This is becoming an annual blog topic for me. As the weather turns frigid (3 degrees) and as the landscape becomes a dirty white and the skies remain gray, it is hard to turn on the motivation. So to help me out of a not-very-tropical depression this time every year, I focus on what CAN be done, as opposed to what isn't happening right now.
10. Clean up the office
I know it sounds cliche, but you would be amazed at how this helps. Even if you keep a very neat and tidy workspace to begin with, just going through old files and sending some to storage feels as if you are moving forward.Besides, you never know what you might find. I just discovered 3 packs of page protectors I didn't realize I had. Saved a trip to Office Depot.
9. On-line education
If you can't get out much anyway, you may as well take advantage of the extra office time to knock out some of the continuing education that is required. Or you may discover a gap in your knowledge that could be filled by some on-line courses.
I know, I know, this is really a chore for many. However, if you even start on organizing those stuffed away receipts you again feel like you're making some progress. Since so many of us work better under pressure, go ahead and make that appointment with your accountant. She will appreciate not getting a frantic last-minute phone call requesting an appointment in March.
7. Review your business plan
It amazes me how many professionals do not know how many properties need to be sold in order to achieve the financials they want or need. And of course these properties do not sell themselves. Part of a successful business plan requires some action steps. Where are these properties and buyers going to come from? How are you going to tap into that market? Most importantly how are you going to close those deals?
Again, not most people's favorite activity, wintertime or not. However, again, critical to success. The action steps in the business plan are generally associated with some cost. Budgets do not have to be elaborate. You do need to identify the cost of doing business...flyers, post cards, mailings, phone, travel, etc.
5. Marketing plan
This is separate from the business plan and the budget. How are you getting the word out about your services? How are you branding yourself? Marketing is not advertising, although paid advertising can be a part of an overall marketing plan. Read "Guerilla Marketing" for lots of ideas for free or inexpensive ways to let the community know you exist.
4. Take care of you
This one is definitely NOT a cliche. It is critical. Your most important, most expensive business asset is YOU! If you own a building, you would not let the building deteriorate. You own you. You are your business and your business is you. Exercise. Get your health and dental checkups scheduled. Lose weight if you need to. In Indiana, take your Vitamin D. Meditate and/or pray. All of these things will improve your energy, focus, and effectiveness.
This one is hard when you don't want to go outside, but that's where Active Rain comes in. We've developed quite a few great friendships through our Social Networking sites. Call contacts and take them or arrange to meet them for lunch. Join a service or business organization that meets at lunch when the sun is most likely to be shining, the roads cleared, and the temperature at its high for the day.
2. Go outside anyway
Our mothers were right. Go outside and get some fresh air. It helps. Even if it just to get the paper or some gas in your car. In Indiana we actually need to go to the car wash in this weather if for no other reason than to get the road salt off the under carriage.
And my top motivational activity:
People and not for profit organizations still need help even in the dead of winter and oftentimes more so. The best way I know to keep a perspective of how good my life is is to maintain that "attitude of gratitude". There is a shortage of volunteers in every philanthropic realm I can think of: civic, housing, arts, mentoring, seniors, etc. Don't know where to start? Many communities have volunteer needs listed in the local paper or have volunteer fairs where organizations set up a booth and talk about their services and how your unique skill sets would best fit with the organizations philosophy and needs.
Bonus: Plan your Spring garden!
There is nothing like looking through all of those lovely catelogs to nurture your dreams of warmer weather.
How do you get through the winter? I will post the top 10 that I receive.