So, you’ve talked with your employees and consulted your customers, looked at your own activities, established your sales and profit targets, reviewed your expenses, taken an aerial view of your company and your life within your business, spent time checking with your gut and have come up with a plan of action for 2016. After all that work, don’t forget to take action and work that plan. And the sooner the better.


You may or may not have heard about the 72-hour rule, but if you are like most people, you are in need of enforcing it in some aspect of your life.  It’s all about preventing that devil of creativity and productivity: procrastination.  Simply put, the rule states that the longer you put something off, the less likely you are to do it, so you need to set a 72-hour window for yourself.


This applies to everything in our lives from fixing that leaky faucet to working up the nerve to ask that cute guy out, but it is particularly important in terms of business.  Procrastination can hit any businessperson but can be extremely detrimental to SMEs.  That’s because with the freedom of creating your business comes the added responsibility of having to do everything yourself.


Anyone who has ever entertained the thought of rolling out of bed and going to work in your pajamas every day also has to deal with the reality of being a small or medium enterprise owner.  It’s not like you’ve got a staff of thousands to whom you can delegate responsibility.  If you’re putting things off, they’re not going to get done unless you do them.


This is where the 72-hour rule comes into play.  It has been determined that once you put something off for more than three days, you will have convinced yourself that it’s not worth doing and it will never get done.  For a small business owner, this can be particularly deadly, because those pesky little tasks just may be essential to keeping your business afloat.


So, for you and your employees, the 72-hour rule just might be your best friend.  You need to make sure that you do whatever needs to be done, or at least get started on it if it is a large task, within that 72-hour window so that you will get it done.  And if you need more than 72 hours to complete it, then do what you can in the first window, then set yourself another 72 hours for the next step.


Once you get in the habit of doing this, you’ll not only see your productivity, and possibly even your profits increase, you’ll also find that you have changed your entire approach.  Instead of being stuck in one spot gazing at that “to do” list, you’ll be out there doing what needs to be done and feeling better about yourself.


Sure, you’re thinking, easy for you to say but how do I go about making this change?  It’s not rocket science; it just takes one small step at a time.  One task, one 72-hour time limit, is all you need to get yourself started.  Once you’ve accomplished that, then you’ll be motivated to keep it going and get more done and it will take off naturally from there.


Of course, if you’re stuck and can’t manage to take that first step on your own, that’s where having a business coach can help. Together, we can talk through your issues and get your business on the right track toward success, 72 hours at a time.



Awhimai is a business coach and consultant passionate about women in business and leadership. Find out more at