There are 60 minutes in an hour and 24 hours in a day… and they are never enough for many entrepreneurs and business owners. If there is one wish they would like the genie in the bottle to grant them is to have more than 24 hours available each day.
However, all people in this world are allotted the same number of hours each day – and some of them manage to get everything on their schedule done and still have some spare time to dedicate to their family life and hobbies. How do they do it? The answer is both simple and complex at the same time: they know how to organise and prioritise their daily schedule.
Today, we would like to introduce a concept which is usually related to the world of fashion: less is more. “Do less and you will achieve more” is one of the most frequently cited phrases by successful business owners. Let’s see what they really mean by it:
1. Remember the 80:20 Ratio
The rule is simple: 20% of your activities should bring you 80% of your revenues. The corollary is that 80% of the things you do bring you only 20% of your total revenues. Your task is to identify these two types of categories of activities, prioritize the 20% and see how many of the 80% you can delegate or completely eliminate from your work.
Of course, it is not an easy job to make a clear separation, especially if you have never prioritised your tasks before and are more of a reactive than a proactive type of entrepreneur. A reactive person usually responds to issues by seeking solutions. A proactive person thinks ahead and provides for potential issues which may occur.
2. Have a Backup Plan
Let’s say that you have planned out your day but something happens and you cannot do your work. For instance, your computer breaks down or there is a power failure. Do you have a second computer with a wireless internet connection to continue your work? Or can you think of other tasks which you can perform away from the computer?
If you cannot find alternative ways of working for your business, by clearing away secondary tasks in case your daily schedule is compromised, you will lose valuable time. What is worse, you will have to spend extra hours in the next few days to catch up with your work.
3. Set Milestones and Keep Track of Your Progress
How do you know if your work is efficient? Do you have any reference system for your efforts? If you don’t, you should. These milestones are important not only as proof of the health of your business, but also as motivators for you to continue your work. It also helps you organise and prioritise your work as each milestone needs a specific set of activities.
4. Set Limits to Your Working Hours
As employees, people have a daily work schedule, usually from 9 to 5. Of course, under exceptional circumstances, they will have to spend some extra hours at the office. But overtime should not be the norm – not even for you, as a business owner. Working too hard and for too many hours every day will cause you fatigue, and weaken your capacity to focus and be productive. In short, it really is counterproductive and it will take a big toll on your family life and relationship with your friends.
5. Document Your Work System
If one day you manage to solve more items on your agenda in a shorter time and with increased efficiency, write down what you did differently during that day. Maybe you turned off your smartphone and did not get distracted by incoming messages and notifications. Maybe you took your computer into a quieter part of your home office and were able to focus better. Maybe you tackled your tasks in a certain order.
Whatever it was, it helped you be more productive and get more work done. So implement this system in your daily schedule and continue applying it. This is the only way in which you can consistently prioritise your work, do less and achieve more, and create a balance between your work and your personal life.