2 Proven Strategies for Priorities and Focus

“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four-hour days.” Zig Ziglar

In a recent blog I asked you to look at your to do list and sieve it into Ditch Delegate or Do. So now you have a new to do list which reflects those tasks which as a business owner you need to do yourself. Now to maximise your productivity, Focus is the key!

Even with a clear vision, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the mountain of ideas, tactics and goals that might lead us towards its achievement. So we need a way to chunk the mountain down into smaller more manageable hills. I call these smaller hills my Focus Areas!

Focus Areas

The corporates may look on them as strategies, some may think of them simply as priorities. The name doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that you have them – that you take your mountain, look at what it’s made up of, and group similar goals, ideas and tactics together.

Remember though, this is all about focus, so you can’t have a dozen focus areas, it kind of defeats the object of the exercise. Four or five, maximum six, will keep you properly focused and make your planning and delivery a whole lot easier. For example, McDonald’s focus on People, Place, Promotion, Price, Product.

So, what will be yours? When you are clear what your focus areas are, and what you want each focus area to deliver for you, your aim or intention, you can then begin to develop fully focused goals and plans.

The Urgency and Importance Matrix

Another strategy which really works for me is this simple 4 box matrix which enables you to prioritise:

Box 1 Urgent but not important – these may be urgent for someone else but not important to you, they may be small things you can quickly get done and out of the way or allocate small bites of time at the end of the day.

Box 2 Important but not urgent – these are tasks which are really important for which you need to allocate quality time. You have a deadline but it’s not today or tomorrow.

Box 3 Urgent and important – these are the tasks you need to prioritise. You need to get them done today or tomorrow and you need quiet time to concentrate on getting them right.

​Box 4 Not important not urgent – this should be empty! If you find yourself allocating tasks to this box ask yourself ‘why’. Re-visit your original to do list, is this something that should have been ditched then?

I love this little matrix, once you’ve honed in on what you really need to be doing it’s a great way of prioritising and planning. It certainly changed my life for the better and I’m so much more productive.

Do two or three things:

  1. If you haven’t done the ‘ditch, delegate, do’ exercise do that first to hone that huge to do list down to those things that you really need to be doing.
  2. Next break that list into focus areas.
  3. Then use the matrix to plan and prioritise.

I hope this works for you and I’d love to hear how you get on if you give these a try.

Good luck and thanks for reading.


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Marianne Page

Marianne is the author of three books, and is currently working on her fourth, whilst regularly writing her blog, we hope you enjoy it :-)


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