Getting the right things done is a daily struggle for most entrepreneurs. The battle cry of an entrepreneur’s struggle is “boy am I busy!” Are you really that busy or does it just make you feel good to say that?
When I ask entrepreneurs or business executives “why are you so busy?” I get a “to-do” list recitation. But what are you really getting done? Are you tackling the right items on your list? Are those things yielding the results your business needs to thrive?
As a “busy” entrepreneur, maybe you mistakenly measure success by the length of your “to-do” list or the number of hours you work. Bottom line, you have to break down the wall you have built around yourself and find the freedom from your current daily routine.
You can start to tear down this wall by answering the following questions:
- Do you find that you waste time and money and miss opportunities?
- Do you find yourself involved in a fair amount of “fire-fighting” and feel like you are moving from crisis to crisis?
- Do you run from task to task without seeing any measurable progress?
- Are you pulled in multiple directions at once with little or no time for you?
Entrepreneurs always have things to get done, but there’s usually an equal amount of “to-do” items that can best be described as “distractions.” You know, the “stuff” that gets in the way and pulls us every which way other than the right one.
More times than not you will get “seduced” by shiny objects, which are things that seem more important than they actually are. The challenge for entrepreneurs is not only finding a way to fight distractions, but conditioning yourself not to be tempted in the first place, all in order to get the right things done.
Start each day with this question: What is the one thing that I can/should do today that will get me closer to my goal or desired result? Work on that first and complete the task. You must first have specific and clear goals. Without them there is no way you can determine the most important tasks.
Related: The 5 Secrets to Prioritisation
Create a daily list of things to do: Work on the high value tasks first. High value tasks are those that increase important business factors like revenue and profitability. High value tasks are also those that help you achieve your goals. As such, you have to define “high value” as it relates to you and your organisation.
3. The 4 D’s
When the “right thing” isn’t clear, apply what I refer to as “The 4 D Rule” – every task that you are faced with must “fit” into one of these four categories:
- Do it. You are the best person to handle this task.
- Delegate it. Though this is something you could probably do, it’s not the best use of your time or skills. Delegate it to someone who is better suited to handle it.
- Defer it. Not everything has to be done at the same time; set priorities to stay focused on the right things for the given time period.
- Dump it. This is a task that doesn’t have to be done at all; it represents “busy” work and no value will result from it being done.
4. Pause to consider
Take small breaks during the course of the day to evaluate your current situation. Give yourself the opportunity to validate that you are working on the right things.
This last step is very important: Stop multi-tasking! While you can probably do more than one or two things at the same time, you are not Superman, and it’s impossible to actually focus on more than one thing at the same time. Continue multi-tasking, and your results will begin to reflect your lack of focus.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
(Infographic) 9 Productivity Mistakes You’re Making In The First 10 Minutes Of Your Day
From setting goals to drinking coffee, these bad morning habits might surprise you.
There are a number of things you’re probably doing every morning that are actually hindering your productivity.
If you’re an avid coffee drinker, you might be surprised to find out that drinking coffee between 8 and 10 a.m can make you more stressed throughout the day. That’s because caffeine early in the morning interferes with the time that the stress hormone, cortisol, is peaking in your body. It’s best to get your fix between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
When you get into the office and try to jump right into the top of your to-do list, you might find yourself confused and not very productive. When you don’t let your brain empty and refresh before starting a project or task, it loses a sense of control, becomes overwhelmed and ultimately, makes you less productive. Something else to avoid is checking email or social media right when you wake up. Typically, after checking your inbox, it takes a person at least 25 minutes to get back into a productive state. If you start your day off reading and responding to email after email, it will take you a long time to get back on track.
Another surprising mistake is setting self-imposed goals. Setting goals and deadlines for yourself might seem like an obvious productivity hack, but it turns out, that’s not the case. Instead, share your deadlines with others and you’ll feel more pressure and responsibility to get things done.
Check out resume.io’s infographic below for more productivity mistakes you’re likely making in the first 10 minutes of your day.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
Workflow And Business Efficiency – 5 Strategies You Ignore At Your Peril
Emails alone don’t cut it as an efficient way to communicate with team members. You’re not still depending on email, are you?
An inefficient business can cost you a lot more than just growth – it can affect your revenue, too. According to a report by IDC, your business runs the risk of losing 20 to 30 percent of your revenue due to inefficient systems.
