I have to try to prioritize my days better. There’s a lot on my plate and I feel like I’m being pulled in too many directions at once which makes things really challenging. On top of that I have to deal with constant interruptions. I don’t want to set myself up for failure. I know that I should focus on my top priorities, but how do I know what those should be?
Thoughts of the Day: What’s really, really important is to get to the real bottom line. Delegate, monitor and be ready to adjust. Learn how long it takes to really do stuff. Checking things off on a to-do list is rewarding. Taking breaks is healthier than trying to push through.
Make a list of things that will really make you happy. More time off – why? Describe how you’d use that time off to be happy. Focused on earning more revenue and profit – to what purpose? Write out a list of things that additional revenue and profit will enable for you and your business. Defining the outcomes will likely increase your commitment as you get in touch with the things your goals will enable.
Once you know what you want to accomplish, it’s time to put together your task list. Include all the things that will have to get done in order to achieve your goals. This list is likely to be massive, so don’t get overwhelmed.
Each morning and afternoon review the to-do list. Check off what’s done and add more things based on what’s come up and what you’ve learned during the day. The more stuff on the list, the better. Don’t worry if it’s more than you can get to.
Don’t bother trying to do everything on your next-steps lists. It’s not possible without help. Even if you might be able to do something better, asking other people to help will reduce the stress on you and free you up to focus on more important tasks.
To reduce the to-do list to what you can effectively manage, assign as many tasks as possible to other staff members. Use emails and meetings to hand out assignments. Ask the people who are supposed to own individual assignments for estimates of when each task will be completed. If they choose a date that’s too far out, explain the problem and renegotiate due dates.
Find out how long it really takes to get things done by using next-steps lists, due dates and follow up to check off tasks when they’re completed. Keep a log of typical tasks and projects, with notes on how much time to budget the next time a similar project comes up.
Both for yourself and for all of the employees who count on you, don’t overlook opportunities to review and update the done’s on your next steps list. Give yourself and those around you small rewards, such as taking a short break, doing something that’s fun, or allowing time for a chat, for example. Recognize that taking credit for work completed can increase your endorphins, which makes you feel good and provides motivation for tackling additional items.
Scheduling regular breaks will Increase alertness, boost performance and help you resist the temptation to power through. Even if you’re not done, walk away. Get up and move around, or go outside and breathe some fresh air. Surf the web or read a fun magazine article. Letting your brain rest up and “play” increases how alert and attentive you’ll be and allows for sparks of innovations.
BOOK RECOMMENDATION: Looking for a good book? Try “The Time-Chunking Method: A 10-Step Action Plan for Increasing Your Productivity” by Damon Zaharaides.
Andi Gray is president of Strategy Leaders Inc., StrategyLeaders.com, a business consulting firm that teaches companies how to double revenue and triple profits in repetitive growth cycles. Have a question for AskAndi? Wondering how Strategy Leaders can help your business thrive? Call or email for a free consultation & diagnostics: (877)238-3535,AskAndi@StrategyLeaders.com. Check out our library of business advice articles: AskAndi.com.