This blog post is about focusing on your highest leverage tasks first. It’s a concept that Michael Hyatt talks about and I can’t wait to dive in. This month we’ve been focusing on the idea of simplicity. We’ve covered the concept of decision fatigue- all of the decisions that we need to make. We’ve talked about mega-batching- the idea of chunking activities together to be more productive. Today we’re going to talk about where to start first.
Michael Hyatt is a productivity expert extraordinaire. He talks about doing what matters most, first. Think about what’s going to have the biggest impact on your bottom line. What activities, if you did those consistently, every day are going to drive results in your business? You probably already have a few ideas on what you need to do. There’s probably a few key areas that are going to jump out at you right away so that you can be really focused. If you do those things consistently, you should see exponential growth in your business. So what are those areas for you? What do they look like? They are going to vary from business to business.
If your to-do list looks anything like my old one, it’s probably got 20-30 items on it. We know that’s absolutely not possible to be able to achieve all of those tasks in one day. There’s many days when my list looks like that, that I don’t get things done. They carry over to the next day or week. When you’re carrying a giant list, by the end of the day you don’t feel fulfilled. You know you had a productive day, but without getting that list done, you don’t feel satisfied. Maybe you have times when you feel like a failure for not getting through it.
Look at your to-do list for the day and switch it to doing the most important tasks first, you’ll feel more satisfied with your accomplishments. You’ll start to see better results in your business because you’re spending time on what really matters. Focus on your top three activities. Do those first.
I started implementing this concept about 6 months ago. I notice on the days that I do my highest leverage tasks first, that I’ve got so much energy for the rest of the day. It actually carries me through and I’m able to accomplish more than if I started with less essential tasks. I’m then able to cross off a bunch of those lower priority tasks in the afternoon when my energy is lower.
The key is to be consistent in doing this. I’ve noticed there are times when I’m really good about doing this concept and then I fall back into my old patterns and habits. From time to time you may just need a day when you hammer off items on your to-do list. Focus on cleaning up the loose ends and wrapping up the details on lower leverage tasks. You just can’t do that all the time if you want to move your business forward.
You may worry that by focusing on the top three things first, you’ll never get the other things on your list done. There are other ways to handle those tasks. What can you stop doing? On your list, what actually doesn’t need to be done? This is really hard for many business owners to realize. You don’t have to do everything. Just because it’s an idea that another business is doing or it’s something that you’ve read about, doesn’t mean it’s right for you to do. That it’s right for you, right now. Or that it’s right for you ever. I’ve been going through my to-do list and cleaning up tasks that have been sitting there for months or years. At some point, my going was to tackle those tasks. I realized that I had many items on my list that no longer applied to my business. I no longer had to have them on my list. You may notice the same thing. What can you stop doing?
The second way to deal with your to-do list is to identify what you can delegate. What can you assign to someone else to do? Who on your team can help? What activities are better suited to someone else’s skill set? Think about what your hourly rate is and compare it to the activity you’re doing. If it’s $100 per hour or $500 per hour, is the activity worth that much money? If you’re running your company and you sort the mail, is that a $100 or $500 per hour task? If the answer is no, you shouldn’t be doing it. If you’re a solopreneur, it’s time to start contracting some of that work out. You can hire out for a few hours per week to support the lower leverage task that you do so that you can focus on the higher leverage activities.
The last thing to think about is what can you automate in your business? What types of systems can you put in place? What types of programs can you use to automatically do things for you. You don’t have to be the one that has their hands on the physical activity. Focus on your highest leverage tasks first. You’ll probably notice a bigger result on your bottom line.
Give it a try and let me know how it works. The next post will talk about four ways that you can “Marie-Kondo” your business.
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