“All great achievements require time.”
You have a picture in your mind of launching and selling your handcrafted meditation cushions. You can visualize your on-line shop and imagine people buying your beautiful works of art. You’ve been working your butt off to make it happen. Long days, late nights, and gallons of coffee. You visualize your goal. It’s there just over the horizon!
Most of the pieces are now in place and it should be smooth sailing!
Then, unexpectedly, everything slows down. There’s a temporary machine malfunction at the factory that produces the cloth for the cushions. You’re frantically trying to find a material replacement but, it is a no-go.
It feels like you’re butting your head against a wall. All you have for your effort is a headache.Advertising
Yup, been there done that!
When you start a project, you set a timeline — and now that timeline has a huge speed bump in it. All effort appears to be futile. In fact, your frustration, anger, and anxiety are making things worse.
Turn the delay to your advantage.
“The obstacle is the path”
The above quote might remind you of other obstacles you’ve faced along the way. If you look closely, you’ll see that each one served a purpose. (Isn’t 20/20 hindsight great?)Advertising
These apparent obstacles helped you to grow, learn, and experience different facets of life. They were neither good nor bad, but just a part of your life’s road.
In any venture you take, be it business, relationship, or pleasure, you’ll find obstacles at some point. Since they’re bound to show up, why not take advantage of them when they do?
Below are some ways you can do that…
Focus on the meaning of being an entrepreneur.
You can take advantage of the delay by reflecting on what it means to be an entrepreneur. Merriam-Webster on line defines an entrepreneur as a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.
You’ve chosen to do what you want in life. So enjoy it! See the delay for what it is…a bump in the road and an opportunity to learn something new.Advertising
Let go of expectations.
Try to get beyond the need to hold on to how things “should be” and accept a temporary “this is what it is.” Returning to the present moment stops you from going in to the “what if” mindset. Once the need for the “should” goes, along with it goes the anxiety and pressure you feel. This clears the way for something else to appear.
Time for a break.
This may sound silly, but you may be experiencing a case of self-sabotage! Perhaps you’ve been working long hours with little sleep and your body, mind, and spirit have had enough. There is a chance you’ve inadvertently made an error that has slowed things down. Take advantage of it, and take a break to refresh. Come back with a clear mind.
Celebrate your progress.
When you’re in the midst of creating a new project, it’s easy to ignore how much you’ve accomplished. So when progress is delayed, take time to look at what you’ve done. Celebrate your accomplishments up to this point — the big ones and the little ones too. It’s okay to pat yourself on the back and feel good about what you’re doing.
Look for fresh ideas.
Often when things go wrong and you’re backed into a corner, you’re forced to discover an innovative solution. Go ahead, free up some time to find a quiet place, clear your mind and see what shows up. Take the time, it’ll be worth it.
Realizing that the situation is out of your control can be very freeing. While waiting for things to move forward again, you have the time to do those things that you have been putting off: answering non-urgent emails, calling your mom, meeting with friends, or finishing that tedious task you let slip. You might even find that your productivity gets a boost.Advertising
In all areas of life you can expect the unexpected. That doesn’t mean you sit down and bemoan your lot. No! You stop for a moment, take a look around to see what you can do and then get on with that which can be done.
Each obstacle on the path to achieving greatness can be used to learn, excel and polish your craft.
The choice is yours, stay stuck or fly! I choose to fly! How about you?
Featured photo credit: HappyMotoring/MichaelLeland via flickr.com
Last Updated on November 18, 2019
How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster
Everyone of my team members has a bucketload of tasks that they need to deal with every working day. On top of that, most of their tasks are either creativity tasks or problem solving tasks.
Despite having loads of tasks to handle, our team is able to stay creative and work towards our goals consistently.
How do we manage that?
I’m going to reveal to you how I helped my team get more things done in less time through the power of correct prioritization. A few minutes spent reading this article could literally save you thousands of hours over the long term. So, let’s get started with my method on how to prioritize:
The Scales Method – a productivity method I created several years ago.
How to Prioritize with the Scales Method
One of our new editors came to me the other day and told me how she was struggling to keep up with the many tasks she needed to handle and the deadlines she constantly needed to stick to.
At the end of each day, she felt like she had done a lot of things but often failed to come up with creative ideas and to get articles successfully published. From what she told me, it was obvious that she felt overwhelmed and was growing increasingly frustrated about failing to achieve her targets despite putting in extra hours most days.
After she listened to my advice – and I introduced her to the Scales Method – she immediately experienced a dramatic rise in productivity, which looked like this:
- She could produce three times more creative ideas for blog articles
- She could publish all her articles on time
- And she could finish all her work on time every day (no more overtime!)
