Employees working in any level of a company and most certainly entrepreneurs get stuck sometimes (or should I say lost) in the day-to-day operations. They find themselves going around in circles, working hard but feeling in a standstill – Short afterward, they start saying things such as… “I’m spending so many hours at work but I just can’t get any job done” or “no matter how hard I work I’m not making any progress”.

Stop. No one ever said that you need to work hard. It might be that you are just too busy creating work, instead of working. When I feel I’m wasting time working hard but not getting any job done or if things are not moving forward fast enough, I pause and think back at the memorable quote from the movie “The Untouchables” where Melone (played by Sean Connery) turns to the frustrated Eliot Ness (played by Kevin Costner) that is trying to find Al Capone’s hidden liquor place (played by De-Niro):

“Mr. Ness, everybody knows where the booze is. The problem isn’t finding it, the problem is who wants to cross Capone.”

It’s easy to know where your problem is if you stop and put yourself in someone else’s shoes, but if you still don’t know where “the booze” is and you can’t find a way to break the “work hard, long hours, no progress” cycle, here are a couple of things you should consider doing:

  1. Generate a list: Make a short 3-4 point list with the most important things that can really make a difference in your work.
  2. Baby steps: Complete small but meaningful assignments that have a clear beginning and end in a sensible time frame (hint: 2-3 days max).
  3. Order a cold shower: Ask someone objective and blunt to give you his/her opinion on the one most important thing you should be doing in order to get a certain result. It might not be fun to listen-but if you are able to put aside your ego, you might get a real sense of where you are getting it wrong.

If all else fails and you are still not sure where the booze is, comment below or get in touch with me via twitter and I’ll try to give it to you straight.