This post is from my submission to Stephanie Pollock's free quarterly Going Pro Magazine, which launched today — more on that below.
It's so easy to fall into the trap of weed-whacking in business — responding, reacting, chasing, and generally just playing defense.
Sometimes those things are necessary — we get overwhelmed and it's all we can do to keep up with the bare minimum. But to make meaningful progress, you've got to be disciplined about putting DOWN the lawn-mower and getting into your Boeing Jet instead for some perspective.
What's the high-level view of what you're trying to do? Where are you trying to go? You'll get there a lot faster if you carve out time to "eat your biggest frogs" first thing in the morning (as Brian Tracy says) or at the very least on specific days of the week.
Businesses don't get built, books don't get written, courses don't get created, and blogs don't grow just by tending to the tiniest details. They all require you to proactively elevate yourself to higher and higher levels of thinking and performance.
6 Tips for Minimizing the Time You Spend Weed-Whacking
1. Restrict meetings to only 1-2 days per week. Meetings tend to break up the day and interrupt concentrated "in the zone" time. Keep your meeting days limited and save your more proactive work for your open days.
2. Answer emails in batches. Do not check and respond every two seconds or you will constantly be at the mercy of your inbox. Carve out specific blocks of time each day (or each week) to make significant progress on your email. Mine are in the afternoons, with a mega-catch-up on Sunday evenings.
3. Choose your 1-3 most important tasks each morning. Do those first, then move on to smaller items. Any more than this is overwhelming -- if you finish the initial set, great! Then you can choose a secondary set of tasks.
4. For any given month or quarter, know what ONE or TWO major projects you want to complete. Ask yourself how much time you need to spend and how you can structure your weeks to allow for that focused time. Do you work best in a one-week crunch, or do you want to set aside time every day? Once you complete one of the projects, you can always add another to your list, but it's hard to juggle too many at one time without scattered focus.
5. Engage others. Delegate whatever you can, and consider bringing on additional help (such as an assistant, intern or VA) to manage some of the tasks that don't require your expertise.
6. Big-picture planning. Create a mind-map of everything you want to achieve for the next six months to a year. What are you most excited about? What would move your business furthest? What would make the biggest impact for your community? For each idea, draw spokes for the various milestones required or the key results you'd like to achieve (or both).
By staying intentional about seeing the big picture and ensuring that you prioritize those tasks first, you’ll feel a sense of pride and accomplishment, and you won’t resent reactive things that come up later in the day (or week) because you’ve already made major progress on what matters most.
More About Going Pro Magazine
Here's a description of Stephanie Pollock's quarterly Going Pro Magazine, in which I'm honored to be featured in this round!
There’s a great quote that says, “Never compare your insides to someone else’s outsides.”
In the digital age, it’s easier than ever to see what others are up to. And with that, can come a bit of compare and despair.
But the truth is – the people you think of as successful have had their share of bumps and setbacks. They get scared (yes, still!) and question themselves at times.
And they keep on going.
These are the stories shared inside the third issue of Going PRO magazine.
You’ll go behind the scenes to find out exactly how contributor went Pro in her business. You’ll hear about big successes and mistakes along the way. It’s an open, candid look at what it really takes to be successful in business – the good, the bad and sometimes the ugly. And you’ll get business strategies and tips to take your business to the next level.
You can pick up your free copy here — enjoy!