You have got to calm down.

I rarely say this to people who... aren't me, but you have got to calm down!
-Devil Wears Prada

Chill out, breathe, and get yourself together.

Before we proceed, excitement is your friend.  Get excited, celebrate, pop a bottle. 

Panic is not your friend.  Understand the difference. 

Gather round while I tell you that way back in business school, my favorite professor ever, Dr. Judith Hunt, taught me more in a single semester than I learned in 2 years of all the other "specialized" classes.  She inspired my desire to learn more, to go a little further, and to truly understand not the terms and language, but the theories, policies, and philosophy.  

So, it should be no surprise I can't remember the name of this quadrant, and yes, I could Google it, but that would be cheating.  However, I do know how to explain it well enough to help with panic.  So, here we go.

Before we get into this, I want to address the "...but I'm so much more productive when I'm under pressure/running late/against a deadline/[whatever you need to say to yourself]".  That's fine, but that is not a way to exist, or grow, or scale out in the long haul.  If you want to feel like a college freshman who's 15lbs overweight and downing Redbull and eating Fritos, keep allowing yourself to believe the above.  Let's move on.

When you look at your business, plans, or goals, you should aim to be in the bottom right- NOT IMPORTANT and NOT URGENT.  Yes, it's work to get there, and we all like to be in URGENT and IMPORTANT because then we think that we look like we are doing something- which is often just mistaking 'busy' for 'inefficient'.  

So, how do we get there?  Calm down. Stop panicking.  99% of the time, nothing is going to happen today that is going to be the make or break moment of your business.  By no means am I denying the fact that anything can happen at any time, I'm simply saying we should not be treating every incident through our day like it's the last.

Planning prevents panic.  Good ideas happen ALL THE TIME.  We don't hear about every good idea, let's just say, Apple has.  Why?  Because they plan the release of that idea.  They create hype around the idea, they plan out how it will be shared, when, and what will result in the most beneficial result for their business.  This delay also allows them to kill their darlings, if in fact, they realize this is NOT a good idea. You're right, you're not Apple, you're a small business owner hustling a dream and won't take no for an answer.  Which is why a plan is even more beneficial.  

When an idea comes along, a sale, a product, an event, jot down all of your notes on:

  1. What is the point?
  2. Do you have everything that will be needed?  (Things to consider here: multiple photographs, emails design, packaging, a website plan/layout to guide your dream customers, and more)
  3. How long will it take you to take care of #2?
  4. Add 2 days to the answer to #3.
  5. Get to work.

Yes, sit down, pour yourself a coffee or a beer, or whatever liquid, and make a plan.  Now, everyone hates planning.  I know.  I do, too, sometimes.  However, we mistake these moments of planning and plotting for not being "active", yet these practices are often more important than the product/event/idea.  I mean, hell, think about the planning of the Pet Rock.  A ROCK WITH A FACE ON IT WAS A REAL THING AND PEOPLE WENT NUTS.  Why?  They had a plan, and it worked.  They thought of the product, the consumer, and how to get the results they wanted, aka all the 1970's dollars they could get!

I'm giving you credit here and saying that your idea is better or prettier or cooler than a pet rock. Treat it that way.  Make a plan.  Stop panicking.  Calm down.  

This is not an advertisement, consider it more of a plea for quality.  If you need some help with an idea or a plan, I am here, -

Michael Ussery