Now that you’ve begun to take action on your business plan—to bridge the gap between vision and reality—you may have discovered that getting it all done can be a challenge. Maybe you’re missing deadlines, or you’re leaving crucial things undone.
You’re not alone.
The average human spends 20% of the workday completing business-crucial tasks, and 80% of the workday on things of little or no value to the success of a business strategy.
And considering that you’re a business owner, it’s likely that your business-related tasks are NOT reserved for the standard “workday.”
If your habits fall within the above-mentioned statistic, and you’re having trouble getting everything that’s necessary to the execution of your business strategy done, then you can see the problem:
Attention is being paid, in large part, to all the wrong tasks.
Human nature dictates that we feel compelled to complete what’s easiest or mundane first, to “get it out of the way,” in some sort of bogus “preparation” for the tasks we know are most fundamentally important. And to go along with that, we tend to put off what we see as difficult, new or scary…and those are typically the tasks crucial to the success of business strategies.
How can you save your business strategy from falling victim to this type of detrimental behaviour? You can follow these tips for prioritisation and time management. Soon, you’ll see that things start getting done. Then, you’ll see your business strategy begin to blossom, as it is implemented. And finally, your new “get it done” mindset will become your new default…your new way of doing, and succeeding in, business.
And here’s that list:
- When you first start to implement your business strategy, everything seems like a priority. You may tend to be of the mindset that everything needs to be done now, and so you either start at the top of the list or you knock out the easiest tasks first (so the list looks smaller, quickly). This is a mistake. Instead, list all of the tasks ahead of you and prioritise them. In order to do this, take things like due/promise dates and incompletion consequences into consideration. Think about the short-term and long-term ramifications of not completing a task or only partially completing it. Consider the profit impact of any incomplete task. Put those tasks that, when completed, will offer the greatest value to the success of your business strategy at the TOP OF THE LIST, to be completed first.
- Plan, plan, plan. It has been suggested that for every hour spent planning, four hours of scrambling is saved. If you’ve ever executed something after careful planning, and remember how smoothly it went, you’ll have no trouble believing this notion. Just the process of planning, itself is valuable to your overall view of any strategy. As you plan (i.e. organise tasks into a turn-by-turn scheme), priorities will surface and creative ideas for completing those tasks will, too.
- Avoid becoming bound by details. Too often, perfectionism will not only cause a task to be completed outside of a deadline; that perfectionism will take precedence over the true purpose of the task. Get started. Get it done. The polish will come.
- Stay flexible, remembering that the priorities you set will change from day-to-day and sometimes from hour-to-hour. If an urgent task presents itself (e.g. a proposal to attain a new account), be prepared to shift everything so that it can take precedence. Prepare your mind for this to happen; then, when something comes up, your overall plan won’t seem thoroughly disrupted. You will feel more in-control.
- Sometimes, in order to get everything done, you simply must delegate. This could mean handing the really important tasks over to a professional who is better suited to completing them than you are. It might mean appointing someone (like a personal assistant) to complete the more mundane tasks. Whatever it is, use the skill sets at your disposal to get the most important things done first—and well.
- Eliminate procrastination as an option. One thing put to the side may seem inconsequential; but what if one thing is put to the side every day? In just one month, that’s about 30 things you’ll have to do—and how much profit will you lose when they go undone? How much stress will you experience, thinking about how you’ll get it all done? Keep your desk and your mind uncluttered. Make a plan (either for the immediate future or the near future) to complete every task that you’re presented with, and stick to that plan. Your business strategy will thank you, with clean, uncluttered and focussed execution.
- Identify time sucks and compartmentalise them. Time sucks are those things that may take only a few minutes at a time throughout the day, but that continually interrupt your forward movement in getting things done. This could be checking email, social media, small-talk or answering the phone. Notice I wrote “compartmentalise” above, rather than “eliminate.” You still have to answer the phone, check email and keep up-to-date with your social media pages. However, if you assign a time during the day for each, where you dedicate your complete attention to that task, then it will take less time overall and you’ll complete more of the important tasks in your business strategy. It’s okay to use a Do Not Disturb sign, to silence your phone or to turn off social media and email notifications. Your business strategy will thank you.
- Cut out useless meetings. The business meeting has become something rather perfunctory, rather than something necessary to moving forward. Reserve meetings for time when real problems need to be solved, and when business strategy implementation will actually benefit. Avoid regularly scheduled meetings where new business is little more than a revisit of old business.
This should get you started with prioritising and time management. However, there is so much more to talk about, especially when it comes to your specific business strategy and the tasks involved with implementing it. Why not schedule a free 30-minute consultation with me? Let’s talk about it.
 Dr. Donald E. Wetmore, founder of the Productivity Institute