Do you have so many things going on that it seems like you aren’t accomplishing anything? Do you struggle with jumping from one task or distraction to another throughout the day? At the end of the day, is it a challenge to remember what you did with your time? Doing too much is a risk for our lives and businesses. What are the risks of dropping too many balls? The chief risk is not accomplishing what you need to in order to be successful.
For business owners, executives, or anyone in a leadership position, this is very prevalent. It is common to have so many “balls in the air” that some them start dropping. A few years ago, I was told to read a book called “Rise: How to be Really Successful at Work and Like Your Life” by Patty Azzarello. She spoke about ruthless priorities. It has been 5 years since I read that book, and that word image sticks with me. There have to be priorities that you will accomplish no matter what. It is likely that some balls might be dropped, but not the ruthless priorities. Do we have to drop balls at all? I am going to argue that we don’t want to be in the business of dropping balls at all, so what do we do? What if we drop a ball that is more important than we think? We can’t see the future. What if not returning a phone call hindered a big business deal? You just never know. I agree with Azzarello on having ruthless priorities but will add that we should only be working on one main goal at a time. We need to focus and strive to not let balls drop.
I am going to outline 5 ways to avoid dropping balls (except on New Year’s Eve):
Take time each morning to review your day and your number one goal. Look at two things you are doing to help push toward meeting that goal. Each week, review the previous week and the next week. Review your schedule and consider how much time and commitment you have dedicated toward you number 1 goal. Look at your list of things to do and put them on the calendar. Take control of your week instead of allowing others control your week.
There is a tendency to have too many goals or no goals. I think having one main goal in different key areas is fine. I tend to focus on God, Spouse, Kids, and Work in that order. We can accomplish a whole lot more if we focus all of our energy on one thing at a time. We can see accomplishment much faster. The Freedom Journal is a great book to help with this.
I think that it is great if we can find tasks that satisfy multiple goals at one time. I have found that I enjoy blogging. At first, I thought of it as a marketing tool in which I strived to provide valuable content. I still strive to provide valuable content. Now, I think of it as an education for my own business. I even find that it helps me in conversations with strategic partners and helps collect my thoughts in a more organized way. I am a member of Toastmasters and have used my blog content in my speeches. If we can accomplish more of our goals with one task, we can be more efficient. Instead of multiple balls in the air, there is one ball that rules them all. Ok, I just went a bit “Lord of the Rings”.
I have written about this before in my post “5 Ways Planning Helps You in Business and Life”. I know it seems overwhelming developing a Life Plan. At the very least, we should consider how each thing we agree to on our schedule fits into our priorities. For example, since my top priorities are God, Wife, Kids, and Work (in that order), then I personally consider how everything I do fits these areas. Recently I went to an event and I left there feeling empty. It didn’t fit anywhere with my main goals and priorities. I probably should not have attended.
I am not talking about taking a shower every day, although that is helpful. I am talking about not getting behind on emails, texts, voicemails and To Do items. I know that probably seems harsh, but it is a great efficiency hack. For example, if our email is cluttered, it takes longer to go through it each time. It takes longer to respond. If you don’t respond to an email, then you might get a text or phone call you wouldn’t have otherwise had to stop and pay attention to. It tends to snowball. If you are a busy executive, consider hiring a person to help with your email. There are virtual assistants that can be hired on a fractional basis. With a little training and messaging templates, this can save a ton of time. Check out a ranking of the Best Virtual Assistant Services.
Life can get busy. There are always new challenges such as business growth, family changes, or staffing issues. Those of us who are entrepreneurs will continue to struggle, but we can work to do a little better each day. The more we free up our time to do what is most important, the more impact and value we will add to our business, family, and society as a whole.
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