Ten ways, of course*

Ah, summer. It’s got us by the neck here in the greater Philadelphia region, literally—when you step outside in weather this hot you can just about choke on the chewy, steamy air. Seems like folks don’t want to think too hard until the mercury comes down a bit—and even if it’s not quite 100°F where you are, I’ll bet it’s getting to you, too. But ten minutes? Everybody’s got the tail end of a coffee break or those last minutes before powering down the laptop for the day, waiting to be put to better use. Here, a few starters for the next time you can steal 10 minutes:

1. Go through recent emails, or sit and reminisce for a minute (just the right speed for summer “work”!). Write down the last three compliments you got from satisfied customers. Ask your web-person to put ‘em up on your website.

2. Early in the morning or late in the day, take a photo of your building in the gorgeous summer sun. Get that up on the website as well, with a map, so folks can find you more easily—and start to feel like they “know” the place before they even arrive.

3. While you’re taking photos, have a staffer or a friend take yours outside. Better yet, have your friend make it a group shot of you and the whole staff. If you haven’t updated your photo in a while (remember to smile for the birdie regularly), the warm tones of the summer sun will do wonders for any willing helper’s photography skills.

4. Read a magazine. Some folks might recommend you keep headlines and concepts from articles in your swipe files, and that’s great, but I’d like you to look at the advertisements. Take ten minutes and learn what folks with budgets way bigger than yours are emphasizing right now—fears? hopes? escapism? realism? Write down a few tips you can take from the mood of the moment—and will you go their way or make your own way?

5. Meet a neighbor. I know, I’m forever recommending that you extend your reach, and find out what your customers are thinking, but this idea’s more casual. In ten minutes you’re not going to make a sales pitch or pick anyone’s brain. Say hi to the owner of the business next door, ask a question you’ve always wondered about what they do, and say you were just taking a minute to stand up and look around you. Don’t get anxious about it, it’s not the introduction that’ll launch the next Tesla Motors … or maybe it is. You never know what a little “hello” can start.

6. Pick up the cigarette butts outside your building. Won’t take more than ten minutes, makes a world of difference.

7. Finish something you dropped the ball on. I don’t know what it is, but you do. Whatever that thing you dread is, take ten minutes and get it over with. (I had to take my own advice on this today, and it didn’t hurt a bit. Mostly.)

8. Read this blog. Start to finish, if you have more than ten minutes. Start now, if not. This is a guy I adore for his ability to turn ten minutes… into lemonade. Great reading in summer or anytime.

9. Read this book. So good I read it twice… and I keep coming back to it. Okay, it’ll take you a little longer than ten minutes, but it’s such a zippy read you can go through it in 10-minute chunks over several days, or devote a night to it and say to your neglected spouse, “Wow, tonight went by like it was only a coffee break!”

10. Stay hungry. (Do click through—Mark Stevens said it so well last week.) This is one of my most deeply held beliefs—that hunger is critical to maximizing potential—yet one I’m conflicted on, too. So much of the great creative, scientific, and business genius in history has come from hungry young men and women. There’s a spark to the early work of so many people that isn’t there in later years. Does this mean younger people have some advantage in cranking out the awesomeness?

(This won’t surprise you…) I don’t think so, if we’re willing to dream big, work hard, create big, bold, Maximum experiences, and stay hungry. If Renoir could do it until he was in his late 70s, why not us?

Got a ten-minute tip that’ll put a little summer zing into someone else’s business? Take one minute and share it in the comments!


Grow and be well,

Kelly Erickson

*Yes, folks, I’m on a tens-kick, leading up to the 500th post (coming soon!) here at MCE. Why? Because being on a 500s-kick would be too loooooong!