A Series of Stresses or A Series of Adventures

December 27th, 2008

by Josh Padnick

Although I love what I do, one of the more frustrating aspects of running a business is that YOU are always the bottleneck for everything. The reason we don’t produce sites faster is because I, personally, have to review them. The reason sales are at X but not Y is because I personally have not yet hired the right salesperson and because I personally am too busy to proactively follow up with every single lead. The reason we haven’t developed our new products faster is because I personally have to do some user interface designs but have been busy with other things.

teamworkIt sounds awful even just writing all that! Actually, the obsession with “I personally” is ultimately I think the completely wrong attitude when it comes to growing a company, but that’s the topic of another post I’ve been germinating lately.

Anyway, one unfortunate side effect of being the bottleneck is that it creates a feeling that I’m never finishing everything I want to, which is stressful. In school, we were always taught that finishing 100% of our homework was a good thing. You worked and worked until you finished what you had to do, and then you go have fun.

But what if you’re in a situation where you will literally NEVER finish all your work?

That was by far one of the most frustrating aspects for me of entrepreneurship. I was never “done”; I was never “caught up”. My personal productivity was always less than the amount of things that needed to be done.

So what do you do with a situation like that? Do you just raise the white flag and mentally adjust to “I’ll do the best I can”? Do you enlist the support of others to lighten the workload? Do you try to alter the whole dynamic of it all (stepping “outside” the problem)? Well, yes.

I actually have adjusted my attitude on this to three Key Ideas:

(1) I can only ask of myself that I do my best.

By definition, I can’t possibly do better than “my best.” So it stands to reason that all I can expect from myself is my best, and anything beyond that is simply unreasonable. This was a pretty helpful realization because it relieved me of the stress of trying to get everything done and instead made me realistic about what COULD be done.

(2) Enlist the support of others.

If I want our company to increase revenue by 5x this year, can I work five times as many hours? Can I work fives times as productively. Well, no. And yet there are companies that have grown by more than 5x in a single year. Where does the magic come from? It can only be through leverage: by enlisting the support of my colleagues, by enlisting the financial support of investors, by squeezing more juice out the oranges our vendors send us, by capitalizing on the relationships we have with our clients, etc. I’m still not nearly as good at this concept as I’d like to be, but I’m starting to realize it’s the ONLY way that great companies are ever built.

(3) Make the mental choice: Is your life a series of stresses or a series of adventures?

And finally, after a long talk with my Dad one day, he summed it all up for me so well: “You can either choose to view life as a series of stresses, or life as a series of adventures.”

Wow.

It’s so true. I realized after he said that that there will ALWAYS be something to stress about. Those stresses don’t get in the way of life; they are PART OF life! And so, when the next stressful event comes up, we can choose to be stressed (which is natural, and often healthy even), but we can also choose to see it as a fun little adventure. I mean, in the grand scheme of things, here in the USA most of us have our safety, a roof over our heads, and food in our stomachs, not to mention friends and family. At the end of the day, whatever we’re stressing about isn’t really life or death most of the time.

So those are my three big Key Ideas. I don’t practice them perfectly yet, but at least when I go to the office tomorrow and realize yet again I won’t be able to get to everything that I want to, I’ll have some perspective on it!

Josh Padnick is President and Founder of Omedix, a company that builds web sites for medical practices. This post is reprinted with permission from Padnick’s blog at joshpadnick.com

Building Momentum in Your Business

December 26th, 2008

by Chris Tingom

“We have a ‘strategic’ plan. It’s called doing things.”
Herb Kelleher, founder Southwest Airlines

Building momentum in business is often difficult. I sometimes ponder other companies ability to crank out products quickly. Ideas aren’t worth much if you can’t make them a reality, fast. There are a surprising number of companies that are able to get a lot of stuff done. How do they do it?

Well, here are things you should be doing:

  1. Making Decisions Fast — It took Congress more than a year and half to actually get around to buying Alaska after the Russians made the offer to sell it. Astounding. Don’t sweat over decisions. Successful people make decisions fast. In most situations, making a fast decision is to your benefit, and in more than half of the situations, you can probably change your mind later.
  2. Just Start — At some point you have to stop planning, and actually start. Doing this sooner, rather than later, is key. Doing stuff vs. talking about it.
  3. Outsource & Delegate — Attempting to do everything in business by yourself is a recipe for disaster. If you’re not good at a certain aspect of running a business, then outsource it! You’ll get more done than you would have by opening up time to do the things you love. And you will be happier.
  4. Focus — The ability to reduce your distractions and control your work environment is very, very important. Being able to focus means you’re not worried about a deadline tomorrow, and you can maximize productivity each day.
  5. Really Spreading the Workload — There are a lot of people out there who work in their own tiny world despite having willing coworkers. Whatever you are doing in your business, if you evenly spread the workload around it makes the project half the size. Try it.
  6. Automate! — There’s a saying: “Penny-wise, pound-foolish.” If you’re spending hours every month invoicing customers one by one, find a way to automate the process. There are hundreds of tools available today that give you the ability to do things automatically.

“There’s no limit to what a man can achieve, if he doesn’t care who gets the credit.”
— Laing Burns, Jr.

What are some ways you have built momentum in your business?

Logo Buttons

December 12th, 2008

If you’re interested in helping us spread the word about Ketchup Week, feel free to grab one of these logos and use it on your blog post or article. Please email us if you need a logo in a special size or format that you don’t see here.

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Thank you for helping us to promote Ketchup Week! Now, go be productive!

Gearing up for a terrific Ketchup Week ’08!

December 9th, 2008

We’re excited about this years Ketchup Week which starts on December 26th and lasts through the end of the year. But best of all! This year you can play an active part in spreading the word about Ketchup Week. We’re going to have video, interesting articles, and will be actively posting on Twitter.

Ketchup Week is all about productivity. The idea behind it is it let’s you “catch up” on all of your personal projects that you’ve been delaying all year. Nobody expects you to really get much work done right after Christmas and so you have a bit more leeway to get things done.

I’ll close by including a cool trick you can show your friends.

Have a great Christmas and check back here on December 26th and all week during Ketchup Week for some cool articles.

Productivity tips from Tornado!



Teamwork Day 2

A Series of Stresses or a Series of Adventures


Productivity Day 3

Five Ways To Stay Productive In Your Mobile Office


20 Time Savers Day 4

Twenty Time Savers: Plus, the 80/20 Rule


The Purchase of Alaska Day 5

The Purchase of Alaska: Making Decisions


Don't Multitask Day 6

Don't Multitask: Stop Wasting Time


Looking for more? Check out Brainfuel, our design blog.
Read our productivity blog.

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