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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

How Dieting is Like Marketing/Running Your Business Part 2

Don’t Let Temptations Sabotage You
Last week I posted about the similarities I have noticed between dieting and marketing or running a business. This week's post is a continuation of that and focuses on one of the main saboteurs of any diet (or business)- temptations.

If you are anything like me you probably have a hard time sticking to your diet because you are constantly being bombarded with temptation. Maybe you still have left over Christmas goodies like cookies or candy sitting around the house, or your spouse keeps baking pies and cakes even though you repeatedly tell him or her you are eating healthy now. And the TV bombards you with images of Thick burgers, juicy steaks, candy and all kinds of goodies- it’s amazing how much you notice these things when you are dieting! And just try checking out at the grocery store, the drug store or Wal-Mart without passing multiple displays of sweets and junk food. These temptations do not help you stick to your healthy eating plan! And when you give in to temptation to eat that piece of cake or that bag of potato chips you feel guilty. Guilt produces negative feelings about yourself and that usually leads to find something comforting- which for many of us is food. If not kept under control, these negative feelings will lead to more destructive thoughts and behavior and before long you are off your diet and have given up on exercise too.

Similarly, we have distractions in our daily business that keep us from doing what we set out to do this year. We can’t take that new salesman out and train him because we are having to put out fires around the office. We can’t write that new proposal or whitepaper because we keep getting distracted by email or Twitter. Every time you sit down to plan your marketing or budget for the next quarter or year the phone rings or someone drops by your office. The distractions and temptations are seemingly endless.

One very powerful solution works for both your dieting and business challenges - identify whatever it is that is sabotaging your efforts and get rid of them (or remove yourself from them). If you are tempted to surf the internet instead of working, disconnect yourself from it. If that is not an option, get a laptop with no internet connection and block out time to write that proposal, newsletter, whitepaper or whatever. If email is the culprit, turn off the “bing” notification every time you receive one or turn off your speakers. And again, you could disconnect from the internet while you work. If the phone or office drop-ins are a problem, block out time to do your task and let everyone in the office/store/etc. know that you are not to be disturbed during this time. Have someone answer your phone for you or turn off the ringer and let it go to voicemail. Have your assistant or receptionist intercept visitors with clear instructions as to who gets in and who does not and how those turned away should be handled. Put a sign on your door (or cubicle) to let people know what you are working on, your wish not to be disturbed unless it is a true emergency (you might want to cover this with your staff too) and when you will be available to them. You could even take an old laptop with no internet access down to your favorite hangout or park bench and work away. You’ll benefit from the change of scenery and the fresh air.

It sounds simple. And it really is if you have some discipline. But don’t expect it to be as easy as it sounds, not at first. Try just one of these approaches at a time and evaluate what works and what does not. Create your own approach to eliminating distractions and get your team involved in creating solutions. This not only helps you come up with solutions it lets them know your intentions and will help them “buy-in” to your approach. And it may even spark them to do the same for themselves. Before long, your whole office will be more productive. And co-workers might just stop dropping by your desk with plate fulls of brownies too!

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