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One of the common challenges for many business owners is how to prioritise their workload and how to decide what to do next. It is easy when you are running a business to get overwhelmed by everything that you have to do and confused about your priorities. You may also get sidetracked on unimportant tasks rather than the more important ones and the longer term development of your business. So what can you do to help in this area?
Here are some tips on prioritisation that you may want to consider for your own workload and your business as a whole:
Where do you want the business to be? Are you clear about where you want your business to be in the short, medium and longer term? Whatever your objectives are, having clear business goals will enable you to have a focus for all your business activity. It will also enable you to understand the key areas to concentrate on in your business.
What do you need to do to achieve your business objectives? Once you are clear about your business goals, the next step is to identify what you need to do to achieve these objectives. This will help you to ensure that you have not missed anything off your list of priorities.
What else needs doing? Review your list and see if there are other things that need to be added to your list. There may be other steps you need to take to enable you to move the business to where you want it to be or ongoing tasks that need completing as part of running your business.
When do the above need doing by? Once you understand what needs doing think about when each task needs completing by. For larger more complex projects you will need to break down the project into smaller more manageable tasks with individual deadlines.
What can you drop off the list? This is an area that everyone struggles with. You all have your list of things that you like doing but they may not be adding value or taking the business to where you want it to be. Be ruthless and drop off all these items so that you can focus 100% on achieving the business objectives.
Can any of the tasks be delegated or outsourced? Another challenge for business owners is hanging onto tasks that someone else could do for them and often can do in a lot less time. Consider what you can delegate or outsource and move forward with this. You may think that you cannot afford to employ someone or use an outside company to do some of your work, but sometimes you need to take this step to release the potential of your business.
If you could only do one thing, what would it be? To get to the most important item on your list ask yourself if you could do only one thing what would it be, and work through your list in this way to get things prioritised. Another way of prioritising is to imagine you are on a hot air balloon and you need to remove some of the weight (your tasks). Start to remove the tasks in order of least importance, so you are left with the most important one, as well as an order for the rest.
Which task do you need to do first to achieve your business objectives? You can think about your list in a different way based on your business objectives. Which task do you need to do first to achieve your business objectives? You can then work through the list in this way establishing a list of priorities.
Be flexible and allow for interruptions and the unexpected. Things don't always go according to a plan and we all have interruptions to our day and things happening that we are not expecting. Allow time for these in your schedule and be flexible.
Re-prioritise every time you need to add something to your list or things change. A key part of prioritisation is re-prioritising when something new comes up or things change. If you stick rigidly to you original priorities you may come unstuck, so it is important to keep reviewing and updating your list.
Still confused, then maybe you need some help. If you are still confused and need some help with prioritisation, then consider working with a business mentor who can help you in this area.
Hopefully the above ideas will help you with the prioritisation of things within your business and for you personally.
Author: Liz Makin
Published: April 2011
Makin It Happen has a range of personal development online courses to purchase, created by Liz Makin, including communication, resilience, time management, stress management and coaching. Liz Makin also provides personalised business coaching, business mentoring and stress management services to business owners, directors, managers and professionals.
Please call Liz on 01780 765270 or email Liz@makinithappen.co.uk
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