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?
This is a common problem- just ask yourself- if you were allowed to work two hours a day - or for that matter two hours a week- what are the tasks you would endeavour to complete on priority?
Secondly delegate tasks to people - that would help you to take time off t concentrate on priority tasks
Thirdly do one or two major tasks a day- your minor tasks can revolve around your major ones
Kate, you have a wealth of terrific tips here. I'll add three more:
1. At any moment, you can decide what you should or shouldn't be doing with your time. Just ask yourself, "What is the most valuable use of my time right now? Your priority at that moment could well be to be fully present with a loved one. Whatever the answer is, start or continue doing it. If you're focused on driving revenues, then the question becomes, "Is what I'm doing right now contributing to making a sale?" If the answer is yes, keep doing what you're doing. If the answer is no, stop immediately and start on something that brings business and revenue.
2. Do nothing in your day that isn't written either in your schedule or on your action items master list. This is a great habit to adopt in that, when you're disciplined enough to do only those things already written into your schedule or action items, the act of writing it first may help you understand that it's not all that important. It also helps prevent you from majoring in minors that contribute little or nothing to your key result areas.
3. Know and plan around your internal and external prime time. Your internal prime time is when you tend to be more focused and productive. I know that I'm better in the morning on key tasks and actions, so when I have the choice, I schedule those early. If you happen to be more of an afternoon/evening person, save your key task for then. External prime time is when your customers and prospects are available. Don't be doing administrative tasks when you can be finding new prospects and turning them into customers. Key here is to find when internal and external prime times overlap and schedule your highest value activities in those time slots.
Keep the faith,
I have written a book as a Beginner's Guide Book - available on Amazon as a paperback or as an eBook "The Business Plan and Beyond" by RG Bud Phelps. I have been a Practical Accounting presenter for a SCORE workshop which is made available for individuals starting out in business. I requested individual presenters of other subjects; Legal, Business Planning, Banking, and Insurance to contribute a chapter to the book I refer to above covering their individual field. That is why I say that "The Business Plan and Beyond" is a good Beginner's Guide Book. I have 50+ years in Accounting and Management; all the way from an Accounting Clerk to the President of a Manufacturing company, and therefore want to share my knowledge with individuals wanting to start their own business.
On my website I have made available several Practical Accounting Templates for individuals’ FREE use in developing their Business Plans, and setting up their Accounting Systems. Use this link for downloading the free templates - http://budspracticalaccounting.com/resources/free-downloads/
You will find that when you utilize the template covering the development of your Business Plan it will force you to put your ducks in a row, covering all of the bases you have developed to detail information about your venture. The Business Plan along with its supporting Financial Statements forces you to face the reality of putting all of your collected information in an orderly fashion. I wish you the very best knowing that your task is not an easy one. Remember this one thing, not matter what kind of business you are trying to develop, your main goal for going into business is to make a PROFIT. That doesn't mean it can't be fun, or something you feel will be helpful for individuals utilizing your product or service, but you must make a Profit to survive. You can not run out of Cash in October.
All of the advice above (below) is valid. Want maximum ROI?
Use "Eisenhower's Urgent/Important Principle" AND/OR the "BCG Matrix" (http://slidehunter.com/powerpoint-templates/urgent-vs-important-matrix-template-powerpoint/)
Until you are an expert. And then stick to it.
CEO and Founder
HLPMEHLPYOU PTY LTD
One recommendation is to clearly identify your business goals and what specific tasks you need to accomplish to meet those business goals. Then actually block time on your calendar (date and times) when you are going to work on your strategic tasks. Once you have actually blocked/reserved the time on your calendar - keep those appointments. Allow your day to day tasks fill the space around those blocks. Act as if those appointments are critical to your business' success (because they are).
Hello Kate - How can we mix day to day work with steategic work , even if we do day to day tasks ,We shall find the time to focus on the important work , through managing our time even if we have extra time specially for the sreategic work which effecs the total work of the company , dailly routine work can be managed by anyone in the company .while strategic work reflects the decisions made by the owner So its very important to give & focus on it .
People tend to go to the tasks that are the easiest to do, like getting rid of the easiest e-mails. easy return calls...In trying to set some time to work on the harder more strategic decisions take time for yourself either exercising, jogging, time where your distractions are limited and work on the big more difficult issues...I would suggest an even split of 50-50
Stay lean. 80% of things in your list are not really critical.
Focus on Value. What will really bring cash to your project?
Once you have a 3 item list focused on value-critical items, set harsh time constraints, this is when we do the most.
Only reevaluate the list on a weekly basis, otherwise you waste time overthinking.
If you have not already done so, it is critical to identify your priorities and objectives. How do these align with what you want to accomplish? Once you have established these, then focus on the "big" things and make sure you schedule time to get them done. If you don't focus on the the big, important priorities first, they will never get done.
Best of luck.
