Your life is the results of choices you make. If you don’t like your life, it is time to start making better choices” – Unknown.

Let’s face it, it’s your choice what you focus on every day. If you’re not making the right choices then you’re not getting the right things done.

We often complain that we don’t have the time to do this or that thing, but if we’re honest, that’s not really the reason why we don’t get things done. The real reason is that we spend time on doing other stuff because it’s easy, comfortable, and something that we know we can achieve.

How many tasks do you have on your action list that you look at with a hidden groan? Perhaps it’s a difficult phone call you’ve got to make or a new project that you need to start. You know you should be doing it but there’s always something that distracts you. That little voice in your head that suddenly tells you that you need to just check your updates on Twitter, or catch up with Game of Thrones.

But we’re kidding ourselves, right? Because all we’re doing is distracting ourselves from focusing on what’s really important – the more difficult tasks that need to be dealt with.

And these distractions aren’t going to drive your business forward.

So what holds you back from getting things done is down to what you choose to focus on every day.

And if you keep choosing to focus on the wrong things then this is going to have a massive negative impact on your business.

It’s a bit like when you’re on a diet – you know you should be eating that bowl of salad but your mind is telling you that all you want is a big fat chocolate doughnut!!

Mmm… doughnuts…
donuts

Well it’s the same with managing your time. You’ve got an important project that you need to work on but you’re struggling to draw yourself away from commenting on your friend’s cute baby pictures on Facebook.

In fact, the right thing to do can sound downright dull and boring, and who wants that? Well chewing on some lettuce may not be as satisfying as biting into a mouthful of cream and chocolate (mmm….) but it’s all about what you are working towards and what it means to you.

If you want to lose weight so you can look good for your two week holiday in Bali – that doesn’t sound dull and boring does it?

And it’s the same with your action list. If you want to work on those projects that will help you to earn more money and get more clients – then you will ultimately be able to afford to pay for those two weeks in the sun.

So how can you ensure that you’re making the right choices to help you stay on track and do what’s important for you and your business?

Well it’s very simple and all you need is a pen and a piece of paper.

Grab some paper and write down 4 headings:

Do now (important and urgent tasks)
Plan to do (important and non-urgent tasks)
Review (non-important and urgent tasks)
Reject (non-important and non-urgent tasks)

Now look at all the projects and tasks that you have on your action list and see where they fit in under each heading.

Do Now
Major emergencies or crises that you need to deal with right now
Major projects that have upcoming deadlines
Meetings or phone calls that you’ve committed to
Promises that you’ve made to clients or suppliers

Plan to do
Creating and reviewing business plans and strategies
Business marketing and networking
Upcoming projects that will grow your business

Review
Trivial requests from others that don’t serve your goals
Ad hoc interruptions such as phone calls and emails
Routine tasks that you could easily delegate
Unnecessary double checking or duplicating work

Reject
Routine and unnecessary activity
Comfort activities such as browsing internet, chatting on Facebook
Watching too much TV
Phone calls/visits from family and friends during working day

Once you’ve got all your tasks listed under each heading, you will not only have a clear idea of what your priorities are but you’ll be able to see where you’re wasting your time and what you can delegate.

Now you have all the information that you need to choose where you focus your attention at any given time. It’s that choice that gives you the power to decide what you do every day and will determine how successful you are in achieving your goals.

So what’s it to be? Crashing out on the sofa watching trash TV and feeling sorry for yourself? Or focusing on getting your important projects done so you can spend some quality time chilling out in the sun? I know which one I’d choose.

 
Doughnut image via Pixabay

About Valerie Eaton

Valerie is the founder and owner of Smart VA who provides virtual PA services to self-employed professionals who are feeling overwhelmed by their workload and want more time to focus on growing their business.

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