Productivity, Tools & Priorities

Being self-employed means you constantly juggle business priorities.

Everyone today struggles to find a balance when juggling their many responsibilities.

I find myself in the fortunate position of being busy. Perhaps too busy.

Running a business is always a juggling act. I find myself every day challenged to find enough hours in the day to do the things I think are important. So I set my priorities and let some things slide. Other times, I take a deep breath and plow through until I reach the end of my to-do list. Even with this sometimes Herculean effort, other things are not getting done, things that are not urgent today or this week, but will make a huge impact down the road.

So how do I decide what to keep, and what to jettison from my schedule. How do I know when the solution can’t be found by becoming more efficient with my time, and it’s truly time to cut back. That’s the question on my plate this week.

The pace of my professional life change dramatically a few months back. I realized then that I would need a little time to adjust. To give myself some extra time, I cut back my television to four hours a week. And then both 24 and Battlestar Galactica returned, so I upped my viewing time to accommodate them both. I’m cooking up large batches of some of my favorite dishes so I have frozen leftovers that make for a quick dinner several nights a week. I cut back on my Friday night social events within the Phoenix community. Mostly, I missed events because I was too exhausted after working such a long day and week to go out and have fun. As the weeks turned into months, I realized that was a wrong strategy. A girl has to have fun, too.

Now, convinced that I’m being as efficient with my schedule as possible, I’m starting to look at activities to cut. Nothing is immune from this examination. So far, I’ve decided to keep my blog, but stop writing article for Biznik for a while. I’m probably not going to publish an ebook in March or April, either. Thankfully, my involvement in Ignite Phoenix will drop back for a few weeks, giving me back a few hours a week, also.

Productivity Tools

I’m using a few tools to help me along the way. I thought they might also help you.

  • I used the decision matrix to help me identify my real priorities and make sure they are getting enough time in my schedule. (BTW, an ebook version is coming out in a few days!)
  • I’ve started using Basecamp to keep track of the many tasks related to my larger projects. It’s much easier and faster to use than the old version of Microsoft Project I’ve been running.
  • I’ve also returned to 43 Things to keep my focus on my prioritized goals.

I haven’t figured out this puzzle, yet. But I’m constantly asking myself if I’m sure I’m really getting the most important things done each week. For now, that will have to be enough.

About author:

Charlene is the information strategist behind Crow Information Design.

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