“March Madness” evokes a lot of challenges, not the least of which is the college basketball brackets. For those procrastinators among us, it is reflective of the mad dash to get the first quarter of the calendar year heading in the right direction to allow our businesses to kick into high gear. Here are four different strategies that may help you control your lane and have a slam dunk business year.
Strategy 1: The 80/20 Rule
We have all heard the wisdom of the 80/20 rule, that 80% of yield comes from 20% of effort. The ‘Pareto Rule’, as it is alternatively referred to, has been related to all things in life. For your business, restate the strategy for what you need to focus your efforts this business year. For example, if 80% of your clients come from 20% of your activities, why are you doing the other 80%? Keep your eye on the ball of the 20% and pass off the 80% non-client producing activities to someone else. This way, you can hone your revenue producing work, continue to bring in clients and build your business before the buzzer signals the end of the year.
Strategy 2: Get ‘er Done
For those of us who have the perfection gene firmly implanted in our psyche, this can represent a challenge bigger than Ohio State (10 Appearances, 0 Championships) trying to win the NCAA Championship. Done is better than perfect. I see all of you perfectionists swallowing hard at this notion, but think about it. Are you letting the quest for perfection eat up your time and energy instead of allowing you to move on to your next challenge. Done is good enough. No one will remember whether it is perfect; they will remember who won.
Strategy 3: Clock Management
There is an axiom that work expands to fill the allocated time we have to complete it. This is an interesting one when you think about it. Do you ever find yourself thinking, I can get this done in an hour, but I would rather schedule 3 hours, just in case. Then you let the job consume the full three hours. Why? Well you had the time allocated, you let people or circumstances interrupt you from your planned mission. So instead of being 100% productive, at the end of the project you were only 33%. Take a clue from NCAA basketball – the game only lasts 40 minutes; the team that wins when the buzzer sounds had to get the job done in the stipulated timeframe.
Strategy 4: First Things First
When you plan your day, take a page from time management strategies and identify the top 5 or 6 things that you need to get done (the A’s). Order them with the most important first. When that one is done, cross it off the list. The second activity now becomes the first, and so on, as you work the list. I know of some very organized people who create this list at the end of the day for the following day; they tell me it helps them put work aside and refocus and rebalance their lives to know that they will able to start afresh the next day. Others may elect to do it the morning of the new day or even the beginning or end of the week. However you choose to deploy this strategy, ‘just do it’, to borrow Nike’s former tagline.
Consider it akin to winning the opening tip off and just get started.
I am not suggesting that you use all of these strategies; pick one that resonates with you to help you gain momentum and drive for the basket. I once had a colleague tell me “we (meaning the corporation we both worked for) confuse motion for progress”. While that statement was true for that organization, if the momentum is in a positive direction, with your goals in mind, and with your vision and mission in clear sight, you can move the ball of your business over the goal line of success (Okay, so I mixed sports metaphors!).