Before you read this article, think about your calendar for a moment. Are you in control over your schedule most of the time, or do you feel constantly stressed and overwhelmed? If you’re a business owner, you may have a detailed calendar. Some of you probably have every minute accounted for, from the moment you wake up to the minute you go to bed. After all, a calendar is supposed to keep you organized. But is yours truly effective? Or, does it have room for improvement?

Prioritization is Key to Success

These days, businesses owners are busy – extremely busy. With so much to do, it can be hard to prioritize. For example, if you run a small home-based business, you may be easily distracted by the lawn that needs to be mowed outside. The overgrown blades of grass may be bothering you, but can they wait when you’re up against a deadline?

Mowing the lawn may seem harmless, but when you’re constantly tending to non-urgent tasks, what’s going to happen to the real priorities? They’re going to fall by the wayside and before you know it, you’ll be toiling until midnight and working all weekend, missing family time so you can meet a deadline that’s fast approaching. As a result, you’ll be stressed and overwhelmed.

Overhaul Your Time Management Skills

It’s impossible for people to reach goals without strong time management skills. So, what separates successful and productive people from the rest? They know the secret to time and calendar management, which is prioritization.

As a business owner, you’re going to be juggling all the time. A day in your life may include hitting the gym before 6:00 AM, dropping your kids off at school, meeting deadlines, having lunch with a client, going to the doctor, and working on a project after hours.

If you don’t prioritize, you’ll be disorganized, stressed, and overwhelmed. Instead of enjoying your life and business, resentment toward your obligations will grow. What if you miss a deadline? Your client would not be pleased. What if you were so busy, you didn’t have time to spend with your kids? You’d be filled with guilt.

Becoming Well-Organized

If you aren’t organizing your priorities, things are only going to get more chaotic, and nobody wants to be swamped all the time. When you prioritize, you’ll be well-organized and well-prepared, and you can put an end to the nagging feeling that you’re falling behind. Most importantly, you’ll always carve time out for what matters most to you.

When thinking of priorities, consider the following:

  • What matters most to you (e.g. family, friends, health, community, volunteerism, etc.).
  • The goals you are actively working to achieve.
  • Your work responsibilities; if you own a business, M-F, your responsibility is to run the business.
  • Which activities detract from your priorities, such as playing a game on your phone or laptop. They’re fun and distracting on a break, but do they really help you grow as an individual or business owner?
  • The difference between what’s urgent and what isn’t. For example, just because you got an email, it doesn’t mean you have to respond to it that second.

Every day create a task list in order of importance. Assign numbers to each task, starting with #1 being the most urgent and work your way down. The items at the bottom of the list should be the least important, or they can be tackled another day.

Are you still struggling to identify what should be done first? Separate your daily tasks into three categories: 1) urgent, 2) important, and 3) least important. Once you’ve done that, you know what needs to be done right now.

Eliminate Distractions from Your Workspace

Distractions, such as texts, phone calls, emails, employees, and pets can be productivity killers. For you to produce at peak levels with the most concentration and focus, you have to eliminate distractions. For example, you can block out from 9 AM to 12 PM to focus on urgent tasks. During this time, you can put up a “Do Not Disturb” sign on your office door and turn off your phone. You can also block time every day for “shallow work,” such as responding to emails.

Need assistance streamlining your schedule and eliminating distractions so you can focus on growing your business? Work with a business coach. At AdviCoach, your success is our business, and one of the areas we focus on is helping business owners take control of their schedules so they can maximize productivity. Contact us to learn more about the benefits of hiring a business coach.