Why You Aren’t Getting Everything Done
“I don’t have enough time.”
It’s the excuse used more than any other for creative business owners as to why they aren’t getting everything done in their business. Now before we jump into where all our time seems to go, let’s remember that as a business owner we wear a million hats. In addition to actually serving others with our services and products, we also are the marketing department, the sales team, the finance department, the customer service department, and so on. It is truly impossible to do it all and do it well. So don’t get down on yourself if you’re trying to juggle #ALL.THE.THINGS and a few slip through the cracks.
However, there are a few KEY time wasters that business owners tend to indulge in which can derail your productivity if you don’t keep them in check.
1) Not creating a quarterly/monthly/weekly plan
Planning is my most favorite aspect of business. Heck just let me make plans in Asana all day long and I’m a happy girl. But I know that isn’t the case for everyone yet you NEED a plan. Just knowing your end-goal or destination isn’t enough to get you there. Sure you could wing it, but business owners who do this waste a lot of time trying to figure out their next step then back-tracking, and then starting over because they are lost. You must take the time to write out the action steps associates with a particular goal, and then mapping out which you will do when until you reach the finish line. I prefer to start quarterly, then break those down into months, and finally into weeks. That way every Monday morning I know exactly what I have to accomplish to keep all my projects and goals on track and moving forward.
2) Jumping from task to task and having to continually refocus
Did you know that it takes 23 minutes and 15 seconds to refocus and return to a task after you are distracted? (according to a study done by Gloria Mark at the University of California Irvine). Uhh I don’t know about you but for me, that’s a LOT of time wasted. Yet so many business owners allow themselves to be distracted by random ideas and new emails popping into their inboxes or things they see on social media, and before you know it, your day is over and you only accomplished one item on your todo list. Be present in your work. Close browsers you don’t need, turn off your phone notifications, get out of your inbox (more on that next), and stop allowing yourself to be distracted. You can save even more time and batch similar tasks together so that your brain isn’t jumping around from task to task so much.
3) Living in your email inbox
Oh the email inbox, possibly the biggest time waster of all. Now that email has become the primary form of communication for most businesses, we feel the need to keep our inbox open at all times for two reasons:
First, we want to be accessible just in case something important comes through or someone NEEDS us right now. Yet honestly is there anything so pressing in your business that you need to be available at a seconds notice? Probably not.
Second, business owners tend to use their inboxes as their to-do list. After all most of the emails that come through have some sort of “task” associated with them (even if the task is just to respond) so it makes sense to just keep your inbox open and work off of that right?
Wrong. By living in your inbox and using it as your todo list, you allow yourself to constantly be distracted by each new email that pops in there and therefore are constantly having to refocus (remember that 23 minute and 15 second stat from above?). Have you ever been in the middle of responding to an email and then a new email arrives so you begin a response to that one instead and then another new email pops in there and before long you’ve got 6 half-written email tabs open and nothing completed? If so, it’s time to clear out your inbox and stop using it as your running to-do list.
I clear my inbox at the end of almost every working day and always at the end of every week and this one simple act has revolutionized my productivity. I have an easy system that I use and I break it all down in this FREE Inbox Zero Training & Checklist. You can grab it here and finally have an organized inbox and clear system for handling your email every day.
4) Not doing your most important task FIRST
We all dread certain tasks in our business, and usually it’s the most daunting or largest task on our todo list that we find ourselves procrastinating from the most. So not only do we not get that big overwhelming task done but we don’t get anything else done either because we spent so much time finding other random things to do (suddenly that Insta Story feed becomes REALLY fascinating for the next 2 hours). Every night before you wrap up your day, choose your most important task for tomorrow (don’t do it the next morning because you’ll lie to yourself by what is REALLY the most important). Whatever that task is, do it FIRST. Do it before you check your email, before you check Facebook, before everything. Just sit down and knock it out. You’ll feel SO productive once it’s completed and you’ll be able to use that wave of energy to dive into the rest of your tasks for the day.
And there you have it! If you can get serious about mapping out long term plans, doing your most important task first each day, and getting a system in place to stay out of your inbox and stop getting distracted (be sure to grab my free training & checklist!) you’ll be well on your way to more productive weeks and months in your business and maybe even have time to relax and enjoy your business too! 😉