Have you ever felt so overwhelmed with the day to day — pulled in a million different directions — so much so that you feel as if you accomplish nothing despite “working away” all day? It’s the worst feeling and getting derailed from our to-do list and the all-important Revenue Generating Activities is a struggle we all face. Thankfully, there are several ways to keep ourselves on task and knock out very meaningful work to drive our business forward.
Develop a Plan.
Without a plan, we’re lost — so create today’s plan and this week’s plan, but make sure you have goals set out in this year’s plan as well. Amidst a crisis, we might be revisiting our plans and pivoting our businesses in ways we couldn’t predict earlier this year. Without a plan, you’re destined to get distracted. Setting aside time to clear our heads and adequately plan is key to success. As the old adage goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day” and neither is your company. Futureproof it for success with a clear plan and outline baby-steps (even with the biggest and hardest projects to tackle) to help you achieve your goals.
Focus on Revenue Generating Activities.
Revenue Generating Activities or RGA’s, as I like to call them, are at the core of meaningful and productive work. These are the activities that add to the bottom line and propel the business forward and should be your most important tasks (on the daily)! Examples include meeting prospects, following up with prospects, scheduling meetings, sending contracts, closing business, doing the actual work to serve our clients (in many, many cases if you don’t have any employees) and of course, finalizing deliverables for a client. You get it. As a small business owner, you have to wear many hats, but it doesn’t mean you can’t focus more of your energies every single day on RGA’s — the kind of work that matters most!
Adopt the Pomodoro Method.
This is such a simple strategy you can use to devote time to important RGA work and decrease distractions. It’s 25 minutes of uninterrupted work (no social media, no distractions) followed by a 5 minute break. I’ve heard of others stretching their uninterrupted work out into longer 40-50 minutes segments with longer breaks. Whatever works – the point is “uninterrupted” quality work time. Try it. It’s changed my work life for the better.
Eliminate Email Distractions.
Your inbox is literally full of distractions and can quickly derail an otherwise productive day. Checking your inbox a few times a day is a great way to work without feeling chained to your email. Check in early in the day, after lunch and near the end of the day…dare I say later at night before bed?! Okay, okay maybe not every night in the spirit of maintaining a healthy work life balance. Respond timely to all emails but give yourself grace to flag emails that need more thought. Sleep on those and save them for response with fresh eyes and thoughts the next day. If it’s an email that’s considered an RGA, respond quickly always — timeliness on these is crucial. RGA’s always get priority treatment and should trump other tasks.
Reflect on your Plan.
Set aside time each day or each week to reflect on your plan and of course, revisit that yearly plan at least once a quarter. It’s important to hold ourselves accountable for our own work and efforts to drive our business forward. As Jasmine Star — an incredible photographer and marketer that you may already be familiar with — put it, “Don’t be upset with the results you didn’t get from the work you didn’t do.” If we reflect on what we accomplished daily or weekly, we’re able to assess where we’re falling short, where valuable work hours are wasted and what needs to change to drive our business forward. Typically that means more focus on RGAs.
These practical steps can be a game changer for your business. We all are showing up, we all are working hard but it’s the difference in planning and where we’re focusing our energies that really make all the difference in what turns out to be a productive day and one that isn’t.
Written by Ashley Murphy