It happens to all of us. We get so wrapped up in small details, tasks that keep coming up, projects we have procrastinated and all the little things that pop up day to day that we end up chasing to-do items without really being effective.
Don’t worry; there’s a better way. As a business coach, I help leaders and business owners create strategic plans and enhance their businesses. Part of that is learning to stay accountable to your daily activities, so you can use your time wisely and propel your business forward.
Schedule time for the Small Stuff
Do things like an overflowing inbox, phone calls, bookkeeping and other small, but completely necessary tasks, get in your way and distract you? If you’re like me, the problem is that these things often come up during the day, taking you away from what you’re working on and quickly becoming a time hog.
The solution is to set aside time for these tasks and then stick to your schedule. Maybe you allot an hour in the morning and an hour at the end of the day to follow up with emails and tie up lose ends. Then, knowing you have time later to accomplish them, these tasks won’t distract you during the workday. This works for me…let me know how it goes for you!
Have a Power Session
When your to-do list starts growing and it gets in your way, have a power session. When you get to a stopping point during your day, take 15 or 30 minutes to power through as many items on the list as you can.
The idea here is to get things done, end procrastination, clear your day and, perhaps most importantly, kick start your energy and productivity. Crossing things off a long list can be very satisfying, and you might be surprised at just how energetic you feel when time is up. You’ll be able to transition to more important tasks with energy and drive, which will make the rest of your day even better.
Set Weekly Goals
As I help people create strategic plans, I help them set goals for their businesses. Many of these goals are long term and are things a business wants to accomplish in the coming months or even years. Goals are powerful, and can give us drive and ambition. Try harnessing that power on a weekly basis.
Every Monday morning, take some time to outline exactly what you want to accomplish during the week. Be specific enough that your goals are actionable. Also be sure to prioritize your goals so as things come up or you begin to run out of time, you know where to focus your efforts.
Keep referring to your list during the week and on Friday, assess your progress. Take time to appreciate what you have accomplished and then make a plan for carrying things you didn’t finish over to the next week.
Keep a Business Journal
Sometimes just taking the time to reflect on how you use your time and seeing your actions in black and white can be what it takes to help you become more efficient. Keep a business journal, which you add to at the end of each day, where you record your use of time.
You can be as detailed as you like, but keep in mind that the more thorough you are, the more likely this technique is to benefit your business. Track things like the hours you spend on various projects, when you start and finish projects, when you complete tasks and what you have accomplished during the day.
Review the journal regularly to see what your productivity habits are and find ways to improve. This is also a good chance to find ways to make your business more streamlined and identify areas you could improve in with a larger team, different processes or a new approach.
There’s no question that it’s essential to hold yourself accountable to your daily activities if you want to be a better business leader, and these tips can help you get started. For more ways to improve your business and increase your income, contact me.