Wouldn’t that be great? Increase your productivity, get through the work easier than ever before and have more leisure time.
You can do it. You just have to set yourself a goal. Today. Right now. There’s no time to lose.
People who are not focused on what they want to achieve waste hours every day. We all do it. One of the few things that set apart the truly successful from everybody else is that they are almost unanimously goal setters, whereas the average person rarely bothers.
Effective goal setting is a huge subject, covering everything from short-term prioritization to long-term life ambitions. Future articles in this series will look at different aspects and how they can benefit you. For now, though, lets look at how you can get almost magical results from your daily ‘to-do’ list.
Make it a rule that the first thing you do every morning is to make your list for the day. Get into work fifteen minutes early if you have to, you will save much more than that as the day goes on.
Use your list like a mini brainstorm session. Write down everything, whether personal or business. Just get it on paper. These are your headlines. Then take each headline and brainstorm that. Break them down into smaller and smaller pieces. Do that for every point on the list. Don’t worry if you cover more than one sheet of paper.
One of the most difficult problems most people face in business is what I call the ‘Infinite Universe’ syndrome. Start thinking about a universe that just goes on forever and ever and ever…and, unless you are Einstein or Stephen Hawking, your brain shuts down. Big, complex jobs have the same effect. They create mental paralysis. Thankfully, the solution is simple. Just break the task down into smaller and smaller pieces until every single piece is just that: a piece of cake.
“How do you eat an elephant? Easy. One bite at a time!”
Now prioritize. Here is a powerful tip. Don’t just put things into a 1, 2, 3 order. Make your priorities work for you.
In the margin of your sheet(s), beside each headline, write four codes.
1.The date the job MUST be finished by. I use a code: 0=today, 1=tomorrow etc.
2.The time the job MUST be finished by. Just the hour is fine.
3.The time you can allocate to it. Be precise. If you think a task should take 8 minutes, then that is what you write down.
4.Put a ‘D’ beside every task that can effectively be delegated.
After you have coded all the headlines, do the same thing for each chunk.
You may not have anybody to delegate to – fine, just leave out that step. But if you do have people who can take some of your load, USE THEM. You gain nothing by keeping all the work to yourself except a bad ulcer and a reputation for being a bad manager. Delegation is a whole subject in itself, but one important tip is to always make sure you explain WHAT you require, WHY you require it and WHEN you need it by.
As Michael Dell of Dell Computers said, “It’s easy to decide what you are going to do. The hard thing is figuring out what you are not going to do.”
Next, look for any items that can be grouped together for greater efficiency. There is no point in taking the same set of actions over and over if you can do them all together just the once.
Then re-order the list.
Once you have done that, it should be a simple matter of starting at the top and working your way down one task at a time.
As an example, if I sat down to write an article and gave myself 2 hours to complete the task, I would probably stare at a blank computer screen for an hour. Then I would rush to finish an ill thought-out piece, which may well have to be scrapped and started over. Instead, I chunk it down:
5mins Think of a theme 5mins Write the headline 5mins List key topics 5mins Create an outline 10mins What research do I need? Any quotes needed? 1 hour Write the piece 15mins Review it 15mins Edit it
By assigning fixed times to each task I am telling my brain that it has to meet a deadline. It doesn’t matter that the timings are arbitrary, or that some things may take slightly longer and some much less. The overall effect is that nine times out of ten I will end up with the article I wanted within 2 hours.
This simple method of timed prioritization will allow you to complete far more jobs, much quicker than ever before.
And the amazing thing is that they won’t seem like hard work at all.
Martin Avis is the author of the best-selling ‘Unlock the Secrets of Private Label eBooks’ – a complete blueprint to private label rights success. Visit http://www.plrsecrets.com to see how you can tap into this goldmine for yourself.