When you are an entrepreneur, there is always something to do when it comes to starting and running a business. As chief cook and bottle washer, the challenge is to prioritize how you spend your hours in a workday.
For the new year, my goal is to be better at prioritizing my time. Below are a few tried-and-true actions, plus a few new ones, I plan to implement every day in 2015. Maybe you can use them, too.
1. Take time to focus on the day.
It’s hard to stay focused once the day gets started, so it is key to schedule a few minutes a day to just be quiet and focus on what needs to be done. Take time out to unplug and be still. I find that quiet time in the morning is a good way to start the day. I took up yoga a few years ago and find that hot yoga is a great way to still my mind and focus. While this works for me, other people meditate or make time to pray.
2. Review your goals of the day.
Think about and commit to paper or document digitally the goals you want to accomplish that day or in the next week. I’m a big believer in creating a to-do list. My team starts with a list I call “The Week Ahead” where I outline the things to be accomplished for the week. Once it is down on paper or on screen, it serves as a guide to be followed and checked throughout the week.
Find the system that works to help you be more organized. Jotting notes on a Post-it is one way, but there are many electronic organizer options. If you’re still into pen and paper, there are book organizers that you can use your for your to-do list. As you complete each task, mark it off the list. It’s a great way to see how much progress you make in a day, a week or a month.
Next, have an in-person meeting, phone call or Skype session each morning with your team to set the mood for what needs to be accomplished that day.
3. Stay up to date on your industry.
While it is important to stay up to date on current events around the world, it is just as important to stay up to date on the current events in your industry. Read at least one article pertaining to your business. Follow a publication on Twitter so that its latest information comes up on your timeline. Subscribe to your industry’s publication, so if you don’t get to read it online, you will get it in the mail.
4. Use social media.
Check your website and all your social media buttons daily and make sure they are operating properly. Nothing is worse than a potential client trying to find you online and your site is down. If you have a blog, try to write anywhere from two to three times a week. This is a way for your customers to know your brand.
Read other people’s blogs, and if you like what you read, then share it on different social-media platforms. Social media is an excellent way to promote and market your business and reach people both domestically and internationally. If you don’t know how to use social media, then consider hiring an individual or company to create a strategy and manage your brand’s social media.
5. Connect and reconnect to your network.
With everyone concentrating on staying connected via social media, it is good every once in a while to pick up the phone and say hello. Spend a few minutes on the phone setting up a time to meet for coffee or lunch. If you’ve been to conferences, met a few people and collected business cards, then reach out to those people again.
I joined Contactually.com, a customer-relationship management (CRM) program, almost two years ago and promised to use it every day. It currently integrates Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn with my contact profile, so I can reach out and follow up with folks easier. I haven’t used it every day, but I plan to in 2015.