Organizational Efficiency

Organizational Efficiency: The Anatomy of Your Business

Organizational Efficiency

Organizational Efficiency

The Anatomy of Your Business

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The first thing to think about when you seek to make your days more manageable and more effective are the parts of your small business, the anatomy. What parts of your business are essential to your success? You'll need to look at your situation for each business to determine it, but this can get you started.

While all businesses share the same fundamental parts, some businesses, especially home solopreneurs, may place importance on different functions depending on their goals. But these potential essential parts of your small business bear consideration so that you can create a solid automation plan.

I will show you how you can create organizational efficiency in all areas of your business, no matter what your business type. This is not about starting a new business but rather how to achieve operational excellence in your business by minimizing waste and maximizing values. Make sure you download the accompanying Workbook and follow along to achieve organizational efficiency.

Organizational Efficiency Workbook


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What's Your Business Type?

Knowing how you have structured your business is vital to determine before you start your automation plans. For example, the way you run and automate an online store where people purchase products will be somewhat different from someone who offers courses or one-on-one personal services.

When you understand the core business, you will know what you sell, who you are selling it to, where your buyers are, and how to find them. You will also see how you're going to distribute the product or serve the customer. Additionally, you know how you stand out from the competition, and you use that to your advantage by differentiating yourself in the marketplace.

So, what is your business type?

Do you have an online store where you sell any type of product, physical or digital? There are many automation tips you can use for online stores.

Do you offer virtual services? Most businesses moved to virtual during the pandemic and continue to stay virtual due to convenience and cost savings. Services offered could range from administrative, one-on-one coaching, social media management, online business management, and so forth. As a service-based business, you will want to organize your business and market yourself differently from an online store where you don't speak to the customers directly yourself and sell products directly.

You may also offer only virtual support and consulting without providing direct service. For example, you may coach your clients to create a sales page, set up a freebie, or set up a discovery call, but you don't do it yourself; you advise them on what to do, and the client with their team does it. This is an entirely different business structure than a business that does the services directly or delivers the product directly.

Suppose you offer classes and "how-to" information to your customers via courses, classes, and content. If you have a business that provides classes, either self-paced or teacher-led, this is a training business. A training business sometimes needs more personal input and engagement than a storefront that sells the complete self-paced course.

There are numerous opportunities for automation in each of these business structures. Get out your workbook and write it out:

  • What is the composition of your business?
  • What do you do for customers and clients, and how do you do it?
  • Are you hands-off or hands-on, or a combination of both?

The more you can document how your business works, the easier it will be to find ways to automate and outsource.

Workbook Task: write out your business structure

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What's Your Job as The Owner of Your Business?

As a small business owner, you probably think that you have a lot of jobs to do. Some people like to describe the job of a business owner as one that wears many hats. However, your main job description as a business owner is to plan and organize the daily operations of your business.
On any given day, you may be responsible for:

  • Developing your business plans
  • Arrange financing
  • Hiring staff or contractors
  • Reviewing sales
  • Developing marketing strategies
  • Overseeing daily activities
  • Identifying opportunities

All these jobs represent your primary function as a business owner, analyzing the performance, whether it is automation or human, to minimize risk. You do not need to do the tasks yourself physically. Remember, your job as a business owner is that of risk management. Realistically, you may have to wear a lot of hats at first, doing all the tasks; the trick is, figuring out when it's time to let go.

Finding and setting up automation in your business is one of your roles as a business owner. By doing so, you will reduce risks associated with your business because you are going to ensure those tasks get done in a timely fashion by someone (or something) who knows what they're doing.

The more you can automate or outsource, the faster your business will grow because you're going to free up your time so you can discover new opportunities for your business.

 Do You Know What You Do All Day?

As a business owner, you have a lot on your plate. But, to figure out how to automate your business, you first need to know, in detail, what you do all day long. This exercise will aid you in determining which tasks can be automated, which can be outsourced, and even whether it's something you should be doing at all.

You will have daily tasks, weekly tasks, monthly tasks, and even quarterly and yearly tasks in every business. The best thing to do is get out a calendar and enter the items you know you have to do.

For example, you have to pay quarterly taxes, and you have to balance your books at the end of the month. You must buy a business license each October or January depending on your location and the rules and laws in your area. What you know has to be done should be entered into your calendar and block off the approximate time it will take you to do it.

