Getting Things Done
Most people start projects by making a list of what they need to do. Nothing wrong with that. But when your business is growing quickly with a lot of projects on the go, you can easily end up with a lot of lists – and not much to show for them at the end of the day. And if you try to keep everything in your head without writing much down, it gets tricky to juggle all the balls without dropping one.
The key to getting things done is to turn “To Do” items into Action Steps that are accomplished at a specific date and time.
Here are 5 Simple Steps to help you lasso your projects and accomplish more by the end of the day.
1. Create a “home” for project planning lists so you don’t lose track of them. I currently keep mine in the binder that also holds quarterly and weekly planners. I could use Excel, but find that “out of sight” often means “out of mind”. You can also try project management software – but to be honest, I find most project software makes the whole planning exercise more complex than necessary for the average small biz owner.
2. An actual project list is very important, particularly for creative thinkers. Your project list is like a job description – it tells you exactly what you need to do to fulfill your intention. The more finely you break down the steps, the easier it is to work them into your calendar on a daily basis without getting distracted by the next great idea.
3. Work backwards instead of forwards. This is a simple but very powerful tweak. List your OUTCOME for the project at the top of the page. Now list all your Action Steps to get to that outcome in REVERSE chronological order. The first item on your list will be the last thing you need to do before you’ve accomplished your objective. Simply ask yourself “Okay, what would I need to do before that?” and “What would I need to do before that? Keep asking yourself this question until you’ve backed right up to the present moment. You now have a list that includes all of your project action steps in the correct order – just read it from bottom to top! No more scrambling at the last moment because you forgot something basic.
4. Now return to your Project page and note down the date by which you want to have each step completed.
5. Enter each Action Step on a specific date and time your Calendar.
If you would like a copy of my simple Project Page, just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’d be happy to forward it over.