When you are running a small business a million things swirl around in your head. Before your thought can crystalize into a full visual, a new one enters the black space of your brain, like a pop-up window on a website, interrupting your last thought before it took hold.
You can sit down at your desk with every intention of knocking out the short list of priorities you jotted down at the stoplights on your way to the office. Soon one email leads to a website that leads to a document you started….repeat….rinse….start again.
By noon, you have 10 windows opened in Safari, 20 icons active in your bridge, and your computer sounds like an airplane taking off, groaning under the strain of your new level of multi-tasking.
This lack of structure and focus ends up causing you pain, if not completely debilitating your productivity.
Prioritizing Doesn’t Have To Be Complicated
I figured out a few weeks ago that what I needed was the old organization method of index cards or stickies. When I used to study for big tests in graduate school I would put notes on stickies. Then I could arrange the index cards in the right priority and importance.
Think about your business. It would work great to prioritize on index cards. You could have a couple of different stacks:
- What I Need to Do Personally – These are your work and tasks. You may break them up by topic admin, marketing, customer service, etc.
- What my key people need to do – This could be direct reports or even outsourced vendors. On these I would include the 2-3 key things you need to be following up with your team on.
- What are the key company goals that need to be achieved this period – If you have done an annual plan or a strategic plan you have key initiatives for the company. What are the tasks that need to get accomplished in these key initiatives?
I know that the index card approach will work. Fill out an index card and then sort them all in order of importance. Better yet, get a huge cork board to pin them on and move the most important things to work on to the top.
I was pretty excited about starting my own corkboard project. I love trying new systems; especially for prioritizing, time management, and just being more productive. The problem is that I usually abandon them within a few weeks because I am physically disorganized.
If my cork board is at work, and I am working at home, it is useless and soon I have moved past it. I have had this happen with calendars, project management tools, libraries and a host of other tools.
As disorganized an unreliable as I am in the physical world, I am the opposite in the computer world. It works for me. I seamlessly link all of my data and files. I adopt a system and keep it up impeccably. It is amazing the difference.
So, of course I needed an online corkboard, right?
A Tool Always Makes Things Easier
And guess what? There is one! Cork Board in the Clouds….it is as easy as I described above…and yes, it does sync automatically to all of your devices.
You should try it.
(I am not an affiliate of this product. I have been using it for about 6 weeks and have found it to be just what I was looking for.)