I have talked about the biggest time sucker I see ALL. THE. TIME. before. Now I want to walk you through the biggest prioritization issue I see with my clients and what you can do about it. What is it? Simple: Working on the WRONG STUFF. When you don’t know where you are going to get the biggest bang for your time buck, you end up spinning your wheels without even noticing it.

Okay, but how do I know what the right stuff is, Samantha?

To answer that, I’m going to share with you the highlights of my Plan to Grow process. Let’s start with the importance of knowing where you’re going.

Have a business plan:

This allows you to layout where you want your business to go over a certain period of time (say three to five years). With it, you always know where you’re trying to go with your business, and, thus, know exactly what goals you should set and what opportunities you should say yes to in order to level up your business.

If you haven’t already completed a business plan, the business vision quest is a great way to get a sense of where you want your business to go until you get a plan completed. It involves taking the time to sit and envision what the future of your business looks like. For this, I want you to project yourself to the day your business closes its doors. Take a look around and ask yourself things like:

  • What am I doing every day?
  • What services do I offer?
  • Who am I helping?
  • What are people in the community saying about my business?

THE BOTTOM LINE: You wouldn’t go on a road trip without a map complete with rest stops and check-ins all mapped out, and you shouldn’t do that with your business. When you know where you are going, you can set goals and say yes or no to interrupters and shiny objects with confidence. And most importantly, you can stop spinning your wheels on things that aren’t serving you or your business.

Set goals that are going to make meaningful and significant growth in your business

With a destination point for where your business is going all set out, you can start building backwards, setting goals and taking on the projects that are going to progressively move your business towards where to be years from now. For this, I usually use the SMART goal setting method with my business and my clients.

Create a roadmap for your goals by breaking the goal down into small, manageable tasks

Once you’ve decided on the goals that you need to take on to move your business where you want it to go, it’s time to create a roadmap for that goal. This involves breaking the goal down into small, manageable tasks. Think about someone who wants a sandwich. It doesn’t just magically appear. There are a lot of steps that need to happen in a certain order before a ready-made sandwich is presented. You may do most of these without thinking about it, but here they are:

  • Collect the ingredients
  • Apply the ingredients
  • Put the sandwich together
  • Cut sandwich in half
  • Grab napkin
  • Sit down
  • Eat Sandwich

Some of these steps could be broken down even further. For example, what ingredients do you collect? What order do you apply the ingredients in? Most people have a process for even these steps if we’re being honest. When you start at where you want to be and then work backwards like this, listing everything you are going to need to do to get to the end, and working all the way back to your starting point of where you are right now, you come away with task lists of what needs to be done. From there, you can come up with daily, weekly and monthly checklists for that goal.

Imagine having that for all of your goals. I never wonder if I am working on the right stuff because I have my roadmap with all the tasks I need to get done and check-ins scheduled in along the way to make sure I am progressing like I’m supposed to be.

Get real about your schedule. How much time do you actually have?

This means figuring out where your time is going and how much time you actually have. Why? So you’re managing your own expectations and not putting unrealistic demands on yourself. When you are deciding which goals to take on and assigning them timelines, you need to have a true understanding of all the other things vying for your time. Without that knowledge, things are going to get overlooked or dropped, you’re going to feel overwhelmed and overextended and nothing is really going to get done. Trust me. I know. I’ve been there.

Find someone to hold you accountable

Enough said here. There is nothing more powerful, I’ve found, than having someone waiting for me to tell them about my progress to make sure I actually make some progress.

TELL US: What is your best productivity and prioritization tip?