The Best Four Questions To Ask Yourself When You’re Stuck

We all get stuck sometime… But this can be particularly daunting for entrepreneurs who often wear multiple “hats.”

In his national bestseller, “Getting Things Done,” (2001, Penguin Books), David Allen aptly describes this dilemma by saying, “You’ve probably made many more agreements with yourself than you realize, and every single one of them – big or little – is being tracked by a less-than-conscious part of you. These are the ‘incompletes’ or ‘open loops,’ which I define as anything pulling at your attention that doesn’t belong where it is, the way it is. Open loops can include everything from really big to-do items like ‘End world hunger’ to the more modest ‘Hire new assistant’ to the tiniest task such as ‘Replace electric pencil sharpener.’

It’s likely that you also have more internal commitments currently in play than you’re aware of. Consider how many things you feel even the smallest amount of responsibility to change, finish, handle, or do something about.” (p. 12).

Sound familiar?

It’s really easy to lose sight of the “forest” when there are so many trees!

So then what happens? Often people become so overwhelmed that they end up becoming “paralyzed” and do nothing… Don’t let this happen to you.

Instead, ask yourself the following four simple questions… They’ll help you clear away some of those branches!

1. What am I doing?

Quite often small business owners just start “doing it, doing it, doing it” with no real goal or direction in mind.

Although you may be busy and it feels like you’re accomplishing something, your activity may not be helping you reach your overall goals.

So, begin by defining your activities and asking yourself if performing it will bring you closer, or further away from, your objectives. If it’s the latter… stop now.

2. What should I be doing?

Refocus and get back on track by itemizing only those tasks that will help you attain your goals. The rest can wait.

3. What should I be doing next?

The answer to this question is easy… that is, as long as you have written goals and a plan in place to achieve them.

Unfortunately, however, many entrepreneurs fail to do so and therefore struggle to focus their energies where they’ll matter the most and stay on task. If this is your situation your next “to-do” is build that plan!

4. What should I not be doing?

A good plan and a set of goals will prevent you from doing things that take you further away from your objectives. It’s just as important to have a not to-do list as it is to have a to-do list.

The answers to these questions can…

…help refocus your energies in the right directions. They are simple in format, but very powerful in action. Here’s to your success!

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Mary Eule Scarborough, an unassailable marketing expert and thought leader, helps businesses of all sizes get and keep more profitable customers. She is also:

  • A former Fortune 500 marketing executive, …
  • The founder of two successful small businesses, …
  • An award-winning speaker, …
  • A Certified Guerrilla Marketing coach, and …
  • Co-author of three books (to-date): “The Procrastinator’s Guide to Marketing“, (Entrepreneur Press, November, 2007), “Mastering Online Marketing” (Entrepreneur Press, January, 2008), and “Guerrilla Marketing On The Internet” (Entrepreneur Press, July, 2008).
  • Qualified with a BA in Journalism / English from the University of Maryland, and …
  • Qualified with a Masters degree in marketing from The Johns Hopkins University.

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