Do you know what your 3 R’s are?

k2345099I was talking to a client today and he has been really struggling with a sense of overwhelm. There are a half dozen bits of client work he knows he needs to finish, there are blog posts to write, new theories in his field to understand, social media campaigns to update, emails to send, the website needs work, his PPC is in need of refining and his latest Facebook campaign wants split testing.

Oh, and the dinner needs cooking, the kids need clean clothes and the car needs filling with fuel.

Sound familiar?

We got talking about how to resolve this situation and the conversation worked its way around to school curriculums.

You may, or may not know that I’m not really a fan of our education system BUT it does provide something that I think as business owners we really miss; Structure.

You see, we’re creatures of habit. It starts as a baby (if you’re lucky and I was) your child will wake at 7am or so and you will then spend the day following a fairly set routine. As they get older this routine adapts to include things like homework, after school clubs, breakfast and school runs but it’s pretty much the same, everyday. I think it’s one of the reasons kids often complain of being bored on weekends. They’re not, they just don’t like not having structure and knowing what comes next.

When your child gets to secondary school, they’re given a timetable. They know where to be, when to be there and what they will be doing with regular breaks in between; at the same time every day. One of the reasons children can be so tired at the start of a new term is that they have to adjust to new routines (timetable).

What this timetable allows teachers to do is provide a structure within which the curriculum can be taught. The most important subjects (Reading, wRiting and aRythmetic) are scheduled first and the rest slotted in around it.

The other important point here is that this timetable means we don’t have to spend time agonising over small decisions, we know where we have to be and when and what to wear (uniform).

This routine business continues. If you’ve ever had a “proper job” you’ll notice a routine there also. Kay, my other half works in Canary Wharf in London. Every day she gets up at the same time, makes a simple clothing decision from a number of set items (more uniform), gets the same train, gets to work at the same time, has a day largely set for her by her employer, has lunch in the same places (minimising decision making); then gets the same train from the station to get home at the same time.

All this timetabling creates routine, creates habits, we like habits; habits are a good thing.

So what? You might say…

The thing is that as business owners, we fall out of these habits. We don’t have a timetable to follow; there is no regular alarm clock and the 7.08 to catch in the morning. We don’t have to be in certain places at a certain time or get a detention.

We get to choose what we wear (even pyjamas – you know who you are). No one tells us off if we don’t get stuff in on time, we become the thing that everyone assumes we are – “you just sit around all day doing a bit of work now and then and playing lots of golf” (for the record, I do play a lot of golf but it’s all scheduled).

We need routine…

So my question is: What are the Reading, wRiting and aRythmetic equivalents in your business?

Reading for me is learning to be about the best I can be, educating myself.

Writing is the production of material to market my business; whether it’s a new squeeze page, product content, TEAP, this blog or a video. It may also be the production of work for your clients – the thing that you do.

Rythmatic hasn’t changed since you were adding up using pebbles in the sand pit – you’ve got to spend time knowing your numbers!

Could you build your days, weeks, months around your 3 R’s; making sure they are the things that you know will bring you closer to your goals?

Everything else (like Art & RE is secondary)…

So, back to my client…

I suggested that he do a business “triage” on the things he does every day by working out which things needed saving (his R’s); what could wait till later (his sciences, PE and Languages) and what subjects he really should drop because no one cares about them anyway….