Life as a business owner is all about prioritisation. We have so many plates to spin that our day largely consists of deciding which should be done first. But all too often, the things we choose to do first are those which are urgent, or grabbing our attention, but this doesn’t always mean they are the most “important”.
Really, what’s important is personal to you. It depends what your goals are for your business, and what your ambitions are for your lifestyle.
For me, one thing that I value as being extremely important is the flexibility to help or spend time with my family when they need me. Another is the ability to do a bit of yoga in the afternoon when my energy and productivity dip, and swap that for an hour in the evening when my focus picks up again. These are both important for my life and general wellbeing.
Things that are important for my business might be creating a marketing plan for the next 6 months, or working on my internal systems and procedures so that everything is running smoothly.
Have you spent some time working out what is most important to you? They might include:
- health and fitness
- financial security
- impact on society
- status and influence/power
- business growth
- job satisfaction
- living environment
- personal growth
- leisure and relaxation
Try ordering this list in terms of what you value most in life (you might want to add a few of your own). How much of your time is spent focusing on these priorities?
Knowing what is important to you, and staying focused on this, will enable you to move closer to your goals and create the work-life balance that is so important for your general wellbeing and happiness.
But how can you achieve this focus, day in, day out? Here are a few ideas:
1. Review your daily tasks
Make a list of all the tasks you currently undertake on a daily basis and align these with your list of priorities. How well do these lists match up? Imagine that a private detective has been monitoring your movements 24/7 – based on your daily tasks, what would this detective say your priorities are?
If these lists are at odds with each other, then it’s time to make some changes to your daily routine so that you remain focused on your true goals.
Reorder your list of tasks so that they reflect what is important to you.
The Eisenhower matrix can be a useful tool for prioritising tasks in terms of their importance and urgency – check out my previous blog here for more information!
2. Create a new routine
Once you have your revised list of tasks, that have now been ranked in terms of their priority, you can start creating a new routine for yourself. Start with the tasks at the top of your list and start scheduling them into your diary.
It’s a good idea to work on your most important tasks when you are most alert, so remember to plan around your natural biorhythm (ie. are you a morning or an evening person?), and allocate time for breaks, food and exercise. Research says that most people can focus for a period of around 90 minutes, so use that as a guide.
3. Delegate what is least important
In scheduling your important tasks, you might find that you run out of time for the ones further down the list. It’s not that these tasks are unimportant, they just don’t align with your personal priorities.
One solution might be to delegate these to someone else, whether that be an employee or a virtual assistant. VAs are a flexible, cost effective way of getting daily business tasks completed so that you can focus on tasks that are more important for your goals.
4. Hold a monthly goal review
Once you have your routine and your delegation process in place, it’s a good idea to get into the habit of reviewing your “priority list” on a monthly basis. Or rather, reviewing how well you have been able to achieve it over the last month!
This way you can reflect on the things that diverted your attention or pulled you off-track and come up with strategies for how to manage this better next month.
These are our 4 top tips for staying focused on what’s important to you! What are your priorities in business and life? Let us know in the comments!