When you start your own business, you’ll quickly become a “Jack of all trades.” With many different tasks demanding equal amounts of attention, you’ll often find yourself thin on time. If you don’t do something different, you could find yourself running around like a headless chicken.
This is where prioritizing your workload becomes an essential part of your daily routine.
At the beginning of every day write a “to do” list of all the tasks you want to complete. When you’re an entrepreneur, your to-do list can become unrealistically long – too long to achieve in one working day. This is why prioritizing tasks is so important.
The following mini-guide will help you to discover which tasks you should complete first in order of priority.
Make room for urgent or unexpected matters
Unexpected situations happen all the time, especially in business. And while we’re not always able to be prepared for the unknown, we can make room in our schedule to handle these instances. If something urgent crops up overnight, make it a priority and deal with it first. This could involve staff concerns, workplace issues, customer complaints or orders that weren’t processed correctly.
Identify any looming deadlines and make working on these tasks your next priority. Your customers will not be pleased if you don’t meet the deadlines stipulated, and it’s probably in your best interest to meet and contractual agreements that you have with other businesses, service providers, or vendors. Keep deadlines prominent on your calendar so that you know what’s coming up and are ready.
Trying to complete lots of tasks at once, is not an effective use of time. You could potentially end up with lots of half-completed tasks. It’s more efficient to complete one task at a time. This means that each task receives your full attention and you are able to focus undisturbed.
Tip: Remember to take plenty of breaks during the day. A walk in the fresh air can also be really beneficial in making you feel re-energized and ready to tackle the next task on your list.
The benefit of emails communication over phone calls is that interruption of your work is avoided. Taking phone calls when you’re completing projects that require your full attention can be extremely distracting. However, actually speaking to people, on the phone, is essential for maintaining that personal touch that customers respond expect.
To get around this problem allocate specific times during your schedule for answering calls and responding to messages. For the remainder of the day, put your phone on do not disturb, forward calls to an answering service, or switch on the answer machine to avoid distraction. To reduce the number of phone inquiries you receive by phone make sure that you have sufficient information on your website and your social media accounts to answer common questions.
Outsource where you can
Make sure that you have enough time to focus on what’s important. Don’t waste time on tasks that can be contracted out. Whether you need the services of a freelance writer or a graphic designer to create social media graphics for you, don’t spend countless hours working on tasks that someone else can do for you.
For example, your business may not be large enough to warrant having a full-time IT tech on staff; and most small businesses either attempt to manage their IT systems themselves or outsource it to a service like Managed IT Services for businesses.