Choosing The Right Things To Work On (AKA How To Prioritise)

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How To Choose What Matters (How To Prioritize)

The sh*t that doesn’t matter versus the sh*t that does.

My client and my friend was talking to me the other day. We were talking about a complicated and naughty annoying problem that’s been bothering him for some time and that we’ve been trying to solve.

And the problem is not the issue. It’s complex but he said to me, “Jon, do you ever feel like you’re running around doing sh*t that doesn’t matter and the sh*t that does matter isn’t getting done?”

And of course, I did because I think we all do sometimes.

In fact, I was just talking to my assistant Venus relaying I was going to make this blog today and she said, “I feel like that too, often”.

So, it’s common. And, of course, it got me to thinking because I’m a business coach for trades and this is true for all my customers.

All of them (and you) find themselves doing the sh*t that doesn’t really matter and leaving the sh*t that does matter not getting done. It’s a consistent thing. And a large part of my job as a business coach is to try and flip that around. I try and help you get the sh*t that does matter done.

I’ve got a few tools at my disposal. I’m going to tell you what they are.

How To Get Important Things Done

Step 1. Figure out what sh*t matters and what doesn’t because if you don’t know, you’ve got no chance.

So that’s the first step.

Think about what you want for your business and from your business and think about what you need to be doing to get you there – that’s the sh*t that matters. And that, of course, is a strategy or a plan. And what you need to do is step back from the business. Think about those things, make those decisions, write them down and start acting on them.

When I’m coaching, that’s the first thing we do. We don’t spend weeks on it. It takes hours, not weeks but it’s the first thing we do. 

  • We figure out what you want.
  • We figure out a plan of how we’re going to get you from here to there – that’s the sh*t that needs to be done.
  • We write that down and we think three years ahead (it’s a 3-year plan). 
  • And then, we look at and decide what our short-term focus areas are.

And that’s the sh*t that matters and that’s the stuff you need to do.

Step 2. Make sure you start doing this stuff — the stuff that’s in your plan and what matters. 

Recommended Reading: The Best Way To Manage Your Team Of Tradespeople

There’s a couple of approaches. 

  1. Review all the things you’re doing.
    • “Is this one of the things that matters?”
    • “Is it helping my plan?” 
    • “Should I be doing it?”

      And if the answer is YES, happy days, carry on.

      And if the answer is NO, perhaps, consider not doing them – either don’t do it at all or delegate it to someone else to do and give yourself the time to do the sh*t that matters.
  2. Put your priorities in your day.

    Remember, other people’s priorities will fill up your day pretty easily

    • Your staff
    • Your customers
    • Suppliers
    • People trying to sell you stuff.

      All sorts of people will be trying to get you to do stuff that suits their priorities. You need to make sure your priorities get in there too.

      Plan your day and allocate time to those priorities. Do them first or give yourself some time away from the office when your team is out and you can have some free time.

Give Yourself Some Time OFF

Manage the interruptions too. 

  • Turn your phone off or shut the door. 
  • Leave the office.
  • Turn all those annoying message alerts on your phone and your computer OFF. 
  • Give yourself some time to do these priorities. 

This is a constant thing.

You need to do this all the time. Don’t just do it once and give yourself an hour in one day. Give yourself 1 – 2 hours every day. Do the sh*t that does matter. 

Now, you’ve decided what it is, you’ve reviewed some of the sh*t that doesn’t matter and started to get rid of it, you need to make sure the sh*t that does matter gets done.

And don’t forget as well, you need to manage your own sh*t. A lot of the sh*t that doesn’t matter that you’re doing, you probably quite like. You’re probably right back there in your comfort zone or you’re having a bit of a rest.

Or you quite enjoy it or it gives you a bit of downtime, away from everybody. Maybe it’s driving to Bunnings. Maybe it’s doing something that doesn’t require a lot of brainpower or a lot effort or a lot of discomfort. 

You need to acknowledge that in yourself and realise that might be what you’re doing because it’s really easy for us to bullsh*t to ourselves that the sh*t that we don’t need to be doing is actually very important and we’re not being lazy or procrastinating by doing it. So have a look at your own sh*t too.

It’s alright to mess about sometimes. We all need a rest but if you’re not doing this sh*t that does matter, you’re going to miss out. You’re going to be disappointed, you’re not going to make the progress you want and that’s not good for you.

If you don’t want to work with me as your business coach, please at least have a sit down somewhere and make a bit of a plan.

Think about where you want to go in your business and what you’re going to have to do to get there. And then, start fitting some of that stuff into your days.

There are four ways you can engage with me:

1. Subscribe to these emails and get them once a week in your inbox so you never miss a video from me.

2. Join the Trades Business Toolshed Facebook Group where you can watch these videos, ask me questions or talk to your peers.

3. Attend my next Tools Down workshop.

4. Book yourself a 10-minute chat with me. We’ll talk about whether coaching is right for you now and if it is, we’ll go further into the process before you have to make your mind up.

See you later.

Click here to book a
10-minute chat with Jon.