Clients come to us because they want to get results. They are fed up of writing long lists of tasks to complete maybe just one of them (if they’re lucky). It’s not because they are lazy, or stupid, it’s just that dealing with all the customer queries and emails that they really struggle to get stuff done.
So when we start working with a client one of the first things we talk about is how to get stuff done. After all, ideas are useless without action. So we look at ways that they can use to free up time so they can spend time on the things that get results.
In this post I’ll share with you the top tips that I drum into my coaching clients about how to be more productive and get more done.
Start With The Vision
You can’t even start to get stuff done if you don’t know what you’re trying to achieve. So that’s why we spend a lot of time with our clients to work out where the business is going. And that starts with the vision for the business and the business owner. A vision is a future state which outlines what the client wants for themselves and their business in what time period. (If you want help with setting a vision see 14 Questions to Ask When Creating Your Vision)
Breaking the Vision Into Visions
Knowing that in 5 or 10 years you want to have a computer on every desk or have cured world poverty is all very well but what exactly does that mean 1 year from now? Or even 3 in months time? When setting the vision not only do we look at what the vision will be like 5-10 years from now but in the next 12 months, 6 months and 3 months, so we can break the vision down into manageable goals, and lots of them.
When we have it clear in the minds of our clients what their vision will look like 3 months from now we work out in a series of 101 goals all all the sub goals which will be needed to be achieved in order that they can deliver the 3 month vision. So in other words once the 101 goals have been completed, the 3 month vision will have been delivered. Rinse and repeat.
So as a client you know that over the next 90 days you need to achieve at least 1 of these goals a day in order to achieve your vision.
And can you guess what needs to be on your task list?
1-2 Goals a Day
That’s right… on your task list you will need to have your goal for the day or as we say tomorrow’s task, because your’e going to:
Write tomorrow’s to do list tonight – so that you can start tomorrow knowing exactly what you need to achieve.
Write at the top of the list the top 2-3 things you need to get done that day – and top of that task list needs to be your 101 Goal for the day. This is non negotiable. Sure you will have urgent stuff to do everyday, but disciplining yourself to work on the important stuff willl ensure you achieve both the short and the long term objectives for your business.
First things first – when it comes to working on your task list make sure that the first thing you do each day is your 101 Goal. It doesn’t matter how long it takes to do that goal, make sure you complete it before you complete anything else that day. Then you’re safe in the knowledge that you’re growing business. So email, returning calls, providing quotes, should all be done after you’ve done your 2-3 most important tasks for the day.
Simple rule: For everything else that you need to get done. Don’t do it until you’ve completed your top 2-3 tasks
We all know how easy it is to get distracted, phone ringing, new email to respond to, instant message request to respond to and then you stop what you’re doing and do it. But as soon as you start doing that, you’re on the slippery slope of being reactive and you’re no longer in control. And if you’re no longer in control, then you’re no longer getting stuff done. By which I mean getting important stuff done.
For all the other things that you need to get done, don’t do them until you’ve finished all your 3 tasks (including your 101 goals). I have a few clients who could start their first meet of Email Addiction Anonymous, who would on reading that statement would have gone into a cold sweat by now, so for those clients I say this:
Yes the ideal is not to do anything until you’ve done your top 3 tasks on your task list, but if you have trouble with that then you might want to start the first week first by starting with achieving 1 task first and then check email for 10 minutes. If there’s nothing urgent, complete the next task and so on.
In the second week, or as soon as you feel comfortable, don’t respond to emails until 11am.
After a while you will appreciate that you’re business is still going strong and you’ve lost nothing by not responding for an hour or so first thing in a morning.
But what if you have a meeting or a client call first thing in the morning:? Well, obviously you’ve got to prioritise, so you attend those, then start on your top 2-3 items as soon as you’re in the office or at your desk.