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Is your small business holding you back? There are proven strategies that help identify the tasks that are holding you or your business back. There is a systematic way to eliminate, automate and delegate these tasks so they never end up on your to-do list again.
The ultimate goal of entrepreneur Matt Malouf’s Stop Doing List system is to help you spend more time in your Genius Zone. Your Genius Zone is the three to five major tasks you own in the business and that you invest the majority of your time into in order to generate maximum return.
A genius task meets the following three criteria:
- It’s something you’re passionate about. First and foremost, a genius task needs to be something you enjoy, something you love doing. Without that passion, you’re not going to put in the time, energy and effort required to push your business to new heights.
- It’s something that is essential to the business. It must be done, even if nothing else is done all day. Your business hinges on this task being completed, and being done right.
- It needs to contribute directly to the profit of the business.
The four zones
I first learnt this method of categorising tasks from my studies of Dan Sullivan, founder of the Strategic Coach program and an international author, speaker and coach. Please note that these are definitions to be applied to tasks or activities only and are by no means a definition of your intelligence or abilities.
Tasks fall into one of the following four zones:
For most, the Genius Zone is where they should spend most of their time, as it’s where most of the profit will be made. Yet most small business owners I meet are often spending very little if any time in this zone. The ultimate goal is to spend the majority of your time on ‘genius’ tasks, with a bit of time on ‘excellence’ tasks, and the rest of the tasks now become your Stop Doing List.
If you aren’t good at a task, you delegate it to someone who can be excellent at it. Meanwhile you’re freed up to spend more time on what you love doing, and you’ll gain more passion for your business. You’ll find more freedom in your business and find more time for family, health and personal passions.
Tasks that are placed into the Incompetence Zone are tasks that you know have to be done, but don’t know how to do them yourself. When we are learning anything new it often takes a long time and requires a lot of focused energy to implement. These tasks are often low value and create negative energy when you implement them (stress, angst, frustration). The goal is for you to spend 0 per cent of your time performing incompetence tasks.
Tasks placed into the Competence Zone are tasks you know how to do but are not very good at or loathe doing. These tasks really drain you of energy. For most small business owners this is admin, filing, bookkeeping, or many of the current technology needs a business has, such as social media, search engine optimisation or Google AdWords. These are tasks you can do, but you really shouldn’t. Not only will it take longer for you to do it than someone operating in their genius, but it will also often add to your overall lack of satisfaction in your business.
Again, the goal is for you to spend 0 per cent of your time doing competence tasks.
Tasks that are placed into the Excellence Zone are tasks you’re really good at, that are valuable to the business, but you don’t necessarily love doing. Excellence tasks can be stopped; however, in my experience you will generally need to invest a little more money into a person or system to achieve this. The goal is to spend 30 to 40 per cent of your time doing excellence tasks. This leaves 60 to 70 per cent of your time for the Genius Zone.
The simplest way to describe your Genius Zone is tasks or activities you love to do and are really good at, and if your day was filled with these tasks or activities you would feel energised and happy. Genius Zone tasks are generally easy for you to do and you tend to do them naturally. Your genius zone tasks also tend to be highly profitable.
You will often hear yourself saying ‘If only had more time to XYZ, then we would make significantly more money.’ Owners of fast growing companies understand this philosophy and understand that the more time spent in the Genius Zone the faster the company will grow.
This is an edited extract from The Stop Doing List: More Time, More Profit, More Freedom – designed to get you off the treadmill of unproductive, frenetic activity, and set you on the path towards growth.