Guest Blogger Chelsie Lee shares:
Every day, there are 10,000 things calling for your attention.
A client needs help. A contact wants to meet for coffee. You need to put out a fire in your business. Someone needs to reschedule. A friend wants to catch up.
Only a handful of these things will help drive the needle if you do them. Most won’t.
But it can be really hard to figure out which ones will drive the needle.
And even harder? Making sure the right things get done every day—and get done well.
When you’re faced with 81 tasks on your to-do list, it’s easy to get the feeling that you’re standing in the middle of a messy room, paralyzed, thinking, “What in the world should I do first?”
There are 3 things I’ve started doing that have helped me break through and get quality work done on the important things.
How to Break Through Decision Paralysis—and Make Real Progress on Your To-Do List
Make “3x3” a Habit
It is. But sometimes the simple things are the things we overlook.
Throughout my career at Shipsi—and even before—I've made a habit of physically writing out my top 3 priorities for the day and asking myself (ideally the night before), “What would make tomorrow a success?”
This allows me to ensure the big things get done.
I once heard life described as a big plastic jug, and you have big rocks, small rocks, and sand. All of it needs to fit inside the plastic jug. If you put the sand in first, the rocks won’t fit in. If you put the small rocks in first, same thing.
But if you put the big rocks in first, the small rocks will fall between the cracks of the big rocks. And the sand will fill the rest of the gaps. And all of a sudden, everything “magically” fits in the jug.
That’s the power of the “3x3.” You get the 3 most important things done first, and the other little things fill up the spaces between them. That’s how you look back on your day and say, “That was a productive day."
Per a friendly suggestion from a former colleague, I was asked about six months ago if I do my top 3 for my personal life. The answer was no. Since then, I've implemented a daily '3x3' where I literally write out the top 3 most important items both personally and professionally.
Learn Your “Productivity Weaknesses”
You might know your priorities. But somehow, they still don’t get done.
That may be because you don’t realize it, but you have bad habits that are holding you back.
Example #1: Do you and your team always show up on time and feel adequately prepared for all meetings, end on time and have clear action items? If no, you’re essentially wasting your time at the meeting.
Instead, block a half hour on your calendar the day before to prep and properly prepare items needed for the agenda.
Where’s that half-hour come from? Well, if you make the most of one meeting, often it will allow another to be canceled. Maybe if you and your team prepared well for each meeting you wouldn’t need so many meetings in the first place.
Though always a practice and never a perfection, lead by example—and your team will follow suit.
Example #2: Do you try to do things that aren’t in your “wheelhouse,” simply because you either don’t want to pay for them, or because you want them done your way?
If so, take it from me: That doesn’t work. I had to learn the hard way that my time is best spent doing the things that only I can do. Anything you can farm out, you should farm out.
Then, all of a sudden, you have more time for the big rocks.
Own Your Calendar. Don’t Let it Own You.
During your business planning, outline how much time you need on a monthly or weekly basis in order to put the necessary focused time required.
Make it a non-negotiable. Call it a big rock.
For example, block recurring times on your calendar every day or week as “focus time” based on what you need most. That way, you’ll set your environment up to where you won’t have to fight for time. It’ll already be there.
Your goal then will be to get good at saying “no.” No, you will not cancel it to have this meeting. No, you will not cancel it to talk to this client or this investor. How about literally any other time?
Take the time to set up priorities right, both personally and professionally. Automate, eliminate, delegate:
Automate: From lead nurture to toilet paper…automate it.
Eliminate: Do you really need all those notifications, widgets, sounds or random magazines delivered that never get read?
Delegate, who else can you rally to support?
The less space in your brain, less decisions or even things you have to bring to the top of your mind, the better.
Give these strategies a try and
watch how they transform your productivity.
We all have bad habits when it comes to productivity. It’s really hard to have a “perfect day.”
But by prioritizing the big rocks and getting rid of some of your weaknesses, you’ll watch your productivity skyrocket.
About the Author:
Chelsie Lee is the Co-founder and CEO of SHIPSI, the delivery technology platform that enables retailers to offer same-day and scheduled delivery without managing any of the logistics. She’s a retail, technology, and supply chain expert who has consulted 500+ top retailers and brands on business strategy, growth, and execution. Among her previous clients are Saks Fifth Avenue, New Look, UGG, O’Neill, Nike and more. In addition to being nominated for EY Entrepreneur of the Year, Chelsie is also a contributor to the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center, a mentor to emerging brands, a surf enthusiast, and a yoga instructor. She currently resides in Venice, CA.