If you sit down first thing in a morning (at work or at home) and say to yourself “What would I like to achieve today or this week?” and write down your answers, I GUARANTEE you will make MASSIVE progress.
You should note this advice is very different to what many folks will advise. Most people advise you to create TASK lists! WRONG, throw away all of your task lists, burn them (preferably in a sustainable way), and say “Goodbye Task Lists, Hello MASSIVE future“.
So I wander around the office on a Monday morning and someone proudly shows me their task list for the day, I read through it, “ordering some stuff, doing some expenses, blah blah,” then down near the bottom I find it, “Get back to that customer about our proposal we sent last week”. WTF is this little golden nugget doing wallowing down at the bottom of the task list? Because this lovely person is avoiding the most IMPORTANT items, the things that will really add VALUE to your business! Instead they will focus on menial crap for over half the day rather than making a real difference, and possibly not get round to it at all as other menial crap also finds its way in.
What are tasks?
TASKS are boring, they are nitty gritty, they don’t see the big picture, it’s way too easy to end up writing down loads of things that “need” doing without really taking you any closer to any of your dreams, goals or outcomes, task lists are a way of avoiding what is most important.
I remember someone once saying “ok, write down your task list, prioritise it, then throw away the bottom 20%, because you know you’ll never do it”. This was absolutely true, as time went on it was higher, maybe 50% at least.
The only thing that matters is achieving the OUTCOMES you are aiming for, however, I grew to realise that this approach was all wrong, I needed to start with outcomes.
If you think of a task and you are afraid of forgetting it, you can write it down, however, put it in a bucket (or a backlog in AGILE project management), and every now and again sift through the bucket to see if anything will make a big difference in achieving your goals.
You only let yourself sift through the bucket on planned times of the month, not as a distraction.
TASKS lack focus on OUTCOMES.
If you always focus on outcomes, you will naturally complete the most relevant tasks to achieving that outcome, but you will waste far less time on tasks that do not achieve that outcome.
So, what are outcomes?
Ask yourself, WHAT would you like to have achieved at the end of the week? The answers will be much more powerful than the question “What should I do?”. Doing stuff can be a waste of time if it is not aligned to a greater objective, and will see you achieve a load of low value outputs.
Here’s a table of Tasks vs. Outcomes:
|I need to upload new imagery to the site.||I want my website to look more modern.|
|I need to chase invoices.||I need to stabilise my cashflow.|
|Check out my marketing analytics.||Create strategy for effective marketing plan going forward.|
YES, I agree that we all have menial stuff to do, but do it when you aren’t going to be very productive anyway, like a Friday after lunch or something, and keep the time focussed and short.
By ditching the task list and focussing on OUTCOMES, you will stop writing down menial tasks that merely help you hide from WHAT YOU NEED TO ACHIEVE.
No more BS, focus right down on what you need to deliver to add value, and, by the laws of the universe and statistics you WILL, if you do this all the time!
Death to TASK lists, YES to OUTCOMES.
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Or check out another one of our blogs: The Top 10 Marketing Tools for Your Business