Starting a business or sustaining one is not as easy or as convenient as it is often described in those books. Especially, if you live in a city like Lagos (or anywhere else), you will certainly have more to do that your time can allow. This is because you cannot have more than the 24 hours daily allocation although you have to contend with the seen and unseen.
In this post, I will share 4 (four) practical tips that will help you simplify your tasks and get more done amidst the busyness.
The key word here is “organise”. As cliche as it sounds, this is very important! Organisation—setting order or a plan—is the key to effectively running a business. An easy way to achieve this without slaughtering yourself or your social life on the altar of “doing business” or “hustling” is to consider an old, yet effective matrix—the Eisenhower Matrix.
The Eisenhower Matrix
The Eisenhower matrix originated from a famous quote by President Dwight Eisenhower:
“What is important is seldom urgent
and what is urgent is seldom important.”
Dwight David Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States of America simply identified two kinds of problems/tasks – important and urgent. He also implies that things that are urgent are not necessarily important and those things that are truly important may not be urgent. (Just think about it…)
This statement has metamorphosed into a concept that has proven to be the most effective way to categorise tasks, manage priorities and increase productivity.
The DO IT Quadrant— Important and urgent!
This is the first quadrant referred to as the important and urgent quadrant.
Tasks that fall into this quadrant must be done without delay or postponement. For business owners, some of the examples may
include meeting with an investor, dealing with customer issues or responding to a partnership email.
These tasks are usually very critical tasks that have a very immediate impact on the business. You must DO it and you must DO IT now or today.
The DECISION Quadrant—Important and Not Urgent
The second quadrant is referred to as the important but not urgent quadrant. The tasks that fall into this category can be planned or scheduled for later action.
Such tasks may include weekly partners meeting, Facebook ad campaigns, seeking corporate partnership, self-development or strategy sessions.
If you fail to plan out or schedule these tasks, they will in the shortest time fall into your “DO IT” quadrant. When you DECIDE which of these you want to achieve on a daily, weekly or monthly basis using a to-do list, as the case may be, you will surely achieve more.
The DELEGATION Quadrant—Not Important and Urgent
The tasks in this quadrant are tasks that can be done for you by someone else. So, why stress yourself when someone else can do it for you just as fine.
So, DELEGATE IT.
For a business owner, these tasks could be as complex as a business registration or as simple as taking minutes in a meeting, managing a social media account, approving comments, booking flights or laundry services.
A business owner who is not too proud or too shy to ask for help will free up enough time to do the most important and urgent tasks.
The DELETION Quadrant—Not Important and Not Urgent
The fourth and last quadrant contains all the other tasks that do not add any value at all to your business or your future—these are obvious time wasters.
But then again, one man’s “time waster” is another’s “money maker”— as I as once heard, one man’s fool is another man’s cousin. The bottom-line is: if it doesn’t add any value, DELETE IT. These activities include staying back after meetings, gaming, web surfing, arguments, mulling over past failures or even worrying about the future!
When next you ever feel like where do I start from, begin by assigning tasks to these four quadrants (most preferably bu by writing them down in boxes). You can also use a productivity app and mentally assigning tasks may just be fine.
Properly apportioning tasks into these quadrants will give some spare time to play–“all work without fun makes Jack lose his social life”.
If you ask me, I’ll say the second quadrant is the most pivotal! What do you think?
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