When you have a lot to get done in a day and are overwhelmed, how do you decide what to do first?
As you open a business and it continues to grow, you will start to be overbooked, overextended, and overcommitted. If we don’t have a clear process or formula to making decisions, we fall back into old habits on what to do and this does not get us where we want to be. When everything feels urgent and important, everything seems equal. But it is not equal.
To do lists are a staple of the time management and success game. While to-dos serve as a useful collection of our best intentions, they also burden us with trivial, unimportant stuff that we feel obligated to get done. (This is why I recommend you to have a general business email account and a patient google-encrypted email for patients only) But people who are successful, or achievers, operate differently and they have an eye for the essential. They work from a clear sense of priority. To do list are long and pulls you in all directions. (AKA “monkey mind and I used to suffer for this a lot!)
Success lists are short and aims you in a specific direction. Whenever you feel lost, overwhelmed, or lacking direction, you can apply these principles and remind yourself to identify what matters most and focus on this first.
- Remember the 80/20 rule – asserts that a minority of causes, inputs, or effort usually lead to a majority of the results, outputs, or rewards. Richard Knoch, The 80/20 Principle. Or to keep it simple as I like to do, 20% of the efforts will produce 80% of your results. You can apply this prinicple of success into business, investments, your life, your work, and generally everything with extraordinary results.
- To-Do list converted to a success list. Take your to-do list and organize it into 4 quadrants of importance every week. This will also help you find the very important 20% and clearly identify it. This will identify what things matter more than the rest and even which one matters the most. I divide a piece of paper weekly into 4 quadrants depending on importance and I focus only on the first box
- very important (now) – immediate attention and focus that needs to be completed or directly relates to increased business. This should be your #1 focus daily. Using things in this box should directly influence business, marketing, and revenue!!!!!
- important (1 week) – needs to be done but not immediately. Maybe a progress note, phone call, email, etc
- not important (2 weeks) – ex. a letter of recommendation, emails, and other things. maybe these things can be outsourced to someone else
- doesn’t need to be done now (1 month) – outsource these
- Multitasking and “Monkey Mind” – multitasking is switching attention back and forth from task to task until both tasks are done. I have had “monkey mind” plenty of times and it makes it very hard to focus! Its not that we have too little time to do all the things we need to do, it’s that we feel the need to do too many things in the time we have. Hoping we get everythign done. Multitasking doesn’t save time, it wastes time.
- START – primary work – (switch and redirect) – distraction – (switch and redirect) – primary work – FINISH
- START – primary work – FINISH This is where we need to be at when working!!!
- Some of the “The One Thing” principles
- go small – don’t focus on being busy, focus on being productive. allow what matters most to drive your day
- go extreme – once you figure out what matters, keep asking what matters most until there is only one thing left. That core activitiy goes at the top of your success list
- Say no. Whether you say “later” or “never”, the point is to say NOT NOW to anything else you could do until your most important work is done
- Don’t get trapped in the “check off” game. If we believe things don’t matter equally we must act accordingly.
- Distraction is natural – don’t feel bad when you get distracted. Everyone gets distracted
- Multitasking takes a toll – at home or at work, distractions lead to poor choices, painful mistakes, and unnecessary stress
- Distraction undermines results – When you try to do too much at once, you can end up doing nothing well. Figure out what matters most in the moment and give it your undividued attention