When I was a kid, probably around 12 years old, my parents would sometimes have to work or run errands for the day and they would leave me and my brother at home for the day. But it wasn’t just a free for all. We had a list of chores to do before our parents got back home.
My thinking then and still today was to get those chores done right away in the morning. This way I didn’t have to think about the thing I didn’t want to do all day and once I was done I had the rest of the day to do what I wanted.
Even today I still do that with work. There are things that have to get done, but that I don’t necessarily enjoy and I try to do those right in the morning. Then I have the rest of the day to do the more enjoyable items on the to-do list.
But I’m starting to think that maybe this is backwards…at least sideways when it comes to running a business.
The New Priority List
Now I’m thinking that I need to focus more on the big picture with the business. It’s easy to get caught doing all kinds of little things each day. They have to get done or at least you tell yourself that and you get so busy that you don’t have any time left for anything else.
Sometimes those unwanted items can even get so routine that you become good at the. And that’s a bad case scenario because now you’re going to do those because it’s easy for you.
Instead of doing that my focus now is to do the things I have to do today that will save me time in the future.
And to focus on the things today that will get more sales tomorrow.
Yes, I still have to prioritize making sure fires are put out and that we have a good product. But I’m having a longer-term focus on those things and on the business.
Here’s an example, we upload posts for most of our clients to their blog. We format and schedule the posts. I can do that in about 10 minutes each time. It’s easy for me to quickly do that. I’m good at it.
It takes me an hour to document the procedure to do that for each client. Most use WordPress so the procedure is similar, but there are always little differences.
The old way of thinking would be to just do it. But creating a procedure and having the writer upload it each week saves me a ton of time in the future.
Here’s another example, I respond to a lot of emails each day. Well, it’s probably not too bad, but it’s a good portion of my dad. I’m working on shutting down the email and replying at only two times each day. I would like to cut that back to even once per day if I could.
I could respond to those emails, which are inquiries, questions from current customers and questions from writers. Those are all very important.
But more important is growing the business or thinking about ways to make the business and the service better. So I’m prioritizing bigger picture things first now. Or at least trying too.
Starting The Day With Something Fun
And I’ve found that if I start the day with something fun that I’m in a better frame of mind. I like doing crosswords in the morning. I like reading a chapter in a book or reading some Longreads.
So I’ve been starting my day off that way. Then I get into The New Priority List. I’m still in the early stages, but things are getting more productive.
And the more timely items still get done and people are still happy. I realized that a lot of the pressure that comes from the business I was putting on myself.
The best entrepreneurs and business people I know seem to have the ability to think about the big picture. They will certainly do the unwanted work too, but only after they get more important things done.
Maybe what I should have been doing back when I was a kid was thinking about how I could save time in the long run with those chores. Maybe spend an hour brainstorming a faster way to rake the yard instead of just doing it.
Oh well, I’m hopefully learning that lesson now and I think it will lead to good things.