I thought I would share 5 of my tips to help you prioritise when times are tough or just all the time so that you can get the good stuff done, keep driving your business instead of it driving you and of course take care of you!
The 80:20 Rule - otherwise known as Pareto's Law, this can be a real game changer when you're trying to work out what to do first, what's most important and how to prioritise your workload. The essence of the rule is that 80% of a result will come from just 20% of your activity or action. For example, 80% of your customers will come to your business as a result of just 20% of your marketing. 80% of your profits will come from just 20% of your customers. Therefore....you can calculate what is wasted effort or action and where you need to focus your attention. Think about a task or area of your business that feels a challenge and think about what the 20% action you take that creates the biggest 80% result.
Use a top 3 rule. Learn to prioritise each task you have by giving it a grading of importance. For example you might allocate 1,2 & 3 or a, b & c to any task. This way you can start to quickly realise what regularly gets graded as a number 3 or grade c and maybe even work out if it's not important at all.
Avoid one long 'To Do'. I LOVE a list and it's easy to just throw everything onto it as a brain dump. You can do this of course as a way of getting back to sleep at 3am or when you just need to get it all down BUT don't use these as your working lists. Perhaps use point number 2 or other heading types to help you break down the list into most important, need to do soon or for later for example. Our human brains will go for the easy but not very important task first or think that doing 6 little quick jobs is more efficient than tackling the one big task. Experiment with what works best for you and be committed to your system.
Clock watch. I repeatedly am surprised just how long a task can take. This results in me saying yes to projects that I can't really fit in or a feeling of disappointment when I only achieve 3 of the 10 things I planned in a day. Be realistic and start to time (there are some great time apps out there) your tasks. Once you know the regular, important tasks that make the big 80% difference then you will start to build in the proper time you need to focus on them. If that's 1 day a week on important stock control then at least you know and can plan your week well.
Say 'no'. Oooooh this is a tricky one and again, one I'm only learning better in middle age. As business owners, were primed to say yes to as much as possible. We want to be helpful, we want more customers, we want to keep moving forward. However, we need to do the work that fills us up, we need to do ALL our work well and with energy and we need to only move forward in the right direction. Take time to think through each request of your time, however small so that you don't accidentally over commit.