Curious to find out how she did it? Read on for the step-by-step guide:
1. Set Aside 10 Minutes for Planning
When it comes to tackling productivity issues, it makes sense to plan before taking action. However, don’t become so involved in planning that you become trapped in it and never move beyond first base.
My recommendation is to give yourself a specific time period for planning – but keep it short. Ideally, 10 or 15 minutes. This should be adequate to think about your plan.
Use this time to:
- Look at the big picture.
- Think about the current goal and target that you need/want to achieve.
- Lay out all the tasks you need to do.
2. Align Your Tasks with Your Goal
This is the core component that makes the Scales Method effective.
It works like this:
Take a look at all the tasks you’re doing, and review the importance of each of them. Specifically, measure a task’s importance by its cost and benefit.
By cost, I am referring to the effort needed per task (including time, money and other resources). The benefit is how closely the task can contribute to your goal.
To make this easier for you, I’ve listed below four combinations that will enable you to quickly and easily determine the priority of each of your tasks:
Low Cost + High Benefit
Do these tasks first because they’re the simple ones to complete, yet help you get closer to your goal.
Approving artwork created for a sales brochure would likely fit this category. You could easily decide on whether you liked the artwork/layout, but your decision to approve would trigger the production of the leaflet and the subsequent sales benefits of sending it out to potential customers.
High Cost + High Benefit
Break the high cost task down into smaller ones. In other words, break the big task into mini ones that take less than an hour to complete. And then re-evaluate these small tasks and set their correct priority level.
Imagine if you were asked to write a product launch plan for a new diary-free protein powder supplement. Instead of trying to write the plan in one sitting – aim to write the different sections at different times (e.g., spend 30 minutes writing the introduction, one hour writing the body text, and 30 minutes writing the conclusion).
Low Cost + Low Benefit
This combination should be your lowest priority. Either give yourself 10-15 minutes to handle this task, or put these kind of tasks in between valuable tasks as a useful break.
These are probably necessary tasks (e.g., routine tasks like checking emails) but they don’t contribute much towards reaching your desired goal. Keep them way down your priority list.
High Cost + Low Benefit
Review if these tasks are really necessary. Think of ways to reduce the cost if you decide that the completion of the task is required.
For instance, can any tools or systems help to speed up doing the task? In this category, you’re likely to find things like checking and updating sales contacts spreadsheets. This can be a fiddly and time-consuming thing to do without making mistakes. However, there are plenty of apps out there they can make this process instant and seamless.
Now, coming back to the editor who I referred to earlier, let’s take a look at her typical daily task list:
After listening to my advice, she broke down the High cost+ High benefit task into smaller ones. Her tasks then looked like this (in order of priority):
And for the task about promoting articles to different platforms, after reviewing its benefits, we decided to focus on the most effective platform only – thereby significantly lowering the associated time cost.
Bonus Tip: Tackling Tasks with Deadlines
Once you’ve evaluated your tasks, you’ll know the importance of each of them. This will immediately give you a crystal-clear picture on which tasks would help you to achieve more (in terms of achieving your goals). Sometimes, however, you won’t be able to decide every task’s priority because there’ll be deadlines set by external parties such as managers and agencies.
What to do in these cases?
Well, I suggest that after considering the importance and values of your current tasks, align the list with the deadlines and adjust the priorities accordingly.
For example, let’s dip into the editor’s world again.
Some of the articles she edited needed to be published by specific dates. The Scales Method allows for this, and in this case, her amended task list would look something like this:
Hopefully, you can now see how easy it is to evaluate the importance of tasks and how to order them in lists of priority.
The Scales Method Is Different from Anything Else You’ve Tried
By adopting the Scales Method, you’ll begin to correctly prioritize your work, and most importantly – boost your productivity by up to 10 times!
And unlike other methods that don’t really explain how to decide the importance of a task, my method will help you break down each of your tasks into two parts: cost and benefits. My method will also help you to take follow-up action based on different cost and benefits combinations.
Start right now by spending 10 minutes to evaluate your common daily tasks and how they align with your goal(s). Once you have this information, it’ll be super-easy to put your tasks into a priority list. All that remains, is that you kick off your next working day by following your new list.
Trust me, once you begin using the Scales Method – you’ll never want to go back to your old ways of working.
More to Boost Productivity
- How to Delegate Work Effectively (Step-By-Step Guide)
- The Ultimate Guide to Prioritizing Your Work And Life
- 10 Practical Ways to Improve Your Time Management Skills
- How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)
Featured photo credit: Vector Stock via vectorstock.com