6 Questions to Prioritize Your Business

How is a business like a bookcase? Looking at so many possibilities can be exciting and also overwhelming. How does one keep it organized, how do you know where to begin, and where can you focus your time and energy to get the most benefit out of so much opportunity? Read below for a process for gaining clarity, getting focused, and making better decisions!

“Desires dictate our priorities, priorities shape our choices, and choices determine our actions.” – Dallin H. Oaks

6 Questions to Prioritize Your Business

By Andrea Novakowski

Even though my school days are behind me, the first week of September always gives me a sense of optimism, fresh commitment, and new beginnings. Do you get the same feeling at this time of year? How can you and your business capitalize on this wonderful burst of energy?

Well, now is a great time to reprioritize your business, get rid of the things that don’t matter anymore, and move forward with what’s most important.

In the book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, author Greg McKeown recommends pausing regularly to ask yourself, “Am I investing in the right activities?”

In other words, it’s not about getting more things done. It’s about getting the right things done.

McKeown’s book has been helping me, as I prepare for meetings, to pare down my agenda. We could talk about 10 things at the meeting, briefly and with little impact. Or we could discuss two or three topics and really get something done.

Not long ago I was chatting with Sue, a waitress at one of my favorite eateries. Sue, a single mother, used to own a successful restaurant. She was able to buy a home. She maintained a great relationship with her son. Everything seemed to be going well. Then her mother got sick and passed away.

“That really made me pause and think about what was most important to me,” Sue told me, “and take a good look at what I wanted to be doing with my life.”

As a result, Sue sold her restaurant and now works for someone else as a waitress. She still loves the industry, and she’s happy with the path she’s chosen. “I work hard, I make good tips, and I have time for other things that have risen to the top of my priorities list.”

As a business owner, it’s easy to get distracted by each new task or challenge that comes along and lose sight of your goals. A business is sort of like a bookcase: it’s tempting to keep adding new titles (or projects) without considering what we already own and haven’t had time to read (or do) yet.

Before long, we have a jumbled mess, can’t find anything, and don’t know where to dive in.

Life changes. Business changes. Priorities shift. Do the things that once mattered to you still matter? Do you still have the same goals for yourself and your business?

Here are 6 questions that can help you consider whether it’s time to refocus.

  1. What’s really important to me right now?
  2. Who is really important right now?
  3. Am I really still interested in the goals on my list?
  4. Why am I doing this? Does it matter to me?
  5. What parts of my business and/or my life need more attention?
  6. What can I stop doing?

It helps to understand before you start that you may have outdated beliefs about yourself — or your business — that can interfere with this process and get in the way of making changes. If you find yourself using the word “should,” you’re probably referring to one of those beliefs.

Still stumped? Not sure where to place your focus for these last four months of 2015 or which actions will have the biggest payoff? You might consider:


During the coming Labor Day weekend, take some time to assess what’s most important to you, both in your business and your life. Are the goals you set in January still in the same order of importance? Are there any on your list that are no longer relevant? Share below what you discovered.