Business Planning for the Time Crunched

The other day, I caught myself after 7pm, listening to a business podcast, scanning through a research report that is relevant to my business, and periodically glancing over to my iPhone, which was buzzing to alert me about new emails and social media updates from my friends and colleagues.

Did I mention that the television was on in the background?

Even typing that paragraph, I’m getting a headache.

Pretty sure that none of those activities advanced my business one iota. In fact, they probably set me back because my brain was in a tortured, fractured state.

brain on Instagram

Deep breath.

Deep breath.

If you spend your “working hours,” roughly 9am to 5pm (haha) reacting to stimuli, you’re heading for a business rut.

How is your business going to move up to the next level if you’re spending your day putting out fires and your evening “catching up?”

You need to get ahead of the game and stay there if you want to innovate, use your creative juices, and make progress.

Practical Suggestions for Making Time to Plan Your Business

  • Schedule it. The same way you block out time for a customer phone call, make an appointment for your planning. Take a minute right now and block out one hour this week for business planning.
  • Stop multi-tasking. During meetings and conference sessions, leave the devices in your briefcase. Extract the full value of the relationships and information you invested in when you scheduled the meeting or registered for the conference. If you’re listening to a business podcast, really listen and take notes. There’s no award for doing the most stuff at one time.
  • Make a dashboard. Keep your finger on the pulse of your business metrics on a routine basis. Establish the numbers you need to track, and then pull them all into one spreadsheet. This will allow you to spot trends and take action before the fire flares up.
  • Narrow down your consumption. If you’re overwhelmed by your blog subscriptions, emails and social updates, hit the unsubscribe button on a few of them. Focus on quality, not quantity.
  • Move a big rock every morning. Start each day with a “win,” and knock off something that will actually give you progress. Do that before you answer the phone, before you check email, and before your colleagues start sending you Buzzfeed articles.
  • Have a business retreat You don’t have to have a large team, or go to a dude ranch for “trust exercises.” Plan each year to get away (even if it’s only virtually) and spend dedicated time working on the business. Evaluate the previous year, plan the upcoming year, and get your mind focused. Put an “out of office” message on your email, same with voicemail, and take a hiatus from social media. Emerge refreshed and ready to conquer the world.

How often do you step back and work on your business?

Author’s Bio: Rosemary O’Neill is an insightful spirit who works for social strata — a top ten company to work for on the Internet . Check out the Social Strata blog. You can find Rosemary on Google+ and on Twitter as @rhogroupee


  1. says

    Just stumbled up on your blog by chance and I think I am gonna bookmark it now. It’s motivational. Very motivational.
    While others inspire, your blog i motivating me and I am loving it; feeling as if you are tapping my back and saying, “Let’s get some work done.”
    Thanks a ton!

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