Running a business can be overwhelming at times. It seems that there are never enough hours in the day for everything you want to do. Now that the rhythm of the new work year has been established, you should try to take a little time to establish your own priorities.
As a business owner or manager, you can do just about whatever you want, but the time you have for what you want to do is limited. You need to figure out what is most important to you, and what can wait. Spending the time to do this can mean the difference between getting things done, and getting burnt out.
“You can do anything, but not everything.” – David Allen
So, how do you decide what to do, and what to postpone?
First, write down everything you’d like to accomplish. Don’t worry about the details, just consider the goal itself. Once you have the list, read each item out loud to yourself. As you read each item, decide if it still seems important among all the other items you have listed. If not, cross it off. Depending on the length of the list, you may need to repeat this process until you winnow the tasks down to just the most important ones.
Remember that these don’t all need to be big items. Something as small as having the company logo repainted on the sign out front or reprinting your price books qualifies if you feel that it’s important.
Finally, write down the two lists that you’ve created. Include the date the item was added to the list next to each item. One list you will begin to implement right now. The other will be the basis for your future progress. Take a little time every week to review your progress, and add new items to the lists. You may want to write down the progress you have made on each item as a way to hold yourself accountable. As you accomplish your highest priorities, you can move items from your future goals onto the current list.
This process sounds simplistic, but the mere act of writing down your goals with their priority and recording your progress changes the process from simply planning to doing. Just as your encouragement of the people who work for and with you can improve their efforts, this process can become a way to encourage yourself to concentrate on the things that really matter.
Focusing on your real priorities will keep you from planning to do everything while accomplishing nothing. You will get more done, and feel less overwhelmed by the seemingly endless list of things you’d like to accomplish.