Unfortunately, many companies still struggle to implement the right systems to improve their workflow. Others have it worse, because they have no systems. In those situations, projects take ages to be completed, more time is spent on menial tasks and teams never seem to get enough done during work hours.
If that describes your company, your company’s profits may start to plummet, too.
Every successful business, then, has clearly defined systems to help the business run like clockwork. Improved workflow, better management and business efficiency save time, increase the bottom line and ensure a higher profit margin.
In fact, in an article on ContractZen, Tim Cummins, president of the International Association for Contract & Commercial Management, wrote that, “The average corporation could boost its bottom line by almost 10 percent if it invested in improving the quality of contracting.
For many companies – especially those in more complex, project-based industries – the prize could be much higher – perhaps as much as 15 percent.”
Related: Become A Life-Hacker
Unfortunately, some companies fail to provide systems that put users first, taking a negative toll on those companies’ workflow and efficiency. The good news is that they’re only five strategies away from turning this around:
1. Automate all you can
From email lists, bookkeeping, invoicing and contract management, to social media posts and payrolls, almost everything can be automated. For a business that aims to be more efficient, automation is a must.
Automation doesn’t just save you time, it can be the one strategy that can guarantee explosive growth and higher conversion rates. According to this Lead Generation Marketing Effectiveness study, 63 percent of companies polled that were outgrowing their competitors said they had automated their marketing.
Automating monotonous tasks that have to be repeated several times during the day helps you be more productive in tasks that require your personal attention.
2. Invest in customer-relationship management software
It’s not uncommon to find businesses that are barely able to keep up with their leads. Some waste hours hunting the low-quality leads instead of focusing their energy on those ready to buy. Here, a customer relationship management (CRM) solution linked to these businesspeople’s network phone system is a great way to enhance customer communications.
Customers value businesses that provide excellent customer service. A CRM solution increases the ability to keep track of customer information, monitor leads and provide efficient delivery. Businesses can provide for their customers’ needs faster and make effective business decisions. With CRM, businesses can also keep their focus on quality leads that will drastically improve conversion rates.
3. Set up a task-management system
Emails alone don’t cut it as an efficient way to communicate with team members. Email makes it difficult to carry everyone along. However, setting up task-management software like Slack, Trello or Asana makes it much easier to have everyone’s tasks in one place and ensure that everyone is carried along in the project.
Task-management software helps members of a team track their progress and ensure that everyone is working on their tasks.
4. Sync your calendar with that of everyone else on your team
How many times have you had to reschedule appointments because you didn’t know you had other meetings lined up for the day?
Aside from leaving negative impression in clients’ mind, this error makes you less productive. Having to go back and forth until you have settled on an appropriate date can be cumbersome especially when different time zones are involved. So, do this instead: Sync your personal calendar with your work calendar, and make sure that everyone in your team is synced to the latter, too.
This will ensure sure that everybody is “on the same page” in terms of appointments and deadlines. Google Calendar can help you do just that. Once everyone is synced up, any change in the calendar will be seen by everyone so they can manage their own appointments.
5. Block out chunks of time
Constant interruptions hamper your workflow. Imagine having to deal with turning over a project on a deadline while you’re stuck in a series of meetings throughout the day. It can get very difficult to focus on completing your most urgent tasks.
Block out chunks of time on your calendar for uninterrupted work. It’s better to schedule a series of meetings in one day than to spread them throughout the week.
If you’re creating content, block out one day to create all the content you’ll use for the week. That way your business will run more efficiently.
Related: 3 Reasons You Should Embrace Change
Wrapping it up
With the right strategies, you can turn your business around to make it efficient and lucrative. Automating your processes, setting up the right software and remaining focused on the tasks at hand will go a long way to help you do this. But just as with every good strategy, you need to remain consistent and give it time to do its magic.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
How To Multitask Like Tim Ferriss, Randi Zuckerberg And Other Very Busy People
Nine entrepreneurs tell us how they get it all done.
Think you’re busy? Take a look at Guy Fieri‘s calendar. Or a U.S. Army general’s. Or an in-demand teenage actor’s. Or the CEO of a globally recognised company’s.
Some of the busiest people on the planet took time out of their days to tell us how they get it all done. Take note!
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