01 March 2018

A business owner must know how to properly prioritise in order to be truly effective

Typically, when a business owner has got so many goals in mind, there’s a tendency for him to try and work on everything that comes through his desk. We all know that time is gold, especially in the world of business. But that doesn’t mean one should take on every responsibility they can get his hands on.

That’s why a business owner needs to master time management.

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

First of all, we need to define concepts. Something is urgent when it is crying out for immediate attention, one that demands your attention. Important tasks are those that, once done, will add significant value to your company. These are the things that help grow your business. Tasks can be one or the other or else neither urgent nor important.

Neither urgent nor important

Some items are neither urgent nor important. These are the tasks that occupy our time but don’t really add value to our organisation or even to our personal lives, and no one is begging us to do them.

The sad part is that most of us spend at least part of each day on these time-wasters. Time spent browsing social media platforms, reading articles or posts that have no educational value or playing games or apps that distract us from more important activities fall into this category. Obviously, if you are spending your valuable time on items that are neither urgent nor important, you’re missing out on a lot of things that could have otherwise helped you move your business forward.

Urgent but not important

These are the tasks that beg for your attention but don’t necessarily add value. These are things you encounter every day.  The most common examples are ringing phones, spam emails and texts, employees who repeatedly ask the same questions or regularly scheduled meetings that really don’t produce results. The habit is that we often believe we need to take care of these items, to “clear the decks” and move on to more important matters. I always tell my clients that this is the wrong approach. Always tackle important tasks first and get to the urgent, but not important, tasks later. It is rather easy to spend hours on unimportant tasks.

Urgent and important

These are matters that need your attention immediately and add value to the organisation. These are things like customer/client issues and concerns, banking and financial matters and legal matters.

Most business owners recognise these items as important and act accordingly, which is the right thing to do. These items should always be on top of your to-do lists.

Important but not urgent

This is the category that is the most neglected. Important tasks include developing employees or yourself to enhance skills, documenting and improving procedures and systems, developing metrics, researching improved methods, organising and strategising. While all of these types of tasks can improve you and your business, they are not really urgent.

There’s really no pressure to do these things right away.  If you do them, however, you will add so much value into your company by improving the quality by which your team works and making it easier for everyone to reach your goals. These important tasks are critical to business success, but easy to put off because there is no urgency involved to accomplishing them. To make sure you don’t fall into this trap, you may create a timeline to complete each of these tasks, or you may delegate each important task to a team member and give them a clear deadline.

Be the best business leader you can be and reach the full potential of your business. Work with a Business Coach. My extensive clientele consists of companies based in all of the Midlands including Leicestershire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Staffordshire. Discover how REACH Business Coaching can help you grow your business by attending our free workshops and seminars.

For schedules and more information, visit our Events page.

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