But what about the daily things you do that generate your income. When it comes to generating revenue, it's essential to specify which actions you are doing that generate income and which activities you're doing that support generating income. Go through the steps you take in your day and write down what you're doing, step by step.

Coaches' example of a typical day:

  • Business: Coaches retired teachers starting a second career as independent course and project designers.
  • Morning: Checks the mail, email, and Trello to determine if there are any fires to put out before diving into the day. Calls her group coaching clients for the weekly group coaching session. Writes product educational and nurturing emails for a new one-on-one coaching product ready to launch.
  • Afternoon: Records part of an online development course. Transcribes the group call and sets up her part as a standalone presentation video.
  • Evening: Answers coaching client questions for those who signed up to receive daily emails and, using automation, schedules delivery in the morning.

Of course, this one day is not representative of all the money-making tasks this coach does, nor is it a complete picture of what happens in the business overall. Still, it does give you a great idea about where to start automating and even outsourcing. Once it's written out and you visually see all that you do, it becomes easier to know where you can improve your process.

Workbook task: Take the time to write out every task you do or need to do each day.

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How to Do More with Less

Many of us believe that being successful means being busy. The truth is, being busy does not mean that you are productive, and many times, quite the opposite. Did you know that multitasking makes you LESS efficient and thereby unproductive? You can also be busy doing the wrong things. The truth is successful people know that getting more done with less implies that the impact you make is more significant than your effort. Now that's a success!

So how do you do more with less? First, you need to Understand your key objectives. What is the point of doing a particular task? Does this task impact any of your critical business objectives or the objective of the one task?

If it's not a front-burner task or something that only you can do, put it on the list for automation and outsourcing.

Once you clean up your list and down to the tasks you need to do, it's time to get organized. Add them to your calendar and create your schedules realistically. For example, you know a task takes two hours and that you need some setup time, so plan three hours. You also want to batch like tasks together. The purpose of this is the fewer steps you can take, the better. For example, if you need to do bookkeeping, save all your booking entries to do one day a week instead of doing it daily.

Next, you want to make sure you are using the right tools. If a tool exists to help streamline your business and eliminate busy work, you need it. There are so many tools out there, developed because of a need, by business owners just like you. I've listed a few in the workbook to help get you started. You can also check out our Resources page to see what we use and recommend.

Now put it into action! Remember when I said turn off all distractions? That goes the same for your tasks. Set up your workspace to eliminate distractions and interruptions. Turn off notifications, your phone, the TV, or anything that can take your mind off what you are doing. Set a timer for each task and track how you are spending it; you will be surprised by the insight you will gain here! Time tracking also helps you gain a better understanding of how long your tasks take.

Remember that being organized in your business is part of what a business owner does. Business owners reduce risk in their business by organizing, planning, and generating new ideas that create new opportunities.

Workbook task: look at each task and prioritize by the impact and effectiveness

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To learn more, check out our 4-part Time Management series starting with https://thetaskva.com/what-is-your-time-vampire/

The Ultimate Boost in Productivity: Automation and Outsourcing

Being productive is an essential element in any business owner's life. Business owners are busy and need to use every moment as efficiently and effectively as possible. Most business owners continually research ideas that will boost their productivity, but the truth is the ultimate boost in productivity will come from a combination of automation and outsourcing.

Now that you have taken the time to write out your business goals, understand your core business, and audited your internal processes, it's time to apply that knowledge to help you with automating your systems or outsourcing.

Remove Bottlenecks

When you start to automate and outsource tasks in your business as you develop each process, you will notice that bottlenecks are a thing of the past. Because the truth is, in most small businesses, especially those run by people starting them from home with no business experience, the bottleneck is the business owner.

When you want to outsource or automate something, you will need to write down the process to visualize every step, including the impact of the actions. Through these business processes, you will create a situation where you improve every single function you have.

Sometimes lack of skill causes a roadblock. Sometimes you may lack desire or energy because everything becomes so overwhelming. But whatever the reason, if you are engaged in organizing and planning and focused on automating and outsourcing, ensuring that others are responsible for their tasks, you are going to get more done.

Even if you do not have a skill, you can find it in software or find it in an individual or company. Simply put, a sole proprietor or a small business can perform like a big business due to increased capabilities.

