This time next year, we’ll be looking forward to Christmas! We’ll also, possibly be taking a retrospective look over the last 12 months and asking ourselves, am I where I wanted to be in my business by this time?

What does the ideal business look like to you? If you were to achieve that ideal business in a year’s time, what better choices would you be able to make going forward?

Perhaps more importantly, what better choices would you be able to make for yourself as an individual?

Nothing changes unless you change first…

If you’re honest with yourself, you’d agree that if you continue doing what you’ve always done, nothing is likely to change. In fact, if you don’t change at all over time while the rest of your sector develops, you run the risk of stalling, or worse, going backwards in your progression. So, what step change do you need to make, either as an individual or within your business, to get you where you want to be in 12 months’ time?

My last blog looked at the one-page business plan, which asked you to start with a longer-term goal. Now is the time to commit that goal to paper, clarify the reason why you want it, make yourself accountable to it and make room in your diary for working on those high pay-off activities that will help you achieve it.

How do you stay motivated to achieve your high pay-off activities?

If your reason why you want your business to be in a certain place next year is clear and realistic enough, keeping that in the front of your mind is at least 60% of the battle towards motivation. And for the other 40%, here is some of my best advice:

Anti-distraction techniques

Can your vision be communicated to your staff, stakeholders or network clearly? If not, I urge you to work on that one thing, because once it is, an interruption or disruption becomes much more obvious.

Then you can work on reducing or eliminating those things. Keep a distractions log to show you the who, what, where and when of distractions, so you can identify a pattern and begin to look at delegation or different working methods.

Do you need to have a quiet hour (or three), where your emails are off, your phone is on silent, and your office is closed?

Mentor or confidante

As a mentor one of my roles is to keep you accountable and motivated to do your activities. We will have regular catch-ups, review meetings and of course ‘emergency’ calls where you can share your vision, progress, distractions and pain points with me, and I will share my knowledge, expertise and experience with you, to help you get through to the next step.

Sharing your vision and your why, with someone close to you, that it affects in the long run as well, is another great way to keep yourself accountable. Have you ever found that saying something out loud to someone makes it more real?

Dress for work, even if you’re at home

In today’s world of work, more businesses than ever are run from a home office. The recent OxLEP Business and Skills team’s impact report highlighted that 6,194 new businesses have been registered in the county since January 2020, OxLEP Business Impact Report. And some of those are bound to be at home.

My advice to ‘dress for work’ doesn’t stop there though. Make an area that is strictly business, if you’re lucky enough to have a room for your office, try to keep it segregated from your home distractions; laundry, TV, cleaning, DIY, shopping and the likes.

If you’re working in your kitchen or living room, then try to make a habit out of stepping into work mode and not bringing your home life with you. Sticking to regular hours and breaks, dressing appropriately, and switching your TV stream to a business radio station instead should help your mindset.

Utilise your diary

I encourage you to transfer your ‘To Do’ list into your diary, especially those larger tasks that need a commitment of your valuable time. If you look at my diary, I know what I am doing for each hour, of each day, during a week. This way I move between my own ‘High Pay Off’ tasks without being distracted on things, sometimes those shiny things! Those moments when your time is not committed is the most challenging. I bet you don’t miss a customer appointment or similar commitment to your diary. However, it is common to drift if you have nothing in the diary for a couple of hours or miss that gym session that you will do if you get time.

Share your vision with me

If you’d like to share where you want your business to be in 12 months’ time with me, then together we can break that down to an achievable step-by-step plan.

We’ll establish what needs to be done in short sprints of 90 days, and how to reduce distractions for the highest pay-off. You can book a free business development consultation or mentor hour with me, and I’d be delighted to have that conversation with you.

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