Converting Overwhelm into Productivity in 7 Simple Steps

People seem to be overwhelmed with finding and acting on potential opportunities for their business.  Fearful they might miss out on something, that grab at anything that looks like a remotely attractive possibility, but this leaves them feeling unproductive, exhausted and still unsure of their future.

Here are seven tips to help you focus and become more profitable:

1. Have long-term and short-term goals that you’re working toward.
Having a long-term view of your life and business helps you create a filter against which you can make your day-to-day choices of how to allocate your time, money and energy. It gives you direction and purpose plus the motivation required to keep going when things get tough.  I call this your Dream Destination and supports you moving through life quickly and definitively.

2. Only set goals that are important or critical to you in some way.
Sadly, people sometimes take on goals that others have set for them. If you set a goal for something that seems ‘cool’ but doesn’t really have a place along the path to your Dream Destination, it will suck the life out of your dream and cause you to detour to unnecessary paths.

3. Decide before you end your work day what your priorities are for the next day.
For those of you who struggle with ‘time management’ issues, this one key will change your life.  Rather than walking into your office and dealing with what comes up (even if you have a to-do list), you’ll risk working on lower priority tasks.  So, before you wrap up one day, review your to-do list (if you have one), consider your Dream Destination and then choose what your top priorities are for the next day.

4. Just say “No”.
Practice saying “No” to both requests you get and to the ‘shiny objects’ that float by tempting you with the allure of something attractive but that isn’t on your priority list. It it’s not your ideal client, don’t pursue it. If it’s not in your current or needed expertise, leave it alone.

5. Work on one project at a time.
Clean your desk of all distractions. Move the piles to another location (or take the time during non-work hours to file them away). Create some physical and mental space for your creativity to arise.

6. Determine exactly what you are paid to do.
Make sure you know how you make money. For me, it’s speaking, coaching, writing and developing programs.  For your business, is it selling products, adding people to your team, creating niche websites that sell?  What?

And specifically what do YOU contribute to that process? Is it making calls to prospects, writing copy for your website, consulting with paying clients?

Spend your time doing those things.


7. Delegate everything else.
I know I harp on this, but it’s critical to your success if you want to grow beyond your current state.

Gather a team around you to take care of the administrative tasks and other items that don’t require your specialized skill set. Create systems and procedures that you can hand-off to other people so you can focus your efforts on the activities that are the closest to getting money into your bank account.

Focus applied to the right priorities is the key to your success.

5 Actions that Improve Goal Achievement & Joy

One of my favorite quotes is from Studs Terkel, author of “Working”.  He said, “Most people are in jobs that are too small for their souls.  They don’t want to work for a company, they want to work for a cause that transcends the dullness of their everyday lives.”

Back in the 1980s when he wrote that, life was much simpler. I believe that fewer people today would say their lives are dull.  I DO believe that many may confess they are searching for more meaningful days or the opportunity to pursue the dreams they’ve kept on the back burner for far too long.

So if you’re one of them or live or work with people who’ve complained of that void, be proactive in helping to raise the (emotional) tide in your neighborhood.

When you make an effort to improve the quality of your life or the lives of those around you, the world becomes a much brighter, happier place. Don’t be an uninterested bystander. You can make a difference.  You do make a difference. Go make one.

Here are some things you can implement right away to help them (or you) bring more meaning and joy into their lives.

1. Identify (or revisit) your core values
When you take the time to articulate what is truly important to you, it brings them to consciousness. Your brain will then start looking for opportunities to make them more present in your life.

2. Talk to the people around you about what’s important to you and what matters most to them.
People are sometimes hesitant to talk about what’s in their heart, feeling it’s too personal to reveal. Yet, its in the revelation of those important matters that creates bonds with others and allows us to feel we’re part of a community.  Even if the people around you value something quite different from you, you will gain insight into their behavior and motivations and perhaps even appreciate them more.

3. Take a class on a topic you’ve been interested in
This might be on a topic that will benefit you personally or professionally.  I believe it’s important for our hearts and minds to be at work on issues that stimulate and inspire us.

The cells in our body are designed to grow and multiply.  Our ideas should as well.

4.  Hire a mentor or coach
If you look at the most successful athletes, they all have a coach. Our own talents can take us so far. And let’s face it, sometimes our human need for the safety of homeostasis, keeps us from making the progress we should. Sometimes you need an outside perspective to see your career or business in a new light.  Sometimes you need a swift kick in the pants from someone who is committed more to your success than your comfort.

5. See the best in others and shine a light on it
Everyone has dark days at times. Some people wallow in them. When you make an effort to see the people around you as more capable than they see themselves, their performance will rise to meet your expectations. When you see and encourage the light in others, the world becomes a brighter place.

Take this 5 actions to heart.  Practice them regularly and let a brighter future unfold.

Why You Must Narrow-Cast to a Tight Target Market

Many people are afraid to declare a target market for fear of missing out on a potential sale outside of that market. The irony is that when you claim a specific market (or even several), your revenue and profit potential actually increase.

“Why is that?”, you may ask.

Well, there are several reasons. Here are the top 3.

1. Clearer message to the market
If you haven’t take the time (or found the courage) to discern and decide exactly who you’re meant to serve, your marketing effectiveness will be weakened. If your 30-second commercial has the word “anybody” in it, you’re at risk.  Perhaps you could serve anybody, but from a tactical marketing perspective, when you get really specific, your message will become much more clear, helping you attract those perfect prospects to you much more easily.

2. Referrals flow more easily to you
One of my clients is a Merrill Lynch financial advisor. In the very beginning of our coaching relationship, she was resistant to the idea of picking a target market. She was eager to build her book of business and anxious about bringing in money from anyone who was willing to talk with her.

She’s not alone. Many people are afraid that if they focus on just one specific market, that they will be leaving money on that table and turning away anyone else who might be a potential prospect.

Finally after a couple of conversations with this advisor, she came up with focusing on providing financial advising service to business owners, business executives, and divorcees.

She did it a bit reluctantly but in our very next call she reported, “I introduced myself with that line at a speed networking function I attended. When I said those words, I could actually see
the wheels in people’s heads turning as they tried to figure out who they knew that fit those categories.”

It’s critical that you narrow your focus, even if you pick a handful (not a barrel full) of distinct groups.

3. Marketing effectiveness increases
When you can articulate clearly and specifically who you serve, you’ll be able to find them more easily thereby reducing your cost of acquisition. The products and services you deliver can be tailored to your clients’ specific needs. The tailored copy you use to describe your services will be all the more specific and sound like music to your prospects ears.  The client attraction theory will finally start working for you.

So, reach down deep, find the courage you need and tighten up on your target market.