As a business owner, you’re frequently wrestling with the challenge of how to get all the things done. How do you balance client/customer work and business development? How do you set priorities? How do you stay on task? How do you keep track of it all?
I get it. As a fellow entrepreneur, I understand there are unique challenges as you try to balance being the Chief of Everything and the CEO.
I have to tell you – there aren’t any secret tricks or hacks that will make you more productive. Our ability to get more done without draining the tank or operating in a constant state of overwhelm boils down to one thing… creating a solid foundation.
These 5 steps will help you strip your productivity habits down to the basics and rebuild so that no matter what comes your way, you can manage all the things without losing your mind.
STEP 1: Understand your unique work instincts
I’m not just talking about the way you prefer to work. Within each of us, lies natural instincts related to our work styles, including how we organize information, visualize outcomes, and build solutions. If you’re struggling to stick to productivity or organization habits (or are constantly searching for new hacks), there may be a misalignment between your instincts and the solutions you’re trying to use.
STEP 2: Create a task management system that works for you
There’s a natural cycle to tasks and your system should solve for each phase of the cycle: capture, organize, and prioritize. That doesn’t mean you need a separate tool for each phase, but you do need a default process for each. Choose tools that work with your natural instincts and fulfill your needs. Avoid tools that have more features than you need or create more work for you (because who needs that!)
STEP 3: Build your ideal work week
You’re the boss – so start designing your days, weeks, and months like one. It’s tough to break our default settings regarding work, like working Monday through Friday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm. But the reality is you have flexibility to work a schedule that works with your lifestyle and business needs.
Here a few items to consider in building your ideal work week:
- How many days a week do you want to engage with clients/customers? How many hours a day?
- How much time each week do you need to work on business development?
- How much time each week do you need to dedicate to professional development?
- What hobbies do you want to fit into your schedule? What days and times would you enjoy them the most?
- When do you have the best energy for content creation? For phone calls/meetings? For doing the actual work?
All these considerations will help you start setting new parameters in days. Only want to do one-on-one coaching calls on Wednesdays? Go for it! Need a CEO Day every Monday? Do it! Design your own schedule.
And put it to work….
STEP 4: Schedule your tasks and time blocks
Having an idea of when you want to do things and a list of things you need to get done will only get you so far. To ensure you build effective productivity habits, set aside the time and energy to complete tasks by scheduling the work into your calendar. Start with recurring tasks for days, weeks, months, and the year. Then work your priorities into your daily schedule. This will keep you on task, prevent overcommitting yourself, create a record of work completed, and give you proactive oversight and control over your schedule.
STEP 5: Create a weekly wrap up routine
Whatever your last work day of the week is (it doesn’t have to be Fridays!), set aside time to do a Weekly Wrap Up. You’ll need time to do three activities.
First, do a braindump. Grab a piece of paper, blank document, task management tool… whatever your fancy and write down every task, need, want, feeling that is taking up space in your mind. This allows you to log all this information while you’re still in work mode.
Next, convert your braindump into a task list. Again, use whatever process and tool you’d like.
Finally, set your priorities for the next week by scheduling work into your calendar.
Then wash your hands of the week and go enjoy a margarita! You’ve earned it!
For more resources to improve your skills and systems, check out my on-demand course library.
Jen Lawrence is a productivity and systems expert passionate about creating ease through systems. With over fifteen years of administrative and project management experience, she helps entrepreneurs develop custom client experience and operations solutions so they can transition from the Chief of Everything to CEO. Learn more about Jen Lawrence at http://www.jenlawrence.co.