Many business owners who come to me for help to grow their business share a common problem: They’re busy.
I don’t just mean “busy” like their schedule is full but they’re able to complete it by the end of the day… I mean that each and every day is so jam-packed that they can barely get to the scheduled work, and they end each day with just as much or more to do than when the day started.
Does that describe your day? If so then you’re making one critical mistake in your day: You’re allowing the urgent to take precedence over the important.
- Urgent work are tasks and demands that need your immediate attention.
- Important work are tasks that create positive, long-lasting results for you, your team, and your business.
Unfortunately, a lot of urgent tasks are mistaken to be important (even though they’re not as important as they seem). Adding to the challenge, many business owners don’t know what important work to do so they do the urgent work because it seems important.
Here are some strategies to help you:
Strategy #1: Separate out in your mind the difference between urgent work and important work. This may take some practice but it will transform your day. Review the activities you’ve completed on previous days this week to assess whether it was addressing an urgent demand or whether it was truly important work that added long-term positive results for your business.
Strategy #2: Build systems to deal with the urgent work. Of course the urgent work won’t go away, and it probably still needs to be done, so set up systems to help you deal with the urgent stuff.
- The first system is to create a decision-making framework that will help you and your team to assess whether or not something is truly as urgent as you think it is. (Most of the time, urgent demands are not as urgent as we believe them to be).
- The second system is to build strategies, training, and decision-frameworks to empower your team to deal with many of the urgent demands themselves or with the help of someone else.
- The third system is to set up a way for people to communicate with you and alert you to how serious the urgent work is. (I use a “1-3-5 system” for all interruptions in my day and anyone who contacts me via email or in person knows to first give me an assessment on the scale of 1 to 5 to tell me how truly urgent the situation is).
Strategy #3: Schedule time in your day to deal with the urgent stuff AND the important stuff. Again, I’m realistic enough to recognize that urgent work arises and you need to deal with it. But that doesn’t mean you should drop everything. Schedule your day in chunks – with larger 1-2 hour blocks for important work with a 30 minute space in between to allow you to deal with anything urgent.
Strategy #4: Learn what’s important and work on that most often. Working on urgent work won’t grow your business – it’s really about keeping all the balls in the air. Working on the important work is what will grow your business so if you want to grow your business then you need to do more important work. In my book The Secrets Of Business Mastery I outline 12 areas that you need to master in order to take charge of your business and grow it. That’s a great place to start and if you choose those 12 areas and work on them regularly, you’ll easily fill those blocks if time you’ve schedule for important work.
Business owners – you should be the master of a growing business. Unfortunately, it’s too easy to become a slave to urgent demands. Take charge of your business and take charge of your daily schedule and you’ll see powerful results in your business.