Year after year, you struggle to make progress on the business goal you set. Your intentions are good, but things get in the way. And let's face it — nothing is ever going to go 100% percent smoothly 100% of the time. That's the nature of the beast.
But what if I were to tell you that you could make BETTER progress and FASTER progress just by implementing a very special strategy that is specifically designed to help you get into ACTION in a more thoughtful way?
Well, I've got a strategy to share with you today. This is my proprietary Daily Achievers' ACTION Framework. It consists of six pillars that, when used together, will help you focus on the work that matters so that you win every day.
I designed this framework for my private clients. I first shared it on The Messy Desk Podcast, which I co-host with my incredible friend and colleague, Meghan Monaghan.
Today, I'm sharing the episode where I pull back the curtain and share my framework so that you too can begin making epic progress on your business goal. Let's dive in!
Originally posted on The Messy Desk Podcast blog.
Making considerable progress on your business goal can be a challenge. With 84% of business owners working more than 40 hours per week and 72% feeling overwhelmed by their roles and responsibilities, a business can feel like an endless stream of messy moments.
Achieving Your Business Goal is More Important Than Doing it All
[Theresa] Business owners everywhere have this one thing in common: they are trying to do too much. Small business owners have too many responsibilities, even if they work with a small team. Solopreneurs end up trying to do it all themselves.
Meghan and I get it. We’re both solopreneurs. We don’t have access to endless amounts of cash and help.
[Meghan] And while Theresa and I have both outsourced our fair share, we’re still left with quite a hefty “to do” list. Often we’re left with the decisions of what to do and what to let go.
[Theresa] Right. It’s just not possible to do every single thing in your business yourself. At least not well. You’ll either drive yourself mad working 18 hours a day without any real progress to show for your effort. Or worse, you’ll choose the wrong work to do. That means no meaningful progress at all.
[Meghan] Yikes! Not making progress means that I’m “wasting my time” and I don’t like that! I don’t have time to waste.
We’ve all heard the saying, “work less, achieve more.” That sounds great. Heck, it’s even a saying that you’d see on a t-shirt. But what does it mean, and can you really achieve more by doing less?
[Theresa] That’s a fair question. Working less means doing more of the right things and less of everything.
Every entrepreneur goes through a phase where they believe that they have to try everything. And when that happens, every strategy and tactic looks interesting. And every opportunity that comes across their path seems like a good one.
You’ve likely adopted that same perspective to one degree or another. This will not help you make progress.
[Meghan] So, if that’s the case, what does help you make progress in your business?
Well, you make progress by writing down clear goals and then choosing the actions you take based on whether or not that activity will get you closer to your goals.
[Theresa] Exactly! When you know what you want, everything becomes easier. You work less on the wrong things and more on the right things. And when you’re working on the right things — those actions that help you achieve your business goal— you can reach them.When you know what you want in your business, everything becomes easier. You work less on the wrong things and more on the right things. That helps you achieve your goals. Click To Tweet
When you don’t know what you want, then it’s easy to get distracted by all the things you think you need to do. Trust me when I tell you that you are doing unnecessary things in your business.
[Meghan] That’s busy work. Busy work encompasses tasks like checking email and social media, taking online courses, and basically anything that doesn’t help you achieve your goals.
Busy work distracts you from what’s important. So focus on what moves you forward, not what keeps you busy.
[Theresa] I couldn’t agree more.
There are a lot of variables to consider when you own your own business. Even if you’ve written out your goals and started to build good habits around how you work, a lot can go wrong if you’re not paying attention.
As I’ve helped my clients achieve their business goals over the years, I’ve developed a framework that helps them be super intentional with their efforts. I usually reserve this framework for my clients, but I thought it’d be helpful to share it with all of you today.
Take the Right ACTION on Your Business Goal
[Meghan] That sounds great!
Here’s the deal. I did not know that Theresa had developed a framework until a couple of months ago. Even so, we’ve not discussed it in detail, so I’m excited to hear more about it. And, I think we’re really lucky that she’s sharing her insider secrets with us!
[Theresa] You’ve probably heard that the path to success is to take action on your business every day. But I disagree. I know a lot of entrepreneurs and small business owners who take action all over the place but have very little to show for it.
I’ve been there myself. I’d get to the end of a very busy day, but I couldn’t tell you what I’d accomplished. And if I’d accomplished something, I couldn’t say why it mattered to my business.
Here’s the thing. It’s not enough to just take action in your business every day. You have to be deliberate with your actions. Knowing your business goal helps determine those actions.
[Meghan] Because when you know your business goal, it’s easier to create a plan to achieve them. It’s the same with content strategy.
A plan helps you focus on the right actions so that essentially you do less work. And the work you do engage in is super effective and contributes to your bigger goals.
[Theresa] Mmm hmm. You know I love a good plan. Having one is important, but there’s more that goes into the ability to achieve your business goal.
