Priorities, Planning and Time Management

Time Management in China

Priorities

Know ‘em. Define ‘em. Make sure you reference them whenever your planning out important steps and decisions in your life personally and professionally. Take them into account when defining your goals – use them to guide you when you find yourself in confusing situations and examining new opportunities. Redefine them when necessary

These are a few of the things I tell myself when I think about priorities. What are my priorities in life right now? Well, let’s see these are basically them in their order of importance:

work (more specifically, developing this new food retailing business – developing website and online marketing business – developing my event and promotions business.)


health – My body is precious, it’s the only one I have and I need to take care of it so it will take care of me. I can’t perform my best at work if I don’t exercise enough and consume enough nutrients. This also includes taking into account sexual needs

emotional health – meaning my support system, family, friends, good friends, girl friends, etc. I think I have a unique appreciation of this priority. Many might see this as a subcategory under health but I think it is important enough to consider as a category all it’s own.

It’s been really tough for me to find a way to manage all of these priorities into the 16-19 hours I have each day. I’ve had to make sacrifices to health and emotional health for the sake of professional goals several times recently. Not getting enough sleep, neglecting my personal network of friends, eating poorly and inconsistently, not joining in social events I normally would attend. We all have to do these things sometimes I suppose, I just hope that with proper planning in the next several months I’ll figure out a basic routine and schedule that will allow me to accommodate each of these priorities to a tolerable degree. That will inevitabley equate to a lot more “smart” working across the board and more time devoted to health and emotional wellness

Planning

I think I’ve said this before but I’ll say it again, my life more and more, my value I see more and more clearly is in putting together solutions. In planning out solutions using the skills I have and more and more the people in my network that have complementary skills that allow me to piece together a complete solution for my customers problems. The biggest piece of the puzzle in my current retail business is really just planning – creative problem solving and planning. How do we get from A to B, how do we measure our success along the way, what are the defined deliverables and What are their DEADLINES.

Deadlines has become a bit of a thing with me, I’ve been bad, I still am bad with them. So I’m focusing on adding them to all of my planning. I’ve migrated from the world of might and maybe into can and will but one must also apply a time-stamp and date to each of these actionable items to put together a concise and executable plan. “Sure I’d be happy to meet up with you to discuss how we can work together…” but when?. “Of course I can do that for you, if that’s what you need I’ll take care of it for you… by what time?. The process of planning in and of itself identifies and eliminates some problems but I’ve found within adding the time constraints you are forced to narrow down to a detailed enough level where you can eliminate any of the critical barriers that would require my thinking in one strike as opposed to when they came up later on during the execution of the planning.

Putting time-lines in also forces you to define actionable pieces of your plan where you may have overlooked them before. I love actionable items – throughout the last year I’ve found myself harboring a growing disdain for the ambiguous, purely conceptual, and inactionable. Sure they can be interesting and thought provoking – but I suppose I’m too focused on plowing forward in the world of small business.. I need to get my hands in the dirt. I can’t frolic in the clouds as much as I might want to most of the time. More and more of my energies are working on getting things done, getting deals made, and solving people’s problems in their terms.

Moral of the mini rant – I need to spend time developing my own planning ability and process!

Time Management

This word always pops up when at some point during the night when I’m pulling an all-nighters. Yea sure I can choose whenever I want to sleep and define my own schedule – I’m an entrepreneur after all right? Then again if my customers are unhappy and I don’t get paid I can’t put food in my mouth and living in a cardboard box, though cost effective, is a downgrade in living standard I’m not comfortable with. So if I get an excited/agitated e-mail or phone call in the early evening from a customer that requires my immediate and extended attention to fix – well then I’m going to go ahead and compromise my schedule to make them happy. I’m learning, I’m not particularly satisfied with my coping with the demands of customers at this point – in terms of time management – but I think I’m moving forward. I should note, I think it is necessary for me to be a bit unstable now – my business is just starting out, I need to ensure my current customers are happy and will bring me solid referrals. My current customers are the life blood of my website biz’s success right now.

However generally speaking I think I need to focus on developing my self-directed time management skill. Too much and too often I let the things that pop up during the day define how I will spend my time. O! My cousin wrote me an e-mail about a trip to HK that requires attention today – I’ll deal with that now! O! one of the computers in the office is having a printing problem – let me take a look at that. A phone call from a client to reschedule a meeting, and a quick request to modify something on a current project. Have to communicate that back to my outsourcing partner. I lose half hours and hours in this way constantly throughout the day. I’m aware that many of the things I do are not what I’d call.. “critical tasks” the things I write down at the beginning of the day as most important to take care of – and I’m SLOWLY getting better at saying “I’ll take a look at that ____” instead of now in cases where it’s unimportant or my relationship is particularly strong and I can get away with it. I still falter quite a bit when it comes to customers though – I need to show them a sense of urgency in all that I do for them so breaking schedules on their account is something I don’t see stopping in the near future.

I think it’s about time for me to hire a part-time assistant as well..