In order to grow your business and achieve your goals, you have to streamline your activities and focus your efforts. What does this look like on a practical level?

Learn to Say “No.”

It means that you’re going to have to say “no” to any nonessential activities in your business, in your personal life and in your day that are distracting you from what you need to do in your business.

You may be asked to join a board for an organization, organize an event, or mentor someone. These are great opportunities– but if they don’t specifically fit the goals that you’re currently working towards, you have to say “no.”

A lot of us have a hard time doing that. If someone asks us for something, we really want to help and we really want to make ourselves available. But more often than not, we don’t really have the time to participate. And when we say yes, we cause ourselves a lot of unnecessary stress by trying to cram in the activity and meet really tight deadlines. We might be able to pull it together, but the end result is not our best work.

Being able to say “no” to requests that don’t fit takes a lot of courage. But it’s one of the best ways to stay on top of your schedule and to make sure that you’re using your time as efficiently as possible.

Focus on What Deserves Your Priority

When you learn to say “no,” you’ll have more time to focus on what really deserves your priority. If you aren’t sure what deserves your priority, start with the activities that are going to get you the quickest results in the shortest amount of time.

As it relates to your business, you want to focus on engaging in activities that are going to bring in more clients or get you more exposure for your business in a certain period of time.

You’ll want to focus on very specific projects that will either help your current clients or attract more clients. Set aside time to plan ahead – outline specific projects that will build your relationships with current or potential clients. Then, look at the opportunities that you are being presented with.

If something doesn’t fit in with your priorities – you have to say “no.” (At least for right now.) You can always let the person who is making the request know “I’m not really able to do that right now, but I will be available to do it in a few weeks or next quarter or even six months from now”, if it’s an opportunity that you really want to pursue.

It’s About Shifting Your Mindset

The fact that you don’t have to say “yes” to everything may be a mindset shift for you. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to spread yourself thin and make yourself available to every single person that asks. You’ll actually be of better service to them and be of better service overall in your business if you really focus your time and energy on what’s in front of you and on accomplishing the things that you need to do to create a successful business.

When you know your business goals and prioritize your activities, you can easily streamline your to-do list and put your very best work out there. Keeping your current clients and potential customers happy takes time – and that is time you won’t have if you say “yes” to every single opportunity that comes your way.

Your Action Plan for This Week:

  1. Look at your current schedule for the next three months. What is your top priority going to be for those 12 weeks?
  2. Write down a specific, measurable goal for the next 12 weeks that will either help you take care of your current clients or market to new potential clients.
  3. Remind yourself to check in with your goal each time you’re presented with a new idea or a new opportunity. If it doesn’t fit, you need to say “no.”