Editor's Blog


10 Things to Think About

May 2, 2010
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One of the nice things about my job is I’m usually busy and that means I spend a bunch of time on the road. Why is that nice? Well, it gives me time to think. I can let my mind roam as it takes in the road or when I’m flying and I’m cut off from the distractions of my cell phone, email and computer.

One of the bad things is I spend a lot of time on the road so I have a lot of time to think. Why is that a bad thing? If I’m not careful, I can be overrun with thinking and worrying about the wrong things. The types of things I can’t control or do anything much about. It gets me fretting over things that are pushed away when I’m staying engaged and busy because these worthless thoughts have to compete with more important thoughts. Now when I’m not actively busy, they can seep in since there’s no distraction readily available.

Overall, time to think is time well spent. That is, once we give ourselves permission to spend time thinking vs. always being in the mode of mindless doing. Taking the time to think about the right things in business is, sometimes, the best way to spend your time.

So, what am I thinking about?

Here are just 10 things I’m thinking about as I head to a client or if I’m heading home from a client:
    1. How do we best prioritize the time we will spend together?
    2. How do we focus on the right things with the right people?
    3. What should we be doing more of because it’s working?
    4. What types of things should we stop doing and why?
    5. What types of things should we start doing that we’re not and why?
    6. Who should stay at this company and why?
    7. Who needs to go at this company and why?
    8. What products and services do we really sell and what is the best way to market them?
    9. What products and services should we stop selling and why?
    10. What products and services should we be selling that we don’t and why?

Did these subjects touch a nerve?...I hope so!

These are the core things for any owner of any company anywhere to be thinking about. And that’s why my first step with a client is always about teaching them how to think about each of the items above in a constructive and productive way.

The goal is to be spending a portion of each day [preferably at the end of your very long day] thinking about each item.

I did this many years ago at my own company. I would reserve a 30-minute block of time just before I’d go to sleep no matter how late I was out working to focus on these questions. It was a way for me to put these items “to bed” so I could go to sleep.

Better than just thinking about them I used to make a list and write out the problems and challenges that would come up from this thinking exercise and then I’d trust myself to let my unconscious mind to help me while I’d sleep. More times than not, the next morning I’d awake with a new solution to a problem or challenge that had been plaguing me.

I bet you’ve struggled with a sticky type of problem too and then fell asleep unwittingly only to awake the next day with the solution at hand, too.

My suggestion is to make this a formal habit so it’s in place because you’ll be better prepared to be working on the right things, in the right order in the right way.

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