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Strategic vs Tactical Time

As an owner of a small business one of the constant struggles is time management, and more importantly, finding time to think long term and not just short term. It's the nature of business (and work) that we tend to focus on tactical items, those things that have to get done today, or that we have to put time into today in order to meet whatever timeline we have.

I've always believed in doing what needs to be done first, then doing what you want to do after, if you have time and energy. Do the dishes, then read a book. It's a smart strategy because it makes sure you do have the time and energy to get things done, but it often means that the strategic thinking part is either done when you're tired or just gets deferred. But it is a short term strategy? Or am I just defining "what has to get done today" incorrectly?

I haven't answered that to my own satisfaction yet, but it's important. I've seen way too much short term thinking as an employee to want to fall victim to it now that I work mostly solo.


I'm Andy Warren, currently a SQL Server trainer with End to End Training. Over the past few years I've been a developer, DBA, and IT Director. I was one of the original founders of SQLServerCentral.com and helped grow that community from zero to about 300k members before deciding to move on to other ventures.


Posted by Lynne T. Conte on 27 December 2007

Andy, the key to long term planning is having a good business plan.  Also a PERT chart is helpful on day-to-day or week-to-week goals.

Posted by Andrew Whettam on 28 December 2007

Have you read Stephen Covey's 'The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People'?  If not you should.

He has a system dividing tasks into 4 quadrants: 1. Important & Urgent; 2. Important & Non Urgent 3. Non Important & Urgent; 4. Non Important & Non Urgent.  Your strategic tasks would come under 2 - this is the quadrant that is most often neglected and yet is often the most significant in terms of impact on our lives.

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