First, you probably have a number of tasks you do every day -- set aside an hour to do those tasks and stick to it. Then set aside an hour to work exclusively on your strategic tasks. Go into your calendar app and create that one (or even two) every day. Set it as a high priority block of time -- and do it. If you're not willing to schedule your time for strategic efforts and keep that schedule, then there isn't any advice and there aren't any tools that are going to help. You can always convince yourself that the alligator that has you by the ankle is more important than draining the swamp. Sometimes, you just have to ignore the alligator.
The best way to prioritize your day is to spend your time only on money-making activities. Everything else should be able to be delegated, or postponed.
But, by prioritizing the activities that directly lead to sales/clients, you can ensure you have the funds to continue growing your business.
Ask yourself if what you're going to work on can lead to sales, or if it's just busy work.
Here's a free tool I have to help you sort your "to do list" into focusing what is most meaningful. www.DiscoveryGuide.net Enjoy!
As others have said, you are not the "lone ranger" with this problem. It is one of the biggest for business owners (and many other people as well). I will reiterate what some others have said and provide some additional perspective.
If you are going to own your own business, you have some personal financial and lifestyle objectives. Nail those down -- go out 3 - 5 years and put a stake in the sand on just those issues. Then line those PERSONAL goals up with what your BUSINESS needs to look like in that time frame for you to realize those goals. You then define the top capabilities you need to have and to have accomplished to realize those goals.
You then go through a process of bringing the objectives and strategies back to 12 months and then 90 days so that you have a road map of WHAT YOU NEED TO BE DOING TODAY to start down that path. It forces you to determine benchmarks so you know how you are progressing. Get some assistance to quickly pull you through this process.
As others have said, schedule time with yourself (ON YOUR CALENDAR) for even just 30 minutes per week to make sure you determine if you are following the path you have set, as described above. Having a mentor or coach or partner holding you accountable for doing those things really provides the incentive to pull away from the URGENT things that are filling up your time, so you can also work on the IMPORTANT things (to pull from Stephen Covey).
I hope this helps.
You need to break down your "To-Do" list by ABC categorization. A's are the items that MUST be done today, B"s are those that you do if you can get to them or can delegate, and C's are items that, if necessary, can be done later. You will find that B's will move up as days go by, and C's may disappear over time.
Hi Kate the good news is you are not alone. The other good news is that the issue is fixable too. Step one, develop your over-arching plan (mission, vision) from which you derive your strategic (how I get the over-arching plan done) plans. Step two, allocate fixed time for the day to day tasks, You'll likely find that many can be nested into less time if not simply one day of the week or even less frequently. Don't forget to view these day to day tasks in context, that is they are part of the execution of the strategic plans. In this way the day to day is less inclined to take on a life of it's own.
Either you are working on the most important thing you need to do to make profit via you business - first and foremost - every day or your not.
You may have an alignment issue. If the activities of making money are somehow "out of wack" with your strategic goals - something else is wrong. How is it that the execution of your plans based on goals within your strategy aren't intrinsically relevant to the purpose and well-being of your business?
Time management is a daily task that because we live in age of too many distractions becomes more difficult. I use the philosophy “Begin with the end in mind.” To start it is healthy to get everything you need to get done on paper or a time management tool. I have learned not to keep everything I need to do inside my head because it only creates more stress. I recommend the author David Allen “Getting Things Done”
The best way is to set some time to plan. Look at the benefits of planning. It can be as easy as making a list and looking at each day. Revise YOUR priorities. That list is a day to day task.
It sets your priorities since you are doing it. One other thing: Post it on the bathroom mirror or bedroom mirror. Maybe in your car. You see it every day as you are changing clothes or brushing your teeth. Or getting in your car. Sets you in the right direction to achieve. Good luck. All the best.
I have been struggling with this problem, too! It's the "so busy working in my business that I don't have time to work on my business" challenge. I try to set aside one morning a week to work on strategic direction, marketing and making those difficult phone calls. It probably needs more time or someone to delegate easier tasks to — I'm working on that! My assistant this summer was very helpful in identifying businesses with my target description.
Hi Kate. Best of luck getting your jewelry business moving. Time management is the hardest thing to master, both as a moonlighter and as a start-up founder, so don't expect the need for time management to go away entirely. On another post I saw one of the posters say "...you know its a juggling act"...and it most certainly is. When I first started my biz, the administrative tasks always consumed my time so I couldn't think. Unless you have the funds to pay an assistant, its natural that these "must-dos" come before the "want-to-do's". But I did exactly what you said. I prioritized my tasks and made sure I at least dedicated some time to the strategy and "CEO" work instead of getting bogged down 100% of the time in my admin work. Eventually, as the "CEO" I started to see how the administrative work could be organized and eventually reduced. As we grew, I put systems and procedures in place so the admin tasks were less cumbersome. I believe you'll be able to do the same. Keep me posted on your progress...would love to follow your story as you go. Rich V.