A Little Discipline Never Hurts

One of the biggest and most common complaints we hear from business owners is they don’t have time.


No time to get organised. No time to do the things they want to do. No time to work on strategy. Stuck in the day-to-day. The reason for this is obvious, but only when you get some distance from the problem. Most business owners are stuck in the day to day because they’ve never been disciplined enough to work their way out and above the problem.


Einstein is attributed as saying something like, “Problems cannot be solved by the level of awareness that created them.”


So if you are only aware of the day to day activities you have to do and are constantly thinking you don’t have time for more important things, then you have to elevate yourself above this awareness to solve the problem. You’ll never get time, by continuing to do what you’ve always done.


Here are my 5 simple ways to elevate your awareness and activity to the next level:


1. JUST STOP IT.


If you are always checking your inbox for emails or allowing yourself to be interrupted in an important strategy meet; then just stop it, and organise yourself to not do these things. If they’re not important and they are stopping you doing important stuff, you’ll soon find they are still there when you get back to them, or they’ll go away by themselves. Ask your team to not interrupt you during specific ‘thinking’ time meetings or go somewhere you can’t be interrupted.


2. SYSTEMATISE.


If there is something you do that you think no-one else can do and it’s really an admin task then take these things one at a time, and write up how you do it in a checklist. Then test out getting someone else to do it. You’ll be surprised at the low-level tasks you do that actually can be outsourced or handed over.


3. BIG ROCKS.


Stephen Covey writes about big rocks; put the important stuff in your diary first, and make everything else work around these things. Don’t leave the important stuff till last.


4. EISENHOWER MATRIX.


General Eisenhower created the simple four quadrant box bounded by the sections; urgent, not urgent, important, not important. Check this out online and take some time to put all your activities into one of these boxes then do what he recommended with each box; do it, delegate it or dump it.


5. START UP.


Use a battle plan to write down the no-fail stuff you need to do each day and do that stuff first. When you’ve finished the important stuff, you’ll free up time and then you can either be free or waste the rest of it doing unimportant stuff (this was a joke!). The point is to prioritise each day according to the things that matter and the unimportant will either go away or not matter anyway.


It is totally understandable to be stuck in the minutiae of the every day, yearning to be able to find time to work on the important stuff.


However, really the only solution to this is to stop doing the ordinary and work on the important stuff first. Then you’ll gradually buy yourself freedom by being more organised, focused and bloody-minded about doing what is best, most important and fulfilling for you.



Originally published on Smallville.

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