Without business priorities, you’re destined to face each day in reactive mode and go to bed wondering why you didn’t get anything done. Sound familiar?
That’s because when you’re first starting your business you might be trained more as an employee or student than as a business owner. This means that you might be used to reacting to other people’s priorities instead of setting your own.
Find out how to set your own business priorities, and see how the results start to add up.
Business Priorities Start Here
How Your Business Priorities Get Offtrack
It’s common for us to throw our agenda out the window when we get a new request that feels urgent.
So for example, someone might send you an e-mail saying that they need to receive something from you, so you immediately stop doing what you’re working on and work on this instead.
Here’s why this is a bad idea when you become a business owner: you’re no longer the captain of your own ship, instead you are just reacting to other people’s demands.
So here’s what I recommend that you do to help you manage your time better, and prioritize your own projects and goals over those of other people.
The first thing is to recognize that for everybody else, their priorities might feel like emergencies. Just because it’s important to someone else does not mean that it is urgent for you.
Most emails can stand to wait a few hours for a reply, and many can even wait days. If we’re talking about customer service emails, then those should get a reply as soon as possible, but you should be able to spot the difference between those emails and “request emails”.
Another great way to think about tasks is the Steven Covey quadrant of: Important/Non-Important, Urgent/Non-Urgent. There might be important things that aren’t urgent, but that get taken over by urgent but not-important items. Always take a look at the importance of a task, not just how urgent it seems.
How To Prioritize Your Work
Another way to manage priorities and expectations is to focus on your work first before checking e-mail. I also recommend taking tasks from emails into your project management software of choice, so they don’t stay in your inbox.
I really like Asana for this, check out my Asana review here.
The important thing is to stop using your inbox as a list of tasks that you need to do. Instead, use your inbox to communicate with people, not to generate new tasks or to distract you from your own priorities.
When it comes to setting priorities, focus on activities that drive long term business growth or value. Then on high dollar per hour activities, and finally other things that need to get done. If you can afford to hire some of these administrative tasks out, so you can focus on the high impact and high income work, do it.
So before you check your inbox in the morning, make sure that you have a list of your own priorities and tasks for the day. I’m not saying that you won’t have to put down your own work to help someone out, to answer questions, or do a friend a favor…
What I am saying, is that you should focus on your own businesses priorities first, because that’s what makes you money.
A lot of times inquiries and other people’s priorities can just distract you from your own goals. There are definitely some exceptions to this rule, but I’ve found that a lot of times they can just add more work to your plate without actually driving any business results.
How Do You Prioritize?
I hope you found this prioritization tip useful and I look forward to hearing what your top three business priorities are. Leave a comment below.