6 Simple Questions to help you Manage Priorities

photo by R/DV/RS via Flickr

photo by R/DV/RS via Flickr

We all have tasks, to-do’s, duties, and responsibilities that fill our daily schedule.  If you own or manage a business, that daily list can be long before you start and multiply without blinking by mid-day.   Effectively managing it is not always easy, but there is a better way.  Read below for 6 simple questions you can ask yourself over the course of your day that will help you keep it prioritized to what matters most.  It will help you focus and it’s a great way to build personal accountability.

Looking for an expert help!

A contact of mine here in Kansas City recently commented they were fed up with listening to all the professed “Experts” tell everybody what they should be doing. He was specifically frustrated that many of these “Experts” seldom point out any solutions to the problem.   He’s been looking for help and was tired of being lectured. He’s looking for something more concrete.  He’s looking for something that can help him now.   There was a lot of frustration in his voice and it wasn’t a stretch to come up with several examples of the kind of noise he was talking about; between local events, talk radio, webinars, you tube and cable news channels, there are a lot of people proclaiming to be….experts but not really helping anyone.  As a business coach / consultant the conversation definitely struck a nerve.

“Intentions don’t matter. It’s the end result we’re all judged by.”  Sherrilyn Kenyon

Although the original rebelling comment about the ineffectiveness of experts was a generalized statement, I saw a gauntlet thrown at my feet and a quest to respond was eminent.   At Aspire, our goal with every business to help them be more successful; the process can be complicated but the goal is plain and simple. Yes we give ‘expert’ advice, but our clients need to see results or what is the point?

So this week’s business blog is a something concrete.   Print is out, cut and paste, make it a screen saver, whatever works for you, but refer to it regularly.  This is a simple tool a colleague, George Hedley introduced in his book Get Your Business To Work.  Literally every owner or manager can use this to help better prioritize their time.  We all know time is an equalizer in business and in life; we all work in the same 24 hour day. It is the use of that time that varies, especially during the hours they are normally focusing on running their business. The difference between success and failure is often based on how well you prioritize your time. (Tweet This)

Start Using This Daily!

Put these 6 questions in a place where you will see them regularly and ask yourself them continuously.  It will keep trivial things from consuming your day and help you make quicker decisions on what is a priority and what isn’t.

Priorities: What matters most (regularly ask yourself as you’re working)

1)      Is this the best use of my time and talent?

2)      Is this activity helping me achieve my targets and goals?

3)      Will this activity maximize our bottom-line profits?

4)      Will this activity help get my business to work?

5)      Am I doing what I should be doing?

6)      Am I getting a return on energy?

What is great about these questions is they are short and do not require a lot of thought to answer yes or no. The answer will quickly help you decide if the current activity you are doing is worthwhile or not.   With a couple “No” answers many of your priorities will earn spots lower down on your list.  Multiple “Yes” will clearly rise to the top.  You will be focusing your time on things that truly impact your business.   If you find yourself answering a lot of these “No” but they are still fires that need to be put out, there is a strong possibility you may not be delegating effectively or a policy/procedure needs to be refined.

Of course there are some implied assumptions here: You know what your talents are (and what you should delegate). You have clear targets and goals. You understand your profitability and what drives it…and you are consistently aware of what you’re doing and how you’re feeling (not always easy). If these assumptions aren’t true – then perhaps that should be one of your top priorities!!! 😉

With little effort these 6 questions can help you improve the use of your time and build a priority list that is getting your business to work and providing you positive results in the process.

What do you think? Is this a process you can see yourself using? Is this a good example of tangible, concrete help? As always we appreciate your comments.

Chris Steinlage Kansas City Business Coach

1 thought on “6 Simple Questions to help you Manage Priorities”

  1. Tim Anderson says:


    This is a succinct summary of an objective means by which to measure our business-building efforts. I appreciate, not just today, but on a consistent basis, your straightforward advice. It’s obvious you’ve “been there, done that,” and your practical outlook is a breath of fresh air in an often clichéd coaching industry.

    Thanks for sharing your insights,

    Tim Anderson

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