My Christmas and New Year’s holidays didn’t go exactly as planned: I came down with a nasty virus Christmas evening (luckily after all the celebrations). So I basically “lost” a week’s worth of office time that I had originally set aside for catching up, planning and organizing for the New Year. Now that I’m finally on the mend, I’ve realized there was a lesson to be learned from my unexpected illness.
Being sick for the last week has shown me that I need to be much better at prioritizing. When you feel so bad that you can only manage to do the “most” important tasks, you get a very clear picture of what is truly vital to your business and what non-essential things take up too much of your time.
No one wants to start out the New Year sick, but I’m choosing to be thankful for an eye-opening experience that is helping me make goals and plans that focus on the necessities, not the “fun” or more “comfortable” stuff.
Look at your own To-Do list: if you write down the 3-5 most important things to do for your business today, how much time does it really take to accomplish those tasks? If you don’t get those 3-5 things done in a day, what have you spent your time on instead? If you only had time (or the energy) to accomplish just 3 things today that would keep your business afloat, why not keep that same focus every day?
Most of us who start and own a business spend so much time researching, reading, organizing, planning, strategizing, worrying…that we get stuck spending time on things that aren’t always necessary – maybe just comfortable.
So my advice is to make your daily To-Do List based on the 3-5 most essential tasks – what you MUST get done that day to keep your business alive. The other items on your list should take a back seat – these items may still be important to your business, but if you got an unexpected virus and lost a week’s time in your office, no long-term harm would come (except for the delay in your own goals or schedule) if they didn’t get done until next week.
I usually don’t make New Year’s Resolutions, but thanks to a nasty virus, I am making my first (and only?) one for 2012: To work with concentrated focus every day on the 3-5 essential tasks that keep my business alive and moving forward. All other items on my lengthy To-Do List are non-essential and most likely the “comfortable” tasks that will be waiting for me when I have finished the more important things.