5 Things You Can Stop Obsessing About

By Annie Mueller on 2 December 2011 (Updated 21 December 2011) 0 comments

There's plenty to worry about in small business. Here are a few items you can safely remove from your anxiety list.

1. How Clever You are on Twitter

Twitter is a format that lends itself to witty statements and clever one-liners, but you don't have to be clever to use Twitter successfully as a marketing tool. Because, while your customers may appreciate humor and snark, they appreciate other things more: discounts, coupons, helpful information, and relevant links.

If witty isn't your strong suit, don't worry. Witty is nice, and it is also forgettable. Real help and real value can make a more lasting impression.

2. Your Business Plan

While the MBAs around the world cover their faces in horror, let's think for a moment about the function of a business plan. Oh, wait, does it actually have one? Let's poll the crowd.

From MJ DeMarco, author and self-made millionaire, in his book The Millionaire Fastlane: "Business plans are useless. Yes, I said it. Business plans are useless because they're ideas jacked-up on steroids."

From Mike Michalowicz, entrepreneur and author of The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, writes "If you have a good product, service or idea, don’t worry about a business plan. You have what you need, which is the salable idea. All you need to do is put the wheels in motion to start capitalizing on that idea."

3. Your Schedule, in Fifteen-minute Increments

Yes, it's great to have a handle on your schedule, to plan things out, and to commit your time to what is most important. But flexibility is key for a small business owner, and tying yourself to a micro-managed schedule is, most likely, just going to drive you crazy.

If micro-managing your employees doesn't work, why do you think micro-managing yourself is a good idea?

As Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi writes in his book Finding Flow, "Time stress has become one of the most popular complaints of the day. But more often than not, it is an excuse for not taking control of our lives. How many of the things that we do are really necessary?"

Instead of trying to cram more into your days by dividing them into ever smaller and more disparate segments, cut out all but the most important activities of your business. There are smart ways to regain control of your time, they don't involve buying a thicker planner or a more detailed calendar.

4. Your Chance of Failure

Failure is a normal part of life and business. If you have a hundred ideas, not all of them are going to be wins. Nobody has a 100 percent success rate. Think about each failure as a course in how to succeed next time.

James Allen writes of failure as "one of the pathways to attainment." MJ DeMarco calls it "the sweat of success."

5. Almost Anything Below Item #3 on Your To-Do List

There's always a long list of things to do in running a small business, whether yours is an operation of one or 100 or 1000. But putting item after item on your daily to-do list isn't going to help you be more productive. In fact, it may have the opposite effect.

Time and productivity expert Laura Vanderkam postulates that a shorter to-do list helps you focus and accomplish. "And when you aim to do only 3 things, you're highly likely to get them done—and then move on," says Vanderkam. "That beats shuffling the same 20 things from one day's list to the next."

Less is, in fact, more, both on your to-do list and in your mental obsession box. So let some things go, and start getting more things that matter done.

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