You make progress on your business goal by taking A.C.T.I.O.N.. It’s a 6-step framework designed to move you forward. Here’s what it stands for:
- Align Your Actions
- Capitalize on Your Strengths
- Take Control of Your Time
- Integrate the Right Tools and Strategies
- Organize to Optimize
- Navigate Challenges
[Meghan] That sounds fantastic! Oh my goodness, I’m obsessed with frameworks that use acronyms! That and anything monogrammed. Seriously, you can put my name or initials on nearly anything and I’ll cherish it forever. I’m a sucker for personalization!
Anyway, Theresa…please take us through each step so that we can apply the framework and take more purposeful action!You make progress on your business goal by taking A.C.T.I.O.N...a 6-step framework designed to help you take more purposeful action.Click To Tweet
1. Align Your Actions
[Theresa] Step 1 of the A.C.T.I.O.N. framework is to Align your Actions. What does that mean? It means that you first need to get clarity around what you want. Once you do, you then create effective goals for your business.
The business goal you create then determines the actions you take.
[Meghan] The actions you take are your plan, right?
[Theresa] That’s right. When your actions are in alignment with your goal, you’ll be on track to achieve it. Activities that take you away from reaching that business goal shouldn’t even be on your “to do” list.When your actions are in alignment with your goal, you’ll be on track to achieve it.Click To Tweet
[Meghan] Essentially, a plan helps you streamline your activities. As a result, you’ll save time and business will be easier.
2. Capitalize on Your Strengths
[Theresa] Yes. However, there is more to achieving your business goal than just having a plan.
That’s why Step 2 of the A.C.T.I.O.N. framework is to Capitalize on Your Strengths. We all have gifts. There are things you are good at and other things you’re not so good at.
Gay Hendricks, the author of The Big Leap, says that our activities in the world occur in four main zones:
- First, The Zone of Incompetence: which is made up of all the activities you’re not good at
- Second, The Zone of Competence: which is made up of activities you can do, but can be done by others just as well
- Third, The Zone of Excellence: which is made up of activities that you’re extremely good at
- Fourth, The Zone of Genius: which is made up of activities that are uniquely suited to you
Unfortunately, you’re spending the majority of your time in the Zone of Competence. Operating in this zone consistently will prevent you from making forward progress in your business.
When you capitalize on your strengths, however, you propel yourself forward in an unprecedented way. This is the Zone of Genius.
[Meghan] I’m thinking a lot of business owners actually spend a lot of time in the Zone of Incompetence too since they’re doing it all in their business. I know I have. I’m thinking about areas like accounting and finance.
Okay, so the Zone of Genius is the sweet spot. But, my question is how many small business owners can realistically spend all of their time there? I mean, I’d live there if I could, but I haven’t been able to.
[Theresa] I know. That’s really a challenge. There are lots of other things that happen in your business that need your attention. But when it comes to accomplishing your business goal, you’ll get there faster and make more money if you focus on the things uniquely suited to you.
Let’s use Meghan as an example. Recently, she and I were having a discussion about marketing in general. Meghan shared with me that while she was well versed in many different areas of marketing, content marketing is her sweet spot. Do you remember what else you told me, Meghan?When it comes to accomplishing your business goal, you’ll get there faster and make more money if you focus on the things uniquely suited to you.Click To Tweet
[Meghan] Yes. I said that when I veered too far off the content and content marketing path with my services, I regretted it.
So, I’m aware that my personal Zone of Genius revolves around content. My earning potential and my output are at their best and highest when I focus on those things that are related to content.
If I even stick my pinky toe outside the zone of content-related products and services, the work gets harder and I’m less motivated.
[Theresa] Exactly! So think about what activities are uniquely suited to you. And here’s a hint—it usually relates to your earning potential. This is the place where you thrive.
And I know what you’re thinking. “But Theresa, what about all of the other things that have to get done in my business? There’s no time.”
But don’t worry! My framework addresses that.
3. Take Control of Your Time
[Theresa] Time management is the #1 struggle for most business owners. That’s why Step 3 of the A.C.T.I.O.N. framework is to Take Control of Your Time.
Of course, it’s going to be impossible to stay in your Zone of Genius 100% of the time. But I promise you that if you align the actions you take with your business goal and you capitalize on your strength, you’re going to have more time.
[Meghan] I can see that. You’ll be focused on what matters rather than on every opportunity or every action that seems like the right one.
That means less work. You can then spend more time in your Zone of Genius and less time on those other things that have to get done.
[Theresa] Bingo! And you’ll also spend NO time on things you shouldn’t be doing at all. That will free up time for sure, but it’s not the only way to free it up.
The bottom line is that you’re wasting tons of time every single day whether you realize it or not. There are a plethora of ways to leverage your time. Eliminating useless tasks is only one of them. You have to control the narrative around your time.
Wayde Goodall said, “If you don’t take control of your time, someone else will.” So you decide how you’re going to spend your time. You control your calendar. And you decide what is and isn’t a good use of your time.
