By Robert Craven, MD At The Directors’ Centre

Here's a bunch of thought-provokers. In this crazy, busy, noisy world you could apply some of these rules to bring some peace...

Just thought-bubbles to challenge how you do things now!! Choose/select as you feel fit... My favourite is number 11...or...?

1. Don't email first thing or last thing each day

Don't email before 10am or after 4pm. Emailing first thing screws up the day as you get distracted beyond belief. Emailing last thing screws up your sleep pattern - it can wait till tomorrow!

2. Don't check emails regularly

Check them at set times, say 10am and 3.30pm (ie: not often). You must define one important/key task for each day and that must be your first priority. Email addiction will destroy your business and screw up your brain.

3. Don't answer calls from people you don't know/recognise

Never ever answer a call unless you know who it is from. You should have a PA or virtual PA screening all your calls. Let them know who you will and who you won't speak to and instruct them as to how to handle the various different types of call, eg keynote speaking enquiries to Trish, consultancy enquiries to Lesley and so forth. The call is probably for their benefit and not for yours!

4. Do not turn up to meetings on time

This is known as Lombardi Time. The great Hall of Fame football coach of the Green Bay Packers, Vince Lombardi, invented a strategy that he recommended to his coaches and players. Lombardi Time states: "Show up for every important business meeting 15 minutes ahead of the scheduled meeting time." The idea is to use the 15 minutes to catch your breath, collect your thoughts and pre-plan what you want to accomplish in the meeting and how you'll go about it.

5. Don't work with (or employ) energy sappers

From time to time, we all work with energy sappers/zappers and don't we just know it. They seem to squeeze every last ounce of passion and excitement out of any project. Their mantra is some permutation of: "Yes but..." "If only..." "They won't/can't'/haven't/shouldn't/couldn't..." "Well, if that's what you want to do..." "I don't really see the point of..." Replace all energy sappers with energisers. It is as simple as that.

6. Don't build the business around yourself

In the early days it's great to see those emails and texts for you - you are important and wanted. However, this excitement soon turns into an addiction. Your definition of success starts to depend on how much you are needed. Wrong! Try to design the entire business model with the sole intention of getting it to operate without you. Start with the end in mind: if you intend to get out of your business at some point, then you need to design the whole thing with that endpoint in mind.

7. Don't carry a Blackberry 24/7

The world will not grind to a halt if you are not there to take every call. In fact, customers might treat you with a bit more deference if you ration your available time with a little more respect for what is really important.

8. Don't play it too safe

The riskiest thing is to be safe. Very good is bad because no-one notices it.

9. Don't be reasonable

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends upon the unreasonable man." ~ George Bernard Shaw

10. Don't get the negative feedback habit

We spend 95 per cent of the time focusing on the five per cent of things in our businesses that don't work and only five per cent of the time focusing on the 95 per cent of things that really do work. When things go wrong, there is no point dragging the team into the boardroom to dissect and analyse every action that (may have) contributed to the poor result. It is far better to take the team into the boardroom when things have gone well to dissect and analyse every action that (may have) contributed to the good result.

11. Don't take it all too seriously

No-one enjoys working with a bore.

12. Don't forget why you are doing this in the first place

When you are on your deathbed, you won't say, "I wish I'd spent more time at the office." Get real, have fun, laugh and lighten up!

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