Ask anyone how they are (entrepreneurs I’m looking at you espesh!) and I guarantee you’ll get a response of “yeah, good, busy” from almost everyone.
There’s always something…
BUT, are you making the same mistake I used to?
If you are, you’ll be wasting time and restricting your growth, never mind profits, all while feeling like the busiest bee in the hive – gah!
Since running my own business, I’ve noticed 3 zones that our work falls into. It took me a while to recognize this, but when I did I realised my time was being spent on the stuff which made me feel super busy.
But this stuff was holding me back as I wasn’t paying attention to the priorities that would grow my business.
There’s always something we can be working on. Sometimes when you’re so busy it’s difficult to separate what’s really important to your business from the tasks you think are important.
But it’s OK! When you identify your 3 zones you’ll be able to see immediately what you’re doing so that you can get out of your own way fast. And when you do you’ll skyrocket your business by working smarter not harder.
1. The Genius Zone
Oh yes – this is the good stuff! The work that feels super easy…
The expertise you worked hard and trained for – that’s the true value you offer to your clients.
It’s what we’re passionate about, drives us to get up each morning and sometimes work well into the night.
This comes with a Health Warning
I had an interesting conversation recently with a friend. Her passion is design. A true creative.
During our chat she excitedly explained to me how pumped she was to be pulling 15 hour days to complete some creative projects.
The alarm bells started ringing in my head.
I’ve heard this from clients a billion times before.
Heck, I’ve even been there myself. That was before working that way made me sick and burnt out with Chronic Fatigue. It was unsustainable.
Eventually, my body said STOP and I had to rethink my entire approach to life and work.
In reality getting sick was a blessing.
It led me to look long and hard at my life so that I could create a lifestyle business that I love. Plus, I’m able to share this experience on to my clients (and you, dear reader) to help them achieve building a business they love too.
Anyway, back to my friend…
With the peal of bells clanging in my head, I suggested she take it easy, her response was beautiful…
That’s like telling Leonardo de Vinci to stop midway while painting The Mona Lisa!
Her creative mojo was firmly switched ON. It’s hard to argue with that.
See the gap, fill the gap
As a modern entrepreneur – whatever your business offering is, creativity underpins everything you do.
It takes creativity to make your offerings, find clients, promote your business.
It takes entrepreneurial spirit to see a gap in the market but besides that you need creativity to recognize that there is another way, a different approach. That you can offer a better service or product than the next person.
This is what makes us successful in business.
It’s your creative tank that needs constant feeding and nurturing to keep the juices flowing and the business rolling in.
2. The Dread Zone
This zone includes the tasks that you just NEED to do to but avoid at all costs.
There’s no escaping them.
It’s the J-O-B stuff that can sometimes (most of the time?) feel like pulling teeth.
The things that you put off. Maybe they don’t get done at all (aargh!) or happen at the last minute….you know what they are.
Like sales and marketing…..
For most of my clients, marketing and sales fall into this category. Just as well I’m here, hey?
Sometimes, even cleaning the kitchen cupboards with a toothbrush can seem waaaaay more appealing than rolling up your sleeves and getting down to writing a sales page for your website.
To be honest I have a love-hate relationship with it myself. And it’s this deep understanding of both sides which means I’m in the perfect position to help my clients.
When I hear them voice concerns of…
- I don’t know what to say in my marketing!
- I have nothing meaningful to write about.
- I don’t want to be a show off.
- I HATE selling. It’s feels slimy and inauthentic.
- I just want to do what I love – is it really necessary to tell people about it too?
I get what they’re going through. And, the blunt answer is: Suck it up, sweetie.
You can’t create a successful business without sales and marketing.
But we can do it in a way that feels natural and works for you.
And, the third category? Kitchen cupboard cleaning aside, is the Twilight Zone. (cue meoldramatic music – Du dun DAHHHHHH!)
3. The Twilight Zone
I call these the default projects, the ones we can get lost in for HOURS.
As my business has grown and listening to the clients I work with, I’ve come to recognize that we all have areas that we default to apart from our main expertise.
It’s where we go to because they’re easy.
We’re busy, right?
We might not really love it. It may not excite you the way working in your Genius Zone does, but given the option, you’ll happily skip straight into the Twilight Zone to escape the Dread Zone.
It doesn’t take much brain space to do these tasks, and getting down to it means we feel incredibly productive and busy.
Pat on the back, well done us – time for a coffee break?
Low priority, high satisfaction
The problem is, this other stuff is not necessarily our best focus (in fact, it rarely is). They are low priority things but when they’re done they leave us with a sense of achievement. It feels sooooo good!
- filing emails to inbox zero (I raise my hand to this one – I LOVE clearing my emails into folders. I could hide in my inbox for days)
- Colour coding your scheduler and work planner.
- Organising your Google Drive by project / client / in alphabetical order.
- Checking out your business crush’s new webinar series.
Most of the time they are just a distraction from what we really should be doing.
I’m not saying that they don’t need to be done – they do! But not at the expense of the priority tasks that keep the clients happy, prospects flowing and money rolling in.
Do you know what your Twilight Zone projects are?
If you don’t yet, I encourage you to bring awareness to them.
Try logging your activities for a few days – a week would be great but whatever you can manage! You might be surprised at how much time you’re
spending wasting in the Twilight Zone.
Be honest with yourself. Ask yourself these questions:
- Is what I’m doing right now a priority in my business?
- How is this going to grow my business?
- What else could I be doing that I’m avoiding that needs my attention?
By having a truth talk with yourself you can decide whether it’s the best use of your time or if you’re simply keeping yourself busy so that you don’t have to tackle the priorities in your business.
I have deliberately avoided adding links to this page to stop the very procrastinating that keeps you in your Twilight Zone BUT this post on Why Procrastinators Procrastinate post is just too good to keep to myself.
So it’s over to you
Take action using these steps:
- try logging your time and activities – BE HONEST.
- Identify your different zones.
- Decide whether your time is being spent in the best way possible for your business.
- If not make a commitment to changing it by doing at least ONE thing a day that will grow your business.
Post in the comments and share what your default projects are. And, if you have any cool tools that help you get your work done – share those too!