One of the biggest challenges for many people is a lack of accountability. They have no-one to help them stay focused on marketing their business better or actually taking real action to improve their business. They are often so stuck on getting tasks done that they don’t find the time to get the really important items done. They inevitably spend time working IN their business, rather than ON it. They don’t schedule time on their calendar to accomplish tasks and they let their e-mail and phone distract them. This can be particularly complex for people who have a full-time J-O-B while they work part time on growing a business to gain financial independence.
You can easily learn how to manage your to-do list, rather than allowing it to manage you.
First things first, keep your list manageable. A list of 20, 30 or even more items just can’t be accomplished and will have you ignoring the list because it is so big. Or you will only work on the really easy, typically least important items, just to feel like you accomplished something. Go into each day with no more than 10. Create the list the night before and include all the relevant information that you’re going to need: files, phone numbers, email addresses, etc. That way you can keep your feet moving addressing the tasks rather than wasting time looking for the items.
When creating your to-do list, or daily tasks, identify which ones are the most important and which ones are likely to take the most amount of time. Then, and this is very important, schedule the time on your calendar to work on your list. Best tip I have ever encountered on managing a to-do list is to do the hardest, most important, most time consuming task first. And do it first thing in the morning. If you work part time on your business, do the same thing. After returning calls or e-mails, take the first hour of the time you allot to work on your business and work on the most complex, hardest, time consuming task first. This strategy will give you an incredible sense of accomplishment and will set you up for a fantastic session of achievements!
Don’t make the mistake of just figuring that you’ll find the time. You won’t. You must get it on your schedule. You should consider it a meeting with yourself and don’t allow yourself to be distracted from this list.
One of the first ways to limit distractions and keep your focus is to NOT TAKE PHONE CALLS OR EMAILS during this time. In fact, you should schedule times into your day to take phone calls and to answer e-mails. Many people find 3 times a day plenty. So schedule it!!! And absolutely, positively turn off your computers e-mail reminder system if you are using it. These little pop up reminders will have you losing focus, getting off task, and draining valuable time. This includes Facebook!! Turn off the reminders. Facebook isn’t going to go anywhere if you wait a few hours to respond to posts or post yourself.
If you are working your business part time, answer your phone calls and emails first as people may have been waiting to hear from you while you were at your J-O-B. Then, get to work on the hardest, most complex task with no distractions. Turn off your email and phone. Do the task, then revisit your inbox and voice-mail and Facebook.
For full time business owners, three great times for checking e-mail and phone calls are first thing in the morning, lunchtime and then end of the day. Then never ever look at your e-mail or check your phone messages until the next scheduled time. I know people who even put in an out of office reply that “Due to the extensive amount of e-mails I receive, I only reply to e-mails 8:30, 12N and 5 pm.” Also consider setting an appropriate expectation on your voice mail message. Setting expectations is so important in all aspects of life, but particularly in a business setting. If these particular times don’t work for you, that’s OK. Just come up with times that do work with your schedule. Then, set the expectations and stick to them.
Believe you me, nothing bad will happen if you don’t instantly reply to something. Think back to times when you absolutely couldn’t check voice mail or e-mail, such as when you went to a doctor’s appointment or had to go to your child’s school for some type of meeting or event. Or if you are part time, and can’t check voice-mail or email during the day while you are at your J-O-B and only check at night. Did your business die?? Did anything bad really happen?? I think not. People are very understanding. Particularly if you have initially set the right expectations with them.
As a matter of fact, if you instantly reply to every message, people will think that you aren’t busy at all and will come to expect virtually instant replies from you. Your time is one of your most precious commodities, if not THE most important.
Protect it—defend it—guard it as if your business depends on it; because it DOES!!
Go right now to your calendar and add time each day for your tasks/to-do list ….
I would love to help you to become more efficient not only with your task flow, but how your company processes payroll. I have helped companies save hundreds of thousands of dollars by reviewing their processes and re-engineering how they go about things.
Call me now to schedule an appointment to review your payroll processes and learn how you can become more efficient.
ConnectPay Payroll Services
2352 Main Street, Suite 303
Concord, Ma 01742