How I get the ‘important’ done first
We all find it hard to stop the urgent getting in the way of the important. Here’s a bulletproof method for ensuring you get to work on your business every day.
Important items are the things we need to do to grow our business, learn new things, and be in a constant state of flow. Urgent things are our clients demanding our time, emails, and the pressing work that requires our attention.
Marie’s video really resonated with me; I spent so long (like, years) wondering how the hell I was going to get any time to work ‘on’ my business when my day was totally taken up by client work and communications.
Well, you gotta throw that day out the window and stop living it. This is your business, you get to say when, where, and why. You can decide how many to-dos go on your list today, and you can start telling your clients it takes three days, instead of one, to get what they need. (They won’t chuck a hissy fit, I promise.)
So let me show you how I get important done first. I activate one simple rule:
Work on your business, first thing, every morning,
before you start anything else.
Here’s what my work day looks like
1. Get to work at 8am.
2. For between 10 minutes to 2 hours I work on my business.
a. Monday: Customer Value
b. Tuesday: Learning new skills (in my case- Graphic Design)
c. Wednesday: Marketing
d. Thursday: Automation and Business Process
e. Friday: Team Building
I focus on one goal for each topic, for that day. These topics are the ones I’ve found to be most important to me, yours will differ.
"Make it a habit. Make it the first thing you do when you sit down every morning, before you open anything else. "
3. I assess my to-do list. I never allow my to-do list to extend more than (around) 5 hours’ worth of work. Whatever takes longer will go onto the next day.
4. I then work until my to-do list is done.
5. At 2pm every day I log into my email and clear my inbox (this may take between 1-3 hours each day)
6. Work is finished, time for a glass of wine!
Of the above, number two is the most important, yet most recklessly discarded, part of every day. It is so easy to ‘set and forget’ this sort of goal, to bounce out of bed saying “YEAH! I’m going to kick ass today!”, only to sit down at the desk, open up your to-do list and feel like the Earth is crumbling beneath you.
Here’s a universal business truth:
- Important is growth.
- Important is the life span of your business.
- Important is increasing your income three fold in a year.
- Important is getting more clients.
- Important is making those clients feel amazing.
- Important is eliminating three hours out of your work day because you’ve figured out how to automate some of your processes.
- Important is your employees turning down higher paying jobs because they love working for you.
- Important is what keeps you happy when running a business.
- Urgent is temporary.
- Urgent is done by the end of the day.
- Urgent are tasks you’ve done 100 times before.
- Urgent is what pays the bills.
I’m asking you for just 10 minutes each day
How do you make that space of time in your day?
Make it a habit. Make it the first thing you do when you sit down every morning, before you open anything else.
Please don’t start groaning, “oh no not this habit stuff again,” because this is how you make it stick. Habits work because over time you stop thinking about it, stop thinking maybe I will, if I have time, and just do it. It gets done.
The great thing about this habit is you’re gifting yourself the time (and space) to focus on one thing. Your business is a car, and in order to make it run you have to fill it with petrol and check the water and oil every now and then (the urgent stuff). But if you want to go faster, harder, and have something that excels beyond its competition, you have to upgrade the body, drill on better tires, buy a new engine and continue to improve the overall performance.
What you need to remember
You don’t have to do two hours every day. You only need to do 10 minutes. This is how all the best habits start, from something tiny and tangible.
And no matter how long you’ve made this a habit, always keep the mandatory amount of time you need to spend at 10 minutes a day. Even when you’ve been doing two hours every day, and you’re 40 days down the track – the day you wake up and just CANNOT be bothered, all that’s required is 10 minutes.
On average I do 1- 1.5 hours a day of working on my business, but I never ask myself to spend more than 10 minutes of time.
What can you achieve in 10 minutes?
Maybe your 10 minutes for tomorrow morning is finding out the top five areas of your business that are most important to you, and to assign one to each day of your working week. Processes for Tuesday? Finances for Thursday? Blogging for Friday? Self-improvement for Wednesday?
Then your 10 minutes for the following day can involve writing down some goals for Processes Tuesday, Self-Improvement Wednesday.
The most important thing however is that the trigger for this new habit is you sitting down at your desk for the first time each day. So the first thing you need to do right this second is figure out how to make that happen … tomorrow!
When was the last time you made time to work on your business rather than in it?