Spring is finally here, and it’s hard to believe that the first quarter of 2017 has come to an end. The end of a quarter presents a natural opportunity to pause, assess, and reflect on the state of your business.
I love this time of year. As the dull days of winter give way to warmer weather, it seems like the energy level in the marketplace seems to increase. It’s also early enough in the year to make changes if things aren’t working out.
Here are three simple things that should be on every entrepreneur’s end-of-quarter to-do list.
Take time to reflect and relax
Real relaxation is difficult to achieve, due in no small part to the constant deluge of information to which we subject ourselves. Email, text, Slack messages and social media notifications fire off in a regular cadence, constantly demanding our attention no matter where we are.
This, of course, is far easier said than done. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m addicted to this never-ending flow of information. It makes me feel connected, productive, and secure.
The unfortunate reality, however, is that constant connectivity provides a false sense of comfort. We often mistake connectivity for true connection and being busy for true productivity.
Unplugging and going analog for a period can help reset your system and force you to be present in the current moment. This forced mindfulness can be challenging, but it’s the first and most important step toward relaxing and recharging.
Assess your direction and performance
Before you can assess your team’s overall performance, you must first assess yourself. There is no lonelier job than being an entrepreneurial CEO. It’s a position with no peers; only employees, and shareholders.
It’s difficult to get honest and actionable feedback, so you have to have a strong sense of self-awareness to survive. Without self-awareness, it’s impossible to control your reaction to the trials and tribulations that life so often presents.
This is especially important for leaders, as their actions (either conscious or unconscious) set the tone for the entire organization.
Doing a self-assessment of your strengths and weaknesses, as well as what excites you or causes anxiety, is one of the most important exercises a leader can do.
The first step towards self-awareness is to recognize and be open about the things that cause stress, anxiety, and negativity in your life. This self-assessment enables you to prepare yourself and your team for the challenges and opportunities that you will face in the coming year.
Remember, positivity and negativity are a choice, you just have to be self-aware enough to recognize it.
Make adjustments before it’s too late
Every business has its ups and downs; the important thing is to learn from every situation. Entrepreneurs need to be intellectually honest about what went well over the quarter, and what didn’t.
I’ve always felt that the first quarter of the year is a time for calibration and planning. After all, best-laid plans sometimes fail to materialize as you expected.
However, if things haven’t gone quite the way you planned, realize that now is the time to change course. If you don’t take action at the very start of the second quarter, there’s a good chance that your year-end goals will be in jeopardy.
So while thoughts of Spring cleaning are on your mind, be sure to set aside some time to pause, reflect, and adjust. As we move deeper into 2017, you’ll be happy you did.
Author Chris Myers who is the Co-Founder & CEO of BodeTree, a financial management solution for organizations that serve small business. I’m a frequent MSNBC contributor and the author of “Enlightened Entrepreneurship.” All in all, I’m just looking to bring a bit of Zen to the world of business. Follow me on Twitter @chris_myers_ or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org