You're a small business owner with too much to do and not enough time to do it. The good news is that you're not alone.
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A lot of small business owners experience the same situation. The bad news is that the only way you are going to survive is to do something that most small business owners aren't very good at: Priority-setting.
If you are a business owner pursuing aggressive goals for your company, priority-setting may seem like a luxury you simply cannot afford.
Part of the reason that priority-setting seems so impractical is that it has often been misunderstood as ranking your activities and eliminating the ones that are low on the list. But since all of your activities are important, it seems impossible to eliminate any of them.
A better way to view priority-setting is a process in which you are devoting your time and energy to those activities which are most important at any given time.
Although the other tasks on your list won't go away, this approach helps you maintain focus on the tasks that absolutely require your attention right now. Here's how to do it:
Make a List
Making a list to keep track of your tasks might seem a little obsessive. But the alternative is to try and keep a running to-do list in your head - not a pleasant exercise.
With today's technology, you have a lot of options at your disposal. The important thing is to create and maintain a list of your most important tasks as a tool for prioritizing those things that are most important at the present time.
Focus on Today
Once you've compiled your task list, begin to assess which tasks need to be done today and which ones can be put off for a few days. Focus on the tasks that need to be done now and leave the other ones on the list to remind you that they still need to be done - just not today.
Quality Over Quantity
Amateurs are convinced that successful prioritizing involves checking off as many tasks as possible. But prioritizing pros realize that checking off a few, high priority items is often much more effective than checking off many lower priority ones.
Align Your Priorities with Your Goals
Some tasks help you achieve your goals and some are just distractions. As you prioritize, it's important to align your priorities with your goals in order to make the most effective use of your time. If you don't, you will inevitably spend your workday chasing tasks that have little or no impact.
You Can't Do Everything
Above all else, effective prioritizing begins by accepting the fact that you can't do everything - at least not at the same time. You will inevitably be forced to make some difficult choices as you prioritize the many demands on your time and energy.
However, by considering which tasks are most worthy of your time at a given moment, you will gradually begin to develop a more healthy perspective regarding your roles and responsibilities in the business.