As you have most likely already experienced, there are literally hundreds of items competing for an entrepreneur’s attention. And on top of this, most creative entrepreneurs find it very hard to resist new opportunities at the best of time.
Building a business has so many choices, it is easy to get overwhelmed by the lure of social media, web site design, product creation, writing blogs, email, SEO. Gosh, every expert you listen to seems to tell you to do something else!
The result for so many entrepreneurs is chaos and overwhelm, combined with the inability to make progress or get results. This is why most entrepreneurs are drowning in “to-do’s”.
What to do? Luckily, there are a few things that will make a quantum difference.
Learn to Say No!
Warren Buffet has said that the reason for his success is that for every 100 opportunities he is presented with, he says NO to 99 of them. Steve Jobs said that focus is not about saying YES, it is about what you say NO to, and he was very proud of the things his company said no to.
With so many opportunities, tasks and projects competing for your attention, your ability to say NO is critical to your success. It is a vital success muscle and had been called the master skill. Saying YES is easy, people are always happy. Saying NO requires confidence, resistance and discipline.
Once you have chosen your strategic path and associated tasks forward, you will need to say NO to everything else. Start building your success muscles today. Have these simple NO statements ready and practice saying them, it is easier than you think!
- No, thank you for asking though.
- I am sorry, my calendar won’t allow that.
- No, I would love to, I just can’t.
- I am flattered you asked but I have to decline.
Block Your Calendar
With a multitude of complex time management techniques out there, few rival the very simple technique of blocking your calendar. The technique originated in Japan from Kaizen Six Sigma quality principles.
It simply means pre-blocking completely uninterrupted time on your calendar to focus on tasks. Like tasks are grouped together and performed in one block of time. This technique saved big corporations millions when applied internally and it can change your game too. Note that uninterrupted means no phones, texts or email. It is focus time!
Blocking time provides extraordinary efficiencies, since our brains are not wired to be constantly interrupted. The normal daily slew of texts, social media, instant messages, email and phone calls as well as juicy headlines on the web and news mean that most of us get distracted every few minutes. Science has shown us that each distraction causes a loss of concentration for almost 20 minutes, hence the hamster wheel of being really busy yet never getting anything done.
Here is a sample week batched for an entrepreneur. Key tasks are:
- A substantial and uninterrupted time block for sales and or clients. If you have lots of clients you can spend less time selling, so this time block is used for either. Few clients = lots of selling time, lots of clients = less selling time.
- “Be the CEO”. This is for business building activities, like strategy, exploring new techniques, hiring, adopting new directions and technologies. It gives you time to rise above your business and steer well.
- Administration. Not always fun but always present.
Note: The tasks that are most likely to help your business grow are sales related activities. Sales should take about 50% of your time if you want to see big results in your business. Sales related tasks are the most vital task for growing businesses and trump all other business building tasks. We watch entrepreneurs get very distracted and fail to come anywhere close to the 50% of time spent selling sales target. It is no wonder these entrepreneurs struggle to get clients!
Of course your work week may not look exactly like this and may not have such blocks of time available, so customize and personalize this to suit you as best as you can. But do try to gather as much uninterrupted time as possible to focus on key tasks.
This is one of the very best techniques we have ever found for calming an entrepreneur’s life down. Use it and apply it now, you will never be sorry!
Best of luck with your calm calendar!