Time and Priorities

Today I’m thinking about time.  I know that some of us struggle with prioritizing and fitting in what’s important. Often it feels like we have so many demands on our time that we don’t know how to get it all done in the time we’ve got.  As a business owner you’ve got tons of demands on your time and it may be frustrating or overwhelming for you to try and get everything done in the time given and in the best way possible.  But the worst thing you can do is to give up or de-prioritize things that really should be priorities.

Let’s start by talking about what’s important and should be prioritized.  The most obvious would be things that no one else can do or that need your approval to move forward.  Yes, delegation is great and necessary but there are certain things that just can’t be done without a say-so from you, the boss.  Ignoring it or hoping the assigned individual will take care of it will eventually result in your team letting things slide or things not getting done, no matter how great your team is.

The next step to choosing what to prioritize has to do with whether or not it’s something that affects others. Without people your business can’t be very successful, it’s that simple. So if the needs of the people aren’t being addressed, expect failure, not success.

The third question is how high of a priority the need is.  If it’s a high priority, and especially something no one but you can do, it should be done sooner rather than later. The thing to remember though is that everything needs to be addressed at some point in time, so it’s not a good idea to just do the highest priority items and nothing else because everything becomes highest priority at some point in time, and it’s a lot easier to get things done when they’re not on fire (literally or figuratively).

But to get things done you have to spend time on them.  One of the biggest issues with priorities is response time.  Some companies can manage super quick responses to customer questions and issues, it’s great if you can.  However, not everyone has the resources or availability to provide almost instant responses.  My rule of thumb is that all queries should be addressed within 24 hours.  Even better would be to respond when you get to work and then again when you leave work.  That way you start and end your day with a clean slate.  For the weekends or days you don’t have set hours I would definitely follow the 24 hour rule.

Finally, assign and spend a portion of your day every day handling both highest priority and lower priority items.  Having the time scheduled in will help you feel less stress and get more done, too.

What do you need to prioritize or spend time on in your business?

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