Reduce Errors and Mistakes

When you work with software, fewer mistakes will happen, provided you set it up correctly. If you don't know how to do something, you're going to make mistakes as you learn. But if you hire an expert, they're going to make fewer mistakes. If you use technology and set it up correctly, there will be no mistakes.

The truth is, hiring experts or using automation software can reduce your errors and mistakes so much that the cost will produce a fantastic ROI (return on investment).

There has never been a better time to be a small business owner!  There is an endless resource of technology to implement in your automation plan and plenty of people to hire in your outsourcing plan. Figure out what you want to do, set your goals for doing it, and then follow through.

The work you produce will be much better when you work with technology and contractors to see your vision come to reality.

Spend Time on Higher Value Projects

Focusing on your primary business, which is the core of your business's existence, is the biggest reason of all to automate and outsource. While you may need to do things in your business as a job, once you reach specific benchmarks, you should automate those tasks that you can and outsource the others to spend time on business planning and idea generation, which is the key to business growth.

When you have more time to judge how your business is performing, and you've developed each process to be the most efficient possible, you're going to have more doors open for you when you need them.

Workbook task: develop your processes

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To Outsource or Automate, that is the Question

There are numerous things you can automate in your business. Some things you may have already thought about or started, such as email marketing. But others you may not have thought of yet, such as auto file generation, event registration, data collecting, file creation, document sharing, and form filling.

From time tracking to expense management, anything that happens repeatedly is ripe for automation, and think of the many saved hours in your workday and work year. Those are hours you can use to create even more fantastic products and solutions for your ideal audience.


If you can document the steps you do for a task, you can likely automate a lot of it. From using macros within your documentation to implementing new automation tech, there is probably a way to do it.

The best way to determine what you want to automate is to track what you do each day, week, month, and year. Review the daily process you recorded in your workbook.  For tasks that repeat, do a little research about how other people automate that task. You may be shocked to learn how simple automating your business is. Automation is not nearly as expensive or complicated as you may think.


As you learn more about business automation, it is essential to understand another way to automate your business, which is by hiring someone else to do the work for you. No automation plan is complete without an outsourcing plan.

Hiring experts to deliver work for you on your behalf is called outsourcing. If you cannot automate it, you can likely get someone else to do it for you. If you outsource to a contractor, they are not employees because you can only make requirements on the deliverables but not on how they use their time creating and producing the deliverables.

A few common areas to outsource are legal work, finance, technology needs, marketing, graphic design, customer care, administrative tasks, and writing. Most of these tasks are cumbersome and overwhelming, and small business owners can save a boatload of time, stress, and money by outsourcing.

As a business owner, you should make it your goal to outsource or automate almost every task in your business.  When you outsource more, you free up your time to focus on what you do best.

Wrap Up and Where to Go from Here

Beginning today, start tracking what you do every single day. Don't make any changes yet; simply follow what you're doing. Pay attention to the things that you do that are repetitive. Also, note the tasks you would rather not be doing or spend a lot of time figuring out how to do.

Make a list of these tasks, and then look at the software and tools you are already using to find out if you can add features or integrations with other solutions to get more out of what you're doing.

Most of all, remember that productivity does not mean that you have to be busy all the time. The opposite is true. Being busy is only an indicator of movement, and all movement isn't impactful. Test your results. Measure your efforts so that you can improve as you go.  Before you know it, you'll have a smooth-running, mostly automated business and finally have control over your most important resource, your time.

Download our free Organizational Efficiency Workbook and start taking control of your time!

Organizational Efficiency Workbook


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five fast ways to make quicker and better decisions

Five Fast Ways to Make Quicker and Better Decisions

five fast ways to make quicker and better decisions

Five Fast Ways to Make Quicker and Better Decisions

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Being an efficient decision-maker can often make a difference in missed opportunities.  You have to be decisive, and often you have to make quick decisions, but you want to be sure you are making the best choice.  So how do you make quicker and better decisions? How do you become more accurate and effective at making decisions when it counts?

You have to be decisive. Making important decisions in less time means more power and control over your life. It also means that you will have the opportunity to gain the trust of others. Being able to make important decisions will enhance your business and personal life.

Start with making small decisions in a timely fashion to help train your brain to think through questions more quickly. You will be surprised at how quickly our brains can be conditioned. Follow these five tips to help put your decision-making process in the fast lane.

