If the basics of reading and writing are learning your ABCs, the basics of work-at-home success is setting your priorities. If you don’t have a set of priorities by which to guide your business, your day, and your week, you are at the mercy of circumstance. Happenstance is for people who play the lottery; not for entrepreneurs, and definitely not for the Corporate Mom Dropout who has to juggle everything and everybody.
You sit down at the computer to begin work on your to-do list, and the emails start coming in. Instead of having a way to rate the importance and urgency of each request and item on your list, you just respond to whatever is front and center – which is usually whatever email or phone call has come in most recently. Then the end of the day comes, and you still have as many items on your to-do list as you started with. The stress starts to mount as your business goals recede farther and farther into the distance.
So what’s the solution? Setting priorities. When you have a list of goals and priorities, you have a map for your future.
My advice is to set one or two business objectives for each quarter of the year. You may choose to launch a new product the first quarter of the year, revamp your website during the second quarter, create marketing materials for the third quarter, and develop an outsourcing strategy for the fourth quarter.
The following is my favorite process for breaking down a large objective into daily, weekly, and monthly priorities:
- Start with your quarterly objective.
- Ask yourself, what would have to happen this month to achieve this objective?
- What would have to happen this week?
- What would have to happen today?
Once you have defined what needs to happen each day, week, month, and quarter, put those items on your calendar and to-do list with a big star next to them. Now you know what has to be completed every day before you start answering phone calls or emails. No matter what the rest of the day brings, you know you have completed the things that will most move your business forward.
This small routine will help reduce your stress because you’ll no longer lie in bed, wondering what the heck you accomplished that day. Instead, you will have taken concrete steps towards achieving your most important goals. (P.S. This works great with personal goals, too!).
Now that you have your priorities set for each day, week, month, and quarter, how will you know if all that work will fit into your schedule? Let’s take a look at how you can manage those fleeting 24 hours we all have to work within. If you want more of this series you can visit the Success Store for the mp3 download with handouts delivered to you instantly.