I have a wonderful friend who is intentional in her relationships, passions, and business. This makes her very productive and reliable. Watching her has inspired me to apply intentionality to my life and business as well. We learn best by watching the examples of others so I thought I’d offer a few tips on how to be focused and intentional in business based on what I do and what I’ve observed in others.
TRIM THE FAT
Just like bits of trash and knick-knacks in our houses and cars, we accumulate tasks, habits, and projects in our business over time. Every few months recalibrate and trim out the unnecessary by reviewing notes in your calendar/planner, observe what’s working and what isn’t, release unproductive projects and activities. This last year, I chose not to renew a membership with a networking group as the season I was entering needed more focused time of work and less time to network. This saved me money and released me from feeling obligated to attend events that were not serving any purpose in my business – at the moment.
This one is so hard for me, but I’ve learned that unless we learn to say “no” to people and some opportunities, the world around us picks away at our time, energy, and resources until we have nothing left for what matters. I’m giving you permission to say, NO! This last year, a friend asked me to join a Board of Directors. I love my friend and loved the organization. Thinking this was a good way to give back to my community, and despite my initial thoughts of “you don’t have time!!”, I agreed. It didn’t take long to understand that I should have listed to that nudge in me and said, “no”. As it was, I had to revert to the first tip of, “Trim The Fat”, and with a bit of embarrassment and humble pie, admit I could not fulfill my role on the board and needed to resign.
Taking time to play seems counter-intuitive to being focused and intentional, but, as I learned a couple of months ago if I don’t take bits of time to “play”, I hit a brick wall. As you can read in this post about a day when I had a little breakdown, I shocked myself when I turned everything off and spent an afternoon being creative. One, it refreshed my soul, and two, I actually got so much work done in the midst of the creativity that it blew me away. The things I did weren’t considered priority but they were fun and greatly benefited my business and my mental well-being. Taking a few hours every couple of weeks gives me that opportunity to recharge which, in turn, gives me more ideas.
MORE OF THE SAME
Why do so many of us hate the idea of routine? We naturally fall into a routine in nearly everything we do. All of us have a subconscious routine when we get up in the morning, go to bed, sit in the same place at church, school, or a seminar and get annoyed if someone sits in our spot. We eat at the same times, watch the same shows, drive the same routes and go to the same restaurants, ordering the same food.
People are naturally built for more of the same! Instead of forcing a routine in your business, take a few weeks and pay attention to the activities you naturally gravitate to at certain times or on specific days – watching for patterns. Then, build a focused and intentional routine around that, saying NO to anything that disrupts your “more of the same”. For example, in my typewriter business, I figured out that it “felt” natural to take photos on Wednesday and do videos on Thursday then edit on Friday. I tried to change that schedule around but it disrupted everything! Now, I block out Wednesday through Friday and do not allow anything to interrupt my flow.
The friend I mentioned earlier deliberately calls and/or visits certain people in her life on a regular basis NO MATTER HOW BUSY AND TIRED SHE IS! When she told me I was one of those people, I was so honored and humbled. But it made me think how critical it is to also do this in our business. There are always aspects to running a business that we say, “Oh. I’ll do that later”. (Like bookkeeping!). But it is exactly those things that we must deliberately DO at times. Think of three things in your business that are important and decide you will deliberately do them, even if it’s only once a month or once a quarter.
For me, bookkeeping is at the top. I always put it off but it is a critical element of my business. The way I’m being intentional is I’ve identified a certain day in the month that I naturally think about paying bills (see the previous tip). That happens to be around the 23rd-25th of the month. Every month, I pay my internet and phone bills between the 23rd-25th (even though they’re not due at that time) – and now I’m intentionally adding bookkeeping to that day. There’s no need to figure out when I’m going to do my books, it easily fits on the day I pay my bills.
START THE DAY INVITING GOD INTO YOUR BUSINESS
This year I’ve become very intentional in verbalizing (out loud) my invitation for God to do business with me. Why it has taken me so long to figure this out, I don’t know. It was like a “duh!” moment when I heard someone else say they get up in the morning and decree “YES” to God. It hit me, I want God in my business. Everything I do is for Him and unto Him. So, as I’m sipping my coffee, I’ll say, “Father, I invite you into my business. Jesus, I invite you to do business with me. Holy Spirit, I invite you to guide me and give me wisdom for my business.”. Amen.
Certainly, there are many ways we can be focused and intentional in our business. If you want specific tips for how to be focused and intentional in finishing the year strong, read my post here. I genuinely want to hear how you stay focused and intentional in your pursuits as I have a lot to learn. Not only that, I’m sure others will benefit as well. So leave a comment below or send us your tip and we’ll share it on social media!