Are You Willing To Change The Rules?

In life, and in business, rules, guidelines, systems and processes provide the checks and balances we need to live consistently and successfully. However, I find that in both cases, we often get so caught up in “what is” that we struggle with even considering the needed changes that will lead us to “what could be.” So, are you ready for the story behind my most recent “ah ha” moment? 😂

We’ve always had a least one dog, and the rule has always been NO DOGS on the couch in the living room. Joe and Tess, who are both 13, and have been with us for most of their lives, have no problem following this rule. Then came Georgia, who is now 16 months old, fully grown, and also now fully “herself.” She’s been pretty good with the no dogs on the couch rule, until there’s someone outside and she’s compelled to do her job….

Shar Pei’s were originally bred to be guard dogs, so it’s in her DNA to protect the house and her “people” in it. Unfortunately, in order to do this she needs to be able to see out the window, and the only way to do that is from on the couch. Not her fault, and with nowhere else to move it, I was left  with a dilemma as far as my “no dogs rule” goes.

I spent a few weeks trying to “correct” the behavior, but she’s just as stubborn as I am, and doing her job was more important than listening to mom. Then I moved on to other possible solutions, which lead me to a realization… the only real reason I don’t want the dogs on the couch is because I don’t want them to get it dirty.

Solving the real problem quickly became much easier than keeping her off of the couch. And with the holidays just around the corner, I decided to have a little fun and ventured off to the fabric store for a temporary and inexpensive solution. Now we have a fun “holiday couch”, Georgia is happily on guard, and mom can live with it while we keep working on her training.

In our businesses, the inability to think differently or approach a challenge from a new perspective usually stems from the “we’ve always done it this way” or “that’s always been the rule” thought process. The next time you find yourself facing a new challenge, or someone or something challenging the “rules,” I encourage you to step back, look deeper and determine the true reason behind the rule in the first place. Sometimes they have to stay (like no biting your brother 😂) and sometimes they can be adjusted as your business and team grows. The key lies in remaining open to all of the possibilities, choosing the best option for everyone, and maybe even having a little fun with it if you can. Happy holidays from our family to yours. ❤️

Time Blocking vs. Blocking Time

This was originally a LinkedIn post, but it felt too valuable not to share here as well… In our effort to get more done each day, we often forget that slowing down can actually be the best way to increase our overall productivity. Here are two techniques I use that help ensure I work smarter, thus increasing the number of tasks I can complete fully and successfully on any given day…

 

I was on a call with a colleague who is also a consultant and needed some help streamlining his work week for increased productivity. I shared a few tips with him, and here’s one that may be worth trying if you feel like your days are getting away from you.

Time-Blocking

Block out time in your schedule weekly (preferably the same day and same time) for key non-client activities. Some things that may fall into this category are invoicing, marketing, sales follow up, paying bills, etc…

By setting aside time each week to handle these items you’ll be doing two things to help increase your productivity.

1. You’ll actually save time by doing all of “one thing” at once instead of bit by bit over the course of the week. The less times you “touch” something, the better.

2. You’ll build “muscle memory” and after a few weeks your brain will automatically kick into gear on that set day and time when it’s time to write a blog, make follow up calls to potential customers, check your collections for the week, etc.

Here’s to working smarter, not harder. 🙌🏼🙌🏾

 

Here’s the second tip:

Blocking Off Time

When it comes to scheduling appointments, especially with business booming right now in the construction industry, it seems like we’re all trying to squeeze in as many per day as possible.

My suggestion, however, is to block out time IN BETWEEN appointments (Zoom or in person) to wrap up with client #1 before moving on to client #2. As both consultants and contractors, when we “hang up”, there are almost always a few follow up to do’s that need to be taken care of to truly close out the meeting.

When you book back to back to back calls, you don’t give yourself the time or space to:

1 – End the call calmly and avoid rushing into the next call (sometimes a few minutes late 😳).

2 – Finish jotting down your final notes and take a breath before moving on to meet with the next client.

Try giving yourself 15 minutes between calls as you’re making new appointments and see how it affects your overall productivity. And pay attention to how being present in the moment, knowing you have a cushion, leads to better conversations and eliminates the stress that comes with rushing from one task to the next. 😎