So now you’ve done a Brain Dump (Tip #1), listing all of the various tasks on your to-do list.
Even though you no longer have to drive yourself crazy, trying to keep all those items in mind, just looking at that long list can be overwhelming in and of itself.
So what can you do to gain some control over all of these tasks? It sometimes seems like they are all nagging you to get them done, preferably all of them right now!! YIKES! No wonder the whole situation feels overwhelming.
So here’s the next step in the process of gaining control of your schedule and your life. I call it my Two-Part Priority Assessment System.
First, you look at every item on the list and assign it the number 1, 2, or 3. As you may have already guessed, number 1 items are top priority items that absolutely need to be done to move your business forward. Number 2 items are fairly important, but not as crucial to your success. Number 3 items (usually a bunch of time wasters) are low priority items that can either be eliminated entirely from your schedule or off-loaded on someone else.
Second, you look at every item on the list and assign it a letter, A, B, or C. A items are things that you really enjoy doing. B items are things you will do as needed. C items are things you absolutely hate to do, and that you avoid doing like the plague.
Third, take an honest look at all of the #3 priority tasks. How many of them are you wasting your time on, either because you find them easy to do, or you like doing them, or because you are using them to delay doing a harder job? Decide if you can let them go undone; or if not, whom you can delegate to do them instead of you. Your time is too precious to waste on junk jobs.
Fourth, assess your top priority #1 items. Ideally these items are also things that you love to do. When they are not, it’s helpful to ask yourself if the reason you don’t like (or even hate) to do them is that you simply lack the skills to do them well at this point in your career. If you cannot delegate #1 priority items to a trusted partner or helper, then it’s time to consider the value of learning the skills you need; so that you begin to enjoy doing all of your #1 priority tasks.
Lastly, take another look at your #2 priority tasks. How many of them really belong to the #3 category of tasks? If they can’t be eliminated, they are also good candidates for being delegated to a trusted assistant or staff member.
Once you have completed your initial Two-Part Priority Assessment, you will have a much clearer understanding of three vital aspects of running your business, instead of your business running you:
- What you really need to focus on:
- What can be delegated elsewhere; and
- What can be dumped from your to-do list entirely
And by the way, it’s a good idea to apply this Two-Part Priority Assessment System to all the tasks in your personal life as well. It can help you to find an appropriate balance between both your business and personal lives.
Doing these assessments allows you to enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing what your priorities truly are. You know where to focus your attention and efforts. You also find out which items you can remove from your to-do list, either to put on somebody else’s list, or to dump entirely.
The final challenge is to figure out how to schedule your priorities in a way that works well for you. I will share some ideas for you to consider in my next post.
By the way, in case you missed the first post in this series, you can find it here.
Also published on Medium.