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Setting Priority is a Skill Set

by Darrell C. Spears



by Darrell C. Spears - Business Success Strategist & Consultant

We have all heard it over and over. If we want to be successful business owners and leaders, we must be effective in prioritizing our day. 

We all have different lives and responsibilities and there is no system of prioritizing that will fit everyone. However, we know that in order to be productive, we have to have a system in place to hold ourselves accountable. 

As a business owner, I consider myself very skilled in prioritizing my day. However, I found that it is better to prioritize my task and activities by my weekly calendar and not my daily calendar. I have a long list of meetings, events, task and other responsivities that I have to do every day. If I have to manage all those activities each day, it will drive me nuts. I will begin to feel overwhelmed and get discouraged at times. 

I have found that it is more effective to break up my list by category and focus just on two areas a day. For example: Monday is my “Organization and Social Media Day”. Those are the only two things that I focus on. I review and organize my calendar for the week and I post all of my social media content for the week via Hoot Suite. Tuesday is my “Customer and Contacts Day”. This is the day that I return calls, connect with mentors and make introductions to new connections. Wednesday may be my “Sales Day” where I focus on sales, and so on and so forth, you get the picture. For each person, the list will be unique, but if you focus on no more than two areas a day, I think it will make your life a little easier. 

For me, it makes life so much easier. Yes there will things that pop up every day, but if it is not an activity for that day, and if it is not a major issue that has to be addressed immediately, I will move it to the day that I have that activity scheduled for, and move one. 

Here are some additional impactful advice on mastering the art of prioritization from some of the top experts on the small business management. 

Laura Perkins – Founder and CEO of Perks Consulting 

Cut the Cord: As a perfectionist, this is the one that I struggle with the most. When something is really important, it’s easy to get caught up in the details and end up spending way too much time on a project or task. Spending too much time on one priority, however, prevents you from getting other stuff knocked off your list. Acknowledge when you’re doing this and enforce strict deadlines to prevent yourself from going down the rabbit hole.” 

Jake Gibson - Co-founder and Advisor of NerdWallet 

Focus solely on themes that will drive growth. “Of the 100 things that crowd the entrepreneurial mind as things you “need to do,” about 98 will incrementally improve your company -- but two have the potential for exponential growth. Focus on those few, and the rest of your niggling worries will take care of themselves.” 

Robert Sher – Harvard Business Review 

“Ruthlessly cut projects until only a handful of critical ones remain. Often midsized companies have the resources to manage only one key initiative at a time. Here’s an awful truth that CEOs of midsized companies must acknowledge: Even if they’re the boss, there are limits to what they can do. Kill your pet projects. When a company tries to do too much with too few resources in too little time, projects will be late if they’re completed at all. Invariably they will be done poorly.” 


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