When do you know you need to take a step back, take a breath and take a long look in the mirror to refocus? 

Give it a try any time!  Refocusing to reflect on the bigger goals in life and in business can happen at any time. It doesn’t need to happen only when we are struggling in the weeds and losing track of where we’re going. It can also be at a time of general calm and organized thought as a method of being proactive to determine if we’re still on the right path.

The practice of refocusing can be inspired not only from your own questions and thoughts but also from the observations of those around you, such as colleagues, coworkers and friends. So, step back, take a breath and listen.  Sometimes it can be a big help for others to point out the things that you may not be noticing.

About four years ago I posted a blog article called “Excuse me, you have a little something in your teeth…” that puts forward the idea of someone being brave enough to tell you when you there might be a metaphorical piece of spinach in your teeth that may act as an observational inspiration for you to refocus. Generally, those that work with you want to see your success and want to tell you where you may be falling short or where your time may be better spent. If only gaging how well we are running our business is as simple as looking in the mirror to check for that spinach!

As small business owners, we’re specialists in what we offer to our clients, and much of our focus should be on doing what it is we’re meant to do as well as focusing on the big goals of what we want to achieve. However, many times we can spend so much time on the tasks of running our business that time is taken away from the bigger goals. There may come a time where we have to let go of the smaller tasks to maintain our focus on the goals at hand.

In that article from four years ago, I also provided some ideas to identify steps to start the refocusing process and determine where your time may be better spent to move forward to your goals. When it comes to taking your business to the next level, a level of self-awareness is required to assess the needs of your business and how your management style can be maximized for growth. Take a look at your business and your strengths and values (and be honest about it!).  To identify what you might need to do as part of your refocusing, try the following for one work-week:

  1. As you go through each workday, write down the daily tasks that you dislike doing (or, put another way, make a list of the things you do last because you keep putting them off)
  2. Write down all the projects you’ve “had on the back burner”; those projects and tasks that never seem to get done week after week, month after month.
  3. Write down all the things you spend too much time doing (why are you really in the office all the time?).
  4. Write down all the things you wish you had more time to do.
  5. Write down all the tasks you must do as a business owner.

Once you have your list leading indicating which tasks are definitely for you to do and those that may not need your attention, but could be done by someone else, check in with those people that would let you know about the metaphorical spinach in your teeth to see what they think about your conclusions from the week’s activity.  From there, you may see a clearer path for growth.

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