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Wyoming Business Tips for July 5-July 11

June 30, 2009

A weekly look at Wyoming business questions from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center, part of WyomingEntrepreneur.Biz, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.

By Amy Lea, Wyoming GRO-Biz Procurement Technical Assistance Center program manager.

"It is the end of another busy week here at my business and I only completed about half of the things I planned to do this week. I have so many projects going on right now that I cannot afford to be ineffective. Any ideas how I can get back on track?" Mike, Gillette.

Conventional wisdom suggests that when falling behind, you should just work a little harder to get more done. Productivity experts have filled book store business sections with tools and systems that can help improve performance and productivity.

Some great advice is available, but if you are seeking a quick fix to help you refocus, try this simple three-day plan for getting back on track:

-- Day 1: Take the day off. Business owners often are engaged in their business 24/7. It can be nearly impossible to take a day off sometimes, but it should be a requirement.

Unless the business deals in matters of life or death, it is time to hang a "gone fishing" sign and head out the door. This is not the day to clean the house, wash the car or do anything else on a to-do list at home. Spend the day doing something you really love, possibly something you haven't done in a long time.

-- Day 2: Clean the office. Leave the "gone fishing" sign up an extra day if possible. It is ideal if you can complete this step while your business or office is closed. If you are feeling scattered and unfocused, take a good hard look around the business or office. Is it cluttered, disorganized or dirty? Chances are pretty good that it is.

Throw on some comfortable old jeans, grab some trash bags, turn on some music and start cleaning. Clear out the clutter, take out the trash, file what you can, sweep the floors and wash the windows.

You might not reach clean office perfection by the end of the day, but you will certainly make great progress. Resist the temptation to actually do any work or you might get side-tracked. Just focus on cleaning and organizing.

-- Day 3: Map your strategy. Start this day by getting out a notebook, a pen and some colored pencils or markers. Using a fresh page in the notebook for each major project, consolidate all of the to-do lists, sticky notes and ideas for each project into a mind map -- a simple tool for organizing information graphically. Tony Buzan developed this technique and explains how to create a mind map in seven steps on his Web site at:

By the end of this three-day plan, you will feel refreshed, have a cleaner, more organized office and have a mind map outlining what is needed to complete each major project. By the time you come to work on the fourth morning, you will be back on track.

A Blog version of this article and an opportunity to post comments is available at

The WSBDC is a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Wyoming Business Council and the University of Wyoming. To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, e-mail or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY 82071-3922.

Posted on Tuesday, June 30, 2009

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