The Post-It Note You Need on the Bathroom Mirror

The Post-It Note You Need on the Bathroom MirrorMarch 29, 2022


Some folks use a Post-It note in a prominent place, like the bathroom mirror or on their computer monitor, to remind them of their goals and to provide motivation to reach those goals. The idea is that if you visualize it, it will happen.

For some, visualization might work wonders. For the rest of us, it sets us up for failure and despair. (My golf game is just one example.)

And here we are, approaching the end of the first quarter, and that Post-It note with the goals for this year might feel like more of a screaming indictment than encouragement. Maybe we’re even working off a new note, one with more modest aspirations, and we’re feeling guilty because we lowered our sights.

Instead of goals based on sales or numbers of clients, try this reminder note on and see how it fits:

Stuff I Need to Quit Doing

What should be on this list are the items you, as the owner of your business, have no business doing yourself, yet you persist. It’s low-level client service work, bookkeeping, or marketing details. It’s work that’s necessary for the health of your business, but it doesn’t mean that you must be the one to do it. (Even if you're a solopreneur.)

Whatever is on your list, it’s those things that take you away from high level client work (the real value-add) or the business development work you never have time for.

I didn’t just think this idea up over the weekend. W. Edwards Deming, born in 1900, writing on management and leadership, observed that “eighty-five percent of the reasons for failure are deficiencies in the systems and process rather than the employee. The role of management is to change the process rather than badgering individuals to do better.”

Deming’s management philosophy of Total Quality Management, by the way, was arguably the single biggest idea which drove Japan’s recovery after World War II.

Applying Deming’s idea to our own businesses, we might infer that 85% of the reason we don’t hit our goals for top line growth arises from a failure of our systems or processes.

So if you’re off track on the goals you set for yourself this year, follow Deming’s idea. Quit badgering yourself to do better. Tear up the Post-It note you started the year with and make up a new one. Focus on removing the sand in the gears of your business, the minutiae you have no business doing.

As you get those details off your plate, you’ll be amazed at the value you’re giving yourself and your business.


Image from JumpStory

(This blog post was also posted on LinkedIn.)

©Ray Business Advisors, LLC and John Ray


About me: I help solo or small professional services firm owners with the confidence and positioning necessary to improve their pricing and change the trajectory of not only their business but their life.

I have a podcast called The Price and Value Journey, which features interviews with industry leaders and audio versions of my blog posts. You can find the podcast on your favorite podcast app.

I also have a book coming out in 2023:  The Price and Value Journey: Raise Your Confidence, Your Value, and Your Prices to Grow Your Business Using The Generosity Mindset.

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