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Owning a business means you are managing many moving pieces. Each day several tasks need to be completed. It is quite common for tasks to pile up quickly. Unfortunately, many business owners spend time completing tasks that are wasting their time. My aim is to help you fill your days with tasks that lead to revenue, contribute to serving your clients and enable business growth.
What is on your list of things to do? Do you really need to do all of it? Probably not.
Before you spend all of your days and nights working away on an endless list, let me recommend how you can decide what business tasks to tackle and what tasks to let go.
There are two key questions I ask myself to prioritize my business tasks. To develop these questions, I made a few operations-focused modifications to the Eisenhower Quadrant (also referred to as a Time Management Matrix). This method is often attributed to U.S. President, Dwight D. Eisenhower and was made popular by Stephen Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.
The Eisenhower Quadrant helps you prioritize by assigning each task to one of four quadrants. The quadrants describe the task's importance (e.g., how the relates to your long-term goals) and urgency (e.g., how soon the task requires your attention).
The operations-focused way to prioritize your tasks. Ask yourself two key questions:
Q1.What tasks are IMPORTANT for your business? Specifically, what tasks will directly lead to:
-closing a deal with a prospective client,
-delivering high-quality services to your current clients,
-creating new high-value products/services within your business
-building stronger relationships with people in your network,
-developing better systems to complete your recurring tasks easier and faster, and/or
-feeling recharged so you complete your tasks to your best ability?
Q2.What tasks are URGENT for your business? Specifically, what tasks need to be addressed now (or in the very near future)?
Keep these two points in mind when selecting your urgent tasks:
(1) Be selective with what tasks you label urgent -- often we feel like a task is urgent, but it isn't really. Only label a task as urgent if it truly has to be addressed now. If you have a task on your list that you need to work on now or there will be clear negative consequences -- that task is truly urgent task.
(2) Make sure to also consider the amount of time to complete the task and give yourself the time you need to complete the task so that you can finish when you need to. For example, let's assume that today is Monday, you need two days to write a proposal, and that proposal is due on Wednesday ... proposal writing is an urgent task!
Use your important and urgent insights to prioritize your list. Find the tasks that are:
IMPORTANT and URGENT: work on these tasks with any available time you have in your calendar today.
IMPORTANT and NOT URGENT: schedule time to work on these on your calendar in the future.
Typically tasks related to developing better business systems, workflows and guidelines fall into this category -- they are definitely important, but may not seem urgent (especially when you have so much else on your plate). I cannot encourage you enough to carve out some time on your calendar for these activities, investing time in new guidelines to streamline your repeating tasks will pay huge dividends in the long term.
NOT IMPORTANT and URGENT: try to delegate or minimize or eliminate these tasks. They are using up your precious time and not getting you towards your goals.
NOT IMPORTANT and NOT URGENT: again, try to get rid of these -- these tasks are not adding value and cutting into your productivity.
Asking yourself these questions will (hopefully) inspire you to drop some tasks from your to-do list and focus on those activities that will lead to your business growth. Small business software solutions provide a great way to complete repeatable important and/or urgent tasks for you!
Have questions? Want to see how you can use tech tools to reduce the items on your to-do list? Let me be your Ally -- book a session with me! I would be happy to chat with you about your tech frustrations and help you to identify solutions!
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