Do the worst tasks first
Running any business involves lots and lots of tasks. Some are enjoyable, some are less so, and some are downright unpleasant. I have noticed that I have a tendency to fool myself that I am working, when in fact I am performing a task that has no immediate benefit. And all this is to avoid the unpleasant tasks.
In my experience successful businesses are those where the owners just "get on with it". From the outside it may look easy and all fun and games, but they perform all tasks in order of priority and not in order of enjoyment. This ensures that their effort is optimised and their business will have the greatest chance of success.
A concrete example of this, is the design of our own Net Quality website. We have shared many articles ranging from what colours say about your business to why you should care about the quality of your website and including tips on web design so your website will work.
However I am now going to share something with you that may shock. All the above articles and information are correct, but the design of our website may not be the most important thing for our business. The actual look and feel of our website may not be the current priority for our business. There are other tasks which may be more critical.
Of course the design and look of our website is important. It showcases our skills and plays an important part in getting our business. The look and feel, the colours, the ease of use, the style...all these go towards convincing potential clients that we are the best website designers in Nottingham. I believe our website is very important...but I was acting as if it were the only thing to worry about.
Earlier this week, I spent an hour and a half experimenting with the colours on our website. I then suddenly woke-up and remembered that the most important thing about our business is not our websites, but our clients websites. Without clients, we do not get any fees. Without fees, we do not have a business.
I therefore decided that our website was perfect as it stands. It meets the goals we have set for it:
- Showcases our work
- Directs visitors to contact us
- Offers extra information for those who wish to dig deeper
The fact that the colour scheme could be slightly modified to something that I believe may appeal more to visitors is not the most important thing on my to-do list. The most important thing is to grow the business.
I therefore stopped experimenting and looked at my to-do list - there were at least 3 other tasks which were more important but considerably less fun than working on the design of our site. I took a deep breath and knocked over all 3 in just under two and a half hours, which was less time then I had feared.
The feeling of accomplishment was overwhelming - not only had I almost completed my to-do list for the day, I had knocked over the worst tasks quickly and efficiently. My new resolution is to continue like this, and to start with the worst tasks first to ensure I am concentrating on the business and not my enjoyment.
An after-thought: that same day I managed to completely clear my to-do list and in addition I found time to experiment with the colours on our website. If I had continued how I had started that day, my whole time would have been wasted with my experiments which I was using as an excuse to avoid my more unpleasant, but infinitely more important, tasks. Stop often, and look at what you are doing. Then ask yourself if you are working on the right tasks!