Do you ever feel like you are so busy but still not reaching your goals? It can be disheartening to never get done with your to-do list. By the time you cross one big task off your list you’ve added two more.
Time management is consistently listed as a top concern by small business owners when surveyed. Finding the time to complete all tasks can feel impossible. To-do lists are a great way to remind you of what needs to get accomplished. The problem comes when lists get too long to complete in one day, that’s when prioritizing may become a critical element in your busy schedule.
The trick is to work smarter not necessarily harder. Working smarter will help you determine what to tasks are the most important and which can be put to the side for now. Essentially you are prioritizing your to-do list so you can meet all your goals.
If you simply work to check items off your to-do list you’ll end up working very hard and never feel like you ever really accomplished anything. Everyone has had a day when you feel as if you are being pulled in a hundred directions at once but at the end of the day, you still feel like are no further down the path than you were this morning. That is what happens when you work without prioritizing your tasks.
To help you get the most important tasks completed on your list invent a ranking system. A simple ABC system works just fine. Tasks that are of the highest importance are given an A ranking. These are the tasks that must be completed. Tasks that are still important but not essential are ranked as B and tasks that are likes instead of needs are ranked as C. They are the least important tasks to be done.
Items that deserve an A ranking are tasks such as contacting new clients, working on new advertising campaigns, paying bills and providing good customer service.
B Priorities are secondary tasks. Items that receive this ranking still need to get accomplished but are not as high priority as an A item. Tasks such as calling up other people in your industry to catch up, ordering new checks, shopping around for better prices on any services you consistently use like web hosting or telephone systems. These items typically are ones that can be delegated to other members of your team or an assistant.
C Priorities are things that you would like to do or want to do rather than need to do. If these tasks do not get completed they have minimal or no impact on your business. Tasks like these include remodeling or decorating your office, redesigning your logo, or ordering new letterhead for your company.
Now that you know the difference between the three categories it is time to assign a value to each task on your to-do list. It can be tempting to rank everything on your list as an A task that must be done. Avoid this pitfall. Be honest with yourself and figure out which tasks don’t make your company money or further your business and label those tasks as B or C priorities. You may need to read over your list two or three times to weed out the less important tasks.
Once this step is complete, start working on your A tasks. A lot of times A tasks are the harder ones to complete. They involve more effort than simply writing an email or picking up the phone. Do not let the amount of effort needed detract you from accomplishing these tasks. Once completed you will experience the sense of accomplishment that has eluded you before you began prioritizing your to-do list.
You should also allot the most amount of time in your day to completing these tasks. The most important tasks should receive the most attention. Then work in time for B and C tasks only after you have made significant progress on you’re A ranked tasks.
Remember, your time is extremely valuable. Focusing on what is most important is a primary key to success. It sounds very simple, but often we get forget to work on what matters most until we have run out of time. Prioritizing your to-do list can be a simple but highly effective productivity and money-making tool.
Until Next Time…