Every client has unique challenges, but many have similar obstacles that are holding them back from truly reaching their potential. In this case, the owner of the firm was also the firms’ top producer and was acting as the firm’s manager. Does this sound familiar? Even if you are not an owner or manager, it is pretty fair to assume you are taking on too much and accomplishing too little.
The key to moving your personal team or organization forward is your ability to stop doing the things that are taking away from your production. For example I know my company’s revenue will dramatically decrease if I do certain things. As much as I focus on my “to do” list, the first list I look at every day is my “Not To Do List”.
Top 5 items on my not to do list:
With the exception of typing and driving my car, I generally stay away from all things manual. First, admittedly, I am not a fixer upper. Secondly, there are folks that can cut my grass, fix my plumbing, ship my books or when necessary, shovel my driveway better and less expensive than I can.
Author Jack Daly suggests, “If you don’t have an admin, you are one”. Why would I spend time copying, scanning, filing, scheduling appointments, orchestrating travel, running errands, when instead I can focus on my most productive activities?
Yes, I use email, but under the strictest of rules. First, I never leave my email account open. I will not let the continuous population of messages control me and I certainly never activate the optional automatic email notification in the lower right corner of my desktop. I check email sporadically throughout the day. I respond to and/or act upon every message before I go home. Most importantly, I control the communication; it doesn’t control me.
I am pretty good at Excel, and can craft a mean Pivot Table given the opportunity. But so can folks much younger and must less costly per hour than me. The same holds true for research. I outsource all of our research. Just like you, we need information on companies, decision makers, contact information and the like, so we can prospect for new opportunities. However, I know prospecting is more vital than research. So we focus on leveraging others to afford us more time to ask for business.
I don’t read the paper and rarely watch TV. It’s estimated the average person watches 3-4 hours of TV a day – a day! Imagine how much more you could improve your life or someone else’s by cutting that in half. Now imagine if you cut it out! Have a favorite TV show? Record it or watch it on demand when your schedule allows.
There is no greater asset than your time. How you invest/manage your time will directly correlate to the results you farm. So when you go to your office tomorrow, fire up your computer, tablet or smart phone and look to your to do list, but also be sure to remove any of those items that are on your “Not to Do List”. In fact, print off your Not To Do List and post it right next to your computer, or better yet, save it as your opening screen on your smartphone. Your Not to Do list may be one of the smartest things your phone, and you, will ever do.