No background story or interesting anecdote to kick off this month’s Circular, instead I want to get stuck straight into a really important message.
Oh, we all know that “the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step” yet it seems so many entrepreneurs forget this on a daily basis when faced with their enormous lists of things to do.
I know one of the biggest challenges, particularly for newer members of EC, is coping with the sense of overwhelm, and I want to try and help with this.
As Elton John famously sang in that epic song from The Lion King soundtrack “… there’s more to do than can ever be done …” and so it is in your business too.
A very wise friend of mine called Lyle Brotherton once said to me “Nige, even if you worked every minute of every hour, you still wouldn’t get everything done that you want to…so stop trying.”
There are indeed a hundred different things that you could do today – the trick is to work out the very small number of things that you should do today and focus on them.
But I want to make it even easier for you. You see, I do often accomplish two or three, or sometimes four separate things in my 90-minute session each morning. I only ever work on one of them at any one time.
I’ve allowed myself 20 minutes to write this article, for instance. I know, broadly, what I want to talk about and I could spend all day researching famous quotes online, poring over the large volume of stuff in my library around how to get things done, but, in truth, all that added time won’t make this article any better. I can do a pretty good job in 20 minutes. So here it is.
When I finish this I’m going to move on to crafting the pricing strategy for the TEAP 2016 launch, which will be happening in August. Granted, I’ve had a bit longer for that, but the secret here is that I only ever do one thing at a time.
Now, of course, that’s true for most of us, most of the time, but the difference is I’m very conscious and thought through on what the one thing is that I’m focusing on right now is. Plus, I’ve got effective over the years at blocking out everything else whilst I’m on it.
I wrote earlier this year about what I believe is the single most useful book I’ve read over the last three or four years: “The One Thing” by Gary Keller. If you haven’t digested a copy yet, then I urge you to do so. If you want fewer distractions and less on your plate, if you want to deal with the daily barrage of emails, texts, tweets and Facebook posts that distract you and stress you out, then this book will help – as will this article.
I’m a big fan of lists. Pretty much everything I have to do is on one of three lists: my A-List is the really important stuff that’s going to move me and my business forward – that’s my priority every day and it’s what gets focused on during my 90 minutes.
My B-List is the stuff that has to be done, things like paying bills, staff appraisals, team communication, that sort of thing.
And then there’s my C-List. What I discovered several years ago is that I never do anything on my C-List. C-List is stuff that’s not urgent and not important. Once it becomes either urgent or important, it makes it onto the B-List and gets done, but I’ve stopped trying to do everything – and that’s the key.
And you should stop trying to do everything too. Because you can’t. And you never will.
So don’t worry about sorting out your AdWords, Facebook ads, direct mail campaign, auto-responders, leaflet drop, referral campaign, lost customer programme, mystery shopping and telesales today. Because you won’t get them all done.
Pick the most important, or if you can’t decide, stick a pin in the three or four things that could be the most important and just start there. But forget about the rest. Put them to one side. Discern,
sensibly, the things that are worthy of your time and do one of them. When you’ve finished that one, do another.
But I promise you, the clarity and liberation that comes from just doing one thing is massive and I hope I’ve articulated it clearly enough so that it inspires you to just do one thing today. And tomorrow. And the next day…
Have a great month.