Time is money. When Benjamin Franklin said this now historically famous quote, he must have had entrepreneurs in mind. For entrepreneurs beginning a new business, there are often a number of overwhelming choices to be made when running a business. In order to run a successful business, learning how to prioritize is a vital skill. Here are three tips on how to prioritize the decision-making process to make the most of your time in order to grow your business.
Know What’s Important Now (WIN)
Prioritizing is all about importance: knowing what’s important now (WIN), what can wait, and what can wait even longer. If there is a fire in a room, is it more important to put out that fire or dust the furniture?
Categorize all of the items on a list. Order them by urgency and importance. The most pressing and important items go to the top of the list, while the least urgent items fall to the bottom. Just remember, this is not a daily task list and will probably not be completed in a day or week.
Think of this list as a long-term reminder of what is really important to the company. Filing paperwork, although important for financial records, is not going to make or break a company. Not addressing declining sales, however, can take a growing company out of the game.
Focus Only on Growth
It’s easy to amass a very long WIN list. Just remember, the list may be long and organized, but only about 2% of that list will be items that truly improve the company with exponential growth. Really focus on those few items on the list. It will be difficult for task-oriented people, but just remember, the overall goal of a WIN list is to grow the company.
Complete the Hardest Tasks First
When people procrastinate, they aren’t lazy. Rather, they are merely avoiding doing something they don’t want to do. Tackle the hardest item on your WIN list first. This will eliminate that nagging little voice that keeps sapping thought, energy, and ultimately time away from other tasks that also need to be completed. Surprisingly, most people find that when they do the hardest task first, say in the morning, then they are actually more motivated to keep going. Think of it as a mental morning workout.
The pressure from prioritizing will never completely go away. Even when a business seems to be floating smoothly down the river, a fire will always break out somewhere. However, by doing what is most urgent, focusing on company growth, and tackling those hard tasks first, your company will be set up for success.