What lesson have you learned this year? Work smarter not harder

So, we’re nearly at the end of another year… 2017 has been a blast. I mean how fast has this year gone? For me personally it feels like a blur, and on reflection, it has been an exciting year, both in business and in my personal life.

In business we have had several new product launches, new staff members and a lot of new clients and customers. In my personal life, I’m as fit and healthy as I have ever been and my commitment to personal growth and development is helping me every day to become a better version of myself, so I can improve my results and help others improve theirs.

Earlier this year I found myself with really low energy levels. I was tired, grumpy and with little patience. I wasn’t finding time to spend with my family and friends, when I did, I was tired and didn’t enjoy it as much as I would have liked. My routine was waking up stupidly early, doing my morning ritual, reading and then hitting the gym before most people were even out of their beds. I was the first one in the office and always the last one to leave. For the last 3 years this was my routine. It felt like I had a job rather than being a business owner.

One morning, back in March, I woke up and thought, enough is enough. I was fatigued and was ducking the hard challenges that need to be faced. On that morning when my alarm woke me, I made my way to the bathroom and looked in the mirror. I remember looking old and tired. It was at this point that I decided that things were going to change, and they were going to change today. I made my way back to bed and back to sleep. I didn’t set any alarm, I thought, I’ll wake up when my body has had enough sleep. I woke up at 11.00am. I must have really needed it. That day, I did my normal morning routine, albeit a lot later than usual. I strolled in to the office at around 1.00pm and nobody batted an eye lid nor even asked where I’d been. I think, for me at the time, I had a belief that I should be first one in and last one out to set an example to my staff.

Later that day I had decided on my new daily routine. I was going to wake up at 7.00am, do my morning ritual of reading and exercising and be in the office for 9.00am. I shared this with a couple of my managers. They thought it was a good idea and was fully supportive of my decision. My productivity and energy levels have improved tenfold since implementing these changes. I’m not constantly tired from work and spend more time with family and friends. The enjoyment is back, both in business and in my personal life.

This has been one of my most important decisions of 2017. In essence all I have done is tweak my working day to suit me. People, peak at different times of the day and some people need more sleep than others. I would advise that experimenting with your energy levels would be good for you in the long run. Find the correct balance that will improve your productivity and your results.

Now we are in the final month of the year, we should be pushing hard to finish the year strong which will give you momentum for the New Year. I personally plan for the New Year in December.

In business we can’t see the picture when we’re in the frame. We have to take ourselves out of our usual working environment. For me, I book myself a meeting room at my local hotel. I specifically ask for a room which is very quiet, where I won’t get disturbed. I also ask for 2 flip charts with a lot of paper. I spend the full day strategising and visioning what I would like my businesses to achieve over the next 12 months. I cover everything from what new staff I will require, turnover, roles and responsibilities, just to name a few.

The aim is to come away with a strategy and clarity for the next 12 months. This sets us up nicely for the New Year ahead and we can hit the ground running in January. For me this is the most important day of the year.

Once I have this information, what I do next is equally important. Sharing the vision with staff. Sharing your vision will also give your staff clarity and will make them feel part of the company movement. Can you set goals with them? Where do your staff fit in to your plans for next year?

Before we finish up for Christmas, I reflect on the year’s goals that have been achieved. I have a white board in my office with all the company goals for everyone to see. Throughout the year we take great satisfaction ticking these off as they are achieved.

Once the reflection is done, the goal board is wiped clean and I write out the new goals for the year ahead from my strategy session. This puts us one step ahead for when the doors open for business in the New Year.

I wonder how many other business owners finish the year like this, taking their time out of the business to plan and strategise. Probably not many. That’s why we have to be prepared to do things most people won’t. Is this something you can implement?

December is also a time to have fun and enjoy time with friends and family and treat our staff. The start of December will be going off with a bang for us. For our annual Christmas party, we are privileged to sponsor a boxing event in Manchester, where we are treated to a ring side table, three course meals and a great night of boxing. All in aid of charity and a damn good night, so we are all looking forward to that.

Whatever you have planned for your Christmas party, I hope you enjoy and treat the staff to a well-deserved night out on the house.

I sincerely hope that all our Renegade members have a great Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

Here’s to 2018……