Using a Brown-out to Eliminate Endless Operational Tasks

I was home recently answering email when the electricity suddenly shut off.  Thinking it was just my apt, I went to the fuse box and flicked the switch.  No response.   I poked my head out of the window and realized that the entire block had also lost electricity as lights, ACs and other noisy engines had shut down.

I panicked and  immediately shut down my computer to avoid losing my work.  But in the midst of closing everything – I came to a realization.  If this event had not occurred, would I have been able to prioritize my “things to do list” so effectively?  No way.  I had a list of emails to respond to, people to follow up with and tasks to complete.  But most of it was busy work.  Why wasn’t I prioritizing my time to bring in new business and gain additional sales?

While I don’t recommend having a black/brown out to teach you this lesson, I recommend thinking in this manner to see what you are spending your time on.  Are you  trying to start too many projects?  Run too many events?  Keep too many balls juggling in the air?  If you are like me and many typical entrepreneurs, you probably have more ideas than hours in a day and need to ensure you are focused on what brings in money on your bottom line.

So I spent the time without electricity thinking if I only had 2 hours of time on my computer – what would I do?  What activity would result in maximizing my time in generating revenue…rather than my endless list of operational tasks?

I came up with a list that included:

1. Outsourcing a graphic design and writing project on  Sure,  I could probably do the work myself.   But I’d rather spend a few bucks an hour than lose the potential to develop a large sale.  It works out cheaper – even with the additional time I need to spend managing the outsourcers.

2. Partnering with event professional for an upcoming workshop.  Rather than managing all of the operational details (like registration lists, advanced PR and confirmation), it is more efficient to get help and hire an expert in this area.

3. List 50 sales prospects to contact this week and set up emails/call for outreach.  This task I often push back on my Daily Things to Do List – citing the need to put out more “fires” like my above examples.  But if include it higher on my list and seek ways to outsource more projects, it will provide greater opportunities overall.

Entrepreneurs,  it’s time to put down the endless list of operational tasks.  They are important but focus your energy and your time on generating sales and maintaining revenue projections – rather than just the “busy” work.

Let me know what you are re-prioritizing for your company after reading this post!

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