Focusing on what matters


How many times have you heard someone say that to you – the statement pre-supposes that you also know what to ignore!  The problem is, if you knew that, you would not need someone saying “focus on what matters”.


I have worked with many business owners, and few would admit that they waste time keeping busy doing things that don’t add value to their customers (external or internal).  They go home feeling slightly frustrated that all of their hard graft has not moved them forward; yet they come back into work the following day and do it all again.


How do we break the cycle?


There is nothing mystical about it; the first step is to find out what you actually do with your time.  Here is where I throw down a challenge – keep a detailed time sheet for a month; by detailed, I mean if you put the kettle on and have a brew, eat a sweet or nibble on the end of your pen you write it down.  Build a true picture of how you spend your time – then get a trusted friend (someone that can be objective) to analyse your working day; breaking it down into patterns of time/activity.


Once you have all of the information you can ask yourself a few questions:


– What percentage of my time is helping to improve the growth of my company?


– What percentage of my time is spent on customer related activity?


– What percentage of my activity could be more effectively delegated (or outsourced)?


– What percentage of my time is spent doing things to satisfy the control freak in me?


Of the many times I have undertaken this exercise I have rarely come across anybody that is not disappointed with how they manage and use their time.  Once you are in a position to analyse and understand what you are doing with your time (and you can answer with confidence why you spend it that way) you will be in a position to take positive action to avoid waste and stay focused on what matters – trust me it works!


Philip Dyer


Chairman – nxo Strategic Marketing Network


[email protected]