Challenge #2: Choosing what you’re going to work on

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In a regular job, you’ll have a defined scope with an individual work plan that says which projects you need to complete. Your boss will tell you what your priorities are (or at least you’ll agree on them together). On top of that, you’ll get urgent requests, be invited to last-minute meetings or have random things thrown at you. Even as a senior manager, there will always be other people giving you things to do.

The advantage of working for yourself is that there is no one telling you what to do. But the challenge is that there is no one telling you what to do! You need to figure out what your top priorities are and what you should work on today. You need to choose which projects to say “yes” to and which ones to decline. And if a new urgency arises, you’ll need to decide what to de-prioritize.

It can be hard to choose what to focus on each day and how to effectively juggle all your different priorities. And, no, getting the perfect Instagram shot of that cappuccino with your MacBook positioned artistically next to it is not a priority.

The solution: Put on your big boy/girl pants and start making some calls.

You wanted to be your own boss. Well, now’s the time to step up to the plate. You need to have a clear vision for your business and what you want to achieve. Then, put a plan in place to achieve it.

It used to all be about multi-tasking, but the latest research and advice on time management is all about focus:

  • Decide on your biggest priorities and the specific actions that you need to take to get the results you’re after.
  • Each day, choose the one thing that will make the biggest difference and start your day with the thing that you most want to avoid. Get it out of the way!
  • Make sure that you include both personal and professional priorities in your planning. This means going to the gym, taking proper breaks and blocking quality time with your friends and family.

This focus and intentionality will make your business successful. And never forget that the delicate balancing act between work and play is a big part of the reason why you wanted to go it alone in the first place.