[Meghan] That’s definitely a lesson I learned the hard way! Okay, what’s next?
4. Integrate the Right Tools and Strategies
[Theresa] Step 4 of the A.C.T.I.O.N. framework is to Integrate the Right Tools and Strategies that will support achieving your business goal.
I confess that I love technology. Admittedly, I’m a bit of a technophile. Tools are my jam! From my mobile phone to my computers to online software. I am a bit of a junkie. I can get totally distracted by a new tool.
[Meghan] Since we’re confessing, there may or may not have been a time or ten where I’ve enabled Theresa with a text that read, “Have you seen this AppSumo deal?!”
[Theresa] Yep. It gets me every time. But in all seriousness, if you are going to use tools in your business—and who isn’t in this day and age—you need to make sure that they work for you and not the other way around.
[Meghan] Right. Setting up notifications on your phone might seem like a good idea, but if those dings, rings, and chimes are a constant source of distraction, it’s time to rethink that strategy.
[Theresa] Yep. The same holds true for techniques and strategies you’re currently using or want to try. You want to make sure you’re using those that make sense for the type of business you have and the phase of business you are in.Setting up notifications on your phone might seem like a good idea, but if those dings, rings, and chimes are a constant source of distraction, it’s time to rethink that strategy.Click To Tweet
[Meghan] For example, if you’re new to content marketing, it’s best not to jump in with the most advanced, involved strategy. Starting small with something more simple would yield better results. Those small results help to build momentum. Then you can grow into bolder strategies.
This way, you don’t waste time on things that aren’t right for your business or you aren’t ready for yet.
[Theresa] Plus, when you integrate the right tools and strategies, you avoid frustration and overwhelm. And you feel more motivated by that momentum, as Meghan mentioned.
5. Organize to Optimize
[Theresa] Step 5 of the A.C.T.I.O.N. framework is Organize to Optimize. Don’t roll your eyes at me. You are wasting valuable time looking for that document you just created!
If your computer desktop or your actual desktop are covered with piles of documents, it’s time to organize. There is nothing more annoying than wasting 10 – 15 – 20 minutes searching for something you need. It’s devastating when you don’t find it at all and have to then recreate it from scratch.
Honestly! This is not a good use of your time.There is nothing more annoying than wasting 10 - 15 - 20 minutes searching for something you need. It’s devastating when you don’t find it at all and have to then recreate it from scratch.Click To Tweet
[Meghan] I’ve noticed that disorganization also opens up the door to distraction. You go to look for something specific in that pile of folders on your desk only to come across something else that piques your interest. That spurs another thought and before you know it you’re on Pinterest looking at designer shoes or—in my case—the latest van life video!
[Theresa] Or AppSumo drooling over new tech!
6. Navigate Challenges that Can Interfere
[Theresa] Alright guys, we are at our last step. And this is one that I believe is most important. Step 6 of the A.C.T.I.O.N. framework is to learn how to Navigate Challenges.
It would be Utopia if all of your plans went perfectly. But we don’t live in Utopia, which means that sometimes you will encounter challenges when it comes to achieving your business goal.
Challenges are a normal part of life. You can run from them or you can learn to navigate them. That choice is entirely yours.Challenges are a normal part of life. You can run from them or you can learn to navigate them. That choice is entirely yours.Click To Tweet
[Meghan] We dedicated an entire episode to the topic of what to do and not to do when your goal achievement hits a snag.
When you learn to negotiate the inevitable issues you’ll encounter, something special happens. Instead of letting issues derail your progress and mess with your mindset, you’ll instead look at them as an opportunity to learn and grow. That’s a good thing.
[Theresa] That’s so true. You’ll also get better at handling problems and finding solutions. The more practiced you are, the easier challenges will be to deal with.
[Meghan] Just to clarify, we’re not wishing you lots of challenges so you can practice, though!
Make Progress on Your Business Goal Every Day
[Theresa] Of course not! What kind of podcast hosts would we be!
I hope you understand how important it is to take A.C.T.I.O.N. on your business goal so that you can make progress and succeed. We’ve only scratched the surface of what’s possible when you implement this framework.
I want to point out that you do not have to do these steps in any particular order. If your world is a cluttered mess, start Organizing to Optimize. Maybe you aren’t using your time wisely, then Take Control of Your Time. Perhaps you’ve got your business goal written down and you’re ready to move forward, then you should Align Your Actions, and Capitalize on Your Strengths.
[Meghan] As we like to say, start small. It doesn’t matter where, it only matters that you start.
And if there’s a part of the framework you don’t need, then don’t do it. We’re big proponents of not doing unnecessary work. One size doesn’t fit all, so personalize the steps in the framework based on your needs.
And remember that things in business and life are usually messy for a while before they improve. Embrace those messy moments because they teach you valuable lessons. And don’t forget to use Theresa’s framework to help hone your goal setting and planning skills!