We all have one thing in common, there are only so many hours in the day. The problem is that there is just so much to do and not enough time to get through the ever-expanding ‘To Do’ list. This can feel impossible and de-motivating. Most days you fail to get through even half of what you need to and end up feeling overwhelmed. You know that you need to prioritise your tasks, but don't know how to effectively do it.
Get up and find some momentum. It can be very easy to get distracted and waste vital hours on tasks that aren’t urgent. This is why it is important to prioritise tasks before starting to work on anything. Sometimes it can be easy to just start the day off with the easy tasks, as it is a little boost when you tick those off your ‘To Do’ list. But wouldn't it be more gratifying to get the urgent tasks done which you keep putting off? After all, it is probably those urgent calls and email replies that could push you forward and allow your business to reach new heights.
Firstly, you need to work out what time of the day you are most productive. You could be like me and find you are at your peak of productivity first thing in the morning or maybe it is later in the day. At the time you feel most productive, block out 30 minutes to 1 hour in your calendar, prioritise your tasks and concentrate on getting the urgent tasks done. This time is called your ‘Buffer Zone’. It should be the time you spend on urgent tasks which could be sending replies to emails or messages or making calls that you have been putting on the back burner.
Now, you will only be able to do so many tasks in your ‘Buffer Zone’ time, but what I have found to be an effective way to ensure you get the most out of this time is to list 3 tasks each day that needs to be done. Bullet point them in your diary and you must clear them all within this time-frame, so don’t over-commit yourself. Once you have done these tasks, give yourself a treat. If you have any spare time, that is great! You can maybe fit another task in. If not, congratulate yourself that you are now a few steps forward and those tasks are ticked off your ‘To Do’ list.
One of the best bits of advice I can give you to overcome the overwhelm is to learn that you don’t need to do everything yourself. When you prioritise your tasks, look at the important tasks that only you can deal with and also think about what tasks you can delegate to someone else. By learning the skill of outsourcing the right tasks you will not only tick off more tasks on your ‘To Do’ list but find that you work towards your bigger goals faster.
Another thing to keep in mind is that if you are doing things right, you won’t get all your tasks cleared. Running a business is a continuing journey and there will always be something to do and a new challenge to set yourself.