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How to Create Order from Chaos

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How to Create Order from Chaos

By Michelle Yozzo Drake

This past Friday I got a dose of my own medicine...yes, it was painful...but VERY productive.

On Friday, my business partner (and husband) Rich and I left our offices in an effort to take a division of our business and get it organized. We did this by thinking strategically about where we wanted this division to go. The division was our Michelle Y. Drake brand...yep, that's my stuff.

We have been very blessed that there has been such a demand for the services and products that we are offering...but there is only so much time in the day...and this part of the business is so closely linked with me that we are limited to how much time I have to dedicate to each project that I am personally involved with. Now I share this with you so that you may have a peek into the process.

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No matter what your job or life choices...if you are feeling overwhelmed and overcommitted you might want to try to step back like we did for our myd brand.

Step 1. Start at the end

We began with discussing what I wanted to be doing 1 year, 5 years and 10 years from now and what impact that had on the business and the team. When you love so many things it is easy to lose focus with work. What do I enjoy the most and what to I see giving us the lifestyle we want as we look at becoming empty nesters next year. What does success look like for Michelle Yozzo Drake and The Cove Group, Inc.? Once we decided on what the desired end result was to be we were ready for step 2.

Step 2. Study your present conditions

This sounds very simple but it took some brutal honesty to confess to where all of my time was going. I conduct workload analysis studies for clients all of the time. I ask them to track their time and activities. They always tell me it is no fun but a very revealing exercise...I would have to agree. I was spending way more time on marketing and networking that was really necessary (considering I have a development and sales staff covering that). I also was not spending enough time working on my book projects.

Step 3. Rank and Rate the level of importance in relation to step 1

We made a chart to capture all of the tasks on my 2 week workload analysis. Then we rated the level of importance of having me handle these tasks. Some were important to achieving the end results we wanted but could be performed by others on our team. Some were critical for me to handle. Other tasks...were just plain dumb and did not move us forward at all. Those were fun to ditch!

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Step 4. Be committed to only scheduling projects/appointments to support step 1

I needed some help with this one. I have a tendency to over extend myself. I get excited about a project or organization and want to jump right in. Being held accountable for what I agree to support is helping me make better use of my time and talent. I now am having my amazing assistant book all of my appointments. It gives me some time to think about what I am agreeing to and if it is helping me work toward my own goals. This does not mean that I am not still doing charitable work. I just have a finite amount of time that I am allowed to agree to...so I have to really make it count. Sometimes it is just hard to say no! We have to get better at that in order to bring ourselves out of the chaos.

Step 5. Delegate what you can

I have to say, I am not a control freak. I like my "stuff" to be a certain way, but I also love it when someone else can execute the tasks. An expectation of excellence does not have to be ditched in order to delegate. The trick is to delegate smart. Know your team (or family) and assign tasks to match the talents of your resources. Don't give a detail-oriented task to a creative soul...You won't get all the t's crossed and i's dotted but you will get something unique. Know what you need and don't be shy about asking for it. If you are in chaos...you need help!

Step 6. Have a glass of wine and celebrate your new plan!

This was my favorite step in the process!


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“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” – Helen Keller