The story of IBM’s “think” campaign is a favorite anecdote among speakers and writers concerned with success. Originally developed by IBM founder Thomas J. Watson, Sr., the single word “think” first appeared in IBM offices, plants and company publications in the 1920s. By the early 1930s, it had crowded out most other inspirational slogans used by the company.
While I don’t pretend to be in the same class as IBM, I too have adopted a one-word slogan for my creative business. It’s boosted my productivity by changing the way I work and — no pun intended — think about my business. And it can do the same thing for you.
My magic word is…NOW.
Hang it up in your office, preferably in a spot where you’re likely to see it when you feel tempted to let something slide. Put it in action when you think about necessary tasks you don’t like doing or stuff that’s easy to put off until tomorrow morning…or next week…or forever.
A few examples:
- Should I clean my desk tomorrow? (No, do it now.)
- When should I start that passion project? (Why not now?)
- Should I follow up with that great prospect next week? (I bet you can guess the answer.)
In short, try to make “now” your default answer for anything with potential to move your creative business forward, especially if it smells like work. This is a much better strategy than New Year’s resolutions, which often don’t work because they create the illusion you have 365 days to accomplish them. Wouldn’t it be better to take action now?
A few strategies for embracing “now”:
- Start small. Set aside 15 minutes a day as your “do something now” time. You don’t have to get to the “big now” on day one.
- Act “now” early in the day. Do at least one small thing before you check email or LinkedIn.
- Make “now” quantifiable. Apply the “now” strategy to tasks that have a clear resolution, like making a call, writing your monthly newsletter, or even just calling a writer to get him or her to write your monthly newsletter for you.
- Use it only for important stuff. Hint: During business hours, the correct answer to the question “when should I check FamousSocialMediaSite.com?” is not “now” unless you have actually made money on FamousSocialMediaSite.com in the last seven days…and then only if you’re using it exclusively for business…and maybe not even then.
- Build the habit. Do at least one thing “now” every day.
So…when are you going to stop reading this and do something great for your business?
Tom N. Tumbusch writes copy that creates action for designers, creative agencies and green businesses. He is the author of the free eBook The Writer/Designer Dream Team and periodically shares more casual wisdom on the WordStream of Consciousness Blog. His tiny solar-powered corner of the Internet can be found at www.wordstreamcopy.com.
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