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Is it a Priority?

“Is it a priority?”

As a work-from-home mom working to build my own business, this is a question I find myself asking several times a day. I used to say “I don’t have time”, but something about that phrase made me feel like I was failing. It seemed more and more like I didn’t have time for anything. So I started changing my response and it has made all the difference in how I structure my days.

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Wall Street Journal writer Laura Vanderkam explains:

Instead of saying "I don't have time" try saying "it's not a priority," and see how that feels. Often, that's a perfectly adequate explanation. I have time to iron my sheets, I just don't want to. But other things are harder. Try it: "I'm not going to edit your résumé, sweetie, because it's not a priority." "I don't go to the doctor because my health is not a priority." If these phrases don't sit well, that's the point. Changing our language reminds us that time is a choice. If we don't like how we're spending an hour, we can choose differently.

What don’t you have time for these days? Going out with friends? Watching your favorite show? Going to the gym? Cleaning your home? Personally, I just raised my hand to all of the above. But try changing how you ask yourself the aforementioned. You do have control over how you spend your time. Consider your priorities right now and  put them above all other things. Simply stated, “not having enough time” is no longer a valid excuse.

I think it’s important to apply this to our businesses as well. It’s definitely true that we don’t have time for certain tasks on any given day. Especially if we have a client driven business – we constantly dedicate our time to client projects making sure they are happy. But often this means that building our own business takes a back seat. We assume that if we are meeting the needs of our clients, our business will sustain itself. But this is a dangerous mistake that many businesses make. Just because you’re busy doesn’t mean you will continue to be busy. It also doesn’t necessarily mean that your business is flourishing. A continuous marketing plan that focuses on a long term strategy to sustain your business is an absolute priority if you want to be successful.

I bet there has been a time that you have said something along these lines, “I don’t have time to focus on my own marketing. I’m too busy with [fill in the blank].” But what if you changed it and said, “my company’s marketing isn’t a priority.” Or take it a step further. “My company’s marketing isn’t important to me.” Woah. That doesn’t feel so good, does it? Because if it was important, it would be a priority and you would make time. You don’t put off paying your vendors or employees, right? Because that’s important. It’s a priority. Your marketing should be JUST AS IMPORTANT. It’s essential to maintaining your brand and ensuring that your business continues to grow.

You have time for the things you know deep down are important – not just the things that are immediately competing for your attention. Most of us start the day/week with a to do list, so this time write down your top priorities and stick to them. Don’t get distracted by the constant demands pulling you in every direction or you will find that you don’t have time for anything. How you spend your time should be your top priority.