Have you reorganized your priorities since the pandemic hit to make sure you’re working ON your business and not just IN your business? Join me in making time for the important and non-urgent projects that will truly advance your business.
So let’s talk about the mindset of planning & prioritizing- now this is one of my specialties; anything involving planning, prioritizing, time-blocking, calendar management. And one of the best tools that I have used through the years with my own business and with my consulting clients is the priority matrix. So it’s a worksheet, I’ve got a copy right here to show you as an example, you can find this on my website and probably linked to this video somewhere. It’s a worksheet that breaks our work and our tasks and our projects down into four quadrants. The quadrants have a continuum of our work being rated as important or not important / urgent or not urgent. And for all of us through this Coronavirus experience, we have put a massive amount of time and energy into what’s called Quadrant 1, which is the urgent and important work. I think that’s what you and I have been doing as we respond to this crisis, and now as we prepare to head into back to school and head into fall and winter, we want to shift our focus a bit over to Quadrant 2.
Quadrant 2 is the “money shot” -it’s where we really produce results. Quadrant 2 is the work that is not urgent, but it is important. It’s the kind of work that has to be scheduled. It has to planned out and put into your calendar. I’ve never really met very many business owners, maybe one or two, who just wake up on a random Thursday and are instantly inspired that today’s the day they’re going to pull their business plan together. Usually it has to be planned and put into the calendar and other work like Quadrant 1 – things that are urgent and important, they have to be just kind of set aside. That kind of work has to be set aside for a period of time so that you can advance the work that is not urgent but it is important.
This is the proverbial “working ON your business, not IN your business”. So to kind of organize my own thinking around my business planning, to streamline, to get focused, to plan, to prioritize; I jotted down some things that are now newly, in my Quadrant 2. Things that are not urgent but they are important. I have things like everything from the app development that we’re working on, a new onboarding process for our clients, my leadership around the Task Force, the St. Louis Small Business Task Force, my work on my dissertation, my new photos for my website. These are all things that are not urgent – there’s no immediate looming deadline that I have to comply with in the next day or two or week or three weeks. These are things that are not urgent but they are important and so I’ve got to clarify them. Get them on paper, move them from paper- for me- over to my calendar; for perhaps it’s your project list or your task list and they’re starred or hi-lited so it’s very clear that these are the Quadrant 2 activities, the things that have you work ON your business not IN your business. These are the strategic initiatives that really advance your company or your career. And so I want to encourage you today to print out this priority matrix, to do some thinking about what your priorities are now, outside of the things that aren’t calling your attention urgently and importantly and immediately every single day. What are the things that now, based on where you are, where your company is, that you now want to shift your attention to more purposefully, intentionally and proactively.
What was interesting about doing my own priority matrix is that I had twelve major initiatives that went under my Quadrant 2 corner of my worksheet, and of those twelve, only two of them were on my list of things to work on before the pandemic hit. My business focus has changed so dramatically that the things that would have been on this list, in terms of -they’re not urgent but they are important- it’s totally changed. What it means to work on my business today is a completely different set of projects that it was leading into the pandemic. I think you might experience the same thing. I did a cross-check to make sure that all of these major projects are in my calendar, because that’s my main tool for getting my work done; and so all but two are in my calendar as of now, I entered a few things just before coming to share with you in fact; just to make sure and do that cross-check. So this is what I want to encourage you do to: I made a little bit longer video today to hopefully make an impact for you, as you are making sense of where you are and where you need and want to go next. So I hope this is valuable. This is the kind of work that I do with my clients, if I can support you in any way, please reach out I’d be happy to tell you what we’re doing and how we’re overhauling our services and our offerings here at Black Dress Circle to make an impact for our clients- an even greater impact for our clients as all of our needs and priorities are shifting.
So I hope this has been valuable and I’ll see you guys all real soon. Let’s all take on together this mindset of planning and prioritizing, and I hope this tool is going to be useful for you.. see you soon!