Time…it’s one of the biggest struggles for small business owners, how to find it so you can get all those marketing tasks done.
In this guest post, Belinda from Better than Busy shares how to create that much needed time so that you can prioritise your most important marketing tasks.
It’s hard to enjoy your business when you’re drowning in a deluge of urgent tasks and you are so busy responding and reacting that planning, looking for opportunities or (dare I say it?!) RELAXING seem out of the question.
I’m going to help you find time for those important but not (yet!) urgent tasks like planning, talking with your community and looking for potential collaboration and promotion opportunities. Who knows, you might even find a few minutes for the mystical unicorns RELAXATION and CALM.
Sound like a plan?
Let’s go team!
THE IMPORTANCE OF IMPORTANCE
“If something is important, it contributes to your mission, your values, your high priority goals.” Stephen Covey
Thank you Mr Covey, I think this is a pretty good way to define important tasks.
ACTION TIME: Have a look at your to-do list – identify which tasks are and aren’t important using this definition. If you are doing marketing activities in front of audiences that aren’t your target market or you are talking on topics not relevant to your mission or goals, they probably aren’t important tasks. If you want to have time for important but not (yet!) urgent tasks (trust me – you want to make time for them) you have to say NO.
Say it with me now – NO!
Peter Bregman says in his book 18 Minutes – Find Your Focus, Master Distraction and Get the Right Things Done: “To get the right things done, choosing what to ignore is as important as choosing what to focus on.”
Have you read Stephen Covey’s book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People? I admit I haven’t read the whole thing. Every boss I’ve ever had (all men in their 50s ) recommended this book to me so of course I pooh-pooh’ed it as a lame book for middle aged men BUT I can say that Chapter 3 is very useful for this particular topic of focussing on important but not urgent tasks (possibly the whole book is useful, but just quietly – I’ve only read chapter 3).
The whole premise is to spend less time doing unimportant work such as:
- Doing guest posts on websites that aren’t visited by your potential clients
- Delivering wonderful, valuable information to your potential clients on topics that don’t relate to your paid services
- Scrolling other people’s instagram pages because we have instagram envy
- Participating in facebook conversations about the TV show Suits (it’s addictive, I’m an efficiency and productivity strategist so I recommend that you DON’T watch it, because you will become completely obsessed with it!)
If you save 10-15 minutes a day by knocking out a few of these tasks, you are giving yourself an extra hour or so a week to focus on those important but not (yet!!) urgent tasks such as planning and finding important promotion and collaboration opportunities.I think we know the value and opportunities that can come from connecting with the right audience, so make sure you give yourself the chance to pursue those opportunities by saying no to those unimportant, but easier to come by, opportunities.
SIX SIMPLE STEPS TO GETTING THE IMPORTANT STUFF DONE
Alright, let’s step it out people! (Yes, I shouted this out in the manner of an 80s style aerobics class. Feel free to do the following activities in your fluoro leotard):
- Know your business mission, purpose and goals
- Know what you will say YES to
- Be prepared to say NO. If it’s not on your YES list, think carefully before you say YES. You might even want to deliberately create a NO list.
- Become hyper-aware of how you spend your time. I suggest a time audit (TA-DA, here’s a free time audit template for you, No sign up required). Time audits get you thinking about where your time goes and help you identify where you are losing (and wasting) time and can help you to amp up your productivity. The first time I did an audit the results horrified me, so be aware you might not like what you see, but don’t beat yourself up. My very wise five year old once told me that it’s actually a good thing if you’re not good at something right in the beginning because it means you keep getting better with practice. So if you are losing 2 hours a week to suits gossip or instagram envy – EXCELLENT NEWS because you just found two hours extra that you can dedicate to your important but not urgent tasks.
- Schedule, schedule, schedule. Include “white space” in your schedule, so you have time to deal with emergencies and urgent tasks. I literally write “white space” into my calendar. Schedule your important work for the time of day that works best for you and make that time IMPORTANT time – don’t give it up for anyone or anything unless there is a very good reason (unfortunately Suits and Instagram envy don’t classify as a very good reason)
- Outsource. Ouch. I know that outsourcing costs money, but we are talking about time here and as they say – time is money. When you do your time audit, look for tasks that you aren’t efficient at and consider outsourcing them. This way you have more time for those important tasks before they become urgent and to plan for the important promotion and collaboration opportunities that will get your business moving.
ACTION TIME: I have a challenge for you. Go through the six steps I outlined above and identify which ones you are already doing and which ones you aren’t. Choose the FIRST ONE in the list that you aren’t already doing and spend some time working on improving in that area.
Finally, let Yael and I know how you went. We want to celebrate your success with you.
Belinda is a business efficiency and productivity strategist for biz mums. She helps mums be focused and streamlined in their business so they can bust through overwhelm to create a business and life they love. She has an MBA and an unhealthy, geek-style love for all things related to business process, and efficiency, project management, flowcharts and stationery. You can find her geeking out at www.betterthanbusy.com