What is the Objective?

Your S.M.A.R.T. goals will play a vital part in your decision-making process. Knowing the objectives of the decision and knowing your mission will help make the decision-making process simple.

Ask Yourself: "What are we really trying to do here?"

Write it out, brainstorm, and discuss. Is it your role to solve this problem? Do you have the tools needed? It is vital that your decision, any decision, is within your mission.

Seek Out Wisdom and Knowledge

Seek out wise counsel. Really. If you are surrounded by more experienced professionals who have done what you are about to do, ask questions and inform yourself. Do needed research. Don’t let pride or proving that you have it “all under control” blind you to great resources all around you.

It Does NOT Have to be Perfect

Don’t overthink - just start. Make a plan. An imperfect, real plan. Start doing the work that is deciding and solving. Take note of the effects and response to your action. This way, you can adjust if needed.

Adjust Early...

…it’s ok to fail, but fail fast and move on.

Be humble - adjust early if needed. Don’t run the train off the track because you are unwilling to admit that you made a mistake. If your choice was wrong, own up to it in a professional way and make things right to the best of your ability. It’s better to win the fight after a change of tactics than to get knocked out by your own ego and pride.

Decision-making does not have to be tedious and stressful. An important part of the process is to know what you truly have power over, to control only what YOU can control.  If it’s not your decision to make, stay out of the control room.  Zero in only on what you have the ability to decide on. This means staying focused and being able to take action without becoming overwhelmed by the details.

With the right attitude, planning, and strategy, you can become a faster, more efficient, and competent decision-maker. This is a great tool for the corporate world and everyday life.

Pros and Cons and Filing Your Taxes Early

Pros and Cons of Filing Your Taxes Early

Pros and Cons and Filing Your Taxes Early

Pros and Cons of Filing Your Taxes Early

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Do you rush to file your tax returns as soon as possible? Do you gather all your documentation and stand at the IRS virtual door on opening day? As with everything, filing early has its pros and cons, but is filing early really a good idea?? Like many things in life, the answer is, “It depends.”

Not every situation is conducive to filing early. Filing for an extension and putting it off as long as possible may make more sense for some filers. Read on to learn the good, the bad, and sometimes the downright ugly of filing early and why waiting might be best.

The Good

Your security. This is probably the best reason to file early and therefore makes #1 on my list. Filing your taxes early can protect you from would-be cyber thieves.

The IRS will only allow one return per social security number, and it’s first come first served. If your social security number has been hijacked, you will get a rejection notice from the IRS.

At this point, you will need to file a claim and start the process of proving your identity, and you will have to show proof you weren’t involved in committing fraud against the IRS. Most of these cases do not get resolved until after tax season. Protect yourself now! Get ahead of the cybercrooks by protecting your computer and devices. Enroll in Cybersecurity At Home and discover how quick and simple it is to secure your home network.

Receive your refund sooner. Obviously, It’s your money! Who doesn’t want their money as quickly as possible?

If you’re owed a tax refund, then the earlier you file, the faster the refund. This is especially true if you’re going to mail your return (yes, 30% still use the mail). As you can probably imagine,  the IRS is less busy in February than in April.

Be free of the mental clutter. It has to get done one way or the other. It makes sense to get it over with and free yourself from it hanging over your head. Life is easier if you don’t procrastinate. Just do it.

The post office is less crowded. Remember what I said about 30% still mail their returns? That’s over 62 million of the adult US population trying to use the post office at roughly the same time. Many people don’t want to file electronically for a variety of reasons, one being security! Avoid the crowds and file early.

You won’t be late. I have a knack for stating the obvious. How can you be late if you file early?

Many of us plan to do things with the best of intentions, then life happens, and they usually end up waiting until the last minute.

I don't have to point out how risky that can be. What if you find out that you’re missing some key piece of information? What if you get sick? There are too many variables in life to put off something like filing your tax return until the last minute.

You’ll be more accurate. Starting your return early will keep you from rushing through it, thus ensuring that you have everything you need and that it’s done correctly. Remember, slow and steady wins the race. If you’re not rushed for time, you’ll be more likely to avoid errors.

The Bad

Why pay early? You want to file early when you expect a refund, but why would you want to pay early? It's your money!

