Have you ever been so busy that you entered a time warp? You look up at the clock, and hours have passed, and you have either...
- Accomplished a ton of work
- Gotten virtually nothing done but been busy all-day
We have all been there, and it doesn't seem like there is a middle ground. All or nothing. Fast and furious or slow and steady. Either way, stuff gets done, right?
Let's face it. We've got to get stuff done. But what stuff is the most important? I love it when I hear the word priorities. Did you know that up until the 1940s, there was no word for priorities? It was PRIORITY-singular-solo-only one thing.
We can get so caught up in the daily activities that we neglect to prioritize the most important activity to move us forward faster. We have to figure out what activities create the biggest effect for our business. Is it social media? Making connections? Creating content? Serving clients? Billing? The list goes on and on.
This is why we need a plan. It helps us organize, analyze and shift our focus to where we need to be for the highest output. Start with the end in mind. What is the goal you are trying to accomplish? Now work backward and see what thing precedes that goal. Keep going back until you reach an actionable step that you can get done right now.
Once you have a plan, you begin to work on the plan daily. Action over time creates results. Keep at it. Grind when you need to and rest when you need to. It's just like losing weight. It's not going to happen overnight, but it will happen as long as you do the work.
I have a friend, Ryan Dunphy, who is brilliant when it comes to being efficient and making things happen. He came up with a tool he calls the "mental parking lot." It's a way to get things out of your mind so you can focus on the one thing that really needs your attention.
Start with a piece of paper. Divide it into three columns. In column 1, write down ALL of the things you need to do in the day. Literally, write out everything from feeding the dog to meeting with clients. Move the top 10 most important items to the middle column. Then take the top 2 and put them in order in column 3. Once you are done with the first task, you can move on to the second task. If you get them done, cross them off the list and move the next most important thing over. Keep going until you run out of time, energy, or resources. At the end of the day, see how it went and if you got the important things done. Were you able to get through more items than normal? Did prioritizing down to a single action item work for you?
If you did, great! If you missed something, analyze why and try it again. Here is the reason it works. You clear your head of all the clutter by writing it down. When you organize your day, you gain more focus. Give it a try, and let me know how it goes. If you need help trying to figure it all out, feel free to reach out, and we will help get you on track!
Geoff McLachlan is a Speaker, Trainer, and Coach. He is also the founder of Professionals at Play - an organization that helps businesses become places where people love to work.