How do others approach setting the right priorities?
I have a lot on my to do list and I tend to focus on the day to day tasks I have. I am finding it hard to find time to focus on some of my strategic goals because the rest of my to do items take up all of my time. I am thinking I need to do a better job at setting priorities. How do others tackle their strategic goals while getting all of their pressing daily tasks done?
I've been there before, Kate and I find that these three things have helped me a lot:
There may be less important day to day tasks you could delegate to free up time that will let you focus on the bigger picture. This should shorten your to-do list.
2. Time limit
Set a time limit for each task you have left on your list, then challenge yourself to stick to it. I actually set my alarm to go off after each task is due, and becoming aware of this keeps me alert and on track.
3. Get a journal for your ideas
If you're like me, even when you schedule a specific day for planning strategic goals, you'll find it irresistable sometimes to squeeze it in whenever a new great idea comes to mind. This happens to me, and instead of putting it off where I fear I might forget it, I write it down in my journal of ideas which I always consult on my strategy planning days.
All the tips I've read here are really, really useful! I hope mine will help you as well.
There is a good time management technique that will get more focus on priorities.
Divide your to do list in 4 categories:
1-) IMPORTANT AND URGENT: Should be done first
2-) URGENT BUT NOT IMPORTANT: Should be done second
3-)IMPORTANT BUT NOT URGENT: Should be done third
4-)NOT IMPORTANT AND NOT URGENT: Should be done After complete all the 3 categories above
Then put the time line for each of your taks and sort by the 4 categories then you would have a good and simple task management methodology.
I love to keep things straight and simple.
Divide your priorities Day wise, Week wise and Monthly.
Every morning assign yourself tasks, end of the day mark them done.
Compare your weeks tasks for your monthly or quarterly goals. for ex. A line graph
Now you know very well, if you want to achieve success that line should go up!!
Good luck, lemme know if you wan to define your line chart !!
I am a great believer in lists. When you have strategic goals, you can break them down into "To Do" items to support the goals and follow through with decisions as well. Typically, every day start with a list; cross off finished items; and re-write the list at the end of the day for tomorrow. If you do not just include daily tasks (and you can leave out routine tasks performed the same at the same time every day), you can track your progress by checking on your list (Did it get longer? Have you crossed more off? Is it too short?, etc.).
Easy: place priority on IPAs: income producing activities, and turn off the email for large blocks of time. This is working brilliantly for me.
Set a specific time aside (best in the morning) where you go in a room where you cannot be reached. I usually do this early in the morning before the hectic day starts.
Kate, you're in a long line of business professionals that struggle with this. Here's what I do and what I guide my clients towards.
Setting priority is a function of what is most important, not what is most urgent or what is most familiar. In order to establish importance, the task or goal needs to be connected to a larger strategy or end game. If you recognize that your most important resource is your time, spending your time on your most important tasks is the best way to accomplish what is most important to you. You will be better able to decide what to focus on and what to leave or let go.
Try this. List all of your tasks on paper. If you use a word doc, it's easier to move things around. Ask yourself these questions. 1). What should I not be doing? Cross them off. 2). What can I delegate or hand off? Move them aside.
Now you are left with everything that you should be doing. Begin at the top and as you go down the list, ask yourself if the item you are looking at is more important than the one above it. If so, move it up, if not move it down. When you finish, address the top 5 first.
Tip- if you run your own business, what you spend your time on should be connected in some way to generating revenue first. Also, learn to say 'no' more often. Filling your list with things important to everyone else will drain you of your time, energy and desire to accomplish what is most important to you.
You have run into an issue that is typical to business owners. You answered part of the question. To begin with, all goals short-term and long-term need to be written down. Once they are on paper, they become a reality. There is no looking back. Keep it where you can stare at them. How do you prioritize tasks? Do you do them as they come or are the important ones tackled first? How do you separate the high-value and low-value tasks?
A business coach can help with effective time management. There are a lot of unanswered questions in your question. For instance, do you have the resources to delegate? Your job should be to be an entrepreneur, creating strategic plans/goals for the growth of your firm.
Ummmm, what are you talking about regarding your day to day? I sit down on Sunday or Monday morning and map out for the week - each day what I have to get done - that is the #1 - everything else - it happens after I have finished with the items on the list that have to - like this:
* I list the client name and write - work on website (this is an example) if it is written down - I know that it is a priority
* I also use Sticky notes - on my mac and I keep track of what has to be done - clients come first - I come last - so my next few entries will be "quickbooks doug" "quickbooks visione investments - "quickbooks - visione enterprises" etc.
* I do add my email - to review something later
All the rest of the tasks are lower on the totem pole - I also work from home the majority of the time - so I have a schedule - when I get up in the morning I make the beds, throw a load of laundry in, feed the dog and the cats and pick up - and I walk each morning -
I have a routine and it works for me - all I can say is that not all of your daily tasks have to get done that day -
Broadly speaking , not being aware of your product neither your industry, the problem you have mentioned is not actually a problem with your business , it is actually the state you feel you are in.
The problem of the business can only be identified by the KPI's of the business for eg either there is a decreasing sales trend, high employee turnover or loss of customers etc.
However, having said all that , the state you are in may not be a problem at this time but it can cause a major setback to the business in the short or long term future if not addressed properly. Or may be it is harming some aspect of the business at this point in time but cannot be identified in this state.
My suggestion in this case is that you immediately need to resolve your state by a small brainstorming exercise either alone or with your immediate teammates. It can take few hours or may be few days but your objective should be to come out with a document in your hand which clearly defines where you were or where you started , where you are at the moment and where you want to be after a few years.
The idea behind getting to know where you were and what milestones you have achieved is to make you comfortable and confident that you have achieved something over a period of time and this is how you will feel motivated to move further forward to plan for your future.
In other words we also call it the Strategic Plan .Once you have all these parameters with you and the exact timeline in which these objectives have to be achieved you will feel yourself to be in a much better position to prioritize yourself.
This document should also address the human resource enhancement plan which will give you a relief over a period of time from some important objectives of the business like marketing , advertising or even human resource management,or may be finance or sales management. This will all depend on your resource mobilization strategy over a period of time .
This is a long discussion but i would strongly suggest to sit and do a AS IS and TO BE exercise in detail so that you are focused on the actual priorities.Those priorities which are healthy for the FUTURE of the business .
In majority of the businesses you will be surprised to know that people do not find themselves wrong in working on the priorities but most of them find themselves wrong in identifying the right priorities at the right time.
Businesses exhaust themselves by investing resources into wrong priorities not by overworking or under working on the identified priorities.
Closing here because this will take days and days of discussion.The best would be for you to take action immediately and then we can discuss it in future on some developments or outcomes on Mosaic Hub.