Have you ever heard the expression: “What gets planned, gets done?” Getting started on the path to greater and more satisfying productivity begins with three things, a goal, a planner and planning. So, let’s get started!
First, what is your goal? What are you trying to accomplish? If you get the desired result, what does it look like? Is it an article, a presentation, an eBook, the Great American Novel, an event plan, or your (fill in the blank) product?
Let's use the 5 W’s (who, what, when, where and why) used by reporters as a place to start your list or to interpret the list given to you by someone else.
- Who? Am I the person who will be doing these tasks or are they more appropriately completed by some other person in the organization, an assistant, or even an outside contractor?
- What? What will be the result if you follow the steps in your process?
- When? When do you expect to be done? What is the very next step, what are the steps for the next week, the next month. How long until you are finished?
- Where? Is this work to be completed in house, on a business trip, during a specific event, at some other location, at a client site or some other place? Do you need to build in time for travel, or possible delays?
- Why? What is the reason for this work? Is there something similar already in use? Is this busy work or is it adding to the bottom line? We all need to accomplish regular and routine tasks that do not necessarily add to the bottom line, and they need to be done. If, however, this is all you work on you cannot accomplish the higher value items that bring revenue into your business. Think about the “why” of your activities regularly. It may just be that something that seemed a high value, high priority item last week is now much less important, or it has timed out and is no longer important at all or does little to add to the bottom line and does not need doing at all.
Now that you have thought about your plan, you are ready to move forward with PLANNING in time. By planning in time I mean putting it on your Planner or Calendar. I see many people who have wide open calendars (except maybe for their dentist appointment next week...) They struggle with what to next, because there is no plan. I know, I know, it feels tedious to do this part, but getting it off your mind and is what will get your project moving! Wide open space on a calendar are often a sign of not much getting done. You may not believe this, but structuring when you will do things actually makes you more productive.