I thought it would be interesting to see if there’s a pattern in the type of challenges faced by the business owners I’ve worked with over the last 12 months.
Looking back through my notes, a high number of coaching calls have been around productivity and managing time more effectively. I believe this happens because we are so busy just trying to get everything done, that we don’t always stand back to find out if there’s a better way to do things. So we keep on doing what we’ve always done, including the mistakes!
In no particular order, here are the top three:
Lack of basic systems
It takes far too much time when you have to keep reinventing the wheel every time you need to do a simple, repetitive task, especially when you’re busy. Sitting down to work out what systems and processes would make your business run more smoothly is a wise investment of time that will repay you with interest – and save time in the long term. Once you have your list, a simple system can be created by taking notes the next time you actually do the task. Then put together a checklist and file with your notes.
Trying to juggle too many projects
There are several reasons this situation can arise, including not recognising when actions on your to-do list are actually projects and therefore need different treatment. Examples of projects I’ve seen listed as actions include revamping your website, introducing new products or services, starting a blog. And I’ve also heard the disappointment in clients’ voices when they didn’t manage to make much progress. Projects must be broken down into their component parts and action steps, in order that you can set realistic completion dates. Trying to juggle too many projects at the same time is a recipe for overwhelm. Staying focused is a far more effective strategy.
Failing to allow enough contingency time
I learned this one the hard way when I couldn’t figure out why my careful diary planning didn’t seem to work. The mistake I made, and often see other business make, was to fill my diary with back to back appointments and activities. Not only was that impossible to keep up with day after day, it also didn’t allow for unexpected ‘stuff’ to crop up – which it will! Stuff like a meeting that overruns, a slow internet connection, or even one of those days when you struggle to get going because you don’t feel 100%. Leaving contingency time of 30 minutes between appointments and allowing time for a proper lunch break are just two ways you can reduce the pressure.
There are more productivity tips in this free e-booklet: ’9 Ways to Get More Done’
It’s never too late to review which parts of your business are working and which, with a bit of tweaking, could work better. Otherwise you risk carrying old mistakes over into the new year and repeating them all again!
What productivity mistakes don’t you want to repeat?