On any given day, we have a million tasks vying for our attention, and we have to choose wisely.Tweet This
I sat in a presentation this week where the speaker was talking about how to create a business plan. The whole talk was filled with business buzz-words and I could tell that the over 50 attendees left the meeting at least as (if not more) confused as they were before they walked in.
They still didn’t know what it actually took to move their business or idea forward. It reminded me of a running back who makes 100 moves but gains no yardage.
As an entrepreneur, I don’t have time for things that don’t move the ball towards the end-zone, as they say.
And yet, I have noticed how often I play the same role as this presenter. I love showing the breadth of my knowledge, but at the end of the day I realize I made a lot of movements, but I wasn’t any closer to meeting my monthly bottom line.
When it comes to making sure I’m always moving toward my target, here are a few things I keep in mind:
1. Learning is important, but learn something that moves the ball forward.
Too many entrepreneurs get caught learning for the sake of learning, which might bring personal enrichment to their lives but will not help the accomplish the goals they are trying to accomplish.
I have felt the pressure before. People I respect say that those who are successful read, and read a lot. The problem I keep running into is that reading for the sake of reading doesn’t make me a better entrepreneur.
When it comes to your drive to learn things, why not leverage your passion and ability toward something that is going to move you toward your desired end? Make a learning plan and use it to move you toward your goals.
2. Categorize tasks in two categories: those that get me the end zone and those that don’t.
On any given day, we have a million tasks vying for our attention, and we have to choose wisely. We have our email pinging us, our phone buzzing and dozens of people wanting to get together for coffee—and that’s not even addressing the real work yet.
I’ve found that if I don’t divide tasks into “necessary” and “unnecessary” I find myself working really hard and not making progress.
It isn’t that there is no space to respond to that friendly email or get together with someone who wants to “pick your brain”. It’s just that those tasks should fall into the leftover hours after our real work is done.
3. Do the tasks that get you the “end zone” before the others.
This should seem self-explanatory after the last point, but this is a matter of priorities. If you find yourself slaving away and not making progress, ask yourself, “do I want to make progress as much as I say I do? What am I working towards?”