It’s inevitable. As a small business owner, you will wear many hats… often switching between various roles & tasks several times a day.
- Marketing manager
- Project manager
- Content developer
- Technical support staff
- Administration extraordinaire
While this type of juggling is to be expected, you have to be aware that not all of your hats are created equal. Marketing outweighs bookkeeping, for example, because without marketing, there will be no cash to manage.
Not only that, but you have to consider how much time you’re spending in each area as well. If you spend all day tweaking the design on your website and put off sending an email to your list, you might have gained a better looking website, but you would have also put off an opportunity to drive traffic to your offer.
In an ideal world, you’d simply put on your CEO hat and delegate the rest, but let’s face it — we don’t all have that option… especially in the early days of establishing yourself and your brand. Instead, we have to work smarter, and be more mindful of the way in which we spend our time.
Prioritise Your Daily Tasks Pareto Style
We all have different skills and sweet spots when it comes to the tasks we need to get done. You might love customer support and hate bookkeeping, while someone else may enjoy the numbers game and dislike dealing with customer enquiries.
Regardless of your personal preferences, remember the Pareto Principle which suggests two out of ten items on any to-do list will be worth more than the other eight items put together.
The thing is we are all guilty of procrastinating on the high value 20 percent of our to do lists (at some point in time for a whole range of reasons). Instead we busy ourselves with the lower value 80 percent that contribute very little to your bottom line.
If nothing else, you should concentrate on the crucial 20 percent. I would even take this a little further and say start with the crucial 20 percent and do so when your brain is at its most productive.
Know the Difference Between Important and Urgent
In his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey recommends prioritising tasks based on a time-management grid. Every task is assigned to a quadrant of the grid, based on whether it is urgent, important, both, or neither. Once you know where a task falls on the grid, you’ll immediately know what you should be working on.
For example, marketing and planning are important but not urgent. A ringing phone is urgent, but not necessarily important. The sales page for your new program, which is launching tomorrow (!) is both urgent AND important.
So think about which quadrant each of your tasks belong to on that grid, and prioritise them accordingly.
Do What You Love – Outsource the Rest
It is unlikely that you will be able to get to everything on your list every single day. Depending on what is going on at home and in your business, there will be days when you just don’t have enough hours to get it all done.
When you get to this point and if find yourself there a little too often, it’s probably time to re-think your model and to consider outsourcing.
Start with one task or a specific part of your business. If designing checklists, workbooks and planners (for example) isn’t your strong suit, that may be a great place to start.
The goal is to remove all bottlenecks… to create the time and headspace to focus on the 20 percent that matter … to only take on the roles & tasks that “spark joy”, or those tasks that are crucial to your growth.