Achieving success in 4D
One of the most valuable assets is time, and when you’re running a small business, there are so many tasks that grab this from you. So how do you manage your time?
One simple technic that you will have heard of but perhaps never appropriately used is a To-Do List.
A to-do list will make sure you do not forget anything, help you to prioritise workload. Creating a plan for your day/week gives you a sense of achievement.
The first thing you need to do is write everything down that needs doing. For me, an ideal task time is anything from one to three hours. To avoid one long scary list, I have a separate list for each of my businesses, projects, training and personal stuff.
The first time you write a list, you may feel a little overwhelmed, but it is essential to include everything that needs doing. The next thing to do is decide how urgent or essential each item is using a ranking system, using 1 to 3 stars works for me, *** is urgent and * is not.
*** tasks take priority and should be done before anything else. You should also add a *** to actions that move your business forward even if you do not enjoy them. Things like sales calls and updating cash flow can be non-desirable but essential to success.
Start each day/week with your *** tasks and as each one is achieved, take a moment to savour the rewarding feeling of ticking it off. Doing this will build confidence in your ability to get things done, it’s a real sense of achievement, and the more crucial subliminal message is that if it goes on the list, it gets done.
Make sure everything is ticked off that your completed and that you’ve added any new tasks that have been created that day. Another thing I like to do at the end of the week is to rewrite my to-do list ready to start the next week again. This keeps everything in my mind, and it allows me to challenge the importance of tasks I haven’t done, or maybe you need to give yourself a kick up the rear and this list will highlight it.
Another great way to successfully manage a to-do list is to apply a 4D approach. You may not have heard of this as it’s just something I do and what you do is scrutinise your list regularly and decide to either:-
Doing it requires you to ring-fence some time and not let anything get in the way. It is usually the case that once you start the task, you find it was a lot, let daunting than you first imagined.
Sometimes when a task is extensive and going to take up a lot of time, you never get to it. Or it could be something you do not relish doing, and you avoid it. If either is the case dividing it up into smaller more achievable chunks and again popping some time in your diary to complete each part helps.
Explore whether there is someone else who can do the task for you. This decision could be right because that person is better qualified to do it, has more time available or simply wants to help you. You can delegate the whole task or one or more of the divided-up sections.
If an action has been on your to-do list forever, you have to challenge the need for it to be there. Tasks that sit too long on the list have a nasty way of cluttering up our thinking and keep popping in up make us feel like we’re not achieving everything we set out too. It may just be things have changed, and this is no longer a necessary action.
I like to make my to-do list on paper, but there are many App’s that offer a to-list for your mobile device.
The only issue with to-do lists is that they are utterly worthless look at them daily, action them, review them and rewrite them. When you do, they can be the most straightforward tool that makes the most significant difference to your output and results.