One thing that saved my ass when I left my full time job (and actually at any of jobs) have been the power of prioritization. As an entrepreneur, creative thinker, go getter, or whatever title resonates with you, it’s likely that you’re mind is always flooding with a million ideas. Product ideas, services, email campaigns, social media challenges, artwork layouts, collaborations, workshops, you name it! While this is awesome, it’s also SUPER overwhelming, and it can be really confusing to figure out where your attention will serve best. Since my business started when I launched the Rule The World Planner, organization is a big part of my business, and I want to share what I’ve learned, and what worked for me.
Lists are awesome, whether you prefer a paper list (one of my notepads and in my Rule The World Planner!), a digital list, or random post its all over your office, there’s just one step to make it more effective. You need an A list, and a B list (and a C, D, E, F, G if you’re anything like me). I make a daily list – the things I need to do that day. I break my tasks into small manageable items – I even put things like “switch laundry” or call doctor”, and I’ll write down what specific tasks for which client I’m working on. I prefer keeping a daily log on paper (the “today or tomorrow” is my go to), and then I keep a more general list in my Rule The World Planner, things like “work on client X today”. That way I’ve got a more detailed list, but my planner gives me a good idea when i look at the full week of what lays ahead. Crossing things off is so rewarding, I love that I get to do that daily.
Next, I use “notes” on my iPhone to keep track of things I think of on the run, once I’m back at the office, I’ll look through it and put them in the right places. I have a few google docs (or one big one with tons of sections, but I’ve also played with Evernote, Asana and other programs), where I keep ideas that come to me, that aren’t things I plan to work on right now. I’ll let an item sit on my “notes” for a few weeks until I figure out which list it really belongs on. I have a section in my google doc of “ideas I’ve had, but am not ready for” including a few bigger workshop ideas, collaborations, things that I’d like to do, but don’t fit on my top priorities list. The best part is that I come back to this list often, and sometimes I realize that they just don’t resonate with my long term goals, and I delete them! Now THAT my friends, is a good feeling! I only delete something that I find doesn’t align with what I want for my business, maybe it sounds like a fun idea, and maybe I can pass it along to a friend that it’ll resonate with more. If it still aligns, I look at what’s on my plate for the next few months, and pick one of the ideas to do in my “down time”. This summer, I took a project that’s been on my list for about a year, and I scheduled in the time for it – almost daily I worked on it as if it was a client project, and I can’t wait to share it! It fueled me, made me excited, and definitely aligns with my goals, I treated it like a client because it deserved my attention.
When you’re feeling overwhelmed by your ideas, ask yourself these questions:
Can this project wait?
Is this actionable?
Does this align with my values and business goals?
Do you have other ways you prioritize? Some people tackle their biggest projects first thing in the morning, and others like to do their email and “easier” tasks first thing (waiting for that coffee to kick in). What have you found works best for you!?