Do you ever find yourself busy all day, and then at the end of it you wonder what you actually got done?
That statement summarizes my life as a business owner, and the truth is I can be in meetings all day, answering phone calls, and checking email for 10+ hours, and still not accomplish my goals.
Lack of time is the bane of anyone in management or a leadership role You have to learn to prioritize. Otherwise, you’ll never accomplish anything.
So today, I wanted to go over my top tips and tricks to stop being busy all day and accomplishing anything.
Use tools to track your to-dos
I find unless I have a list I’m looking at daily, I can lose my entire day on meaningless tasks and accomplish nothing.
I used to use sticky notes, but those can only get me so far. Between the hundreds of emails I get and all the people who swing by my office who need something done, it can be easy to lose track of what goals I set for myself to complete.
Fortunately, I no longer rely on sticky notes but instead use one of my all time favorite apps to help me track all my tasks.
You can read more in depth about why I love Trello here, but Trello is what I use to track all my important to-dos. If there’s a project I’m helping with or a process our team is developing, it’s on my Trello board. Well, I have lots of Trello boards, but I have one I use to manage my daily tasks specifically.
I love it because it’s on my phone, and also on my desk top. I can be out to lunch with a partner, discussing a deal, and create a card on my board for me to remember. Trello is great for brainstorming and sometimes when I’m out on the road I pull up my phone and jot down some thoughts.
Even if you’re not using Trello, you still need to have a list that keeps you accountable. Heck, use a google word doc to make a quick list of to do’s. There are several other phone friendly task lists as well. Just search the app store. Otherwise you’ll never finish any projects or important tasks that will help grow your business.
Using a tracking tool to store all your tasks will keep you motivated and focused.
Limit your meetings
People tend to list meetings as one of their biggest time sucks when it comes to productivity.
In reality, meetings are just an unavoidable part of life, particularly as an executive or a manager.
There’s always a meeting about something, from the company Christmas party, to the individual department meetings. Some of them you have to be at, but other times you really don’t need to spend your time there.
Now that I’ve been taking the time to hire the right people into positions of leadership, I can trust them to do their job, so I can do mine.
As much as I love sitting in with smaller teams, I have to hand over the day-to-day tasks of running a department to the person I’ve entrusted with that duty.
My team leaders all know what needs to be done, and they communicate with me every week during our Level 10 meetings to give me updates. I receive the benefit of being in the loop, without sitting in on multiple department meetings I really don’t need to.
Delegating and communication, those are the things I do with my managers to make sure our company is on the right track, without weighing myself down with meetings.
With technology, it’s incredibly easy to find yourself distracted.
Between social media notifications, email, and smartphones, it’s difficult to escape and focus on the tasks at hand.
I enjoy being in the loop, but I can lose my whole day if I only look at emails and Facebook. I’m guilty of this, of course. It’s so easy to pick up my phone to see if a got an important email, only to see I have a new Twitter notification.
The reality is to get anything done you have to limit your interruptions and distractions.
Usually, I try and block out time every day (in reality it’s more like twice a week) to dedicate to a particular task. Sometimes that means silencing my phone, minimizing my email, and purposely ignoring Facebook.
I spend this time on various things, from follow-ups, reviewing project proposals, etc. But it’s a critical time where I block out my calendar that I’m busy. I put off answering email and messages until I’ve spent my time finishing my task.
Removing the notifications makes it easier for me to focus on what’s important. If an emergency comes up, I know my leaders will notify me. But for day-to-day operations, I can let my teamwork and focus on what I need to.
Realize you can’t do everything
I’ve slowly realized that I could come into work with nothing on my Trello Board, and no meetings scheduled, and still be busy all day.
Whether it be from unexpected things coming up or calling other partners to chat with, my days will never be empty. And really, that’s okay. I have to find a balance between what’s a necessity and what would be nice when it comes to what I focus on.
I can always have another meeting. There’s always someone that I can call that would be worth catching up in the business world or having an evening phone call. I have all these things that are like, a never-ending list.
So I always keep my eyes on what my long-term goals are I need to get done. Sometimes I have ideas that are far off in the distance.
Going back to Trello, if I’m looking at my daily goals and find I have spare time, I can look at my list of long-term goals. Maybe I want to work on a partnership with another company or consider creating a new position. Having them, items written down are great for when I have spare time. If my load is light that day, I can look at some of those projects and get the ball rolling.
Without having a clear vision you’re trying to reach, you’ll try and do everything, instead of working toward what goals you want to accomplish.