If you owe the IRS, you’ll want to keep it as long as you can, maybe even make a little more in interest. It makes sense to keep your money as long as you can.

You might end up having to file a corrected return later. W-2s and 1099s are due February 1; however, It’s not uncommon to get them late or for providers to come back a month after sending your documentation and say, “Oops, we made a mistake.” Taking a little extra time to file your return will give you that much more time to gather your documents and ensure that you don’t have to do it more than once.

The Ugly

Early filers have a greater chance of being audited. If you file early, are you more likely to get audited? I’m not sure if we can ever answer that definitively. Still, it is believed that if the vast majority of the population is filing at the last minute, the odds of being selected are minimal due to the sheer number of tax returns the IRS agents must handle. Truth or fiction? No one knows, but why take a chance.

Consider the above factors when deciding to file your tax return. If you’re in a situation that puts you at risk of being audited, and you don’t need your refund or copies of your return right away, it can be wise to wait.

On the other hand, if your return is simple, you’re due a refund, and you need the refund now; there’s no time like the present to file your return.

Assess your situation and make the smart choice for your circumstances.

strategic thinking, plan ahead

Strategic Thinking Changes Your World. Isn’t It Time You Began?

strategic thinking, plan ahead

Strategic Thinking Changes Your World. Isn’t It Time You Began?


Step back and take a broad look at your business – the aerial view. Look at the industry you play in and the consumer environment. Identify your focus, define your playing field. Anticipate moves and plan your win-win approach and decide what is needed to get there.

When you are a strategic thinker, you never pay attention to just one detail. You want to see the overall goal and the details of how you are going to get there. By looking at all sides of the equation, you encourage your brain to think more wholly rather than in parts.

Are You a Strategic Thinker?

Strategic thinkers often ask themselves key questions like:

  • Where are we now?
  • Where do we want to be?
  • How will we get there?

One of the beneficial qualities of strategic thinking is innovation. It’s the ability to see emerging conditions that could provide long term advantages. To never be content with leaving something as is, to be continuously improving and looking for the next niche to fill or mountain to climb. This ability to be innovative keeps you headed in the direction of success towards your goals.

Strategic thinkers never make assumptions; they instead ask the right questions that help them intuitively make sense of the chaos. They make informed, bias-free decisions and remain open to all possibilities. Strategic thinkers already know they don’t know everything. To make better use of your skills and to make better decisions, you have to be ready to challenge what you think you know. Strategic Thinkers never close their minds to anything.

Strategic thinkers are concerned more with results and consequences. They can develop strategies and execute them, as well. They know how to get things done today but have the foresight to plan for the future.

It Starts with a Plan

A strategic thinker puts plans into action. You need to make decisions and then stand by them. Anytime you are dealing with the idea of making decisions and carrying out plans to completion, you are using strategic thinking. When you think things through strategically, you’ve got the best chance of success with your goal or project.

An essential part of this process is cause and effect. Understanding cause and effect is incredibly important to make more informed choices. Cause and effect thinking looks at any situation and asks you to theorize what happens if you make a particular choice and whether this outcome is favorable or not. Getting in the habit of thinking through every decision you make with cause and effect in mind helps you to take your thinking to the next level and serves you well regardless of what question you’re applying this methodology too.

Be More Prepared

It’s not only Boy Scouts who should be prepared. When it comes to strategic thinking, you need to think ahead. Ask yourself, would you rather be reactive or be proactive?

For example, decide how you will handle the next tantrum your toddler throws now before it happens. Read some parenting blogs or books to find out what other people recommend and then determine what tactics would work best for your child. Try different ones until you find the one that works for your situation.

I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m on my way.

Where are you right now…really? The strategic thinker knows how to run a quick check, somewhat like taking inventory, to see where they are in the grand scheme of things. Think of it like you would a computer running a diagnostic. This quick look examines the progress you’ve made. It asks where you are in the process and whether you’re still moving toward your goal.

Visualizing the end goal in as much detail as possible aids in your efforts toward strategic thinking by helping to clarify your objectives. Picture various forms of the future. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? In 10? Add in varying obstacles and how you will overcome them. Revisit this vision often and evaluate where you are.

Consider the short- and long-term implications and consequences. Anticipate industry changes, threats, and opportunities and adjust your goals accordingly.

