hellooo Mr. Frog!” called the scorpion across the water, “Would you be so kind as to give me a ride on your back across the river?”
“Well now, Mr. Scorpion! How do I know that if I try to help you, you wont try to kill me?” asked the frog hesitantly.
“Because,” the scorpion replied, “If I try to kill you, then I would die too, for you see I cannot swim!”
Now this seemed to make sense to the frog. But he asked. “What about when I get close to the bank? You could still try to kill me and get back to the shore!”
“This is true,” agreed the scorpion, “But then I wouldn’t be able to get to the other side of the river!”
“Alright then…how do I know you wont just wait till we get to the other side and THEN kill me?” said the frog.
“Ahh…,” crooned the scorpion, “Because you see, once you’ve taken me to the other side of this river, I will be so grateful for your help, that it would hardly be fair to reward you with death, now would it?!”
So the frog agreed to take the scorpion across the river. He swam over to the bank and settled himself near the mud to pick up his passenger. The scorpion crawled onto the frog’s back, his sharp claws prickling into the frog’s soft hide, and the frog slid into the river. The muddy water swirled around them, but the frog stayed near the surface so the scorpion would not drown. He kicked strongly through the first half of the stream, his flippers paddling wildly against the current.
Halfway across the river, the frog suddenly felt a sharp sting in his back and, out of the corner of his eye, saw the scorpion remove his stinger from the frog’s back. A deadening numbness began to creep into his limbs.
“You fool!” croaked the frog, “Now we shall both die! Why on earth did you do that?”
The scorpion shrugged, and did a little jig on the drownings frog’s back.
“I could not help myself. It is my nature.”
Then they both sank into the muddy waters of the swiftly flowing river.
Is there a magic formula for helping your business soar? Accountability = Productivity + Profitability could be just the formula you’re looking for. I find that many of the solopreneurs that I work with aren’t truly accountable to anyone so their productivity and their profitability sometimes suffers. You’re certainly accountable to producing results for your customers,but it is sometimes difficult to toil alone every day and feel an accountability.
One way to amp up accountability is by working with a business coach. A business coach will push you to higher levels of productivity and will hold you accountable for milestones you want to reach. Did you know why some people don’t achieve their goals? Here are a few:
They set unrealistic expectations
They didn’t understand the scope of the project
Priorities and timelines weren’t clearly defined
You, or those involved in the project, don’t have the skills necessary
There is no follow up or milestones to mark progress or tell whether the project will be a success
Here are ways in which you can be accountable to yourself, others and your business.
Your employees need to be held accountable by you for the tasks with which they are charged. You also need to be accountable to your employees and give them the tools they need to succeed and the assistance they need to follow through on their own projects and tasks.
Your company co-leaders. If you run your business as a partnership or have more than one person involved you need to hold each other accountable. If you have specific skill sets that complement your business partner’s you need to allow each other to work on your core competencies but you need to come together to assure you’re both shooting for the same mark on the target.
You need to be accountable to yourself. If you’re not motivating yourself and pushing yourself, your efforts will be for naught. Business owners are usually very good at moving forward and overcoming obstacles that may present themselves.
Do you have an accountability process in place for productivity and profitability?
I pride myself on being punctual — actually I pride myself on being ahead of schedule when I am meeting with clients or attending a meeting. Are you always late? Are you on time? If you’re always late you are, in effect, disrespecting the person with whom you’re meeting, the other attendees at a meeting you’re attending and it is, frankly, in bad form.
Why are you always late? Does time truly get away from you? Do you forget to write appointments down in your virtual or paper calendar? Do you need to set a timer or alarm in order to get yourself to meetings on time? Do you have an assistant who could be called upon to remind you of pending meetings and to get you out the door in time?
It’s thought that people who are always late are “creative and/or artistic types.” Even if you work in a creative field, being late is disrespectful to the person with whom you’re meeting. Don’t fall into the cliche of the “absent minded professor.” Don’t become known as, “John, he’s always late.”
Set a timer on your computer, your smart phone or use an actual timer for 15 minutes before you have to leave for a meeting. Give yourself that 15-minute window to wrap up the task you’re working on and get out the door.
Set another alarm to remind you to get out the door.
If you know you have a meeting coming up in an hour, don’t get involved in a time consuming task that will be hard to break away from.
Give yourself breathing room in your schedule. Build in a buffer for calls that take longer than you planned for, projects that were more time consuming than you’d imagined.
Enlist someone in your office to remind you of your appointments and get you out the door in time.
Are you always late? What is your reason for being late? Can you determine what it is? If you can pinpoint it, you can work to address it in the future.
We’re a week into 2017. While many of your colleagues are forward facing, it makes sense to look back to move business forward. Before you move forward you need to know what worked, and what didn’t, in 2017. How will you know whether what you’re doing is working if you don’t take time to reflect?
Answer those questions, then look forward by asking yourself:
What leaders inspire and motivate me?
What do I want to do more of in 2017?
What do I want to do less of?
Who can I partner with to grow my business?
What channels on social media do I want to have a bigger presence on?
Who do I want to serve this year?
What volunteer activities can I get involved in?
What do I want clients and potential clients to say about me when they speak of me?
What steps can I take right now to gain traction on my 2017 goals?
What will I use as metrics for my success?
The year is still young. Take time today to answer these questions then go forth and conquer 2017! If you have “explore coaching” on your list, send me a message — let’s talk! Many business owners find that working with a coach helps them better navigate a path toward business growth because they’re working with someone outside of their business niche.