Too Much – My Plate
Got that “too much on my plate” feeling?
As entrepreneurs, most of us are fairly used to having to spin multiple plates at once to ensure that our businesses keep moving.
While multitasking may be a desirable skill and one that most entrepreneurs need to possess, having too much on your plate can actually become detrimental to your business, harming your productivity and causing things to grind to a stop.
If you’re currently snowed under a mountain of work feeling like you have too much to do and too little time to do it, here are some techniques that may help.
List tasks by priority, daily
Writing lists is a great way to organize your day and can help you to visualize what is on your plate, the key to making lists work for you is to organize them by priority.
Prioritize the tasks that you need to get done by order of importance and re-write your list to accommodate each day.
By ordering your tasks by priority, you are less likely to avoid tasks that you don’t want to do, and will also have a clearer picture of what you need to get done.
To make sure that low-priority tasks don’t fall by the wayside for too long, be sure to set them a due-date and as the date approaches, move them up your priority list.
The five-minute rule
The five-minute rule is a way of working used by thousands of businesswomen to help them get stuff done.
In short, all the five-minute rule means is that if a task comes into your inbox and it will take five minutes or less to complete, you do it straight away.
Five-minute tasks are easy wins, so rather than spending 30 seconds adding them to your to-do list and then moving them up and down your priority list for the next week, get them done straight away and feel a sense of achievement.
Delegation is difficult, especially if you’ve been very used to handling everything yourself, but a time will come when you physically can’t complete everything you need to on your own.
As you are ordering your priority list each day, take a moment to see if there are any tasks that you can delegate to someone else that you work with, and if you can’t because you are still a very small business, then consider outsourcing to a third party.
Delegation can take time to become comfortable with, just be sure to include clear instructions, to trust but also to verify the work and to ensure that there is a feedback loop in place.
Free-up untapped time
Have you ever had a day where you’ve sat down, blinked, and then the day is gone and it seems as though you have got nothing done? We’ve all been there.
The hard truth is, it can be easy to get lost in administrative tasks, or even doing something as simple as answering the phone, taking up your valuable time.
Untapped time is time that you could be using more wisely, so if you’re having too many unproductive days, then it’s time to look at why.
Answering the phone is perhaps the most common form of untapped time, and you can spend hours throughout the day answering calls, screening them, and deciding if they were worth your time or not. If you find that you are spending too much time trying to find gold amongst the sea of cold-callers and salesmen, then it’s time to consider a virtual receptionist service.
Unless your organization is large enough to have a physical receptionist, a virtual receptionist is a great way to have someone answer your calls, screen them for you, and then pass them on to the relevant person within your team.
When every phone call is a golden phone call, telephone time suddenly stops being untapped-time, and the time you save can be put to better use elsewhere.
Have a crunch-time day
Last, but by no means least, if you have a mountain of things piling up that you can’t delegate and are all at their maximum priority, then it’s time to have a crunch day.
A crunch day is a day where you can expect to put in some extra hours, starting earlier and finishing later to get through your entire list.
Everyone needs a crunch day every now and then to rebalance their to-do-list, helping them to reduce the stress of a rising workload in a controlled way.
So there you have it – a few things that you can do to try and ease the workload on your plate.
Do you have any other tips to add?
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