If you are like me, there are way too many things on your “to-do” list to get done in a day, week or even a month. There are lots of little tasks which can take over your days and keep you from running a business if you let them.
These little tasks are easy to cross off your to-do list but they often keep you from working on the big things. And it is the time consuming, big things, which have the potential to dramatically change your business.
So if you are serious about changing, improving and growing your business you need to get serious about the big things. Here’s how:
- Create a complete issue list. It should contain all the tasks large and small which you need to work on. Divide the list into two groups. The first group contains all the little things which have to get done to keep the business running. The second should be comprised of the bigger tasks, things like revising your pricing structure, redoing your website, creating formal job descriptions.
- Prioritize the List. Yes, it would be nice to get all these things done at once, but it is not happening, so stop kidding yourself. Rank order the big issues and pick the one thing you will work on for the next 90 days.
- Focus on one thing. Once you have picked the one thing you’re going to work on, give yourself permission to take the rest of the items off your current to-do list. You can have another list that you add to as things pop up, but you only need to focus on one thing for the next 90 days.
- Become accountable. Tell people such as your team, boss or peer group what your 90 day goal is. Share your plan with people who can help, may have great ideas or simply will keep you accountable to work toward completion.
- Work on it every day. If the goal is to revise your pricing model, don’t wait until the last week of the 90 day period to work on it. This isn’t high school and you won’t pass if you cram the night before it is due. Schedule time to work on this. Put it on your calendar just as you would any other important meeting.
- Turn off. Eliminate distractions by turning off your phone, email and even social media while you work on your project. Close your door, put headphones in and focus. I can feel your withdrawal pains even as I suggest turning off. Do it anyway. Unless you are on call as a fireman or EMT no one is going to die if they can’t reach you for 30 minutes a day.
- Create a timeline. Break the project down into small bites which can be accomplished in one sitting. Some of the steps may require setting appointments or delegating tasks to others. Be sure you get these identified early because this task may be on the top of your list, but it may not be for others who are involved. Be sure to get their buy-in so you can stay on track.
- Celebrate the little wins. As you work through important pieces of the plan take time to reward yourself so you look forward to working on the next piece.
The process takes a little adjustment in your daily routine, but the results are powerful. We are using this process at the ‘Peg. Each member of the team has something they are working on this quarter. It is exciting to see the progress on things which have held us back for too long. It was tough to pick just a few things, but once they are done we will have time to sprint toward the next big thing.