“Slow down and remember this. Most things make no difference. Being busy is a form of laziness – lazy thinking and indiscriminate action.” So said Timothy Ferriss in his book ‘The Four Hour Work Week’ (great book by the way if you haven’t read it yet). It’s a concept that seems to be alien to most ‘busy people’ in business i.e. if you are overwhelmed, then you could be just as unproductive as pretty much doing nothing at all.
To reinforce this concept I was talking with a business owner recently who told me that ‘they just didn’t have any additional time to do extra work on their business’ at the moment and they might have ‘some time to talk further in a few months time’. At this point I replied ‘excellent, I’m guessing you’re up for a record year profits-wise then?’ To which came the reply ‘Well actually profits are very tight at the moment, as well as being very busy’. This conversation had already started to paint a picture that all was not well within this particular business, however to gain a change would take a decision from the business owner that a re-examination of the business model would be necessary along with possibly external input to effect the change within the business (and the business owner!) to get things back on track. We all need that input from time to time to help us get to the next level.
With most businesses we tend to get to a point where we experience a ‘ceiling’ ; either showing up as static turnover / profit or maybe ‘time’ for the business owner: where they simply cannot see how they can further improve results within their business due to time constraints. Although I have touched on ‘time management’ in previous articles, the concept of actually slowing down and being far more productive is, as mentioned earlier, alien to many – until they’ve seen the results of becoming more self-disciplined.
One of the reasons for this can be simply put down to ‘accountability’. Think about it: When we’re at school and we don’t turn up – we’re accountable to our parents and teachers. When we’re employed by somebody – we’re working to ‘their plan’ and if we’re late for work or lazy again we’re accountable to our employer. However once we’re self-employed, it’s down to us – if we don’t turn up for work / make that sale / ensure that we push ourselves to keep in line with our goals, then nobody will do that for us.
So if one of the main focus areas is accountability – then how do we ensure we remain accountable to make sure we do the things we know we need to do within our own business to further improve our results? In essence – accountability to ‘slow down….and achieve more’.
Here’s something I’d like you to consider: Imagine for a moment that you’d told me you were going to achieve (X) goal in the next 30 days (close more sales / become more focused / use your time more effectively etc). Imagine also that I was going to be by your side, holding you to account, for the next 30 days ALL the time you were at work during this period.
Do you think you might:
- Actually start doing those things that you’d promised me you were going to do
- Actually stop doing those things that you promised me you weren’t going to do
- That by doing 1) and 2) you might make a considerable difference to your business (in the area of your specific goal) within that 30 day period
I’m pretty sure that you know that your answer would be yes to all three actions.
On the flipside then – lack of accountability to yourself will be one of the biggest bottlenecks to you achieving the things that you set out to do for your business plan for the next 12 months (you do have a 12 month business plan don’t you? :o).
And so lies one of the real keys to ‘slowing down and achieving more’ in business and in life:
ALL of the unfinished goals you’ve set yourself (projects, business, health, relationships etc) are the results of unfulfilled commitments, poor self-discipline and lack of accountability. The second we become accountable to ourselves (and don’t let ourselves off the hook when we don’t make that sales call we need to make) is the second that everything starts to change within our business – sometimes with lightening speed.
Why not put yourself to the test and make yourself accountable within your business for just 30 days and watch the remarkable results you will achieve.