“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.”
~ Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
When we have, what feels like, a million things to do and not enough time to get them all done, we often find it hard to see the wood for the trees. Add to this a lack of understanding of what our priorities are and we’re on a sure path to procrastination. Nothing is more frustrating than having SO much to do that you don’t know where to start and so you don’t really do anything. Precisely when we need to take action the most, we become paralysed by indecision.
To avoid this, I have a super simple system that helps me to prioritize in situations like these:
1. Coaching Clients
First and foremost I deal with all client communication and work. My 1:1 clients are the people who have invested the greatest amount of money in my business and as such get the lion’s share of my time. So, before I consider doing anything else, I check what emails and work I have outstanding for my 1:1 clients and I go do that.
2. Other paying customers
Once I’ve handled all the requests from my 1:1 coaching clients, I move on to any messages or work that I need to do for any of my other paying customers, such as members of my Female Business Academy, OBM Clients and people who have bought other online courses and digital products.
With those handled, I turn next to my subscribers. Which essentially means either getting my newsletter out if I haven’t already or dealing with any emails I’ve had from subscribers that I haven’t yet answered.
4. Wider audience
With those dealt with, I then turn my attention to my wider audience, which means answering any questions or comments on my social media channels or blog and making sure my content is up to date.
5. All other tasks
Only once I’ve done everything I need to for my people; my clients, my customers, my subscribers and my audience, do I turn my attention to any other outstanding tasks.
This simple system stops me from feeling overwhelmed and keeps me focused on what really matters in my business. PEOPLE. Because without the people who engage with my business, I wouldn’t have a business, I would just have an expensive hobby.
But this is not what I see most people do. In fact, I often see quite the opposite. Many people, when suffering from a mounting pile of to-dos, are more likely to waste time on the little things rather than the important things because they feel easier to handle.
Ticking 10 little things off your list (like dealing with emails, posting on social media, making changes to your website etc), for example, can in the moment feel more productive but it’s actually far less important than spending an hour or two directly serving your clients and customers.
Another mistake I see a lot of people making is prioritising the attraction of new clients over the serving of existing clients. Something I’m grateful my business coach taught me over 5 years ago, is the idea that my next client is right in front of me. Meaning it’s usually somebody I’m already serving, not some unknown person I might reach with a well crafted social media post.
So what does that look like exactly? Well it’s the person, I’ve already served powerfully through a complimentary coaching session or a well-delivered product or service, it’s the person who I already have a relationship with rather than the masses out there who I’m trying to reach.
It’s for this reason, and because I value most the people who have already invested in my business, that I always focus on my current clients and customers before anything else. It’s those businesses that do this that become well known for their high level of service and client care.
If you don’t yet have any clients or customers, you might need to tweak the system. In this case, I would wholly recommend that your number one priority becomes connection. Maybe you don’t have clients but you do have some subscribers and/or people who have liked or commented on your content. If so what could you do to deepen the relationship? Take a look at these posts for some inspiration on how to prioritise connection:
Whether you have existing clients or not the priority remains the same: people. When you prioritise people in your business, magic happens. A simple way to remember this is next time you’re feeling overwhelmed and tempted to tinker with your website or make pretty images for social media, stop and ask yourself this:
Who are the people I most need to serve or connect with right now?
And once you have your answer, let that become your top priority.
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