Prioritise Priorities

Talk about it and it is a dream.

Envision it and it becomes exciting.

Plan it and it becomes possible.

Schedule it and it will become real. 

– Anthony Robbins

You work hard and are continuously striving for success but somehow it eludes you.  You go to bed wondering why you are so tired yet you did not achieve all you had set out to do.

The inability to prioritise may be the main reason why you are not meeting your business goals.  It may be the cause of your inability to attract qualified prospects and convert them into paying customers. It may be behind your cash flow crisis, as debtors fail to pay you on time.

Your entire business strategy may fall apart if you do not give priority to its important elements.

What does time mean to you?

In order to be able to prioritise you first have to understand time.

  • We all have the same number of hours in a day.
  • Time is a constant that can never be managed. You can only manage your own actions in time.
  • Time is an irreplaceable resource
  • Time is one of the most precious commodities that you possess.
  • Time lost can never be regained

 Great people are able to achieve more with the same time because they understand the value of time.  They believe that time is money and they choose to spend it wisely and economically.

Do you have to change your mindset about time?

Success is never an accident; it is a result of completing one scheduled task after another

To manage your actions in time you first have to set SMART goals which you then break into action plans and tasks.  Your business strategy has to translate into an implementation plan with a clear to-do-list of tasks that are placed in order of priority.  Priority must be given to those activities that will give the highest return for your business.  For example, creating and implementing systems that will improve customer service has a higher return than dealing with one irate customer.

Delegate or defer

Small business is characterised by limited resources and fewer personnel.  Prioritising is therefore extremely important for you the business owner.  Consider the following when prioritising tasks:

  1. Calculate your hourly rate and only do those tasks that are worth your hourly rate
  2. What do you do best? Only do what you do best
  3. What would give you the greatest financial return?
  4. What gives you the greatest reward.

Delegate or defer everything else to someone who can do it at a lower hourly rate. By delegating work to people who are capable and effective you free yourself to do more and to achieve more of your business growth objectives.

Beware of “The Urgent”

Stephen Covey, in his book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” divides tasks into four categories:  The Urgent and Unimportant; The Urgent and Important; The Unurgent and Unimportant and the Unurgent and Important.  Covey writes:

Urgent matters are usually visible. They press on us, they insist on action. They’re often popular with others. They’re usually right in front of us. The “urgent” is tyrannical.

Unfortunately, as human beings, we are programmed to avoid threat.  In your quest to minimise threat you are likely to spend more time reacting to “urgent” telephone calls and emails instead of focussing on important things like sales.   Faced with this choice, will you give in to the pressure of the urgent or take responsibility for this valuable gift of time and give priority to the important tasks?

Eat the frog

It is recommended to “eat the frog” – that is, in your to do list, to start with the important tasks first while you are still energetic and able to focus.  The more you focus on completing important high value business tasks that bring the highest returns the faster you will achieve business success.

There is a switch cost to success and you have to pay that price.

As you switch from doing the urgent unimportant tasks in favour of the unurgent and important there will be resistance.  A common example is the many people who decide to exercise in the mornings in order to be fit.  Research has shown that most of them will be consistent for three weeks after which they will start to falter until they discontinue exercising.  It becomes difficult to leave the warm bed for the cold of the gym.  That is the switch cost.  It may be difficult to pay the switch cost and forsake the activities that you enjoy doing in order to choose the important.

In business, as you choose to focus on developing relations with your stakeholders, the important but unurgent and tasks. You will be distracted by unimportant tasks that give you immediate reward or reduce threat.  Are you willing to pay the price?

Prioritising and completing goal-directed tasks is the vector that connects the dots of the gap between your vision and your current position in business.  It is an essential part of your personal power to take focussed, consistent, and goal-directed action that will make your business to thrive and grow.

At BizOil (Pty) Ltd – Let us partner with you to accelerate your power to grow your business.