It's great that entrepreneurs are always looking for bright new ideas. But how do you stay focused on the projects you've already got going?
"Procrastination is opportunity's natural assassin." -Victor Kiam
Do you have a lot of great ideas, but find yourself constantly pulled in multiple directions by new opportunities? As entrepreneurs, it's in our very nature to be always looking for the next new thing -- before finishing what we’re already working on.
Leaving loose ends dangling can have huge negative impacts:
- On the bottom line. Whether it’s following up on communication with prospective business relationships or finishing big projects, your business’s success depends on you and your people getting stuff done. Finishing things. Obvious, right? You’d be surprised.
- On your morale. Knowing that you have a ton of things to do, without seeing forward momentum, is a recipe for feeling overwhelmed and stressed out. When the to-do list gets unbearably long, it can be paralyzing. Why even start that to-do list when there’s no hope of even making a dent in it?
- On your productivity. When the to-do list gets long enough and you get stressed out, something will slip through the cracks. It’s unavoidable. This causes more stress and, of course, a longer to-do list.
Hopefully, I’ve taken a tiny step toward scaring you into a more focused frame of mind. So how do you make progress?
- Vet your opportunities Set qualification benchmarks for new opportunities, ideas, and/or relationships. This will help keep you on track and help you assess what is worth your time.
- Learn to triage Assess incoming requests against internal opportunities and ideas. What will make the biggest impact if you and your team complete it? What could have the biggest negative impact if it isn’t taken care of?
- Keep it simple Choose one big idea or project at a time and focus on it. If you have a team, delegate vetting opportunities and initial tasks on other priorities to team members. This way, you stay focused.
- Prioritize Tackle the big things first, then fill in the rest of your time with the mid-sized and smaller jobs you need to take care of on a regular basis.
- Develop a strategy Set the objectives and intended outcome first. Then break those down into smaller tasks with goal-oriented timelines, and start assigning responsibilities.
Yes, it takes practice. But you’ll be much happier and more successful if you can use these tactics to help get things done, making it possible to move on to the next big thing on your list much sooner. Your business and your sanity will thank you!
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