Every morning I make a task list. During the day, I check some items off, and new items get added. The next morning, I make a new task list – at least as long as the previous one. And so the cycle continues.
This isn’t good or bad – running out of work would be bad news for my business – the big question is which tasks did I work on?
My task list is made up of two types of tasks:
- Operational tasks – email, meetings, running payroll, looking at trouble tickets, etc. These are necessary parts of the business which keep the machine running.
- Strategic tasks – investigating new products and services, improving out tools and documentation, training, etc. These make the business better. They help the team be more effective, they help us provide better service to our clients, they help us to serve more clients and grow the business.
My problem is that I can easily spend 100% of my time on the operational tasks. The strategic tasks stay on my list day after day, week after week, and it’s very hard to find time to make things better. Which is a real shame, because whenever I invest time in making things better, it makes the operational tasks a little easier.
Maybe it’s the same for you?
- If you could only spend some time fixing the network, then you wouldn’t need to spend so much time on network-related trouble tickets.
- If you could only switch over to SIP LD trunks then you’d save money every month on long distance charges.
- If you could only build some good persistent profiles and templates provisioning would be much quicker and more accurate.
I don’t think I’ll ever conquer this problem, but for what it’s worth, here are my strategies:
- At the start of each week I write down the 3-5 most important items I want to accomplish, and review that list every day. This helps me to prioritize my time correctly.
- Sometimes I’ll block off time in my calendar (as if I was in a meeting) to work on a specific task.
- I delegate as much as I can. Is there someone else who can do this task better than I can? Is there someone who can be trained to do this task? Can I hire someone to take this off my hands? (This year I’ve hired a CPA to do my taxes for the first time ever.)
If you have anything on your list that could be solved by my team – whether a migration or a new product or providing technical guidance – let me know. I’ll happily talk to you about your situation, and then as soon I can, I’ll delegate the project to someone on my team who can do it better than me. 🙂