Efficient business: Part 1 - prioritizing
Updated: Mar 8, 2019
There are good days...and there are bad days.
You're tired. Everything is sore. You may feel a little grumpy. No matter how much water you drink you just can’t seem to hydrate yourself. Your mouth is feeling a little lazy. You flubbed your last few auditions. The bank account is looking a bit low for your comfort. Your XLR cables have suddenly introduced a nasty buzz into your input. Your kids won’t stop fighting right outside your studio door.
Every so often you’ll experience some of these things. Sometimes you’ll experience them all. And once in a while it feels like this is just the tip of the iceberg. As I write this I’m experience most of what I wrote above. Today is one of those days, as they say.
Our natural tendency during these days is to do one of two things - we either buckle down and hit things hard, or completely back off and count it a loss to avoid further frustration. I am of the opinion that neither is the appropriate response most of the time (nobody is perfect).
Backing off completely can create a potentially big loss for your business, ranging from getting behind on necessary to-dos, to missed marketing opportunities, to incomplete projects. On the other hand, grinding all the time can lead to errors in judgment, poor quality product and even complete burnout.
So, what's a business owner to do?
A successful business will be one that is focused and hard-working, while leaving room for creativity and flexibility. You can’t always be rigid. But you can’t always be a leaf-on-the-wind either. In my research and experience, three tasks can help us to get to a sweet spot that will enable us to effectively deal with challenging days:
I will discuss one of these items in this post, and create individual posts for the other two.
I’ll say this clearly - your entire schedule cannot be a priority. Everything just isn’t that important, and you’ll drive yourself up a wall if you approach your day that way. Here is an example of prioritizing from my own schedule:
8-9AM ... Biblical devotion
9-10AM ... GFTB webinars
10-12PM ... Blog Post
12-1PM ... Lunch
1-2:30PM ... Marketing
2:30PM ... School Pickup
Now, a breakdown:
Bold/Underlined - these are non-negotiable items. This means I will not, under any circumstance, adjust, skip or remove these items. Even on my worst days, these things will be completed at the assigned time. As a Christian, I firmly believe in beginning my day in the Bible and prayer. If I have a hard deadline on a client project, I may also categorize it in this way to ensure that, no matter what, I own this deadline. My day is organized around these items.
Bold - these are “primary” items. This means I will focus on completing these items even if it means I have to shuffle them around. Today I am writing this blog post. I also have a 5 year old son that I pick up from school every day for relationship purposes. If I needed some time to gather myself because of a bad day I might adjust when I complete these tasks, but they will not be skipped.
Italics - these are “secondary” items. They are very important, but are subject to adjustment or even skipping if absolutely necessary. For example, If my day is going truly poorly I might skip my 1-2:30PM Marketing block. I’ll discuss in a future post what I would replace this time with.
Regular text - these items are nice to complete, but are in no way protected. If a need comes up during my day which causes me to adjust my schedule, these items are the first to go. Only when I run out of these items to clip do I then consider skipped my secondary items.
With the above in mind, I am able to strategically and effectively adjust my schedule to accommodate my physical, mental or spiritual needs during a difficult day.
I hope that this blog post can help you to take charge of your day, even when everything just plain sucks. Stay tuned for the next post, where I discuss knowing when and what to STOP.