Monday, June 8, 2009

Gettin' It Done

The great folks at Dance Retailer News magazine sent me a question. The short piece below is my answer and will appear as an article in a summer issue. Thought you might be able to use it to start your week:

Every morning when I head to work, I think of a number of things I have to do throughout the day. But at the end of the day, I feel like I didn’t get any of it done. I need to find a way to get organized for more productive and efficient results. Can you help?

What a great question! It goes right to the heart of maximizing you time…and your life, especially during a tight business period.

I have two concerns—right off the bat—and they focus on the first two words, Every morning, and last two words, efficient results, of your issue.

If you are thinking about the things you have to do Every morning you’ve waited too late and are already putting yourself in a tight scheduling situation. Everyone should do a Master List of Things To Do once a week. A great time to do this is Sunday afternoon or evening. Put professional and personal things to do on the list. The great idea behind a Master List is that you don’t have to remember everything now that you have it on a list.

Then, at the end of each work day, take 5 minutes to create your To-Do List for the next day. Be careful of having more than 6-8 things on the list. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, frustrated, and stressed by trying to do too much. Use a simple A, B, C, priority system to determine what must be done. Use the 4 D System (Delay, Delegate, Don’t Do It, Do It) to determine the order in which things should be done.

The second phrase, efficient results, is a concern because there is a difference between efficient and effective. Efficient means doing things right, while Effective means doing the right things. It’s more important to be effective than efficient, especially in tight economic times. My suggestion is that any small business owner or professional should rate any task that makes money as an A, and do that thing first; you’ll end up being more effective.

Finally, Suzy Welch’s new book, 10-10-10, pushes readers to ask the question, “How will this situation, decision, idea, affect my life 10 minutes from now, 10 months from now, and 10 years from now.” This is the best strategy I’ve seen for big and little priority decisions. If you keep doing what you are doing the way you are doing it (your strategy about time management, for instance), what will be the results 10 minutes, 10 months, and 10 years from now?

Good luck!

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