5 Ways to Help Decide Your Top Priorities
Time is the one resource we can’t get more of. So if you’re a business owner you know that time is precious and it feels like there isn’t enough time in the day. From our surveys of over 1500 businesses the #1 complaint from business owners is “how can I prioritize all my work so you maximize my time.” Here are 5 ways you can prioritize your work
1) Find What is Valuable to You
Many people will value their time in terms of money. Bill Gates has a time value of roughly $1 million dollars an hour. If you make decisions solely based money you have to make sure that the activity you are doing will lead you to make more money then you spend with your time. I prefer to use a blended approach and throw in the value of family time, of business growth opportunities, and the time value of money. When I come to a task I’ll ask myself these questions:
- Will this task get me to my goals quicker than other tasks on my list of things to do?
- Will it take longer than the amount of time that I have scheduled for the day?
- Will it save me time in the long run if I do this now?
- Does it align with my personal values as well as business strategy?
2) Develop Your Discipline
Once you have your priorities write them down and create a scorecard. This way you can hold yourself accountable to your values and the company strategy. Chances are if you are feeling overwhelmed then you have bad habits that will keep you from staying on task. Maybe it’s the habit of always answering the phone even though others could do that. Maybe it’s checking the internet when you should be writing a blog post. Maybe it’s making excuses as to why you shouldn’t go to the gym and skip keeping yourself healthy. Learn to recognize these habits and have a plan to address them as they come up.
3) Create and Streamline Your Processes
Many times we feel like there is absolutely no way we can do more in the time we have. The reality of it is that our brains prefer to look at the big picture and what is happening is that you have 100s of different tasks a day and they are all eating at your time at a few seconds here and a few minutes there. There are so many things going on that it’s difficult for us to pick out more than one or two opportunities. How many times have you helped one of your employees do a task that you don’t feel confident they can do it the same way you would do it? So you decide to stop what you are doing and help the employee with their task. Even outside of work you might experience having to look for the right outfit to wear to work and you spend 10-20 minutes trying to find it. Developing processes that are streamlined are critical to getting time and prioritizing effectively. If you don’t create processes that are robust and effective then you will feel like you are “fighting fires” all day long with the issues that arise that were unplanned. With processes the devil is in the details so the more detailed you can get the more you can streamline.
4) Trust Your People and Processes
This is one of the hardest things for most business owners to do since the business is their baby. Once you have your priorities and processes then it’s a matter of trusting your team to execute. Develop a plan that will make you feel comfortable with the way your team handles situations moving forward and keep yourself out of their jobs. This takes training, it takes some time, and it takes some changing of the way you manage people. It’s not easy work but it is rewarding for you in terms of your time and business growth.
5) Minimize the Time You Spend Aligning Everyone
Depending on the challenges you face in your business you may spend more time on getting people aligned than you would like. What this looks like is a lot of miscommunication that causes an excess of meetings, phone calls, emails, etc. In many cases it what happens is that it causes another fire to put out. Getting your team on the same page is critical and one of the best ways to do this is to have daily meetings with them to talk about where they are and the challenges they are facing. This way you can align your staff quickly, train them daily, and find issues much faster than you would otherwise.