How to get things done in 2018…
How to get things done in 2018
So here we go again, the start of a new year. An opportunity to build on where you are currently at with your career, or possibly an opportunity to reflect and change direction into a pathway that excites you?
Wherever you are it’s going to need some output from you to make things happen and to keep things going productively throughout the year.
Personally I’m not a fan of resolutions. For many they are there to be broken and usually that happens around mid January as old habits creep back into the mix and the pressures of the day to day become the priority.
I am a big fan of goals, and in particular reflecting on those goals to be clear that they are in fact current and will take you to where you want to go.
For me this year I would like to make sure I keep on learning so I am going to set up a podcast and youtube show to allow me to connect with great people in their fields. It’s going to be a selfish pursuit of knowledge that will help me in business, fitness, and current affairs, but I figure that it will also help other people too. If you have any recommendations for guest that I can interview or you have a strong message you want to share drop me a line back by replying to this email.
How do we make sure we get things done? Prioritising the important versus the urgent
Now I am not a religious man, however the closest I’ve ever been to a religion is the book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. If you take anything from this email let it be that you immediately order his book from Amazon and then read it. It is the book I have gifted to the most people. Check it out HERE.
Habit three is ‘put first things first’. This is where it’s at when it comes to productivity. Take a look at the grid below.
The goal is to spend more time in quadrant two focussing on tasks that are important but are not urgent. If we stay on top of things we stay predominantly in quadrant two.
How much of your time do you work in this quadrant or are you drawn into the urgent quadrants to work on critical tasks that are due today or tomorrow? Sometimes this is inevitable, but if you are allowing yourself to drift into this quadrant the very best scenario is that you’re stressed out and working to the bone. The worst case is that you just are not getting things done. This is not about daily productivity it’s a bigger issue concerned with planning and understanding of workflow management. It might be that you have to work like crazy to get through all the urgent work and back on track with the important work in your life. If that’s the case you’re in for a few hard days or weeks but it will be worth it I assure you.
Daily Productivity- The Power Hour
Once we know what we are doing how do we stay on track and make sure it actually happens? How often have you started with the best intentions of getting a piece of work finished or doing something important and it doesn’t happen.
My wife used to take an exercise class called ‘Power Hour’. It was a 60 minute session with barbells, bodyweight exercises and core training. Ironically not a lot of power at all but that’s another story!
This power hour on the other hand is all about getting things done on a daily basis.
I have taught this concept to hundreds of people on our mentorship and level 4 programmes over the years and it really is how I typically work on a daily basis to make sure I stay on top of everything I need to get done, like writing this article for example! When I find myself not following this structure it stresses me out and I can only take that for a limited amount of time.
Firstly let’s look at a daily structure and your diary.
We need to have some default time in there for getting things done. Sometimes called working ‘on ‘ the business versus working ‘in’ the business.
My schedule typically is as follows:
Get up: 7:00
Coffee and smoothy: 7-7.45
Drive to gym and arrive at 8:15am
At my desk to begin work: 9:30
General admin: 30 mins
Power Hour 1 begins 10:00.
Power Hour 2 begins 11:00
This first couple of hours is where the day is made or lost in my opinion. The power hour dictates the result! It is rare that I will compromise on having this time in the diary. There are some days where I’ll allow meetings in the morning such as our monthly board meetings or important business development activities, but usually this may be one day per week at most.
If I can stick to this schedule above I know that I’ll get all my key tasks done that day and then the afternoon I can focus on external meetings, catching up with people in our team and generally have more floating time that can be managed more freely.
So what is in the power hour?
There are some rules to the power hour that must be adhered to if you want maximal productivity and these are:
No general admin work that can be done anytime and doesn’t need much focus.
Don’t take phone calls unless absolutely urgent.
If you need to respond make sure it is a one liner that takes less than 30 seconds to action. Anything more and you will lose focus.
What type of tasks go into these sessions?
This is simple, it must go into the category of working ‘on’ the business not ‘in’ the business. For me this would include things like writing newsletters, looking at the business financials, reading course material and writing feedback on this material, etc. For you it will be different but it must fit into that category.
Eat that frog
A great little read from Brian Tracy.
Taken from his website:
Mark Twain once said that if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worse things that is going to happen to you all day long. Your “frog” is your biggest, most important task, the one you are most likely to procrastinate on if you leave it until later.
This has absolutely go to be in that morning power session. If it’s short it goes into the general admin time and just gets done. If it takes longer factor it into the power session. If it’s a sizeable piece of work that takes even longer than a couple of hours divide it up and make sure you’re hitting it hard for as many days as it takes to get it done.
Take a look at the Eat the Frog book on amazon HERE.
If you’ve read this article and are unsure as to where to start then I would encourage you to take the Getting Things Done (GTD) System assessment which is free over at THIS link. This has some really good insights into how to be more productive. David Allen the founder is internationally regarded in this field. His book aptly named Getting things done is also worth a read. You can check it out on amazon HERE.
Which ‘Pro’ will you choose this year?
I guarantee you will be a pro in something this year. You can choose to be productive, or you can choose to procrastinate.
It really is your choice and I hope this article has given you some thoughts and tactics to make yourself better.
The goal after all is to ‘get better at getting better’. If we take care of this the success we desire will surely follow.
My best as always,