1001 things to do, but not enough time? Sitting at your desk with a cup of coffee, staring at your “To Do List” and wandering how to get it all done?
Hardworking business owners and professionals can often suffer with overload—stress, confusion and frustration. And in some bad cases, a mental breakdown that leads to grief. We are all overloaded with information from many sources; social media, email, colleagues, friends, and family.
At the same time, we are trying to figure out what really needs to be done.Problem is–we can only consciously process 6-9 bits of information at a time. So in the heat of a busy day, important things are bound to slip through. You need to train your brain to think in a certain way that will help you manage things effectively.
So here’s what you need to do.
Let’s use a simple life example—organizing your notes from a work meeting. Let’s suppose the meeting lasted an hour long, and you took 4 pages of notes (on your laptop or on a notepad). You can do any one or more of the following.
1 – Date It
If it doesn’t need to be done immediately—set a date and time for it to be completed. And come back to it later. The worst thing you can do is to think you have to do it immediately. If you use that approach, you’ll find yourself busy with many things but completing a very limited number of them. Think about it. It would be like trying to have 4 conversations with 4 different people over coffee.
2 – Dump it
Is the task mission critical? The best way to understand if the task is worth dumping is to ask yourself the question “What would happen if I didn’t do this task?” If you find the impact is small then you might want to consider not doing it.
As many high performing athletes will tell you (and it is still applicable to work), “it’s about removing things less so adding things”. Same thing applies to your to do list. Focus on the few rather than be distracted by the many. In this example, even if you didn’t type up the notes and organize it, could you still use them effectively for the project? Perhaps all you need to do is scan an electronic copy and keep it on file for reference later.
3 – Do It Yourself
Go back to your desk, sit down, organize your notes and add any additional thoughts you may have missed out. If it is a critical task—get straight into it. Ignore all distractions or incoming calls. Set yourself a timer for the task, and make sure you don’t stray from it until your task is done or your time is up. Scattered sunlight can keep things warm, but focused sunlight can burn a hole in paper.
4 – Delegate It
There is a famous saying amongst great CEOs and managers. “CEO does not stand for Chief Everything Officer”. People who try to do everything themselves are limited by how much they can do in a given amount of time. So find someone who can do it for you. Someone who is competent, as good as or better than you.
For this particular example, it might be an assistant, administrative staff or a junior clerk. For business owners, this might mean hiring a virtual assistant. Either way it might involve investing some money. But let’s say it costs you $50/hour to hire someone or to get someone else to do it, and you can get on to higher priority tasks that earn you $100/hour—your return on initial investment is 200%!
Business people call this the opportunity cost of time. All it means is if you have a choice between doing two things—which one gets you closer to your goal faster and with greater ease? Simple.
Summary of the 4D’s of Getting Things Done
So print this list of the “4 D’s’ of getting things done and stick it somewhere you can see all the time:
- Date It
- Dump it
- Do It Yourself
- Delegate it
But we’re not done yet. What if you must delegate a task but don’t think you can afford it? Simple. We have an extension to the simple process that will help you ensure you get things done. At Wealth Mentors, we call it the Leverage Process.
We call it the Leverage Process because you can focus on getting more done for less. You save yourself time and money when you delegate things that aren’t your highest priority items.
Here is the process …
5 – Get it Done for You
We just discussed this. You hire someone to get it done for a certain price. For professionals, this might mean delegating it to other members in your team. For entrepreneurs or start-ups—this might mean sourcing expertise from sites such as www.freelancer.com or www.fiverr.com or www.99designs.com. All depends on what you need.
6 – Delay Payment
Perhaps you can’t afford an upfront payment for service because you don’t have enough cash in the bank account. But what you can request for (if appropriate), is a payment plan. Where you split the payment into 3 payments made over time. So if it is 900 dollars, then you ask for 3 x 300 dollar weekly payments spread over 3 weeks.
7 – Barter
If you can’t afford them, perhaps you can do an exchange in service. Let’s suppose you need a writer who can help you draft a proposal, create a brochure or write a letter. In exchange, you might offer the writer your graphic design services for their business.
8 – Partner
This similar to barter, and is a creative strategy to use when you can’t or are unwilling to pay for the service. But you create an ongoing arrangement that is beneficial for both parties.
For example, if the writer promises to provide x hours of their service per week—in exchange, you decide that all of your clients or affiliates who need a writer—are referred to him/her. It is a win-win situation. You get free writing services (something that you might not be great at).
Summary of the Leverage Process
So print this list and stick it somewhere you can see all the time:
- Done for You
- Delay Payment
If you get to the end of the process we have just shared, and you still haven’t decided how you are going to get things done—then you might want to go through the process again, and check how important that task it to you.
But if you follow this process, you will be able to effectively get more things done in less time, and in most cases—profitably.
But it does take practice a bit of mentoring to develop the skill. But it really is a simple process.
Once you practice and develop it over a period of 60-90 days, it becomes a habit. You won’t even have to think about it. And the principle is timeless. It applies to your profession, business, personal life and creative projects.
Your success in business and life is always directly proportional to your personal growth and developing. Learning to succeed is like air is to a human being’s life.
Question is—is the potential gain from adopting a new way of doing things, outweigh the initial pain of learning it?
We wish you the best,