For goal-getting entrepreneurs, the hundreds of little tasks that must get done each and every day can pile up and spark a spiral of overwhelm and frustration. And for those bootstrapping entrepreneurs planning and implementing without the support system of a team, the to-dos can be particularly daunting!
It’s so easy for business leaders to get caught in the weeds, since we are the ones DIYing everything and working to make every part of the engine run.
But here’s the thing: when we focus on tasks first, it’s impossible to prioritize.
This is because tasks themselves have equal value and weight. Yes, some might have a more pressing deadline than others, but these day-to-day tasks (like posting to social media, scheduling a brand photoshoot, writing the blog, etc.) are equal in importance at the task-level.
When we focus on tasks first, it's impossible to prioritize.
The key to making our business goals come to life is this: before making a list of what tasks must get done, we have to determine our big-picture priorities and goals.
Our job as CEO is to be the visionary in our business. We must see the future, know what changes need to be brought to life to get there, then break those changes down into goals, projects, and tasks.
But how can we set priorities if everything seems important?
Here are 5 simple steps you can take today to help determine your priorities and streamline your to-do list:
1. Envision the future
As visionary and CEO, it’s your responsibility to see the future of your business in order to map out an action plan for growth.
Ask yourself, where do you want your business — and yourself — to be in one year
Make a detailed list of what that future looks like for you and your business. What is your income? How many clients are you working with? Has your team grown at all?
2. Make a list of the most important things that need to change in order to make that vision a reality
What are the differences between then and now? How many clients will you need to take on? Will you need to launch a new product, package, or service offering? Will you need to hire an employee or outsource to a virtual assistant or business management agency?
3. Create SMART goals
Take those changes and turn them into SMART goals — specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time-bound.
For example, if your desired change is to be more profitable and increase your monthly income, a SMART goal might be to increase profits (specific) by 15% (measurable, actionable) within the next calendar year (realistic and time-bound).
Create a SMART goal for each major change you want to bring about in your business, but don’t get too carried away. Focus on 2-3 SMART goals per quarter to keep things actionable and realistic!
4. Develop projects
Break down each SMART goal into a series of projects that needs to be done to support that goal.
For example, you might need to launch a new product, develop an launch funnel, etc. in order to make your income goals happen. Make a list of these projects under the corresponding SMART goal they support.
Again, don’t overwhelm yourself with too many projects and too many goals! A good rule of thumb is 2-3 projects to support each quarterly goal.
5. Assign tasks
Now for the nitty-gritty details!
Take each project and map them out in your project management system (our fave is Asana!) by placing them on a timeline and developing tasks. Get detailed and specific. Make a task for even the smallest of details - you don’t want to miss anything!
Assign yourself to each task and provide dates for yourself to get them done. Now you have a daily plan of action to make your goals come to life!
By breaking down your big business vision into goals, projects, and tasks, you’re now able to tackle your daily to-do list, confidently knowing that each time you check off a task you’re one step closer to making your goals reality.
And there you have it! Five simple steps that can take your biz to the next level.
Are you feeling caught in the weeds?
Overwhelmed with trying to make all the things in your biz happen? We can help with that. First, head over here to see just some of the many things that our team of experts can take off your plate so you can get back to doing what you really love. Next, sign up for our Manager to CEO ebook, which will help you to identify what's holding you back + make an action plan to move forward.