Starting own business is supposed to bring the freedom, ease, creativity and shorter hours of amazing work. Paradoxically most business owners face the chronic lack of time and the feeling of being a slave to time.
Time management techniques teach us prioritizing things and creating the to-do lists to help. But in the long run they frequently add on the excruciating frustration and disempowerment.
The hard-to-understand phenomenon of the to-do list stands for never-ending list of tasks that are humanly impossible to be executed in one day. We know it and yet we bring just another and another item to make sure we have it all under control.
As a result it is a to-do list that controls us and our time not vice versa. When it happens it is easy to fall into a trap of sabotaging yourself by feeling all alone, seeing all this in negative shades. The productive, efficient individuals might even whip themselves to spend more time on their tasks, deciding to wake up an hour earlier or work two hours longer in the evening. Such a behaviour is not only frustrating but additionally deprives your sleep and free time. This is not the best strategy, at least not long-term. So what is the solution? Are you ready for the change? I bet you are!
There are several optional strategies to adopt here, but I would like to share with you two of them which saved my life massively and helped me to introduce tremendous changes that are in my experience currently. Like the feeling that I’m the master of the time, not the slave to the time and task list.
“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” Stephen Covey.
The way to do this is by adopting one of the strategies that I’m going to share with you. The first one is rather for beginners and will give you the feeling of power and managing your own happiness. The second one requires a bit of practice but its impact is long term.
Strategy #1 Save yourself
Look at your list and ask yourself:
- which of these tasks are absolutely essential TODAY?
- What will happen if I do not do it TODAY?
Funny enough most of the items could be easily passed to another person, done some other time or even not done at all!
Strategy #2 Ultra-short to-do list
This strategy allows you to be very selective about the tasks you would give your full attention to and make sure they get done. The strategy works regardless the task size or area. The same process and principles apply to your personal stuff or business activities.
- Select 3-4 priorities and work with them
- Decide what is the task
- Which identity/persona you need to adopt
- What do you want to achieve (be very specific)
- How do you want to feel during the process
Here is what happens when you adopt this strategy. You become:
- Super focused on the priority activities
- Make sure they happen that day
- Feel absolutely the way you wanted and planned as you programmed yourself to feel that way
- Level of stress decreases – productivity increasing
The ultimate long term result is gaining the capacity to create more value