Okay, let’s talk about it. It can be hard to figure out what is most important in your business and life. When you have a lot of different responsibilities, tasks, and goals, it can be hard to decide what to work on first. I struggle with this issue quite often, so I wanted to talk about some tips and strategies that can help you put your business and personal life’s most important things first.
Start with what you want and what you value
Start with your values and goals to figure out what’s most important to you. What do you care about the most? What are your business and personal goals for the long term? Take some time to think about your answers and write them down. For right now, forget about the tasks that have to get done regardless. Forget about oil changes, taxes, payroll, laundry… Write down what you actually care about most. Having time in the morning and not rushing off to a job? Earning an extra $2,000 per month in your business? Trading in your vehicle for your dream car? Hiring out the tasks you don’t enjoy? This will help you figure out what’s most important to you and give you a place to start deciding how to spend your time and energy.
List your most important goals
Once you know what your values and goals are, the next step is to figure out what’s most important to you. What things do you have to do if you want to get closer to your goals? These could be business-related tasks like making a new product or starting a marketing campaign, or they could be personal things like spending time with family and friends or taking care of your health. Make a list of your most important goals and rank them from most important to least important.
Make use of the Eisenhower matrix
The Eisenhower matrix is a simple tool that can help you put your jobs and responsibilities in order of importance. It involves putting your tasks into four groups based on how important and how quickly they need to be done:
Urgent/Important: These are tasks that need to be done right away and are very important to your business or personal life. You should put them at the top of your list.
Important but not urgent: These are tasks that will help you reach your long-term goals but don’t have to be done right away. Make sure to schedule time in your calendar for these things.
Urgent but not important: These are tasks that need to be done quickly but aren’t very important to your goals. If you can, give these tasks to someone else.
Not urgent or important: These tasks are neither important nor urgent, so they can be skipped or put off. They don’t help you reach your goals and can get in the way.
Using the Eisenhower matrix can help you spend your time and energy on the most important tasks and spend less time on things that don’t matter.
Say no to non-essential tasks
One of the hardest parts of figuring out what’s most important is learning to say no to tasks that aren’t essential. It’s easy to waste time and energy on low-priority tasks that don’t really matter. I am horrible about this and actively work on it every day. To keep this from happening, make it a habit to turn down tasks that don’t fit with your goals or values. This could mean saying no to meeting or project requests that don’t fit with your priorities. By saying no to tasks that aren’t important, you’ll have more time and energy to do what’s most important.
Plan your time in a smart way
Scheduling your time wisely is another way to figure out what’s most important. Find a way to plan and schedule your days that work for you. Set timers or use time blocking. Make sure to schedule time for your most important things first, before scheduling other tasks and meetings. This will give you the time and energy you need to focus on what’s most important. Block off time on your calendar for important tasks, and don’t schedule other meetings or tasks during that time.
Pay attention to one task at a time
Lastly, you should focus on one thing at a time. It can be tempting to do more than one thing at a time, but this isn’t always a good idea. When you try to do too many things at once, you end up spreading yourself too thin and make minimal progress on several tasks. Instead, give your full attention to one task at a time. This will help you finish the task faster and better so you can move on to the next one with a clear head.
In business and in life, it’s important to learn how to put things in order of importance. By starting with your values and goals, figuring out what your top priorities are, using tools like the Eisenhower matrix, saying no to tasks that aren’t important, making a strategic plan for your time, and focusing on one task at a time, you can make sure you’re getting closer to your goals and living a fulfilling life. Don’t forget that it’s okay to change your priorities and give yourself a break when things don’t go as planned. With practice and patience, you can learn how to set priorities and make your life fit with what’s most important to you!