Studies consistently show that people make poorer, less rational decisions when they have more on their minds. For example, in a study of people memorizing numbers, the group that only had to remember two numbers made far more rational decisions while remembering those numbers than the group trying to remember seven numbers. Similarly, as business owners, those who consistently try to “carry” around more in their daily mental “to do” list, will make poorer decisions for their businesses. If there’s one thing business owners can’t afford to consistently do, it’s make poor decisions. All of their results, or lack thereof, hinge upon the quality of the decisions they make. Who they hire or fire, where they market/advertise, what financial reports to look at and when, what to carry or get rid of in inventory, how to design their next XYZ, how to improve their customers’ experiences with their company…and on and on. They have far too many important decisions to make to afford making poor ones regularly. That being said, how important is it that they are not “carrying” lots of things mentally that will lessen the quality of those decisions? Like a long daily “To Do” list. Or a mental “projects” list.
This is one of a business owners’ biggest enemies: lack of daily organization and planning, on paper. It’s not enough to have a mental plan. That just takes up daily mental storage, just like trying to remember seven numbers. So when you carry around these mental lists, you’re going to make poorer decisions which will in turn handicap your ability to accomplish whatever you’re wanting to accomplish in your business, whether that’s more profits, better systems, higher conversion rates, finding more and better customers, etc. Lack of organization and daily planning on paper will slow or hinder your results.
Business Owners, Do Two Things Daily and Weekly
I recommend to my clients to do two things on a daily and weekly basis that are actually very simple and easy:
First, have a short list of 4-6 goals for the week (I try to keep mine to five or fewer). Make this list on either the last day of your week toward the end of your day, or on the morning of the first day of your week (I make mine first thing Monday mornings), being sure to reference your list of goals for the week to be sure you’re going to get them accomplished.
Next, every morning or last thing before ending your day, create your list of goals for the next day. Studies show that long lists are counter-productive because most people will not get more than five or six goals done in a day. You’re also more likely to chose to do the easier, less profitable and productive tasks first, because most people like the feeling of crossing some things off their lists. So create a list of six or fewer things for that day, list how much time you think they’ll take, and order them. Then, come Hell or High Water, get those things done every day in the order you list them.
By operating this way you will accomplish two things: you’ll get FAR MORE done on a daily basis than most people, and you’ll be far better able to make better, more rational decisions on a day-to-day basis (which is when most important decisions are made- it’s not like you set aside days as “important decision making days”- they’re made usually on the fly).
So if you want to accomplish your goals faster, more profitably, and with much more peace of mind, get going focusing your attention on your daily self-management skills and habits which will allow yourself the mental brain capacity necessary to make higher-quality decisions.