Jones Business Solutions Ltd | Reset and refocus
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Reset and refocus

Reset and refocus

Reset and Refocus

2023 proved to be a particularly challenging year – for myself, my family, and my community. Extreme weather events and health scares took over somewhat from the ‘business as usual’. While I am not a fan of new year resolutions, I do think the beginning of a new year is a good time to reset perspectives and energise for the year ahead.  

I took a week off in early December – my busiest time of the year. This proved to be a good move and gave my end of year review and evaluation process a head start. On working though my overloaded inbox once back at work I had the lovely surprise of seeing myself on YouTube with Marie Forleo. Earlier in the year following the devastating impact of Cyclone Gabrielle and my own unexpected emotional response I submitted a question – ’How do we look after yourselves, while being the best possible helpers we can be?’ While my chat with Marie was earlier in the year the timing of it being produced was perfect! The ‘Observe, don’t absorb’ advice from Marie has held me in good stead through 2023 and is now in my problem-solving toolkit.

The week before Xmas is a busy one for bookkeepers and accountants. Friday 22 December, I had a busy day ahead – analysing client’s accounts for provisional tax, preparing holiday pays for business closedown periods, my own business billing, and a few other things (the Xmas cooking would have to wait!). I ended up spending most of the day with a sick alpaca instead. Alpaca Z159 aka ‘Nana’ and I sat in the shade quietly together waiting for the vet to come and euthanise her. Nearly 20 years old she had enjoyed a good life, but it was time for her to go. The client payroll got down a bit later than planned, and other ‘to do’s’ got moved to next year. A timely reminder about perspective for me!

The work we do and the review process to evaluate results and achievements needs to factor in those personal moments and disruptions that life throws our way. Here’s what my reset process looks like:

Reflect honestly on the past year

Celebrate the small achievements – when you pause and think back over the past year there will be many! Jot them down, and include your feelings associated with these – satisfaction, pride, gratitude. Can you thank people who were part of these successes? – send them a note, what a lovely start for their new year if you make the time. Share them with your friends and family – they will get a deeper understanding of what it is you do as well as celebrating with you.

With the things that went well evaluate why they did. Can you do more of that kind of work? Can you apply the methods that contributed to successful projects to other things you do? Does this involve updating internal procedures or communicating with team members on new approaches going forward? Take the time to make these updates.

What were the particular challenges in the past year? Why and how did they impact or disrupt your workflow? Do these identify learning and development gaps that you can address? Would an ‘Observe, don’t absorb’ approach have helped? Could you have been proactive rather than reactive? Often things that confront us or make us uncomfortable contain valuable lessons that help us grow and be stronger for the next time curveballs are thrown our way.

Letting go

Evaluate the types of projects and services you spent the most time on. Are these what you love doing? Did you spend enough time on what you really wanted to? Are there roadblocks stopping you undertaking the work you really want to do or should be doing more of?

Reviewing your client list may provide you with surprises. Revenue per client is not the only factor to consider – are they an ‘A’ or a ‘D’ client? Do you genuinely like them? Is some clients’ work no longer part of your core services? Make a plan to exit or reset the terms of engagement with identified clients who need a shakeup. Do it!

Is there software you use, or certain admin procedures you have that are no longer fit for purpose? What are the internal tasks that you avoid or hate doing? Can these be outsourced? Talking with trusted like-minded professional colleagues may give you some innovative ideas or help you make decisions on what to eliminate or do differently.

Are you struggling with dealing with some people in your workspace? They could be team members, suppliers, service providers, or your business coach. Is it time to make changes? Sometimes working with new people generates new opportunities and energy. Explore options. Take care with making changes – especially staffing ones! Be mindful of what agreements may be in place first too.

Actions that are value-aligned

Deciding on what to eliminate then helps with what to replace them with. What would you like to achieve in the year ahead? Remind yourself of your business vision and what your core values are. Do these new goals align? What are you excited about? What has stopped you starting this before now?

I regularly say ‘stay in your lane’. Knowing what it is that you do, and that it is in tune with your ‘why’ helps you stay on track with your business goals. For me what I do is firmly entwined with my own values and integrity. This doesn’t mean you can’t do new things though.  For your new goal does it align with your values? For a new idea or direction that is really exciting for you give it a trial run. You might surprise yourself!

Set up an action plan that has small tasks that can be started on to contribute to the new goals. Get them down on paper. Review them regularly – weekly/monthly/quarterly. Be accountable to yourself by sharing your new goals with others. It’s OK to have to make changes as real life happens – keep going! Be mindful of those small wins and successes as you make progress. Celebrate them!

To sum up

A thoughtful review process of what is now in the past will give you perspective and focus on what lays ahead. Reflecting on the good, the bad, and the ugly will give you ideas to help shape your new goals and how to tackle them. Say ‘No’ where you need to. Stride forward with confidence!

Here’s the conversation I had with Marie Forleo – one of my 2023 highlight moments!

“Focus is a matter of deciding what things you’re not going to do.
Victoria Azarenka, Belarusian tennis player