Just as we have advised our clients, Kelly and I have set out goals for this year. The goals are big – huge even – and we need a solid plan in place if we are going to achieve them.
What is the biggest challenge to attaining our goals? Our work! We have clients and projects that need our attention every day, often extending our work hours well past a normal 40-hour work week. It is exactly the same dilemma that faces the optometrists we work with. How do we spend time ON our business to achieve our goals when we are so busy working FOR our business!
I watched this TED talk called Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator given by Tim Urban and he identified the problem perfectly. Our work has deadlines naturally built in. We will promise a client to have a project completed by a certain date. That date will go into our calendar and we will work towards getting it done. A Deadline produces a Deliverable, each and every time.
But as Tim so eloquently points out, it is not the work that has a deadline that is an issue. That work gets done. It is the work that DOESN’T have a deadline that continues to haunt us, worries us and keeps us from feeling accomplished and at peace.
So how do we change that and make working ON our business as much of a priority as working IN our business? The answer is to create a deadline for our goals.
Let’s use the example of implementing a Staff Incentive program, something many of our clients seek our help in setting up.
Motivating staff is an example of a priority that may be important, but is easy to lose sight of as you get caught up in your day to day. A staff incentive has been shown to increase revenues as well as act as an effective staff retention strategy. But when you’re busy and there’s something else that needs your attention right now, a priority without a deadline can get pushed aside.
In order to create a deadline, we choose a date by which we want to have a certain project completed by. What works for Kelly and I, is putting these deadlines in our calendar, with reminders leading up to it. As the deadline gets closer, we start giving energy to the project to make sure we accomplish it.
In the same way, we have our clients set a deadline for when they would like to implement their Staff Incentive program. We outline what needs to happen in order for us to implement; choose the type of incentive, set up monthly goals and targets, decide on the rules, decide who will champion the program, set up a tracking system and then share the results from the tracking system with the team on a consistent basis.
The next step is to put each of the above into the calendar to serve as a deadline. This will hold you accountable to getting each step done, and ultimately, to making your goal a priority.
is the co-founder and managing partner of Simple Innovative Management Ideas (SIMI) Inc. and expert Practice Management contributor for Optik magazine. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.