Some people complain of being very busy but never getting the time to do the stuff that moves their business forward.
Typically, they start each Monday by jumping straight into finishing off what was left over from the previous week, updating To-Do lists and just reacting to whatever issues arise via email, telephone or their team. This routine is repeated week after week.
As a result they are continuously busy, which leads to stress and overwhelm, but they cannot seem to get the really important things done and therefore processes don’t improve and there is no real growth in the business…or themselves!
Our approach to work
Why do we approach our work like that? It might be that we want praise from a boss or customer (or we are avoiding their criticism). This way of operating is pretty much ingrained in us from an early age by parents, teachers and other authority figures.
It could also be that it’s easier – we don’t have to think, just react and the satisfaction of ticking off that To-Do item gives us a great boost but then the hard and important stuff is put on the long finger.
Or perhaps we just don’t know what we want to create – the most common reason, in my experience. We have no purpose or clear direction for ourselves or the business and as a result we end up with the tail (the business crisis issues) wagging the dog (us)!
So, what can we do about it?
How to focus on one thing
At the start of each week, before you get drawn into the ‘illusion of busy-ness’, before the lists appear and the deluge of emails gushes into your inbox, write down three things that you want to do that will fundamentally enhance your business.
These would be things that typically are important but not urgent and hence they tend to go on the long finger and are superseded by the urgent stuff – you know what they are. They could be things that you want to change, improve, exclude or maybe even it might be the need for an unpleasant conversation that you have been putting off.
Then each morning, from your list, pick the ONE THING that will have the greatest impact.
Next, block out 30 minutes in your diary at the same time every day, and do that ONE THING until it is done, even if it takes several days. Only then should you move onto the next ONE THING and so on.
The myth about successful people is that they are brilliant at time management and getting things done. Actually they are successful because they do the most important things, the things that will have the greatest impact on creating what they want.
So, today’s challenge is to start a routine of thinking about and doing the ONE THING. Do it every day and watch what happens.
If you are interested, more information can be found in the book, ‘The One Thing’ by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. They built the largest property agency in the US using this method. I found the book and their approach really helpful, perhaps you might too.
Photo by Paul Skorupskas on Unsplash