#66: How to Get Your Business Back on Track

I started out this year with a fully fleshed-out calendar. I knew exactly what I was going to do, when we were going to promote, when we were not going to promote, when I was going to take vacations, etc. Everything was planned.

Well, as you probably know, things change as the year gets going. As entrepreneurs, the challenge is to be flexible enough to seize good opportunities, but not so flexible that we lose all our momentum.

Now that it’s July–where did the time go?–I decided to hit “pause” in the calendar flow and regroup.

Get your business back on track

I’m going to walk you through a simple, powerful exercise to evaluate where you are right now in your business, what’s working, what’s not working, and what needs to change.

I’ve also created a downloadable template that helps you chart your progress in this exercise. You can get it by clicking here.

Ready? Let’s get started.

Step #1 – Review Your Week

Write down every single thing you can remember you’ve done in the last seven days. I mean everything–creating content, training, phone calls, reading emails, writing emails. It’s crucial to know how you’ve been spending your time.

Step #2 – Perform a Brain Dump

Think ahead to the next six months, and write down all of the things you need to get done. People to contact, products to create, events to attend, blog posts to write . . . I mean everything. (Warning–don’t use this as an opportunity to come up with new ideas! This is just for what you’ve got in the works right now.)

Step #3 – Identify the Revenue

Now that you’ve got your list of six months into the future, take a highlighter pen and highlight every item on that list that will produce revenue for you, either directly or indirectly.

Learn more about how you can successfully “regroup.” Click here to listen to the full episode.

Step #4 – Identify Misspent Time

Now take another highlighter pen in a different color, go back to the list you made in Step #1, and highlight the tasks that were either a big waste of your time or that you could have delegated but didn’t.

Now go back to the Six Month list, take a third highlighter pen, and highlight all of the things that you could either do farther into the future, or that can be leveraged or delegated.

Lots of highlighter action, I know. But this is all about identifying where you should and shouldn’t be spending your time.

Step #5 – Color Code Your Calendar

I use Google calendar, which makes it very easy to highlight each entry in a certain color. The point is that to have different colors for different categories–planning a project, upcoming deadlines, content creation, podcasting, being interviewed with someone else, even time off or personal errands (like getting my hair cut).

Once you do this, you can step back and see the big picture of your schedule. Where are your biggest blocks of time being spent? Is that enough, given what you know about your work flow? Are you spending enough of your week doing the things you really love? After all, isn’t that a big part of why we start our own business?

Don’t forget to download Amy’s template that walks you through this whole exercise, step by step. Click here to get it.

At this point, it’s time to pat yourself on the back, take a walk, breathe deeply.

That’s the whole point of this exercise–giving yourself more room to breathe. You now have a bird’s-eye view of what your schedule really looks like. You know where you need to focus your time. You know what things you can quit doing or delegate.

Without these moments to regroup, the day-to-day hustle can start to consume you. These regular check-ins with your schedule will put you back in charge of your business.

Links mentioned in this episode:

Episode #64
LeadPages
Episode #66 Cheat Sheet
Asana
Wunderlist
Episode #62
Countdown Timer

Podcast Details:

Click here to download the transcript.

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Online Marketing Made Easy with Amy Porterfield

Comments

  1. Great post Amy. As I’m not the most organised of people these are some useful ideas that I will certainly try and implement. Thanks for the action sheet too.

  2. Bob McCord says:

    What a timely post, Amy! I’m working these questions and issues this week. Thanks for the good resources and insights. Best to you.

  3. Larry Tessler says:

    Amy, I always appreciate your advice and as a SCORE counselor I often share your generosity in providing advice for free. I just scheduled this post for Tues., July 28 on our East Bay SCORE FB page. Thank you! https://www.facebook.com/ScoreEastBay

  4. David Bishop says:

    A post for me to bookmark and get back too. I am mad busy now.lol, thanks Amy

    Bishop

  5. This is so helpful, Amy! Thanks so much! A brain dump is definitely the first thing needed.

  6. You are a lot more organized than I am. I’d need to create an organization plan as a lead up to implementing this organization plan.

  7. Cathy Goodwin says:

    Good ideas, Amy! Google Calendar really helps – and I use the color coding too. It’s sometimes tricky to identify which activities will lead to revenue as some will take a long time to develop results.

    Step #4 is really valuable as it’s SO easy to do something “just for 10 minutes” and then realize an hour is gone … or realize you’ve spent time on what’s easiest, not what’s most important.

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  9. I just listened and did all of the template work and it was so amazing!
    Thanks so much for sharing your process and for helping me get back on track.
    I feel so relieved and ready to dive in on the projects that will help my audience and generate income.
    You rock, Amy! I can’t wait for more solo episodes. :-)

  10. If one wants to have a good idea of where they spend their time (and possibly be VERY surprised), you can use RescueTime. That is a free web app that will track your time using various programs (Words, Photoshop, Outlook, Skype, etc.)or sites (FB, youtube, Pinterest, etc. It just runs in the background and can give you a weekly report on what you did, how productive you were, etc. Although it does not take into account, anything that is done offline, it is a great way to track any activity on the computer.

  11. Great episode, Amy! Good ideas for decluttering ones life, in general. I laughed out loud when you talked about loving office supplies. Put me in that boat, too — I always have plenty of highlighters :) And I love to buy tools that help you get organized, but you wouldn’t know it from the piles surrounding my desk!

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  14. Love it! One thing I do for the brain dump is to create an Asana project called “General” or “Miscellaneous” to dump all that in. That way there’s no need for a separate tool like Wunderlist, it’s all in one place, and can easily be moved into projects as needed. The sub-task feature is also great here to expand on tasks that may ultimately turn into projects.

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  19. Janice Hostager says:

    Thanks for your podcast, Amy. I was listening to it as I was catching up on a yard project to try to feel better about ignoring the projects in my office. ; ) Having just gone through an out-of-state move, leaving my old client-based business behind, I am ready to try my consulting business online. Thanks for all the actionable material and information you provide. I appreciate that you share your experiences and wisdom!

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