Can you learn from the priorities of a self-employed multi-tasker?

This week’s post is actually a paraphrased email to someone who juggles lots of tasks, wondering how it was possible.

In the interest of sharing one way of looking at it, I shared my (loosely held-to) scheme of priorities:

1) Family (with permission to ignore 9-3 on weekdays)

2) Current clients (including former clients; once a client, always a client)

3) Organizational obligations (such as long-term projects, Chamber work, church, ASTD, etc)

4) Responding to correspondence/calls (but always within 24 hours)

5) Potential clients (proposal-writing, networking)

6) Business development (social media interaction, following up on leads, working on my website)

7) Goofing off

A very short post on this topic:
Priorities – why I’m not writing a blog post this week…

When I start to go nuts – herding cats, juggling too many balls – I ask myself:

What’s on my to-do list that serves current clients?
Before I get to that, am I caught up on my email?

Then, catch up on email, then turn it off, and do stuff related to current clients. The day I wrote this, that involved setting up some 360 evaluations for two folks, and lighting a fire under some upcoming workshop clients to get me the info that I need.

If there’s stuff that I need to do today to serve clients, I do it and leave everything else behind (mostly). Most days that I’m in the home office, that only takes a couple of hours, then I can move on to priorities 3 and 4. Once 3 (or 4, or 5 depending on the day) o’clock hits, then I release myself from the obligation to continue down the list, and hang with the family. The afternoon I wrote this, my daughter had a friend over and my wife was doing… something upstairs. Dunno what. But, I kept at it until 5ish.

To make it simpler, I prioritize revenue-generating things in which others are relying on me, then move to non-revenue generating things in which others are relying on me, then move to items where no one is relying on me, starting with revenue-generating potential items. Which can be interrupted by correspondence at regular intervals (not non-stop) in order to remember that CONNECTION is the most important part of life.

Within the priority list, I compose to-do lists that are designated A, B, and C, Covey-style.
Related posts (both under 500 words):
Effective leaders stay organized (part one)
Effective leaders stay organized (part two)

Just thoughts from an old man… hope they help!

Please offer your thoughts.  What do you think?

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