Maybe, as in the last example, your child doesn’t respond well to any of the suggestions you implemented. Don’t give up. Go back and do more research or take a look at the recommendations you discounted earlier.

Benefits of Strategic Thinking

The importance of strategic thinking goes beyond business and organization to include individual growth and success. There are numerous benefits of strategic thinking. It helps you plan, become efficient, increases strengths, and create direct paths to achieve your objective. The audience members listen to the speaker who has a well thought out plan. Practicing strategic thinking gives you the influence so others will listen and follow you.

Strategic thinking makes difficult things more straightforward and more easily understood. It allows you to take complex issues or long-term objectives that can be difficult to tackle and breaks them into manageable sizes.

With strategic thinking, you will ask the right questions, such as:

✔ Direction: What should we do next? Why should it be next? Do we need to break the process down into smaller tasks/goals?

✔ Organization: Who is responsible for what? Who is responsible for whom? Do we have the right people in the right places? 

strategic thinking, plan
A responsibility assignment matrix, the RACI matrix, maps out every task, milestone, or key decision in completing tasks for a project or business process.

✔ Cash: What is our projected income, expense, net? Can we afford it? How can we afford it?

✔ Tracking: Are we on target? What is the initial target goal? What can we do to increase the results? What is the contingency plan?

✔ Overall Evaluation: Are we achieving the quality we expect and demand of ourselves? Are we missing an element?

✔ Refinement: How can we be more productive and more efficient? What adjustments can we make to do a better job?

Develop Your Strategic Thinking

“We are what we do, day by day. So, excellence is not an act, but a habit.” - Aristotle

Can strategic thinking be taught? In short, Yes. Anyone can develop the skill and practice it competently. From the top executives of an organization to the mother of young kids, strategic thinking is a skill that helps you succeed in whatever activity you are involved.

To think strategically means to see and to be able to understand the bigger picture of where you need to go. Then you need to take the necessary steps to achieve the associated goals.

You can develop strategic thinking in different ways, but it begins with changing your mindset.

“We can make and break our habits” -  Dr. Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Below are some simple exercises that teach and discipline the mind to think in different ways:

  • Do something you have never done before. It can be something as simple as taking a different route to work. Observe everything along the way. Then describe the experience on paper, writing down what you discovered.
  • Ask a question about something unusual. Your goal isn’t to get information but instead to invite analysis. Try to answer it without looking for the answer. Make hypotheses. Then find the answer. For example: Why are there five fingers on each hand?
  • Do role-playing. Think of someone you admire and try to emulate how this person would think and act. Then during the day, behave as if you were that person. Describe what you discovered at the end of the day.
  • Learn to prioritize tasks. Decide which tasks can wait by asking yourself, “What is the one task I can do today that will have the best results?”
  • Improve your listening skills and keep an open mind. Be receptive to feedback and evaluate everything you hear.
  • Along the same lines, get better at your questioning skills - question everything you see or hear. Don’t be cynical, but instead collect and weigh facts without dismissing ideas or traditions.
  • Observe and seek out trends. Routinely explore and integrate the internal trends happening around you. Pay attention to repeated issues and the obstacles you face.

Strategic thinking is a skill that you can hone and apply to virtually any activity. It’s a skill that helps you plan and reach your goals. It enables you to think in an orderly way and plan for the future.

With strategic thinking in your arsenal, you’ll do a lot less reacting.  Instead, you’ll be planning, thinking, and doing the things that matter most to you, and your life will run much more smoothly. You will examine the options, see solutions others don’t, and anticipate your next move wisely. You will accomplish more and be less stressed.

You will find yourself using these skills to change the outcome of your life. It all begins with a hard look at where you are, and a desire to become more, to accomplish things, to achieve something so grand you might have thought it impossible.

Strategic thinking changes your world. Isn’t it time you began?

self-sabotaging behaviors


self-sabotaging behaviors

Self-Sabotaging Behaviors That Keep Your Business From Soaring


No matter how successful you are, at one time or another you’ll fall into the self-sabotage trap, we all do, and the price is high.

  • Your income will suffer.
  • Your self-esteem will plummet.
  • Your confidence will find new lows.

The result? Frustration. Burnout. Resentment of your clients, or your business, or both! Self-sabotaging behaviors lead to more self-sabotaging behaviors. Think of it as getting stuck in a revolving door. You keep pushing the door past the opening that lets you out, but never jump off.

