In Order To Get Big, Think Small

Jim Blasingame

A commodity is typically something in common use, virtually the same wherever you find it, and readily available. Doesn't time fit that definition?

But time may be the only commodity we haven't been able to synthesize. And until someone develops a time machine, it will continue to be unique among commodities, and consequently, our most valuable one.

All this may seem too intuitive to dwell on. But as precious as time is, there is also no other commodity that we waste more of, sometimes as if it were worth nothing, and that's completely counter-intuitive.

What's the solution? Organization. It's the nexus between time and productivity.

We commit resources to acquire information, capability, brain power, etc., with the intention of making something happen: a bid, a project, a marketing plan, (your idea here). And typically, that "something" needs to happen within a predetermined period of time.

But whether it happens as planned -- including on time -- will often depend more on how organized we are, rather than our capability or the information we've acquired.

If someone stole your new $2000 computer, you would have them arrested. But how often have you lost $2000 or more in an unsuccessful bid, loss of a contract or other opportunity, because you weren't organized? In the justice system of the marketplace that's the same as being arrested, tried and convicted. And the sentence for that crime could be failure.

What does your organizational "record" look like?

But, let's cut ourselves a little slack. It's not easy to be organized when you have one person doing the work of four, or three doing the work of six, or 25 doing the work of 40. Such ratios are one of the markers of a small business. Consequently, a large project can be so intimidating that it creates the dread disease of small business: procrastination.

Professional organizers say you can cure procrastination, save time and gain productivity by recognizing that large projects are really an assembly of smaller ones.

You probably don't have large blocks of time to set aside to tackle a big project in one setting. But you do have little pieces of time that can be used to polish off small jobs. Just recognizing this is a major step toward getting organized.

Here's a tip: When you have a large project, instead of thinking of it like it's an elephant you have to eat all at once, see how many smaller pieces you can split it into. You may be able to get some pieces so small that you can literally complete them while you're on hold on the phone.

Breaking big projects into bite-size pieces will help you work smarter, not harder, increase your competitive advantage and effectively use your most precious commodity.

Write this on a rock... If you want to get bigger, think smaller.

Jim Blasingame, small business expert and host of The Small Business Advocate Show
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