By Dick Wooden on November 15, 2013 at 7:00 AM
As a strategic business coach for TAB, The Alternative Board, and as a TAB member I obtain a monthly newsletter called Tips from the Top. Each month there are great takeaways and I'd like to shard some recent insights and tips for those of you with an entrepreneurial mindset. These are from entrepreneurs like yourself....
Personal: Go Reboot Yourself
When your computer locks up and refuses to respond no matter how many keys you pound on, what’s the best way to get it back up to speed quickly and safely? If you said "reboot," you’d be right. Sometimes your computer just gets bogged down with too many applications and processes going on all at the same time. The computer’s brain is just too jumbled to be effective. You give it a nice little break, turn it back on, and it works again. Magic.
Now ask yourself…don’t you sometimes lock up, too? Admit it. There are times when you sit at your desk looking at the stack of work to be done, emails and calls to return, tasks to tackle, and realize that you just can’t do any of it effectively. No matter how long you sit there trying to push yourself to get something done, nothing really happens. You’re wasting your time, and it won’t get any better by pounding on your own mental keys trying to flog yourself into productivity.
If you’re like most people, sometimes you just lock up, and no amount of staring at your looming stack of work is going to change the fact that you just don’t have it in you to do a good job on anything at all right then. That’s the time to go reboot yourself. Power down your computer, put your cell phone in a drawer, kill the lights, and leave. Go watch a movie. Hit golf balls. Mow the lawn. Do whatever it takes to get away from the work, not just physically but mentally. Allow yourself to enjoy being away, focus on something different, and fight the urge to think about what you’ve left undone on the desk. When you do that, you give your personal processors an opportunity to clear out the junk so you can be effective when you return.
Don’t be afraid to power yourself down for a while. It can be magic.
Get Re-energized to Stay Positive
Overwhelmed, frustrated, depressed? As a business leader, it is easy to let some of the emotions of running the business get in the way of things (and employees pick up on this). Here are a few simple things you can do to feel better, find your energy, and convey optimism to your staff.
- Make a list of everything that you have accomplished – you will find that it is quite extensive.
- Celebrate and be thankful for where you are and what you have (your health, a roof over your head, family friends, etc.).
- Get moving – walk, run, bike, go to the gym – whatever works. Physical activity is essential in reducing stress.
- Leave work at work! The work will be there for you tomorrow. Give your mind a break when you are away from the office.
- Get away from things – a change of scenery, even if for a day, can help re-energize you.
- And finally, if you have the means, look at your net worth. Sometimes we think things are more dire than they are (don’t do this if you haven’t built up some wealth).
These are just a few ideas to help clear your head, get focused and put the fun back into your business!
Looking Back from the Future
To gain perspective on your business or your life, pretend you are living 10 years in the future. Look back to today and ask yourself, "What would I say about how I’m doing now, how I’m running my business, what I’m doing in life?" It’s a very grounding experience to evaluate yourself from that vantage point.
Leave Work Problems at Work
Be careful not to bring work problems to your home – especially when times are tough. There’s no need to increase stress at home. Use your TAB Board as your sounding board. Leave work at work so your home can be your sanctuary.
Mystery Vacation Day
Take a day off! Don’t plan it – just say you aren’t coming to work! Or get there later or leave earlier. Whatever works. Just give yourself permission to take time off. You ARE the boss; discipline yourself to take care of yourself.
Know What You Want
When is the last time you updated your personal vision? Have you completed your personal vision? If not, update or complete it now! I hadn’t updated my personal vision in a while. Awhile back I had a chance to sell my business. Initially, going through the process with the potential buyer was very difficult because I didn’t know what I wanted. Some things had changed for me personally and there were some topics that I hadn’t thought about. Once I got clear on my vision (and with some help from my Board) it made it easy for me to realize that I didn’t want to sell my business, particularly to the company that wanted to acquire it.
For more information visit: The Alternative Board.