Does this sound like you? Maybe you started a downward spiral due to all the changes with the pandemic. With all the negative reporting from the media, it wasn't difficult to do. Perhaps you are not sure. Maybe you have some sparks of recognition, but it's not that bad? No matter what level your may be, I have good news! Stopping this descent is easy when you learn to recognize the symptoms.


Were you going to send a proposal to a potential new client, but waited too long? Or maybe you were going to get your books in order, or make an appointment with your tax preparer, and now they’re booked solid and taxes are due in two days!

These, and other missed opportunities, can often be blamed on simple procrastination, one of the most destructive habits we fall victim to. Procrastination is what keeps us working late at night to make a deadline, costs us money in late fees, and even costs us business.

If you are prone to procrastination, here are a few techniques you can try to put an end to it:

  • Recognize your fear. What often keeps us stuck is simple fear. We are afraid of failing, afraid we’ll look bad when compared to other proposals, so we just don’t send one. But if you want to be successful in business, you must learn to recognize and face your fears, then do the work anyway.  What if it doesn't work out? Learn from it, dust yourself off, and get back on that horse!

It's ok to fail, but fail fast."  - Leonard Lauder, Chairman Emeritus of The Estée Lauder Companies Inc

  • Visualize the life and business you desire. Imagine what it will be like to have that amazing business you’ve been dreaming about. Picture your ideal workday, daydream about that fabulous vacation you’ll take, and imagine your ideal client. Put together a vision board and look at it, really look at it, once a week. Always keep your goals top of mind.
  • Reward yourself. It’s okay to give yourself a little incentive for getting things done. It’s even number six of the Eight-Stage Change Process John Kotter talks about in Leading Change. He suggests generating short-term wins and “visibly recognizing and rewarding people who made the wins possible”, that includes you! Take yourself out to lunch; buy a new pair of shoes; take an afternoon off. Do what’s most likely to motivate you to power through your fears and take the next step.

Failing To Complete Your Projects

Be honest. How many partially planned programs, and unfinished projects are on your task list right now?

If you’re like a lot of entrepreneurs, the answer is probably several.

You started all of them with great enthusiasm. You planned out the project, created the workflow, and maybe even outlined the marketing strategy. And then…you just stopped working on it.

Maybe you tell yourself that you’re too busy. Maybe you “need to do some more research.” Or maybe you simply lost interest. But the truth is, none of those are the real reason. For many, this self-sabotaging habit is a symptom of a lack of confidence, and it is keeping you from the success you deserve.

Consider this: You cannot know the actual success rate of a program you have never finished, and you cannot improve upon something you have never completed. So rather than filling your task list with half-finished projects, power through and start getting them done.

“Make a commitment to focus on the priority task now, not later, not even tomorrow.” -  How To Finish Everything Your Start, Jan Yager

Negative Self-Talk

       “I’ve never been good with money.”

“I hate budgets.”

             “I’ll never be a 6-figure earner.”

“My market won’t pay premium prices.”

If you have ever heard these statements come out of your mouth—or even in your head—then you are engaging in a damaging habit known as negative self-talk. By telling yourself these lies (and yes, they are lies) you are reinforcing the beliefs that go along with them.

Thoughts become things!” -  Mike Dooley; excerpt from The Secret, Rhonda Byrne

Tell yourself you are not good with money, and you won’t be. Believe that budgets are horrible chores to be disparaged, and you’ll resist creating one. Convince yourself that you can’t earn a 6-figure income, and you won’t.

It’s not “the secret.” It’s a scientific fact known as a self-fulfilling prophecy, this kind of self-talk results in poor performance simply because we act as if it’s already true.

The first step toward changing your negative self-talk is to simply acknowledge that you do it. Tick a mental checkbox every time you catch yourself making negative statements, whether out loud or in your head.

The next time you catch yourself saying “I’m no good with money,” take a minute to recall 5 instances where you were good with money. Maybe you paid off your credit cards or saved for a house or built an emergency fund. Rephrase your self-talk to, “I used to be bad with money, but now I make smart choices to achieve my goals.”

Just as negative self-talk becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, so does positive self-talk. Re-frame your thinking, and your business finances will certainly improve.