With One Tuchus, You Can't Dance at Two Weddings!
Easy tips for managing your time and tasks
By: Bruce Freeman
There's an old Eastern European saying, "With one tuchus (slang for backside), you can't dance at two weddings!" and if you are an entrepreneur or own a small business you know that it's true; no matter how hard you try, you can't be in two places at the same time. There never seem to be enough hours in a day to accomplish everything you know you should be doing for your business, and so some things, sometimes tasks vital to your business interests, are left undone. It doesn't matter what kind of business you're in, it's a fact of life; people do thing things they like to do and procrastinate when it comes to things they dislike. How do successful entrepreneurs avoid this trap? How can you focus your drive, energy and resources to make your business more successful? There are many different ways, but here are a few tips that might help you get some of those important tasks accomplished in a regular and timely measure:
- To get an overall picture of your business requirements; make a list and prioritize all of the tasks that need doing for your business to prosper which occur within a three month period. In addition to serving current customers, make sure you include publicizing and prospecting for new business, billing and collections, payroll and taxes, and management/human resource issues. Some tasks are "tough" tasks – you know, the ones you hate doing. The "easy" tasks are those you're really good at doing. The problem is that you'll always be caught up on the easy tasks, but you'll probably fall behind on the tough ones.
- Categorize both easy and tough tasks according to which must be accomplished daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly. Place the highest priority on items which contribute to your bottom line or keep you in business (i.e. paying the telephone bill).
- As much as possible, analyze your business day. Determine busy and slow times during each day and week. Many businesses experience lulls at different days or times. Try scheduling easy tasks for slower times. You like, or at least don't mind, doing these items so it's not hard to get started when times are slow. It will help reduce the "goofing off" factor that can keep you from succeeding.
- Think about how you like to work. Would you prefer to do your "tough tasks" one whole day a week and get them over with or would you rather spend one or two hours a day doing those tasks? You decide; scheduling helps to get unpleasant, but high priority, tasks accomplished regularly if you know there is a set time or day to get them done and it can really reduce the guilt and stress factors in your day.
- Schedule all tasks which must be accomplished in a planner. Make a time commitment for tough tasks and defer regular business until the tough tasks are completed. If possible, put the same task on the same day or time each week or month so that you develop a routine. This also helps you keep from putting off things you know you should be doing and others (clients, suppliers and employees) will come to know, in time, that you are not available during this period, except for emergencies. When you are finished with the tough tasks, you can relax and enjoy your business for the majority of the time.
- Hard as it may be for you to accept, it may not be possible for you, personally, to do everything that needs to be done well. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. If tasks that are vital to the growth and success of your business are not in your strength column, consider hiring someone else to accomplish them. For example, if you hate cold calling or bill collections and just can't seem to make yourself do it, hire someone part-time just to do those tasks.
- As time goes on you'll be faced with many difficult decisions. It doesn't matter if your business is growing like crazy or if you're just trying to make it through the month. It's important to realize that you don't have to make every decision alone. Find at least one person to talk with whom you respect and can trust; a second opinion is always valuable. Even if you disagree, the discussion will help crystallize what you think is right and energize you toward getting it done.
Finally, give yourself a break from time to time. Remember, as hard as you try, with one
tuchus, you can't dance at two weddings, so sometimes you're going to get stressed out from
the pressure. When that happens, go somewhere private, have yourself a ten minute nervous
breakdown and then get back on track. To make your dreams come true, you have to be able to
see them in your mind's eye, so at least once a week, take a few minutes just to dream
about what you want to do and where you want to go – it will help you focus and create a
path to success for your business.