There’s a difference between urgent and important tasks, but most people are getting bogged down by things that need our immediate attention which can result with you not meeting your business and personal goals. Learn how to use my color coded calendar blocking system to ensure that you’re working on the right things in your business to get you to where you want to go.
To learn more please either watch the video above, read the transcript or listen to the podcast below.
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I used to joke about this with my old partner. He would always say, “This is priority number 1!” and I would also have several priority number 1 tasks to add to it.
WHAT DO YOU WORK ON
It doesn’t matter if it’s a partner or a boss – anyone who is applying pressure to you (or even if you’re doing it to yourself), the reality is that you can’t have two priority number 1 tasks.
If everything is important, you can’t work on all of it at once because we have a finite amount of time in our day. That’s OK, because I have a tool today to help you deal with this.
Start by asking yourself whether or not you’re getting bogged down by things that are “urgent” or things that are “important”. When urgency and important collide, urgency is always going to win, right?
You know the feeling you get when you have all these things you want to work on – maybe you have a big promotion coming up or you have to get a menu done before Christmas. Tack on that phone call you have to make, the problem in the dining room or a delivery that didn’t arrive or the walk-in’s that showed up.
It doesn’t take long before that Christmas planning or the promotion gets pushed aside to go work on the things we deem to be urgent.
WHEN YOU WORK ON URGENT TASKS
There’s this whirlwind in our lives, especially in the restaurant business. You’re so busy with all these things that are going on, and there’s always a good excuse for not working on the things that are important. The reality is, if we don’t prioritize those important tasks, we get stuck in the urgent.
But urgent doesn’t make you money. You get stuck in this cycle of urgent and important, urgent and important. If you stop making money, come hell or high water, you NEED to start making a living again. But wait .. then you go right back into handling urgent problems and you do just enough to get by.
COLOR CODED CALENDAR BLOCKING
If you really want to get ahead – I mean, have your business really explode or have more time with your family, or have more money, freedom and joy in your life – whatever means the most to you, then you have to start working on the things that are important.
Everyone’s familiar with the 80/20 rule but if you’re not, take a second and open a new browser window and Google 80/20 rule, read up on it and then come back to this page.
What I want you to do is to start putting together a solid schedule. It’ll be easier if you can use an electronic calendar – then decide if you’ll use 30 minute, 1 hour or 2 hour blocks (it doesn’t really matter) so you can start planning out your day.
Put everything into your calendar that needs to be done and then change the color on anything that is urgent. Urgent would be things like spending time on the floor or cooking on the line or managing your staff. That’s urgent stuff that needs to happen.
The rest of the items are important tasks – things like working on training programs, moving your business forward, new menu items, marketing promotions.
Now look at your calendar – if it’s not showing at least 20% of the tasks as important ones, you’re going to fall behind the curve.
FIXING THE PROBLEM
The key is not just setting up your schedule with this 80/20 rule, but actually following through on it.
What happens if things get messed up and one week your urgent tasks take up too much time and you’ve had to push some of your important tasks to the side? Unfortunately, you’re going to have to make those hours up the following week. So let’s say you scheduled 8 hours of important tasks, but only completed 2 of those hours. Next week, you need to book in those missing 6 hours.
You no longer have a choice. Sometimes it sucks, but that’s life (and business). The urgent and important tasks have to get done.
The next time urgent and important collide, ask yourself the question “How urgent is this? How important is this?”
A lot of times, we just get distracted by that bright shiny object called URGENT even if we know we should be working on the things that are IMPORTANT, even if we know that the urgent task isn’t all that urgent.
I hope this has been helpful for you but if you have any questions, go ahead and leave them in the comments below. I’m more than happy to help you figure out how to do this in your schedule a little better.
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