Which comes first… paying this month’s bills, or building your long-term business?

In this post I want to take a look at a simple way to balance your immediate needs and your long-term plans.

Here’s what I do with my own business…

At the beginning of each week I start a new page in a Word document with two columns.

In the left side column I make a list of the work I need to get done in order to pay the bills and meet any other short-term deadlines or commitments.

In the right hand column I make a note of the various projects I’m planning, working on, or completing that won’t give me any income this month, but have the potential to generate a good income in the future.

Short-term and long-term planning. Tactical and strategic thinking.

I then allocate blocks of time to each column.

You might think I give priority to the items in the left-hand column. In other words, you might reasonably assume that I would pay attention first to those tasks that are going to pay the bills this month.

Not so.

From experience I know that if I do that, then the urgent tasks will fill my day from beginning to end, and I’ll never get around to the longer-term projects.

I do it the other way around.

I allocate time at the beginning of the day to my longer-term plans. This is the work that is going to bring in money in a few months’ time, or even next year.

Once I’ve worked on that for an hour or so, I then move on to my short-term tasks.

Will I have left enough time to get them completed? You bet I will. When you have bills to pay, then the short-term jobs have to get done.

The point being… if you don’t put the strategic tasks first, you’ll never get around to them. There’s always be something “more urgent” to do.

That means you’ll always be taking on urgent, transaction jobs, one at a time.

You’ll be a paid-by-the-hour freelancer forever and a day.

But if you put building your business first, prioritizing the strategic tasks, then you can turn that around.

By the time you want to retire, you’ll have created either an asset you can sell, or a source of ongoing passive income.

Never forget to prioritize working on your long-term business goals.

If you want help in figuring out what those goals might be, and how to achieve them, check out my one-on-one coaching service.

“Nick – you are the man! Your persistent and patient probing uncovered a unique market niche in line with my passion and expertise and in dire need of good copywriters. Thanks for wielding the ‘big stick’ when my procrastination took over. And a million thanks for giving me the confidence to market myself successfully. You’re the greatest.”

Penny Thomas

Learn more about my one-on-one coaching…

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