One of the traits colleagues know me for is my capacity to achieve a lot in any given week. I’ve written full length books in less than a month, helped multiple clients launch their programs in any given week, and stayed on top of all the financial, administrative, and other details of running a growing business. And all this in addition to having pretty enviable work-life balance.
There are a few strategies I implement each week to help me get more done. Here’s how I put them together to achieve at a high level:
1) I identify the most essential tasks that week, and focus there. Essentialism is becoming more important than ever; especially as we are being inundated with more demands for our time and more requests for our attention. By taking a step back and identifying tasks as essential, or not, it gives me space to think about what I’m saying yes to, since I know that each time I say yes to something, I’m saying no to something else. The biggest mistake I’ve made as an entrepreneur is in continually piling more “to-dos” on my plate, without ever stopping to define if these were essential activities. I’ve spent many weeks doing a lot, but not really achieving anything meaningful. Once I noticed this pattern, I began to realize that my best weeks were those where I defined what was most important and focused there first.
2) I keep going. Once I’ve decided to accomplish a task, I stay focused on it and working on it until it’s done. I draw out complete step by step processes for the task, so I can easily note where I am, and what comes next. This step-wise process is really helpful when I outsource various parts of the task; I can easily see where I left off and where I need to pick up again. I make a special effort to be as complete and thorough as I can, so I don’t have to keep making decisions along the way. I try to just implement whatever I have decided and that helps streamline my process.
3) I give myself rewards. When faced with tasks that are huge, onerous, I make sure to give myself small rewards along the way. It’s important for me to keep my energy high and my outlook positive, even when I am working hard to accomplish a goal. A meaningful reward doesn’t need to be expensive, or take a long time- just the small “pause” that helps you gather your energy for the next part of the climb.
4) I seek help. I am a big believer in the power of leveraging my team and team resources. Once I have made my stepwise process plan (see #2), I delegate out all the pieces that I can. This helps me double or triple my output compared to what I could accomplish alone. It also means that I can focus on the parts that are mine to do; without getting bogged down in administrative pieces that are not my sweet spot.
5) I set aside 1 day a week to focus just on my business. I do a lot of client work, and that often bleeds into long days and odd hours. Yet I reserve one full day a week, just for myself, so I can concentrate completely on the task at hand.
6) I finish something before adding something. Like you, I often have new ideas and projects I want to pursue RIGHT NOW. Yet, part of being successful is in finishing what you start, so I try to make sure I finish something before adding something new. It’s similar to decluttering your closet- each time you buy two new shirts, you get rid of two old shirts. I try to do the same kind of process with my work projects. This enables me to have the satisfaction of completion – and the excitement of something new.
7) I prune back what’s not working. Before I start any project in my business, I set a revenue target and timeline for it. As the timeline is coming to completion, I review my revenue goals and determine if the project is on track – or not. If it’s not, I decide whether to improve or continue, or just prune back and focus elsewhere. Not all the projects I implement always go as planned, but this pruning back enables me to focus on the strongest performers.
Being a successful business owner is not just about what you do. It’s about how you approach what you decide to do. These seven strategies have been very useful to me in accomplishing my goals happily and quickly. If you’re so inclined, try them out for yourself (and let me know how it goes!)