Auggh! I Can’t Do It All! … 5 Steps To Help You Set Priorities

Tema's phone is buried in that snow. I set priority #1: Get new phone!

Tema’s phone is buried in that snow. I set priority #1: Get new phone!

How the World Domination Summit Helped Me Set Priorities

This is my first podcast since my road trip to the World Domination Summit in Portland last month. I thought I’d come back bursting with interviews to air on the podcast, but it didn’t quite work out that way. In this podcast, my most personal one ever, I talk about how losing a phone helped me set priorities for the coming year.

I’ve always struggled with priorities. You see, I’m interested in so may things! And, like most entrepreneurs, I’m forever coming up with new business ideas, and it is sooooo hard not to go chasing them all! Can you relate?

Step 1: Bury Your Phone

Yep, that’s my feet in the photo. You see that turquoise shape near the top of the photo? That’s a lake. Gives you an idea of how far up we were when my white phone dropped into that huge mass of snow below. It felt like a tragedy and it was frustrating as hell not having one, but it finally gave me time to think!

Step 2: What’s Been a Consistent Theme in Your Life?

In my case, it has been about people, and their feelings. Yuck, that sounds so mushy! I’m not the mushy type. Or am I?

My whole life I tried to resist being shunted off into the female ghettos like human resources. But what was my first book about? How businesses could become better places to work!

What was my first business, Web Mystery Shoppers, about? Getting people to let companies know how they really feel about the company’s website. (Otherwise known as usability testing!)

What’s my next book about? How businesses have to become better at how they deal with people — customers, staff, suppliers and the public — to succeed in our techie, social media, fast paced world.

Step 3: Get Opinions From Those Who Know You

I’ve been married for more years than my virtual assistant has been alive. So you bet my husband knows me well. What he said, among other things, was that I have to set priorities so I can focus more on my second book. “You have to write it,” he said. “It’s inside you. You won’t be happy if you don’t finish it.” He’s right.

But it’s not as simple as that. What do I do about all the other things: weekly interviews and podcasts, consulting about online marketing, writing this blog, teaching about digital marketing strategy and social media measurement?

On the other hand, if I keep doing all of those, how can I find time to write the book, to say nothing of spending time with my elderly parents, my sometimes needy young-adult kids, and my darling husband? And somehow finding time to get fit and sleep enough!

Step 4: Accept That You Have to Let Something Go

This is the hardest part.

One of the things I decided was to cut the podcast down to every two weeks. I know that I’m going counter trend here: thanks to the wonderful John Lee Dumas who hosts a daily, full-length podcast (Entrepreneur on Fire – go check it out! It’s great!), more and more podcasters are trying to do a daily show.  But you can’t do everything, right? At least, not all at once. Especially if you don’t have many staff. And if you don’t do well on 4 hours sleep a night.

Step 5: Decide Where You Can Do The Most Good

Or feel the most fulfilled. In my case, the two go together. And I’ve concluded that I can do the most good by focusing on helping growing companies improve how they deal with the human side of business. What they need to change to deliver outstanding customer experiences. How they can inspire and free their staff to serve customers with joy. How they can bring happiness to stakeholders by getting a better grip on the human side of business.

That means focusing on:

  1. Re-committing to Web Mystery Shoppers, which helps companies improve their online customer experiences.
  2. Writing my book, including interviewing people for the book and airing some of those interviews as bi-weekly podcasts.

How Do You Set Priorities?

I’d love to hear your comments. And thanks for listening!

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3 comments on “Auggh! I Can’t Do It All! … 5 Steps To Help You Set Priorities

  1. Tema, There isn’t a female, and maybe some male, entrepreneur who won’t commiserate and identify with your dilemma and hope you succeed in your quest. But may I add two more steps?
    STEP 6: Put the decision into action. This is the hardest part of the decision process for me. It’s the point when you have to ‘stick with the plan’ against all the conflicting drags on your time and attention.
    And in my experience, life still manages to throw you curve balls, so I keep telling myself Step 7 is an important part of my ongoing development of decision making skills and judgement.
    STEP 7: Evaluate the outcome of your decision and be prepared to adjust as appropriate. Are you getting the outcomes you expected? Are you as fulfilled as you thought you’d be? Did the conditions driving your initial decision change? I’m not suggesting you change course every other day, or on a whim. But a series of checkpoints should be built into every project plan to ensure it is still moving you towards the goals you set.
    Good luck and let us all know if you find that Holy Grail we’re all looking for!

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