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Stop for one minute and think of all the things that you need to do today. Does the list look something like this?

Meetings, phone calls, management decisions, handling customers, payroll, accounts payable, and on, and on…

Wrong answer.

I asked what you were supposed to do today. That list I just gave? Look at it again – the only thing on it are business-related items. Now look at the list of things to do today – do any of the items on them not have business stuff on them?

Time with the family? A date with your significant other? An hour at the park? Even something mundane – wash your socks?

Probably not. Why? For most entrepreneurs, it’s because of one key factor: They put themselves (and everything else) behind the business. It’s understandable – The Business drives income, which allows you to let your kids go to camp, to have dance recitals, to take your husband out to dinner.

Unfortunately, The Business, in most cases, doesn’t let you do that. It is a very jealous entity and until you take the time to rein it in, it can run all over you and leave you with nothing.

As Robert Frost observed, “Good fences make good neighbors.”

For a while now, just 40 or so years, I’ve extolled the virtues of systems and programs in any business to make it both easier to run effectively and to allow you, as the owner, to understand and create measurable metrics that help you to make changes with data, not guesses.

But there’s more to it than that. Any theory, over time, will be improved upon, and while creating systems is still the number one priority that most entrepreneurs need to concentrate on before they ever open for business, now there is much more to it than that.

They need to envision and embrace what the finished business is going to look like – and who is going to be served by it – before they ever open up. Since I began The Dreaming Room a decade ago, I’ve challenged entrepreneurs around the world to spend more time envisioning and planning a business than ever before.

Which brings us back to you and your list of things to do today.

Why haven’t you acknowledged the most basic premise of corporate law: “I am not the business and the business is not me’? What can you do to change that list to include your family and the things that are important to you outside of your company?

Here’s my goal for this month: We’re going to take a longer and deeper look at the things you can do in your business week after week to change how you view – and what you view – as the things you have to do to be successful in your business. Think of it NOT as spending time with me in my own Dreaming Room, but rather, as gaining a firm hold on the things that are slowing down the speed at which you can change and strengthen your business.

Ready? I’ll see you in a couple of days but for right now, spend some time thinking about ergonomics.

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