One area business owners often come to coaching is a desire to get TRACTION in their personal and professional lives. We often have many demands on our time, energy and efforts and it can be challenging how to prioritize and get to everything that would like our attention. Before we look at getting traction, let’s look at what gets in the way of traction.
Many people will have many excuses for how these traction stoppers are unavoidable, however, if you are aware of them, you can be more intentional about managing them. When you manage them you can start to get traction, rather than spinning your wheels and losing it.
Three Killers of Traction:
- Multitasking – Focusing on more than one thing decreases your productivity by 40% and lowers your IQ by 10 points, according to Harvard Business Review. See more here: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/brain-trust/201202/is-your-brain-multitasking
- Squirrels – Not managing your distractions in your environment and allowing a “squirrel” highway will ensure you spend your entire day ensuing random nothingness and getting little traction. The Urban Dictionary defines a squirrel as having ones attention easily diverted from one task/situation to another. The concept was made popular with the “UP” movie, however many of us have experienced it before that, making it relevant and funny.
- Not Planning or Focusing – Sometimes we don’t feel we have time to plan or there are so many demands we feel focused on the demands. Please be reminded you don’t have time not to plan if you really want to get things done and focusing on wack-a-moles does require focus but it is reactive, exhausting and does not result in traction on activities that will give you advancement and forward movement in your work and life.
Most of us can justify why any of the preceding 3 happened, however, truth is, they will kill your ability to get traction. Period.
Now, how do you get traction? Besides the obvious opposites of the above
- focus on one thing at a time
- minimize and manage distractions
- have a clear plan/focus for your time
- AWARENESS: Know your Big Picture Direction and Focus. Thinking about the “now” will result in many options of things you can do. At the end of the day, you might have had a plan and you might have accomplished a lot, but you didn’t feel it moved you forward. That happens when the Big Picture objective is not clear. When you know what you are trying to accomplish and have baby steps of milestone activities of what is needed to arrive at that big picture you can strategically execute the needed steps on a daily basis and before you know it you are there. Without the big picture to keep us centered, we can easily do a lot of activity that results in circular or random results. Know the big picture direction and align your activities to that.
- PLANNING: Work with a clean desk or area. Seriously. Again, many will debate and stand very convinced that their piles and clutter are not affecting them and it was “their way of organization”. There is a great amount of research on this topic and the truth is declutter and keep a clear space.
- ACTION: Put steps in motion. It is common as people are planning; they plan for themselves but do not anticipate the steps that require other people’s assistance. Leaders will argue they can’t activate people to soon or they get interrupted with questions that they don’t know the answer to yet, or they need time to figure it out. Therefore, many do not delegate until they are at that step that needs to be done. When you work this way, you become stalled when you finally reach the step because have to wait for your support to have time and to get the step done. In contrast, a forward planning will allow you to “activate” and get others who have a hand in the project going on their tasks prior to when you need them, even if that is just about them blocking time in alignment with the project plan, them thinking about their part or gathering tools they need. Generally, over ½ of the population is in the personality category that they need time to think and plan actions, so even if you are simply giving them a heads up, letting them know what you will be coming to them for and when you will be coming to them, will help them to be ready for you and amazingly get you what you need sooner than if you wait.
These are a few basic things you can do to help yourself get traction. If you find you are still not getting traction, look to what is slowing you down. Often our greatest solutions are very close to us if we will step back, plan and then execute. Keep Charging!