Tuesday, 12 July 2016

5 Tips for Getting Shit Done in Your Business

As a small or growing business, planning and prioritising can quickly become overwhelming. The never ending to-do list of short and long term tasks doesn't just seem daunting, it can actually prevent real progress from taking place as team members begin to lack clarity about where to focus their energy and efforts.

There is a method to controlling the madness, and as a small business owner, compulsive multi-tasker, and lead facilitator of the Hub Melbourne Getting Shit Done accountability group, I've learned a lot over the years about productivity. Here are my personal top tips for clearing your to-do list day after day.
1) Don't let your day-to-day and long-term goals collide and cancel each other out.
There is always something to be done when you're running a business or leading a team, and it can be easy to miss the forest for the trees. It can be frustrating to see your long-term goals neglected because of the daily grind, so make sure that you attend to both sets of tasks individually and collectively.
The key is to do the planning outside of your work hours. First, divide your year into chunks of time that are manageable, such as three months. Then, schedule special time with the other team leaders to determine what accomplishments you want to celebrate at the end of the term. If you were to throw a party or take everyone out for a dinner, what do you want to each be raising your glass to?
Weekly, review the long-term task list and make an executive decision about what needs to be done during the following week. Then, divide and conquer.
2) Don't let your daily planning get in the way of productivity.
Hit the ground running each morning. Leave 15 minutes at the very end of your day to map out your tasks for the following day. Leave it visible at your "work station" to dive directly into the next day. Select a couple of pens in your favorite colors and mark the hell out of your list each time you complete a task.
3) Utilise digital forms of organisation as they suit you and your team members, but keep a physical and hand-written to-do list at your work station to be seen at all times.
Take the time to assess how your team best communicates and what is easy for them. What software are they already familiar with? How is your team utilising the current systems that you have in place? Are they doing more harm than good, is there room for more utilisation, or is it time to start from scratch? Project management applications such as Asana and Basecamp are great tools, but only as much as the team benefits from them.
In our day and age it is important for teams to find a digital system that all team members can readily access and use. Make sure that you are always evaluating your current systems and adjusting when necessary, while also giving everyone the chance to adjust to new software.
All this being said, always keep a physical to-do list near you while you're working. Mentally, as you cross things off the list you will gain energy to see the rest of the list through.
4) Use the buddy system.
Sure, writing down your goals may up your chances of accomplishing them, but what about writing them down and then sharing it with one, or even five other people?
If you don't have a coach, mastermind group or accountability partner, now is the time to start. From helping you to clarify your objectives to throwing around ideas to kicking your butt if you don't do what you say you're going to do, the power of even a "plus one" is something you will constantly feel as you grow.
Possibilities abound for accountability. From online forums to international groups that hold weekly calls to fellow-business owners, it isn't hard to find support, if you ask for it. To get started, you may want to consider asking someone with a similar project or who is on a similar journey to do daily or weekly check-ins via phone, email, Facebook, etc. Tell this person everything, and let them hold you to your goals.
5) Reward good behavior.
It's Friday, the to-do list is clear, now what? Will you just sleep in Sunday and then start again on Monday, all the while checking and responding to emails without taking a breath? That's hardly sustainable. Create a reward for each day and week that you will gladly give to yourself once the work has been done. Daily, this reward may be as simple as turning everything off after 7pm (there are few things that can't wait until the next morning at this point). Weekly, a full day to unplug or a weekly Friday happy hour with your other hard working friends (or the other members of your team) may keep you pushing hard through your to-do list during the week.
Never underestimate the power of positive reinforcement!


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