What Should You Do Next?


Somedays I walk into a new week with purpose, a long “to do” list and begin to knock it out. But then there are days like today. I’m sluggish, a bit unfocused, didn’t plan the week well, and I’m not sure what to tackle first. In these unplanned moments, my reaction is to find the busy work that will inevitably appear out of nowhere and fill my entire day and do that. But instead, I decided to stop and ask the one question I should ask myself most days:

What should I do for my business that only I can do?

I’ve been asking that questions for years now and because of it, I have stopped doing a lot of things, such as fixing copiers, designing brochures, writing checks, troubleshooting IT problems and a number of other important things that other people can do, often much better than me, and have focused on a few things that only I can and should do for my business.

If you answer the same question, what would you stop doing? Be honest.

  • Grayson Wells

    That's a very convicting post for me. I have a tendency to be involved in the details of projects beyond what I do. I would say, let my team do their job without micromanaging the process. It's part of my personality and I tend to do it too much.

  • MaurilioAmorim

    Thanks for your honesty. There's a fine line between managing well and micromanaging. It's truly an art form. I hope the question will help find your answer.

  • Michael Hyatt

    I had that EXACT day today. This is a great post and a good reminder! Thanks.

  • Peggy

    I too had a day like that today. Thank you very much for the great advice.

  • Laurinda

    Today must have been National Unfocus Day! I was very uninspired today.

    I pulled out my project list and make sure I'm working in order of priority. I got through most of my to-do list and actually discovered some missed items.

  • MaurilioAmorim

    It's hard for me to see you unfocused, Mike. But I guess you're human after all.

  • MaurilioAmorim

    At least you had a to-do list. I had nothing.

  • Darren Poke

    This is a great question that I'll certainly be using in the future.

    As John Wooden used to say, "Don't confuse activity with accomplishment."


  • Dayna Beal

    Love the post and John Wooden quote. We use a task management system called Workamajig to help us plan and prioritize tasks. It does that well. What is does not do is ask us your question. Instead we probably are planning lots of tasks others could do. Thanks for the tip to be more focused on the unique value we have to offer our company.

  • MaurilioAmorim

    Great quote!

  • MaurilioAmorim

    Dayna, sometimes that's the difference between doing things right or doing the right things.

  • Geoff Webb

    Took me all morning to orient myself and capture all my tasks.

    Then, when I finally got a real, live person on the phone from Delta to help refund my ticket from a canceled flight last week; she put me on hold…and it hit me: this is not what I should be doing right now!

    As soon as I hung up I made the two client calls that only I could make. I love this question – thanks for the reminder!

  • Mitch Ebie

    A wise man once told me to stop majoring in the minors. I can easily spend hours and even days redesigning logos and redoing my website layout, but those things are not as important in the beginning as content. Content is the major thing that I should be doing.

  • Sharon

    Great question – I'm going to have to think about this for a bit since so many things come to mind. Delegating can be a challenge in itself.

  • MaurilioAmorim

    I'm in the same situation with Continental airline. I have someone else tracking that down for me. It's not only the time but also the mindset and the way dealing with airlines will make your day go south very fast.

  • MaurilioAmorim

    Such wisdom! I hope you appreciate your wise friend.

  • Daniel Decker

    It's taken me a while to figure out the practical aspect of this topic and I still struggle with it from time to time. Actually giving up control, delegating to others, and realizing just what it is that only I should be doing is the trick. Some days that's easier to spot than others.

    For so many of the early years of my business I was the only one so I "thought" I had to wear many hats and do it all… fix copiers and write checks included. 🙂 I looked at it from a cash standpoint. I didn't think I could "afford" to pay someone else to do something but… as soon as I started to value my time differently I began to understand the value of opportunity cost and the simple fact that time is finite. I really couldn't afford not to pay someone else if I was ever going to grow.

    Boils down to choice and a good bit of self-awareness to know our strengths and the areas where we need to let go. Great post. Thanks.

  • MaurilioAmorim

    Your comment reminds me of a conversation with one of my good friends. I used to give my consultation for free in order to get the "other business." He told me "your consulting is more valuable than all of the print/design work you do." He was right. I changed my business model and have never regretted. I think I need to write a post about that. Thanks for giving me the idea.

  • Jeffery Stockdale

    Thanks for the question, it has already changed my busy but unproductive day! I am now focused on what really needs to be done!

  • Mary Pennington

    Taking this question to another level (from a female entrepreneur with a 'change the world quickly and efficiently' mentality), what if we don't yet have the staff to do those 'things' only WE should be doing? Or then again, those individuals we have delegated these minor tasks to (along with myself) get busy with the task list for the other job (which we desire to eventually phase out once the business begins to profit enough to at least compensate us) and those little things don't get accomplished either?!

  • Mary Pennington

    What happens when you feel like no matter what task you are on, big or small, time seems to move backwards!! So then the question of priority comes into play, yes, but there are so many things that need to happen simultaneously! Like filling out my non profit paperwork and organizing fund raising events to simply pay for the non profit! So, the ideal answer to me is to find someone with the same heart for what I am doing who has the money, but not the time, who would like to partner with our ministry and allow us to afford the staff and office space that we need to productively and effectively delegate tasks and get the job done. Phhewwww! As you can see I'm a bit overwhelmed today. Thanks so much for this question, however. Definitely makes things much simpler when you have a staff to delegate to:)

  • MaurilioAmorim

    I hear you. I have started several business and ministries and understand the fact that in the beginning you're making coffee answering phone and talking with donors/clients. But even then there are tasks that can take as much time as you'll give them that will not give you anything back. There are important things that volunteers can do. They might not do them to your standards at first, but if giving up something important to spend time doing something vital is a good exchange.

    Even when you're playing all roles, always know what only you can do and make sure you don't neglect those for some other task that will eat your time and return very little, if any at all.

  • Mary Pennington

    Thanks a lot for the response! I hope to take all the advice I can get and really learn to practice it well!

  • Mary Pennington

    Thanks Maurilio for the response:) I hope to take all the advice I can get and learn to effectively begin using it as I grow as an entrepreneur. Guidance and wisdom shared is such a blessing!

  • Debbie

    So have I! I have been walking in circles today and cannot get focused. Very frustrating.

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