18 October 2016

As a business owner, is everything on your plate a priority?

Time is gold when running a business. This is specially true when your company is young and you’re still in the process of having your business take off. When you’ve got so many goals in mind, there’s a tendency for you to try and work on everything that comes through your desk.

The challenge isn’t only about managing your time, it’s also about the system by which you determine whether a certain matter at hand is urgent or not. As a Business Coach, my job is to help you think more clearly and make you decide — on your own — on how to assign priority to tasks and concerns and how to address them accordingly.

Below are some tips on how to prioritise more effectively:

Determine your definition of “urgent” and “important”

As the leader of an enterprise, a lot of stuff will need your attention, so you need to learn how to filter each one based on urgency and importance. But what does that even mean? Remember, not because something is urgent doesn’t mean it’s important. This is where you need to go back to your business objectives.

For short-term concerns, you need to consider factors such as the timeframe by which the issue needs to be resolved, the immediate impact it can cause if not attended to, and things of such nature. These daily, business-as-usual stuff are rather easy to classify, since you already know the consequences.

But for long-term concerns, it’s a different story. With these things, there’s less pressure in terms of timeframe, so you have the luxury of thinking through what is really important. Will it drive growth?  Will it have a definite, measurable impact? Do you need it?

Being a perfectionist is fine, but learn when to be one

The problem with being too much of a perfectionist is that it can be really hard for you to let things go unfinished and leave it not perfect. But if you really want to prioritise effectively, you need to learn how to drop something in midstream to focus on some other task that has better likelihood to produce the results that you want.

You have to be willing to accomplish things halfway just to have more things get done. When you’ve already reached your peak potential as a business, you can go back to being a crazy perfectionist as much as you want.

Whatever you don’t like doing, do it first

If you keep postponing a task because it’s something you dread, you might end up sapping the energy away from other tasks while thinking about the inevitable, nagging responsibility. Try getting that thing out of the way so you can give proper attention and focus to the rest of your list.

Prioritising is a skill that, once mastered, can help you get the most out of your day. Just because you’ve got everything under control doesn’t mean you didn’t miss out on anything. You might be just focusing on whatever urgent thing comes up and not really having the time to think about other stuff — stuff that could actually be more important.

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