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The Race That Stops The Nation Doing Business

productive work attitude

On the first Tuesday of every November the Melbourne Cup is run. In Australia we affectionately call it the “Race that stops the nation”.

And in a fairly recent trend, it is a race that seems to stop business progress.

I am not sure about you, but I am seeing an increasing tendency of business grinding to a halt on Melbourne Cup day as people wait to escape at Christmas, fall over the line at New Year and keep their heads down until Australia Day in late January. We also throw into the mix the annual silly season and all of a sudden everything seems to be put on the backburner.

People don’t want proposals, they will not make decisions, they put projects on hold and feel as though nothing can be achieved because it is nearly Christmas. Many also become busy fools, terrified at the thought of all the things that must be achieved prior to Christmas.

The outcome? well they are potentially letting almost 3 months of their year fall off a productivity cliff.

And if there is one this I know as a business coach, it is that when you head into this phase of working you become headless chickens, busy running round and not really making….headway.

So, I always coach my clients to take advantage of everyone else being busy fools and use the quieter period to really focus on their business. Think about how you can use the time effectively and what can be done to ensure that your approach is to proactively address challenges in your business and identify opportunities that can help you to grow.

Because if the rest of the world is busy chasing their tails, does that free you up to stop, reflect, re-calibrate and plan?

The Quadrants of Time Management

Everything in business can be classified by how urgent and important it is and the Quadrants of Time Management really help identify on what you should be spending your time and how much time you should be spending.

When working with businesses I find so many owners and leaders are working ad hoc, constantly in the urgent/important quadrant and working in crisis mode. And as we all know that is not overly productive, it is draining, and it is really very hard.

  1. Important and Urgent– Crises and Emergencies
  2. Important but Not Urgent– Prevention, Planning, and Improvement
  3. Not Important but Urgent– Interruptions and Busy Work
  4. Not Important and Not Urgent– Time Wasters


How do we get to Quadrant 2?

It’s all about planning. Yes, I know that we hear that a lot, but it is so important that it bears repeating – you have to effectively plan your time to be able to manage your effort against your rewards.

if you’re finding yourself constantly in quadrant one then I would suggest you relook at your (mission) vision statement and the business plan you have in place. Also look at your team and your structure, as the business owner should you be the one operating in Quadrant 1, or is that what you pay people for? Can you review performance and KPIs to ensure that your team know their roles and expectations and to free you up to move to Quadrant 2?

The bottom line if that as a business owner you are not at your most effective in Quadrant 1, because constant firefighting will not allow you to plan for the future.

But moving to Quadrant 2 is also about being effective when others are not, and a lot can be accomplished between Melbourne Cup and Australia Day. It can be your time to plan, to grow and to put in place strategies that can really build your business in 2019.

If you want to have your best year in business, then when Melbourne Cup is a memory and the Christmas silly season is looming, take advantage of the chaos that goes with the season to work on your business, not in your business.

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