The secret recipe to being uber productive: Get it done!
How do you know what to do when you have time to do work, and then get it done? You’ll need to prioritize and delegate. In many cases, you may be delegating to yourself – and if you can learn to treat yourself like an employee, you’ll find that it’s a lot easier to get tasks complete.
1. Prioritize your list.
Go back to the list. It’s time to prioritize and choose what really matters in each category. Chances are that right now, your list is similar to a kid at a buffet. But getting to what really matters is an easy two-step prioritization process – running through your list. The first pass is ABC, and the second pass is 123. Go through each item in your list, and decide if it is A, B, or C priority. Then go through all the As and decide if they are 1, 2, or 3 priority. Repeat for the B’s and C’s. You’re going to end up with a list that’s pretty well sorted out. You will start with the A1’s before moving to the B1’s and then the A2’s. If you have multiple buckets, you’ll run through the two-step prioritization for each category.
2. Delegate the tasks.
As you look at the list, what’s the job title of the person who can do each item? Don’t use individual names. Use roles (or job titles) first. For example, use Designer rather than Karen’s name. Use Writer rather than Jack’s name. This will help you see the big picture, and if you have more than one person on the team that can do the same thing – it will make it even easier to assign to a person. Then, after you have everything delegated out to a role, then go through and assign it to a specific person.
3. Assign a deadline.
If there is no deadline, chances are that it will get put on the back burner, and it won’t happen. People simply work better when they have timelines and accountability. If your team is across multiple time zones, then you’ll need to be specific. Otherwise, no one knows when something is late. There’s a big difference between Friday and Friday at 1 pm Eastern Standard time. And don’t forget about the holidays… Time off will throw any schedule out of whack!
4. Status reporting process.
It’s not good enough to send all of the tasks off to be done, if you don’t ever know the status of them. Especially when things are dependent on one another – it’s critical to have a process in place for the team to update you and to update each other. The actual system or software that you use isn’t as important as the discipline of actually doing it on a scheduled basis. A status report can be as simple as an email that answers these four questions:
Q1: DONE. What did you accomplish?
Q2: TO-DO: What is up next?
Q3: PROBLEMS: Where are your roadblocks?
Q4: OTHER: What ideas do you have, what other things are important to consider?
5. Follow up.
Set it and forget it does not mesh with delegation. Instead, you will need to do your best nagging mom impersonation – but be nice about it. You’ll need to follow-up. And you’ll need to follow up on following up. It’s simply how 99% of humans work best. If you understand that follow-up is the glue that holds everything else together, and it’s not an afterthought – then you’ll be even better set on the path to success.
What’s next? Rinse and Repeat. You’ll continually cycle between the two phases: “Know What To Do” and “Get It Done.” Each time through, you’ll be a little bit more familiar with the process, and it will be even easier. And yes, this process works great with a team. And right now, even if you’re a team of one – follow the process, treat yourself like you are your own employee and let’s rock and roll!
Now, grab a paper and pen and get started being uber-productive.