Last month we concluded a very successful two day workshop for our clients. Most left buzzing about the information they were able to start implementing; however amongst it all was a common theme – “When am I going to find time to do all this?”
We live in an era where information is freely available. E-mail, designed to speed up the process and save time in distributing information, has become the new in-tray. There are 294 billion e-mails sent per day – 42 for every man, woman and child on the planet. Take out those not in businesses, or without Internet access and your typical store owner must be receiving close to 100 e-mails or more daily.
Much of it is good information. I receive many invitations to events, webinars and seminars, most excellent and well worth attending. But I make only a few of them... the problem is usually a matter of time.
Yet just one idea from one event can have the capacity to make huge changes to your business. We recently had a client attend one of our conferences who had been to previous events we had conducted. She had heard me talk often about reordering her fast selling items, but had never gotten around to it. This time the message struck home and she took action upon her return – the impact on her sales has already been profound.
A friend of mine, who works for one of the world’s largest mining corporations, was recently discussing with me the fact that there are more good ideas than time to implement them. He said they speak about it often in their organization, and even have a phrase for it that I hadn’t heard before – they describe it as Innovation Overload - where there are more good ideas being created faster than can be implemented.
It can lead to a sense of being overwhelmed. The easy response is to do nothing, but the result of that is you are missing opportunities to progress.
The only solution is to prioritize. One of the best methods I have heard for this is the ABCDE method, and it consists of the following:
A – 1st priority
B – 2nd priority
C – 3rd priority
D – Delegate
E - Eliminate
In simple terms, the items that you must do become the A, B and C. The most important are the As followed by the Bs, then the Cs. The prioritizing must be done on the basis of what offers the best return for your time and effort. Always remember to focus on the important rather than the urgent.
The Ds are items that may still be important but don’t have to be performed by you, or a large percentage of the work can be carried out by someone else. For example, you may decide to clear some of your old inventory in a sale. You might want to organize the pricing, but the job of locating the items can be left to a staff member.
The Es are the things you don’t need to do. Run your eye down a To Do list if you keep one and ask yourself what things you really need to do at all. You can often eliminate 20% or more of a To Do list when you ask the question “If this item didn’t get done would there be any consequences?”
Don’t let Innovation Overload stand in the way of having your business deliver its full potential.