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How to Fail Before You Start

Have you ever set a goal or made a plan to do something in your business, but failed to stick with it consistently?

Maybe the plan was to update your social media accounts, make daily calls to your database, or launch a new monthly newsletter. Either way, we have all had the great idea to start something new, but after the initial excitement faded, we did not implement consistently. Why is this?

The truth is that there are many reasons why you may have gotten off track however there is one very obvious reason that most people miss and do not consider right out of the gates. Here is a question to ask yourself before you commit to anything new in your business or life?

Precisely when am I going to do this?

I am willing to bet that you already have a busy calendar full of business obligations and overall family and life commitments. Most people do not endeavor to work more hours in the day, yet we commit to an ever expanding list of things to get done. All of these additions only increase the expectations that we put in ourselves, and ultimately leads to disappointment and failed initiatives.

So when you plan to start something new, first ask yourself when you are going to complete these tasks in your day, week, or month? Then, schedule the amount of time required to complete the task as a recurring appointment. Make sure to add on between 20% and 30% more time than you think you need at the start. We are often overly optimistic about our abilities when tackling something new.

Simply time blocking this spot in your calendar is often not enough to stick to this plan over the long-term. Here are a few more questions that you should ask yourself before getting started:

  • What skills do I need to learn before I can implement this?
  • Do I require the assistance of anyone else and are they available during that time?
  • What equipment or information do I need available before the allocated working time?
  • Do I need to schedule preparation time in advance?
  • How will I eliminate and handle distractions that arise before and during my blocked time?

This process is reminiscent of the old saying, “if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail“. Although many people make a plan, they often forget to block the time necessary to complete the tasks. They also fail to anticipate what they will need to be productive during that time, and also which distractions can arise that will take them off track. Not considering these questions before you start will almost guarantee your failure.

If your schedule is already full and you don’t have more time available, then you either need to say no to some things, or delegate to someone else. The chances are good that there are some low importance tasks that you can just say no to all together to create the time you need. However, if your calendar and days are full of mostly productive tasks, then your only choice is to delegate less valuable per hour work to someone else. This could be a team member, staff member or someone hired on a project basis or contract basis.

Before you commit to any new tasks take a moment to pause, reflect and ask yourself, where in my calendar am I going to make time for this, AND how am I going to prepare myself and my environment to be effective during that time? By following this process you will see a lot more consistent success with the initiatives you commit to.

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