Article #25, August 31, 2004
Minimize Your Work To-Do List.
Does your work to-do list overwhelm you? To get out from under it, you will need to make some difficult decisions, then carry them out.
First, determine your top priority in your business. If your top priority is to bring in more customers, then your to-do list should reflect that. In other words, if you have data entry, filing, minor bookkeeping, and other less immediate things on your list, you may want to put them all on the back burner until you get more customers. Then you can pay someone else to do those tasks.
To bring in more customers, you may want your to-do list to include networking, following up with new contacts, emailing old contacts, calling prospects on the phone, creating a flyer/brochure, etc. Try your best to stay organized through this process so you don’t waste time looking for things you didn’t file, but don’t spend an inordinate amount of time on creating the most perfect filing system. When your marketing efforts pay off, you can hire an organizer or virtual assistant for a few hours!
Second, after determining your top priority, set goals for yourself. That way you’ll know when you can begin to take care of the B priority items on your list. Be realistic, but push yourself a bit, and ask for help when you need it. Letting everything else go and saying no will be a challenge. It helps me to sometimes say to myself “What’s more important – what they want or what I want?” Having a successful business means being unpopular sometimes.
Next, keep balance in mind as you work toward your goals. Work hard, but take enough time off so you feel rejuvenated and happy to get started each day. I recommend you get enough sleep, eat healthy foods that give you energy and get a pedicure at least once a month. Weekly massages are better.
It will be difficult in the beginning to stay focused as all the B priorities will be calling your name, but have faith in yourself. Keep your big picture goals in mind and remember why you started your own business. Do you want to go back to working for someone else? Do you want to be a good role model for your kids? Do you want the opportunity to determine your own income?
By having an understanding of your top priority, setting specific, achievable goals and staying focused as you achieve them, you WILL manage your time. Things will get in your way on occasion, but remember the big picture and keep moving forward.