Don’t Just be Busy, Be Productive!

Entrepreneurs are generally excited about their work and passionate about their ideas. They love their businesses (sometimes) as if it were one of their children. And they spend a lot of time working.

Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs don’t always feel like they’re getting anything done … despite the long hours and hard work. They’re pretty sure they’re being inefficient and feel like there’s never enough time.

Is there a better way? Try this:

1. Get clear about what you’re trying to accomplish. Heading in 15 directions all at once and jumping from one thing to the next and back without any clear destination may not be effective.  A better way to do this is to take time to make measurable goals that are easy to articulate. For example: “In 2024 I want to increase revenue by $30,000;” “I want 10 more monthly retainer clients;” “I want to delegate 10 hours of work per week to an assistant.”

2. Make a plan that supports your goal. If your goal is to increase revenue by $30,000, identify five or six activities to support that objective. This might include raising prices, additional public speaking, attending more networking events, writing a newsletter, publishing on LinkedIn, etc. Be deliberate about this. This is how you are going to spend your time.

3. Set up support systems. In order to know whether you are carrying out your plan, it is important to track what you’re doing. Let’s say part of your plan to increase revenue this year is to attend at least one networking event a month, meet with one new person every week, publish your newsletter every other week, and speak at six events. It would be extremely difficult to track the progress in your head. An excel spreadsheet might be useful to track success each week. Must you be flawless in your execution? No. Will it help to see what you are actually doing so you can make mid-course corrections? I believe it will.

4. Don’t be afraid to say no. If you get a request that’s not aligned with your goal, it’s important to say no. If you have a bright idea that’s also not aligned with your goal (no matter how bright) it’s equally important to say no. For example, if one of your tactics for growing revenue this year is public speaking, but with parameters; you have just one particular presentation that you offer. That’s the only one you are willing to give this year. Spending a week coming up with a new presentation for each event is not an option.

Do your goal setting and planning in quiet. Also, do it separately from your day-to-day activities. Be clear in your language and remove any ambiguity. Stick with it, even when you’re feeling short on time or energy. Be sure to add time to keep updating your systems.

In the end, you’ll feel more focused, get more done and enjoy your business a lot more than you thought you could.

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