In the middle of your biggest business breakthroughs you’re going to get challenged, distracted and frustrated.
The trick is to keep perspective, control what you can, make clear sidesteps to the challenges, and embolden your position with action! Sounds great right? Revolutionary even. But it’s honestly a tad harder than that in real life…
So, here’s one really useful tip that can bring courage during your transition, and practical approaches to the life challenges that can often feel like someone’s out to get you.
Beware the Crazy Monkeys
What is that I hear you ask…
The Crazy Monkeys are the people and situations that pop up out of nowhere and disrupt your entire life. You know those familiar frustrating distractions that can hamper the most positive minds.
Business deadlines go out the window, promises you made in good faith to your kids or family members ‘have to’ be dropped, everything goes haywire.
Crazy Monkeys come in all shapes, sizes and guises. Could be a tax audit, under-staffing, health issues, an unexpected invoice, loss of a major client, your cousins twice removed are blowing in from some hick town and expect you to entertain them for a week, whatever.
The trick is to plan ahead of time.
Play this scenario right now… “How can we keep going at current speed if… (insert a familiar crazy monkey here) happened again?” and “what systems and people could I get in place to avert emergencies before they arise?”
Most entrepreneurs, managers and leaders are unprepared for some of the regular madness that inflicts them in their daily business life. But if we ‘get outta the box’ and prepare a preemptive strike for the known oddities, then the Crazy Monkeys can be put under control way before they knock you off kilter.
If we’re honest, most of us love the feeling of being Superman and rescuing others from the Crazy Monkeys. We’re problem solvers, and sometimes that means that we completely deny ourselves. But to make the future the present, you’ve got to fall out of love with the madness. Get some systems in place at home, and at work.
Be honest about how things are. Don’t wait for emergencies to appear before you set up a system, and you’ll have less of them, or at least they won’t disrupt your focus from world domination.
Tips for Home
- Health – Schedule time as a real appointment in your diary for your health. You need to sleep, eat well and exercise to keep yourself from burning out. Just think about the loss of profit and progress to your business if you are incessantly tired or heading towards being unwell from things you can really avoid.
- Juggling the home – If you’re not lucky enough to have a maid, then you need to think about the things as simple as monthly family budget planning, scheduling what you are cooking for the coming week on Sunday, setting up a REAL office (work only) zone and educating the family to respect that space. Get some order in place, and stick to it.
- Stop answering your personal calls in the day. That is – teach the Crazy Monkeys who somehow find time to call you in the daytime, just to talk about their Crazy Monkey life – teach them that you are only available for chit chat in the evenings. Then when they test the water and call you at 4pm DON’T ANSWER THE PHONE! It may take a little while, but if you really stick to it they’ll learn that your time is valuable.
- Schedule time with your family and friends ahead of time. Look forward to it and don’t break the date. Even frustrated partners will be willing to bear with your unfavorable time schedule if you plan a weekly or fortnightly date. Then all your energy and excitement will build towards it. My husband and I have 3 dates a week! No matter how busy we are, nothing is more important that that time. Otherwise what’s it all about really?
Tips for Work
- Create a work schedule that is focused 80% of the time on what ONLY YOU CAN DO. Just write down 3 THINGS YOU NEED TO FOCUS ON to make the next leap in your business progress. Then choose, no matter what, to stay focussed on them. Remember consistency wins the race (<that’s another article).
- Institute some focus-time 2-4 hours a day and teach your team NOT to interrupt you during this time. Do not engage the Crazy Monkeys – even if they come in this time. A great book on this is Dan Kennedy’s ‘NO BS Time Management For Entrepreneurs’.
- Appoint lieutenants to deal with the Crazy Monkeys. You should only be managing managers if you hope to get any meaningful big-picture work done. So before you hire loads of people to take the pressure off yourself, hire a lieutenant. Appoint them, train them, empower them to lead and supervise the work of your staff, team, suppliers, etc. They should become the managers of the Crazy Monkeys. Not you. But remember for that to work, you have to implement new policies that allow you to be able to take time away from the company without being hounded.
- Set a list of 10 FAQ’s or known issues/concerns with each task you delegate. Make mini training videos or manuals for as many things as you can that are repeated. That way you invest time once to get it all down right. Then all newbies to your organisation will have access to it. Leaving you further away from the madness and the “sorry, just a quick question” requests. (Beware of Crazy Monkeys who are lazy and don’t read the procedures. When they ask you for the answer kindly refer them to the training document; they’ll get the picture eventually).
Final tips for controlling your Crazy Monkeys…
The best ways to stop the Crazy Monkeys from attacking are to NEVER make eye contact, schedule time in your weekly diary SPECIFICALLY to deal with ‘madness’ and firefighting and did I mention…? Don’t make eye contact!