Taking Small ActionsJul 14, 2020
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
This oft-quoted Chinese proverb has as much meaning in business as in life!
I just completed a call with a client. Once again, we discussed a challenge he’s having with a particular task. To increase gross profit in one of his departments, he wants to create a new process to aid in financial performance accountability.
The details aren’t as important, in this case. The challenge, on the other hand, is universal: He simply can’t find the time.
It’s not a huge project, we agreed. He just needs one full, uninterrupted hour to work on it. In general, this guy is a productivity machine, so it should be a cinch. But you know what? We talk weekly, and for the past three sessions he’s made no progress whatsoever toward this goal.
If I sound frustrated, it’s because I’m feeling his frustration. I’ve been there!
Has this ever happened to you? It has to do with allocation of time: If we can’t devote our entire attention to a task and see it through to completion, it goes from being a molehill to an insurmountable mountain. Soon it’s as daunting as that proverbial thousand mile journey…with that single, starter step all but forgotten.
“I’ll do it…when I find the time.” As if time might magically appear!
Imagine now, for just a few seconds, the life of a procrastinator. Now stop! That is not you.
Here’s what I suggest, when a client is stuck. It’s tried, tested and true. It works for me.
Take a micro action.
In the spirit of production over perfection, just take some action. Any action is better than no action at all.
In the case of my restoration coaching client who wants to systematize the feedback mechanism for water damage technicians to receive financial performance data on their jobs, this person could:
1. Reach out to a peer who may already have a system in place.
2. Create a simple spreadsheet: Invoice amount, labor percentage goal, shop time, cost of broken items/repairs required due to poor workmanship, etc.
3. Ask their business coach for a template.
4. Can you think of anything else they could do?
When you’re stuck – and about to hit the procrastination button – force yourself to take one small step. Remember, there’s no step too small. All that matters is that you get started. Once you get started, you can get moving…and be one step closer to your goal.
Now think: What have you been putting off?
Now stop! And get started already!
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