When I as a young child and it was my turn to bring the class school hamster home for the weekend, yes real live hamster, I always thought that the little plastic ball it ran around in looked like such a good fun. If only we could have one.
Now, 40 years on I have my very own version and I am not sure it is fun at all! This week I have been really struggling to find the door out of the hamster ball. Its not the wheel that you can just step off. I have been overwhelmed with everything I need to do, ought to do and want to do but can’t get around to. I am not complaining just realising it’s time to take some of my own medicine……AGAIN!
I spend a great deal of time working with people to help them operate more efficiently, happily, effectively and sustainably. It is the sustainable I, and they, find difficult to achieve.
Able to be maintained at a certain rate or level.
Able to be upheld or defended.
It should but it isn’t. The first thing is to work out what is getting in the way. If I look at my business, and many of my clients, then this is how it maps out:
1.Unrealistic optimism – I plan for the month/week or just day and aim to do more than is realistic. Filling your diary or schedule with no wriggle room is setting you up for a fall. Something else always comes up or something takes longer than you anticipated. You are left either working longer to get it done, not sustainable. It not getting done at all or nudging it onto the next day which is no doubt already full.
We have done exactly this at Threedom this week. We were all out of the office for 3 days last week at an exhibition and now we have a grand plan of what we need to do to follow it up. That follow up is urgent we need to maintain momentum, but it’s the end of the week and it hasn’t all been done! The things we missed last week are also now urgent and we are charging headlong into next week. How did that happen ……..
2.Poor planning and review – is exactly why it has happened. As a small business we could and should have planned it better. We did plan to be in the office to follow up all the sales leads, but we neglected to allow for the fact we had a lot of catching up to do having been away and that something else always comes up. In our case a last-minute webinar which is a great opportunity and we want to do it but that takes a huge chunk of time to prepare.
Planning and review is important for every project. What are you trying to achieve, how will you get there and how will you know you are there? Doing that takes time but is worth the investment and prevents……
3.Avoid the temptation of a quick fix. – Already guilty of 1 and 2 I got to work this morning all set to launch into this one as well. Let’s just get the orders out, deal with emails, quick hello to the people we met last week so they have had some contact and then sort it all out next week properly. The problem is sorting it out next week never happens, yet I see it time and again with people when I am coaching. So, slow down and get it right first time. For us this week that is going to mean putting the hours in which will then get us back on track to get out of this hamster ball we are charging around in.
For a lot of my clients it is investing time and effort in the planning rather than having a knee jerk reaction to something. If there is no planning and review then it is likely there will be ……..
4.Lack of accountability and consequences – I run my own business so accountability and consequences are difficult to impose internally. I do work very hard to try and put them in. For me it is part of a very strong customer service driver. If I say I will do something, then I will but I have to make myself have deadlines. You sometimes have to really look for consequences. If I didn’t write these blogs and engage with social media it wouldn’t have an immediate consequence but it will in the long run. I am busy but if I don’t do the things for the long-term business development I won’t be busy in 6 months’ time and we the wont hit our growth figure for the year, which brings me to my final one……..
5.Look at the big picture – Don’t base long term decisions and plans on short term experiences. Don’t let the hamster wheel stop you doing the big stuff which is why I have written this rather than deal with my overflowing in box!
At Threedom Solutions we love what we do and love talking about it so now I have sorted myself out again do get in touch and find out how we can help.