If you've ever been stuck on ice with a vehicle, you know how a small push, a few handfuls of sand or tire chains halt endless wheel spinning to move you easily on your way.
When you think about dealing with slippery slopes on the farm, it's all about the extra traction that you manage to work in your favor.
Vehicle and animal slippage problems are easy to solve. However, getting traction to get more done in the business day isn't as simple as getting a friendly push or putting on the tire chains
When you are stuck waiting for a riding lesson student to show up, you know what it feels like to have spinning business wheels.
When cornered by a talkative, well meaning salesperson while you've been trying to complete the morning feed schedule, you've lost traction.
The telephone rings all morning with non-business calls from your mother, your in-laws and the church social chairman. Morning has slipped into afternoon and you haven't made outgoing business calls you need to make because you have been spun out.
Often, the reason nothing gets done in a day is you don't have the right tools to get traction for the jobs on your to-do list.
Try these tips for better traction:
- 1. Start each day with a written plan or list. If you aren't doing it already, start. A list prioritizes your activities so that you begin working on the most important items first. When interruptions surface, focus on your list and deal with the non- urgent interruptions later.
- 2. Carry your paper planner or electronic planner with you everywhere you go. Guessing on dates is eliminated; you are always in a position to take the next step.
- 3. Be prepared to leave a concise and specific voice mail message before you make a business call in case the person you are calling is not available. Don't dictate your message to the phone attendant if voice mail is a choice.
- 4. If you anticipate a meeting may run on too long, set your cell phone alarm in advance to remind you of your next appointment. The alarm may be for an appointment with yourself, but, it allows you to slip out of a meeting that has lost its own traction.
- 5. Carry your business cards with you at all times. No need to break up the flow of a conversation to dictate telephone and fax numbers, websites, mailing addresses and e-mail addresses. If you're on a roll, keep rolling!
- 6. Treat yourself to a break in the morning and afternoon to review your list or plan for the day and adjust it for the maximum business benefit for the hours left in the day. Breaks help eliminate brain clutter and provide the opportunity to refocus your energy.
- 7. Keep a pen and paper or notebook or smartphone with you at all times. The best way to remember important information for a sale or business agreement is to capture it in writing immediately.
Lace up your hiking boots, strap on the ice crampons and put the non- skid ideas in your backpack to get some traction for your business in 2011.