The Reason Your Business is Stuck

Start negotiating on value, not on price.

Three people pushing a van out of the mud in the desert.

My business had felt stagnant for a while. It was going well, work was getting done, but I didn’t feel like I was moving along in my career. I was spending every weekend wondering, “What did I even do this week?”

So, I took a step back, a deep breath, and began scrutinizing my entire to-do list. Each calendar appointment, each “quick” or “easy” task, and every single email. Do you know what I learned?

I was doing a lot of work. A shocking amount of work. A nobody-should-be-doing-this-much-work amount of work.

But it didn’t answer the question that bugged me: “Why do I feel my work isn’t moving the needle?”

Looking at my list again, I realized almost all that “work” was just busywork. Work that feels productive but doesn’t actually produce any results for the business. Work like reading about another new tech thing or re-organizing my email inbox for the millionth time.

Annoyed at myself, I vowed to shift my focus back onto doing “real” work. Work that would grow my business, my skillsets, or long-term financial goals. Instead of re-organizing emails, I’d re-engage past clients looking to lock-in new project contracts.

And the craziest thing happened. Well, not so much as crazy, but just obvious…

My business started moving forward again.

I went from one new project proposal a month to four in a week. I went from dealing with fifty “quick” emails a day to sending less than ten. Every step I took had a direct impact on my business, either today or tomorrow.

Instead of cramming my week with little tasks that don’t matter, I shifted my attention to tasks I knew would grow my business.

I can’t take all the credit though, what truly helped me was the Eisenhower Matrix. This small method of thinking breaks up your tasks into quadrants of importance. By divvying up your work, you’ll find a precise rhythm on what to do next, what to do tomorrow, and what to ignore.

From most to least important:

  1. Important and urgent = Do it now
  2. Important but not urgent = Schedule it
  3. Not important but urgent = Delegate it
  4. Not important and not urgent = Delete/Ignore it

Using the Eisenhower Matrix, I decided to do at least two important and urgent tasks per day, alongside one urgent and not important task. Once I completed those three tasks, I could move on to the rest.

After following this system for two months, my to-do list has gotten significantly smaller and incredibly focused. Every item that gets added to the list moves the needle in my business.

I no longer spend the weekends wondering what I did with my work, but instead, I spend it relaxing, knowing that I accomplished what I needed to.

Now I turn it to you. Are you tinkering away at things that feel like work but aren’t? Do you feel like the work you’re producing will move you or your business forward?