I have a morning routine I love. And my dogs love it, too. In fact, we are pretty addicted to it.
We do our morning routine before I do anything else – even before I make coffee!
- Go for our walk.
- Give them each one small Dingo bone. (I think they think it is their reward for dragging me out of bed. It is a celebration for them every day.)
- Run back into the bedroom to show my husband they got a bone. (Hey! Look what we got!) Yes, everyday.
- Run back into the den and – if (and only if) I’m there – eat the bone.
Any interruption to this daily routine is not tolerated. If I’m not sitting in the den they literally will not eat that bone until they find me and whine until I come keep them company.
I swear that bone would still taste the same if they ate it without me, or ate it in the kitchen, or ate it at 4pm in the afternoon. But, they are seriously addicted to this routine because that is how we’ve always done it.
Maybe you have routines like this in your life – or, heck, even in your business? Things you always do the same way – because that is how you have always done them? Maybe, doing it differently would even be downright hard?
Well, today was hard. I had to break the dogs’ routine.
Breaking Routines – For Good Reasons
Before you think I’m a bad mother for robbing them of their pleasure, it was for a very important reason – something much more critical than where and when they eat their daily Dingo bone. It was time to get their teeth cleaned. For a dog, teeth cleaning is practically a major surgery, it turns out. They have to be put under. This means no eating in the morning. No Dingo bone.
It was as bad as I imagined. You’d think they were getting their teeth cleaned without the anesthesia. Trust me, it took all my strength not to give in and give them those Dingo bones – despite knowing that teeth cleaning is critical to their health – and Dingo bones are not.
People with out pets may not quite understand this. But I think you might. Why? Because as a small business owner we often have ways of doing things that we just hate to change
Like Taking a Bone from a Dog
Routines are important. They make tasks easier. We don’t have to think so hard. We don’t have to make and re-make decisions. We don’t have to wonder about the outcome so much. We just go on auto pilot. It is predictable and, actually, comforting. Sometimes, we think that following our routine is the ‘only’ way we’ll get anything accomplished.
But just because you have a routine or process – just because we get some things accomplished – doesn’t mean that we are getting good results. And, sometimes a routine that is good at one time in your business can become less effective as your business evolves. Even if we can see that a routine needs to be changed in order to do something more important, or more effective, they can still be really hard to change. Yes, like taking a bone from a dog.
What is your morning work routine?
Here is an exercise. Write down your morning work routine. What do you do to get your work day started? Be specific. Be honest. Now, write down the three most important things you could accomplish in a day that will help your business bring in revenue, grow, become more efficient. Are you doing any of those things first thing in your day? Should you be?
Here are some other routines we typically have as small business owners that need to be periodically re-examined:
- Our recruiting and hiring process. Maybe you only know one way to do this – or have a kind of routine. Is it effective? Does it need an upgrade?
- Email communication. When and how do you read and respond to email? Is it efficient? Could it be faster? How much of your total day does it take?
- Prospecting for new business. What do you ‘usually’ do to try to get new business for ‘next month?’ How well is it working? Are there other sales methods you could explore?
It’s a new year and a good time for many of us to make changes, or start with a clean slate. I want to challenge all of us to evaluate the habits and routines we take for granted and make sure they serve us well.
Most people set resolutions around things they are going to start doing in the new year. But there may also be activities we need to stop doing – or just do differently.
Hopefully it won’t be as hard for you to change as it is for me to break my dogs’ routine. I can’t wait to get home from work today and give my dogs a couple of Dingo bones!