Some people are naturally skilled in a high attention to detail, while for others, thinking in terms of the big picture comes more easily. However, the weaker of the two abilities by nature can become a learned skill, and for entrepreneurs, giving attention to both when running a business is especially important.
Let’s say you are the person who loves the strategy and problem-solving that big picture thinking requires. You’ve determined what success looks like for you and you’ve written down your goals – now it’s time to put it into action in your daily rhythm. What is the best way to manage tasks?
Put everything in one place
There is no one-size-fit-all approach, but what works for me might just work for you as well. I put all of my personal and business appointments in one place – that way I don’t forget about the oil change I scheduled or book a work call the same time as a commitment I made to my daughter. Outlook is my preferred online calendar, but Google Calendar and iCal work similarly. (If you’re a paper and pencil type, keep that one notebook on you always!) If you have more than one email address, you can create events on each account, designated with a particular color (blue for professional meetings and purple for personal, for example), and sync them to your calendar application so you see them all in at once. It’s a good idea to share your calendar with a spouse or family member so that person can also view and accommodate for your commitments.
Scheduling meetings doesn’t have to be limited to those you make with clients or colleagues. I have found that it makes a significant difference in my productivity when I’ve designated specific time for myself to work on projects. I schedule time to schedule my time. Sound redundant? Here’s what I mean.
First things first
The first thing I do each Monday morning is write down all the tasks that are taking up space in my brain. Putting it all down on paper removes the fear that I’ll forget something at the wrong moment or drop the ball on a client. It’s like dumping the laundry basket full of clean clothes on the counter – now it’s time to sort and fold. From here, I batch tasks together and schedule them. Only after I’ve completed this can I truly focus on my work – I’m not constantly thinking about the next thing because I know I’ve already accounted for it and have set a future time to devote my attention to it.
Once you reach the allocated time to tackle a particular task, honor yourself by showing up. Show up for yourself the same way you show up for others. Yes, some days it feels like a chore, but creating this pattern for yourself will pay off.
Above all, be intentional
We have all experienced a time when got lost in a train of thought and before we knew it, our clicks led five steps away from where we started and we never completed what we set out to do. Intentionality helps limit those times and make the most of your work week.
I know others who, instead of a calendar, use a running to-do list and mark the most important items. What works for you? That’s the key. Review your process and be flexible – then tackle your week with confidence.
If you enjoyed this article, listen to my guest appearance on the POWER to Live More podcast.