I hear time and again from clients, friends and relatives that they wish to do a lot of things but can’t find the time. If only they could make time for one meaningful activity, they would be happier.
Now, it is a known fact that we cannot do everything we want to do. There are just 24 hours in a day. From dawn to dusk, multiple things are crying for our attention. If you’re not clear about what you want, it can become very easy to let things control you instead of the other way around, and to then not do the things you want to do.
How to get back control and find time for what’s IMPORTANT to you?
Here is a simple rule. And this can be applied both in professional and personal life:
1. Make a list of all the things that you have to do.
2. Identify the ROI for each of these activities that you wish to do.
3. Now cross out all the things that have no ROI.
4. Cross out things that are not in your control
5. Forget expectations from others.
6. What’s left is your priority list.
7. Now tackle one thing at a time and give it your best.
Making a list is important. Otherwise you’ll end up spreading yourself too thin. Make a list of the 10 most important things you want to get done this month – for yourself, for career, for others. Put down whatever is on your mind.
Done? Good. Now go over each item one by one. What is the ROI? Why is this important?
If someone gives you X budget to create a campaign and they want Y results by the end, how do you go about it? Do you randomly allocate money on whatever comes into your mind? No. You will identify which activities will have maximum impact and focus your time and money there. You are very careful when it comes to spending money. Why aren’t you just as careful when it comes to spending your time? Money can be earned. Time cannot be earned. Time once lost is gone forever. You treat time frivolously because it is intangible and so you always think you have enough time. But you don’t. There is precious little time once you hit your stride in your life. You need to be really focused and effective to do all the things you want and be satisfied. You need to start thinking about time as something like money. The minute you start thinking this way, you will reduce your list down to 5 things that have maximum impact.
For example, if you want to grow your business by 20% in 3 months, your list may contain 3 tasks: social media, speak to friends, attend events. If you delve deep into this, you will realise leads through social media are not easy to come by. It’s more of an awareness medium. Attending events may generate leads but since they are strangers there will be a lag before they get back to you. But, in reality, the fastest way to grow is by getting your friends to recommend you to someone they know. So focus 80% of your lead gen efforts on reaching out to friends and to friends of friends. That’s a more sure fire way of getting results.
Next look at what’s not in your control. If the prospect needs help optimizing her budget you can help. If she has no budgets, that is not in your control. Focus on what’s in your control.
Next, forget the expectations of others. If the expectations are reasonable, then make a note and do your best. If the expectations are false or unreasonable, disengage from them. Focus your energies on translating your authentic goals into success that’s meaningful for you. Ignore the expectations of others. Your job is to manage your efforts not their expectations.
Everything else in the list is to be tackle with passion! Make a plan. Make progress every day. In the long run, you’ll feel good because you are doing the right things. When you do the right things you expend the right energy in the right quantity and you feel good. When you do the wrong things, you lose energy and feel ‘stressed.’ It’s all a matter of focusing on what’s giving you results and weeding out / tuning out what is of no use to you.
1. Find what’s most important: Create the 80-20 list for professional life and personal life
2. Prioritise: Create goals that reflect the 20% most important activities that you need to focus on
3. Schedule better: Create a daily schedule that ensure that the 20% activities are addressed on a daily basis. Ensure that what’s on the schedule gets done.
4. Be flexible: Once you decide on your goals and you have achieved some of them, you can take on more goals that are still in the 80 – 20 rule.
5. Downsize to simple life: The same rule 80 – 20 rule can be applied when it comes to spending money, spending time with friends, spending time on travel and entertainment etc. The point is to streamline and not spread yourself thin on multiple things where most things don’t add much value to you.
About the Author:
Sandhya Reddy is a Life coach and Leadership coach based in Bangalore, India. She is the Founder and Principal Coach at Chapter Two Coaching, a coaching consultancy that enables everyone from CEOs to work-from-home parents to achieve their goals by replacing self-imposed limitations with enabling stories.