Urgent Activities: The Greatest Enemies of Entrepreneurs

Matrix of Urgent and Important Activities
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At the beginning of entrepreneurial journey, especially in the phase of the fight, the feeling of discouragement begins to grow. There are so many things to do alone - to produce, sell, deliver, analyze, etc. - that the entrepreneur stops looking at the beautiful future that he previously saw clearly.

The main reason for this, in my opinion, is that our head is accustomed to thinking of a "3 rule" format. Strange, right? I'll explain better.

When the entrepreneur starts selling products to the local network, he gets excited as he realizes that he has discovered a new path in his professional life. However, after accounting, he realizes that he needs to sell an absurd amount monthly to be able to maintain himself, to maintain the company and live from this new reality, turning it into plan A.

Logical thinking, however incorrect, is:

I am grating a lot, seeing and delivering x ... to deliver 10x I will have to work 10 times more.

What he has not yet discovered is that the growth path requires creativity to break the 3 rule. Better and smarter processes, useless activities being avoided and automation are some ways to get you to increase your capacity, keeping or even reducing the work with the possibility of delegating.

And why do not we focus on being able to accomplish this to seek balance and Lifestyle phase? The problem of the human being, in general, is well described in the matrix below:

Matrix of Urgent and Important Activities

Imagine that all your activities are distributed in this matrix. I'll give some examples from the quadrants to better contextualize you:

  • Interruptions (+ urgent, -important): activities that require your immediate attention, but putting on the account, do not have degree of high importance. As people on your staff stopping you for questions, useless meetings, phone calls, etc.
  • Crises (+ urgent, + important): activities of high importance and requiring immediate attention. As a dissatisfied customer, a problem in a delivery, a product that ended up in the stock, a deadline that is winning and all the other fires that you will have to erase throughout the journey.
  • Distractions (-urgent, -important): activities of very low importance and without urgency, but that you end up hugging to escape the rush. For example, the one navigated on facebook in the middle of the day, the sport globe calling you, the instagram popping up on the cell phone, the group whatsapp you ended up stopping to answer because it was funny, etc.
  • Planning (-urgent, + important): activities with a high degree of importance, but without urgency, that will only enter your to-do list with discipline. Daily / weekly / monthly planning would go in here along with process redesign, number analysis, customer conversations, prospecting, reading, and important studies for your goals and even the definition of these.

Without a minimum of discipline, you will have the same tendency as all other human beings: stay in the top of the matrix, that is, focus on the urgent, being important or not.

And if you spare time, you end up falling into the trap of going into distractions rather than planning.

And what's the problem? To always deal with the urgent, whether important or not, is to "run after one's own tail". If you always act on the problem and not on the cause of it, it will continue to appear and you will live on it. Frustrating, is not it? Yes, but there are ways to gradually improve your situation.

Running Behind The Tail

Important and non-urgent activities are the ones that have the greatest potential to help you deal with the cause of your problems. Ironically, it's the activities that do not come naturally into your day-to-day life.

Sitting down to think about a decent delivery process, for example, can avoid several errors that turn into important urgent activities. Stopping to train an employee of yours on a competency or researching a course for him can prevent him from interrupting you then by stopping and focusing on an urgent and unimportant activity.

Pareto Principle - 80 Activities / 20

Examples of non-urgent and important activities that can be placed on your agenda to reduce your need for urgent quadrant involvement:

  • Search About Worksheets/ Management Software - When you control things on paper, you always have to stop to find the right documents, do it, and if you want to revisit it, you'll have to do the same thing again. Also, the chance of getting lost in the logs and starting a fire is gigantic.
  • Do a Financial Planning - By organizing future accounts, you reduce the level of chaos in your cashier and prepare to meet the deadlines. How much time do you lose today in the urgent and important activity of calling suppliers to renegotiate deadlines after losing them?
  • Chat with Customers - the small entrepreneur needs to be surgical in his attitudes. Little time to do things means little possibility of mistakes. And who is the judge who dictates what is right or wrong? The client. There is no point planning and thinking about beautiful processes if you are going to worsen the customer experience. He is also the right people to show you the next step of your company.
  • Talk to the Team - find out what motivates them and how their expectations change over time. Small opportunities to show that you care can make all the difference in the way they are working.
  • Interview Good People - Every great entrepreneur gives this tip. Even if you have no vacancies, finding people who are connected in some way to the purpose of the company will always create "good trouble". You can find a handsome professional or even a member.
  • Chat with Other Entrepreneurs - It's always cool to share problems. Sometimes a fire that you are erasing for 3 months can be solved with two sentences of it on a similar experience.
  • Empower Time - what I see most in small businesses is a team that can not take a step without asking what to do. This usually has 3 reasons: a) lack a clear view of the purpose of the company. b) they were poorly trained. c) The "leader" only knows how to "hit" when the team misses, generating more fear of making mistakes and even more interruptions. Take the time to share your vision of the future for the business, show that you are open to giving even more opportunities and put together a good empowerment process.
  • Redesign Processes - always look for the ideal model for the different processes: sales, payments, deliveries, etc. Get out of the box. Copying other companies will only make you as inefficient as they. Think of the companies you most admire. Now think of companies similar to them. Exactly! Do not exist. These companies are incredible just because they seek to be unique in almost everything.
  • Monte Checklists - to ensure that your processes will work without errors, mount checklists with the tasks to be completed at each step. Your team will have something to turn to, plus you if you have questions and you will avoid mistakes in the next steps.

Checklist example

  • Think about your Customer Experience - Try to have a designer head to create the perfect journey for your client. Because? The designer is the only professional who is trained to create. All others when they need to create enter a modus operandi copy. Watch how your client behaves from before they even relate to your company, study contact points, look for opportunities to delight, think about innovations, and test them before you put them into practice. Worth everything from a new environment in your store to a new payment method.

I know it's hard to take time to do all the activities I've mentioned above, so you have to understand what's hurting you more lately and be surgical. As your biggest challenge shifts your focus and you release more time for strategic avoiding fires, you add more important non-urgent activities into your life.

Do not forget to always seek to grow professionally, talking to people, reading books and content online and looking for courses. The information today is all over the internet and every entrepreneur needs to be a bit of a "content miner." Always assume that someone in the world has had the same challenges as you and the simplest solution may be exposed somewhere.

And even so, when the solution seems distant, the LUZ will be here to help you!

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