What do you think is the top excuse that I hear from business clients who haven’t yet achieved their weekly, monthly or quarterly goals?
• I haven’t got the time \ I didn’t have the time \ I was too busy.
Otherwise translated as…
• I didn’t think I could do it, I didn't know how to do it or I didn’t think it was important enough to find the time.
My stock answer to this is always the same. If I said I would give you £10,000 to do “that” by next week – would you do it?
What do you think their answer would be? Always a “yes, of course I would”. It’s funny how our priorities can change, and time can appear from nowhere when the motivation is big enough.
If you don’t know how to do it – then go learn how to do it! Google knows absolutely everything! And what Google doesn’t know, YouTube does. And what YouTube doesn’t know, then Audible (audio books) or Amazon books will know. One of the key differences between a successful person and an unsuccessful person, is that when a successful doesn’t know how to do something – they go and find out how to do it. While the unsuccessful one will have a pity party and say “but I didn’t know how. Nobody told me how to do it!”.
Planning, organisation and prioritising is not everyone’s strong point, but it is crucial for success. I am going to introduce you to the simplest time management system ever – one that has worked for hundreds of clients, even those who were undeniably terrible at time management!
Step One: Buy an A4 ring-bound pad. This is important as you will be tearing a page out each day.
Step Two: Mind dump!
First you are going to write EVERYTHING you need to do. Not just your business stuff but everything that is on your mind to do with your kids, home, heath, relationships etc. Just dump it all onto paper. From writing a marketing plan to picking up the dry cleaning! All of it gets written down this will stop you waking up at 3am with a “oh ****, I forgot...” - tasks tend to loop around your brain until they have a home!
Include your Worry List!
Include a list of everything you are worried about. This it is a great exercise to do. Just getting everything out of your head and onto paper is very therapeutic. Just seeing your fears and worries on paper can give you an entirely different perspective on them.
Next, go through your list and cross out the things that you have no influence over. Get rid of the things that you can do nothing about. Worrying about these things will be a complete and utter waste of time and energy.
Then create a Wait to Worry List and move anything that could be a problem in the future to this list. Then commit to only worrying about these things, if and when, they actually become a real problem.
Most people find that most of the things on their worry list can be crossed off their list completely, or moved to their Wait to Worry List.
You may be left with a small list of worries and fears that you CAN influence. Decide to do something to improve the situation and take a small step to overcome the fear or solve the problem. These steps can be added to your main Action list above. Taking control and being proactive is hugely empowering.
Step Three: Create your Projects Page
On the first left-hand page of your spiral bound notebook, write headings for the key areas of your life, including any projects you are working on. For example:
• Work projects, marketing, home stuff
Under each heading, write everything you need to do. Break large projects down into bullet points for now; you don’t need to go into loads of details.
On the right-hand side of the page (your Action Page), split the page into the following four quadrants. Do this at the END of the day – ready for the next day. Write any appointments at the top.
• Keep your Planning book somewhere where you can see it every day. Start straight on your urgent tasks. Don’t look at your important for now until your urgent list is complete.
• As you achieve each task, either tick it off, cross it off or highlight it. This will release a shot of dopamine, the feel-good chemical, into your bloodstream, helping you to feel more motivated to achieve.
• Then at the end of each day, tear out your Action Page, check your projects page and re-prioritise your urgent and important tasks. This is the crucial bit. You must do this AT THE END OF EACH DAY!
It is a really simple process, and I promise that within a few weeks of using this system you will feel in control and proactive rather than overwhelmed and reactive.
If you prefer online -Trello is a brilliantly simple way of tracking projects in exactly the same way.
Business Coach, author, speaker, social entrepreneur and chief pot and bottle washer