I’m willing to bet you have had that exact thought more than once in your life. Adulting is hard. Even business owners have those days when the last thing they want to do is show up for work. If you are one of those amazing people who are endlessly focused, do everything on your to do list one the exact day you wrote it down, and never need to deviate from your plan, you may want to move on to another blog post. I am not one of those people. If you are part of the occasionally unfocused tribe, keep reading. I need to let you off the hook for being this way, because if I let you off the hook, I’ve let myself off the hook.
Let’s start with an admission: there are days that the last thing I want to do is my job. Yep, I said it. I’m not some kind of entrepreneurial superhero. I can’t always be on the top of my game, slugging away at the meat and potatoes of my business. Quite frankly I am an adult who did not grow out of her ADD. Let me illustrate how bad my ADD can be. At one point in my life, I was a middle school math teacher and one of my administrators delighted in randomly sticking her head in my classroom and saying, “Squirrel!” knowing that I would totally lose focus and would have to regroup. On the other hand, I know what needs to be done and am highly committed to my business. What’s a business owner to do? The answer is to have a fallback plan.
A fallback plan in this scenario is to have tasks that are necessary for your business but aren’t high on the priority list. These are those tasks that seem to live on the backburner of your world. For me they include:
- Writing blog entries. I always have a collection of blog entries waiting to be published but it never hurts to add one more to the collection.
- Working on graphics for social media. 50PlusStartup has a very definite branding strategy for social media that entails the use of quotes with images. Unfortunately, I have yet to locate graphic elves that will do these for me and they can take a little time to create. They are a great but somewhat mindless task that makes for a great thing to do on my less focused days.
- Reading a fabulous business book. I read a lot. I rarely can be found without my beloved Kindle nearby. I read in between 50 and 60 books a year, but I try to keep my reading to specific times. In my mind, while important, reading doesn’t always produce marketable product, which means I don’t feel that reading always makes me money. I read for self-education, for pleasure and for relaxation, but there are times when I read to refocus. Are there any great books you are reading right now about business or personal development? Share in the comments any recommendations you have.
- Catching up on blogs and other online articles. Digital reading has become my updated version of the magazine. There is so much great content on the Web it’s hard to keep up with it. Even with tools like Inoreader that compiles my content into one location, I get behind. Sometimes taking a little time to read digital content gets me back into my groove. Let me know in the comments if you have a blog that you think I would enjoy reading.
- Attend a webinar or digital summit. Knowledge is power so why not make time to gain some when you aren’t feeling it for the day to day grind stuff? When I watch a webinar I’m not just there for the knowledge; I’m there for the art of the presentation. What did I like and not like about what they did? How would I have done it differently? Am I inspired to create something for my own business? Did I get an idea for a product or for a way to market my business differently?
- Listen to a podcast. I am addicted to podcasts. I listen to them when I exercise, in the car, or when I’m bored. I get ideas and inspiration from them and feel that they are definitely not a waste of my time. If you listen to a great business podcast that you enjoy, please let me now in the comments. Here’s the trick with podcasts (or books or television shows or movies or articles), if you are listening to a podcast and don’t feel like you are getting anything from it, stop listening to it! Just because you start a podcast (or book or television show or movie or article) doesn’t mean you have to finish it if you aren’t enjoying it or getting something out of it. The podcast (or book or television show or movie or article) doesn’t own you; you do however, own your time. I freely admit that once I adopted this tenet, I felt much more productive in life.
- Review my lists. I love lists. I have tons of them. I have lists of things that I want to create, lists of things that I heard about on a podcast or read in a blog post, lists of books that want to check out, and of course, list of things I need to do. What’s the point of making lists if you don’t go back to them? By reviewing my lists, I find that I’m inspired to do things to move my business forward.
- Do research. There is always something that I need to find out more about. Sometimes by focusing on research I get my drive back. You may need to research a vendor whose product line you are considering carrying or menu item you have been thinking would be something your customers would like or an idea for a social marketing campaign. The list seems to be endless.
- Make a decision. Is there something that you’ve been thinking about doing but haven’t gotten around to the actual decision part? Maybe you’ve been thinking about hiring a new employee or using a virtual assistant or entering a new market or adding a new platform to your social media marketing plan. Whatever it is, do what you need to do to make that decision. Getting that decision of your plate is a win on multiple fronts: you aren’t carrying that decision around anymore, you will feel productive because of making the decision and you are moving your business forward.
Of course, there are more things you have stirring around that may not be at the top of the priority list. The bottom line here is that almost all of us have days when we aren’t particularly motivated or inspired. That’s okay; don’t beat yourself up. I don’t personally suggest not working at all that day (that can become a bad habit quickly) but I do suggest doing something that maybe wasn’t originally on your calendar for the day. The key here is to continue moving forward. A baby step is better than no steps.