Reduce your busy-ness
The single biggest decision you make every day is how to allocate your time. You’ve got to find ways to reduce your level of busy-ness, so you can spend more time doing things that will make a real difference.
Busy-ness is a waste of effort
You’re probably way too busy, handling too many projects and too many tasks. You’ve got to find a way to allocate your time and energy, or you’ll work too hard and won’t have much to show for it. You’ll put out fires and wander around a lot, but you won’t have moved your company forward. Chances are, you’re a prisoner of outside events — waiting for the next interruption, or for the next chance to prove what a good fire-fighter you are.
Spending time on your real priorities
Start by thinking about the most important elements of your business. Ask yourself a series of questions:
- What three or four projects will have the greatest impact on my company?
- What can I do today that will advance those projects?
- What can I delegate, minimize or eliminate from my schedule that’s not on my high-impact list? Am I doing some tasks that don’t need to be done by anyone?
- How can I work with the other members of my team so we can make faster progress?
Once you’ve decided what’s important, keep a clear view of your priorities despite the conflicting tugs you’ve gotten so accustomed to.
Be very careful about how you choose to spend your time. Pick the right things to work on, and then actually make the time to work on them!
There’s an interesting side effect when you focus on the things that strengthen your company. You’ll be more successful, and you’ll probably work fewer hours, because you’re no longer filling your days with busy-ness.
Keeping busy may feel good at the moment, but being busy won’t do much for your company’s success, unless you’re busy working on the right things.
Being busy won’t do much for your company’s success unless you’re busy working on the right things.
If you’re going to have the time required to focus on your highest impact projects, it’s important to let go of some things that won’t reward your time and/or can be done by others.
What items can you delegate or eliminate? You might ask yourself:
“If I spend time on this, will it make a real difference in our company’s results?”
Then act as if you believe the answer.
You won’t be able to eliminate low-impact tasks completely, but you should be able to reduce them enough that you can spend more of your time working on things that seem likely to improve your company’s current results and its long-term competitive success as well.
New solutions, new problems
Think of how it would feel if you could save 30 minutes a day by not doing tasks that you shouldn’t be doing. That would free up two and a half hours a week for high level activities! (Five hours would be even better, but let’s be realistic for now.)
But watch out! It’s natural to fill up that time by wandering around or looking for other things to do. Don’t squander the opportunity. Hold on to your newfound freedom, and invest the time in pursuing your real priorities.
And you might also pay attention to how much better you feel. You could even begin to get used to it.