How Prioritizing Can Make You the Best in Your Field

iStock_000009473567Small To Do List

Anyone who has had bronchitis can attest to the fact that it saps your energy. Even when you are on the mend, the cough just won’t go away and you can feel lethargic even though as a whole you are feeling better.

As you can guess, I am on the tail end of a bout with bronchitis. I am moving slower, and talking on the phone has been a challenge the last couple of weeks. As a result, much of what I normally complete in a day tends to carry over to the next. When I look at my desk, it’s hard not to feel a bit overwhelmed.

Feeling overwhelmed is not a symptom of bronchitis, or any illness for that matter. In fact, it happens to all of us at various times of the year. Unfortunately in the payments world, it can happen more often than we would like.

Anyone who sells credit card payment processing services has a need to sign new merchants to grow their portfolio. At the same time they need to retain the ones they have signed, and service any that are at risk or in need. If it’s a busy time just the thought of these three tasks alone can be overwhelming. And an overwhelmed feeling can and will lead to a worse situation, paralysis. Paralysis can cause serious damage to your business.

Allow me to share a few tricks I have developed whenever I start having that overwhelmed feeling.

1. Prioritize.

If you want to be known as one of the best merchant services companies, you need to first make a list of everything you need to do. This will help you overcome that overwhelmed feeling. Anything that you see as critical becomes priority 1 (P1), important but not critical becomes priority 2 (P2), and needed but not important or critical becomes priority 3 (P3).

P1 may be something time sensitive that has a monetary impact to you. For example, if you have a merchant who has a major issue that if not addressed will result in them leaving you, then that would be a P1. A P2 is something that is not time sensitive but can have a monetary impact. For example, a potential merchant who has a need for a full analysis, which although is important, is still not a P1.

Lastly, if you have filing, reports, or anything that takes time but has little to no impact on your business growth or your revenue, then that would be a P3.

Remember, not everything is a P1. If you are unsure, make it a P2. You should have very few P1s on your list.

2. Do one thing at a time.

When feeling overwhelmed it becomes easy to try and multi-task. The problem with this approach is that there is a tendency to rush if the task list is long. The quality of your work then suffers, which can result in fewer customers who turn to you for credit card payment processing services.

It is too easy to start a task, and while working on it, return a call or two. Or even to say, “While I am on hold I will catch up on emails.” You will find that your potential for a mistake in both tasks will be much greater when multi-tasking.

Start with the highest priority, identify what needs to be done, and do it. Work until completion, or at least to the point where you have done all you can at this time. If it’s truly a P1, don’t allow distractions.

As you work through your list, don’t be surprised if a P1 pops up that wasn’t on your original list. That is okay. Just remember, do one thing at a time and work in priority order. So if you add something that is truly a P1, it goes to the end of the P1 list, unless you see a need to reprioritize your P1s for that day.

Lastly, if you want that overwhelmed feeling to go away, finish your P1s before the end of the day. If you have classified them correctly, there won’t be that many, and if they are critical they may not be able to wait until the next day.

So if you will excuse me, I have a list to make.

How do you handle that overwhelmed feeling? Do you have any tips you’d like to share for prioritizing important things in your life? How have those strategies helped you become one of the best merchant services companies?

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