Many entrepreneur clients complain about being pulled in too many directions at once. Especially in the early stages of a new venture, you are the CEO, COO, CMO, CHR, CTO and more, all rolled into one. You know you need to focus on the big picture, on achieving your business goal, but you just get dragged down into the detail on a daily basis.
Sound familiar…? Well, here are my top 5 tips to take back control of your day, get your head above water, and get the important stuff done on time.
Prioritize and focus on what’s important.
It’s vital to have clear goals and identify what absolutely must happen if you are to deliver your goals. Prioritize and focus on these essentials above all else. It’s easy to get caught up in minutiae, responding to other people’s requests, losing focus on the work only you can do. If, instead, you focus on the important tasks that relate to your vision and values and deal with them before they become urgent, it’s easier to do them thoughtfully and to a high standard. If you have more to do than you have time available, you need to feel comfortable that you’ve tackled the priority tasks first.
Get in the zone and get it done.
How often do you get “in flow” or “in the zone”? This is the mental state when you’re fully immersed in the task and completely absorbed by what you do, resulting in the loss of your sense of space and time. To get in the flow you need to focus on one challenging task and give it your full attention without interruption for at least 30 minutes. If you allow interruptions or try to multi-task you’ll break your train of thought. Multitasking does not increase efficiency, attempting several tasks at once can result in lost time and productivity.
If you want to get things done, block out some time, find a quiet space, turn off your phone and email notifications, and make a start. Focus on one priority task at a time and do some quality work.
Work in your strengths zone and mitigate your weaknesses.
Rather than stressing or procrastinating about tasks you find difficult or routine, delegate to someone who has the skill to do it. If you delegate or outsource ensure you assign the task to the right person or company, one you trust to have the skills to do the job and get it done on time and on budget.
Use your own time working in your strengths zone, tapping into your natural talents and enthusiasms, and you’ll be more productive, more engaged and happier. Spending extended periods of time doing work in areas outside your strengths zone will be harder, energy draining, demotivating and make you feel disengaged.
Do it right the first time.
Often when under pressure, or when things don’t go to plan, it’s easy to rush things, to make make poor decisions and settle for quick fixes. As we all know, quick fixes don’t solve the root cause of problems. Slow down, take time to think things through, and find a permanent solution. Rework is inefficient. If you don’t have time to do it right the first time, you probably don’t have time to do it over again.
As an entrepreneur, running your own business, it may feel awkward to say no to requests for help or to decline invitations to meetings and networking. Most meetings are a drain of time, yet we all continue to schedule them, attend them and complain about them. Before attending a meeting, ask yourself if it’s necessary and if you can achieve the same result via email, phone, or a web-based meeting. If your schedule is full, and you can’t squeeze more in, then you must set some boundaries, prioritize and say no to low priority activities. If you don’t, you’ll feel drained, overextended, anxious and in time your productivity will decline and your stress levels increase.
In summary, to be productive, connect to and get energy and motivation from the vision you have for your business. Prioritize the important work you need to do to achieve your vision, and commit to protect your time to work on it. I’m sure you chose to embark on your journey as an entrepreneur for a reason and this is your time to make it happen. Good luck!