Let’s Talk Story: When business is not great, how do you spend your time?

Had a coaching call this morning that was about my client’s need to refocus his business strategies right now; it’s a theme becoming more and more common in the short term given the U.S. economy (and how it specifically affects him/we in Hawai‘i), but when you really think about it, improving upon present business strategies is a timeless, recurring theme —or if not, it should be.

The call was all about him (also as it should be) and as we wrapped up he asked me, “What about you Rosa, what do you do when business is down for you?”

See Lost Business as Newfound Time

…and as new opportunity.

A lot of his specifics don’t apply to me, mostly in the area of employees and other business partners, for I now work solo, or with the assistance of other contractors I have certified in their niche areas of Managing with Aloha expertise. However most of the other things we’d talked about are generally the same, and my answer can be summed up by saying, “I take the half-full approach, and redirect.”

Life is rich. It offers us a wealth of variety.

When business isn’t good (i.e. cash flow is less than abundant) it means I have free time I didn’t have before, and it’s a matter of filling it up with stuff that will replace the lost abundance. The only question is, how good will I be with assessing and then pulling the take-action trigger on the different, and perhaps new options that are in front of me? What will I scoop up, and what will I pass by? What will be a direct route to a jackpot, and what is very likely a cleverly disguised rabbit hole?

My immediate reaction is actually “Oh great!” because of newly opened windows of time: There are on-the-list choices I can now work on and devote that time to, which previously were “2010 if I’m lucky.” Second, financial realities set in (as they do for all self-employed people) and I will look at those checklists I have for myself before getting pulled into a new project. Third, I tend to get a bit productivity obsessive, seeking my defined accomplishment versus getting lost in busy-ness.

Create Your Energy

I personally find that I must resist any and all urges to get lazy; for me that will normally mean getting into project mode, and redirecting my day-to-day efforts away from things that will drain my energies. I get schedule happy, and I design Strong Week Plans for myself, plans which impose deadlines on me —and reward me when I do well. Right now, my rewards are things like photo excursions and luana weekends.

Even when I take a break, playing with something like Flickr (my normal diversion of late), I will get more detail-oriented about it: My latest uploads there on Hāpu‘u pulu ‘i‘i (the Hawaiian Tree Fern) sent me on a research mission for which species are endemic versus indigenous, and to learn more about how the Hawaiians of old used the plant.

Hāpu‘u pulu ‘i‘i (Hawaiian tree fern)- 6

Is the Hāpu‘u pulu ‘i‘i going to replace any lost revenues for me? No, but ‘Ike loa and learning about it will boost my energies and not drain them: The detail work will reinforce my other project habits.

Let’s talk story: How about you?

  • What are your personal habit strategies for taking the “half-full” approach?
  • What do you find you will naturally do when business changes (or other day-to-day pressure levels shift) as your default? How must you redirect?
  • How do you keep yourself from slipping into excessive laziness and the doldrums? What are your energy boosters?
  • Where do you look when you need to take inventory of new options?
  • What types of activities are time sinks and procrastination traps, and which are those which help you be more productive in revenue-producing ways?

I think this is a great discussion for us to have as a Ho‘ohana Community, for we do have more in common than we realize. We can share ideas and help each other.

It’s also a good discussion to have at your next huddle or team meeting; chances are that this is not a time anyone should be on auto-pilot, and talking story about energy drains versus energy creators is always a great one to have.

Somewhat related:
Don’t blame the economy; Show me what you’re made of!


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