You may have heard of the Proverb “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” In fact, this is a common application to life – and we can find a lot of information about its meaning on various websites. In my corporate coaching experience, this faith-based principle applies to business as well.
I see it all too often, where a client will spend most of their energy focusing on closing one large project, or an investment or sale. They put aside the day to day tasks that are imperative for growth while waiting for a big milestone that may redefine the course of their career. Of course, it is important to put resources, time and energy into these large initiatives, they do go through times of when there is nothing you can do to advance the ball. I always coach my clients to stay focused on where your efforts make an impact. Trust me I’ve been there… more times than I can count and its easier said than done.
Here are 7 ways you can stay on track with the daily grind:
So many of us roll out of bed and immediately grab our phones or check our email. Heck I used to fall asleep with my laptop next to me. As I have advanced in my career, I am now working both hard and smart. I immediately roll out of bed and do 20 push-ups, 50 squats, and make my bed. The sooner you can do something positive the better. I then spend the remaining time feeding my mind, body, and soul everyone has a variation of what works for them find something you can stick to and just do it.
Keep track of a to do list that you can easily and quickly access, update, edit and review every day. As soon as you recall something you need to do, add it to the list. And while you’re there, scan the other items on your list to see if there is an opportunity to be efficient with whatever you are currently working on. You can also create priority lists – so if something urgent comes up, but you aren’t able to tend to it immediately, you can file it under the “high priority” list. Then file the lower priority tasks under a “low priority” list. This will keep your mental clarity in check as you go about your day.
Identifying the most important tasks to accomplish is just the beginning. As you start your work day, avoid the temptation to check off the smaller, unimportant tasks first – and focus on higher priority items first. The more value you see in the work, the more value it will bring to your business. Plus, you will feel much more satisfied once your “bigger tasks” are cleared from your list. If you’re looking at your daily to do list and wondering where to start, ask yourself a few questions:
What does my client or my team need from me right now?
What will cause the most turmoil if it doesn’t get done?
Where is the biggest opportunity for my contribution to matter right now?
Which tasks do I need to finish today so I can work smarter tomorrow?
A key strategy to increasing efficiency is setting aside uninterrupted time. Identify any specific activities or time frames that tend to divide your attention, then work to find a solution to minimize the disruption. For example, if you are commonly distracted by your email notifications while working on a proposal, your momentum may be lost. The solution? Turn off email notifications while you are writing proposals. This might create a little anxiety at first, but eventually you will find that you are more productive with your time, and those emails can certainly go an hour or two unanswered without repercussions.
We tend to feel an overwhelming need to take care of everyone else (our team and clients) first, but it’s also extremely crucial to take care of yourself and your business priorities. Set meetings with yourself on a regular basis to stay on track with tasks that pertain to your own business goals.
Multi-tasking might feel like the best way to increase productivity. That can be true for some tasks, but when you are multi-focused, you have to sort out what needs your full attention. This means that the larger initiative will need a block of time allocated for your full attention, and smaller initiatives can be worked on simultaneously or in shorter blocks of time.
Spend 5-10 minutes reviewing your high and low priority task list every day. For some people this will be right before you head home for the day, and for others this time might be after dinner when you are relaxed. If you don’t feel as if you accomplished enough that day, decide what you can do first thing the next morning to jump start your day differently. Don’t get discouraged, stay motivated to get yourself back on track.
Outside of my larger project or milestone initiatives, I keep a daily running to-do list organized by category and priority: Urgent, high, low – client, marketing, administrative, personal tasks and so on. Every day I ask myself, “which of these is going to make the biggest impact on my growth this week or month?” Even when you have larger initiatives and “milestones” to focus on, the overall growth and success of your business is much like the snowball effect.
Having a professional entrepreneur coach guide you through these initiatives gives you more discipline and accountability. See yourself and your day through to its full potential. Even corporate executive coaching clients depend on me to oversee their productivity and delegation. I understand the differences between managing a small team as a startup and managing a fortune 500 company. I always apply different strategies based on each of my clients’ individual preferences. Let’s talk about your goals with a brief intro call.