19 Feb The Technique of Getting Things Done!
By Paul Barrs.
Working in a small business is a strange thing, when we start out days come and go without too much huff or puff and we get through the day without much hassle. But then as business picks up we find that some tasks become a little more ‘pressing’. It’s at this time that we maybe make a few notes, little reminders of what needs to be done.
But then as time ticks by, assuming that we’re following solid business practices and business grows, one day… wham-o! We get flogged and business BOOMS. From that point on our days seem to blur; we get up first thing thinking of what it is that we ‘must do’ that day. We wake with ‘priority lists’ in our head, ready to launch ourselves headlong into the day’s adventures.
Have you been there yet? I know I have. It’s a buzz. It’s an incredible rush. You sort of feel that after many months or years of hard work that vindication has come your way and all those nay-sayers out there can go ‘take a jump’. You’ve made it and you really on your way.
Yes. It does feel great – but…
If not at some point earlier, then certainly at this time things also begin to fail. Our ‘lists’ become too long to really be effective. As our customers demand more from us, so do our wives or husbands, so too again it seems do our children. All of a sudden, without any warning, we’re hit with another “WHAM-O” and business leaps forward yet again.
The problem is we’re no longer getting anything done. We’re no longer able to focus on the priority tasks, the things that actually ‘got’ us and our business to where it is in the first place. We *think* that we are, but the hard realities of truth and imagined truth have begun to blur – all we’re really doing is falling into the traps of ‘reactive management’, and that’s a dangerous place to be.
There is however, one VERY INEXPENSIVE tools that you can go out and grab right now, put into action, and see a magical turn around in productivity immediately. It’s so wonderful in fact that it’s been used by both Mum and Dad business as well as corporate giants all around the world.
This information was given to me by my Father on a tattered piece of photo copy paper when I was just 14. He received it from his father. Legend has it that it was first used in the business world by Charlie Schwab, CEO of Bethlehem Steel during the early 20th Century. However it came about, I’m here to tell you that after 20 + years in business, I still use this technique today.
It can change your life and create your fortune, if you’ll just be diligent enough to use it.
The Technique of Getting Things Done audio CD is now available as an MP3 file for all MSU Members at Maximum Success University.com
Here’s what I need you to do –
Go out and buy yourself a small pack of 3 ‘pocketbooks’, you know the type, they fit easily into your pocket and have lined writing paper inside; usually held together with a small ring / spring binder (here in Australia they are labelled Q560 Notebooks). You’ll also need some small pencils. These are better than pens because the small size pencils actually fit ‘inside’ the ring binder for easy transportation.
Now, take one of them and divide it into three equal parts (keep the others aside for later on when the first one is full). It’s easy to keep the divides marked because you take one page and fold it from the bottom right corner to the middle left of the page; this will cause the page to “fold” to the right and actually protrude about a half centimeter to the right. Do it with the very first page, and then the same a third of the way through, and another third again.
Now you should have three different pages slightly poking out the right hand side; these you are going to label. The first is labeled “URGENT”, the second, “Important” and the third “Maybe”.
What you need to do now is start carrying it around with you EVERYWHERE that you go, and I mean EVERYWHERE! I’ve got mine sitting beside me right now (had to look at it to pull out the Q560 information).
Then the final key is this, and listen up carefully folks, because this is the bees-knees of how the whole darn thing works…
Every time that you think of something that needs to be done (in business OR in life) you need to write it down into your little book. Don’t worry about what other people might think of you, I mean EVERY TIME – every time… yes, every darn time!
Firstly, doing this will serve the purpose of you no longer having to stress about trying to ‘remember’ things to do, so your mind will be freer to focus on important things.
Secondly it will serve to see that you don’t actually forget things anymore.
Finally, and most importantly, it will allows you to see which things in your life REALLY DO matter; believe it or not, not everything in your life / business is as important to you as you think it is.
So then, where do we write things?
I’m not going to go into too much detail here about what each of thee are for, you’re going to have to ‘play’ with it and find your own level. But for me, “URGENT” means that it *absolutely must be done today or my business will fail* or I’ll lose a major customer, my husband, my wife or whatever. It’s practically life or death stuff.
[Side bar: I make the note that ‘life and death’ stuff is beyond ‘urgent’ status. For example if you get a call from School one day and your kid has broken their leg and you need to meet them at the hospital (like I did once) – that’s reactive life management, but that’s also the ONLY time that it should be used.]
“Important” are things that really need to be done, but the world won’t collapse if it’s not done today. A good example is a pending bill; it *does* need to be paid, but it’s OK if it gets done tomorrow. There will come a time of course though, when this bill MUST be paid today and when that time comes it would have to be moved from the “important” to the “URGENT” page otherwise your electricity / Internet Access / phone or whatever will get cut off.
“Maybe” things are things that still need to be done, but then, when doesn’t really matter. Some of them won’t even make to the end of the week.
Thus, when an idea comes your way, jot it down. Simple.
The next key is this, at the end of EACH DAY take 5 minutes out and look over your lists. You’ll immediately see that miraculously, there may have been one or two things in your “URGENT” list actually didn’t need to be done today (and that the world is still running). Some of the things in your “important’ list aren’t quite so important any more, and occasionally some things on the ‘maybe’ page don’t even need to be there any longer. Use these 5 minutes to re-evaluate the day and its priorities. If you need to, for tomorrow, move whatever needs to be moved from one category to the next (i.e. An ‘URGENT’ is no longer urgent and gets moved to ‘important’).
How do you do that? Easy, and this is the final key –
Whenever you take out your notebook to write something in it, make sure that you only ever write ONE ITEM PER PAGE. Then, when that item / task / job whatever is done… rip that page out! When you move one item from one category to the next, you rip it out and re-write it.
You see, there really is no need to spend hundreds of dollars on overly expensive time management tools – a small pack of simple pocket size notebooks will do the trick. All you need do is keep it with you, write it down, get it done and rip it out.
Time management for every time. Easy!