Plan your To Do List

I have talked before about planning the tasks you need to get done, not just having them in a To Do list.  That means thinking about which day you're going to do them on and how long they might take (ie. how many can you fit into a day).

You may already have a tool which you can use to do this, there are numerous To Do List apps available - Toodledo, Don't Forget the Milk, Outlook Tasks, etc - or project management tools - Trello, Asana, Teamwork, etc.  

However, if you want something more straight forward, or you are a pen and paper type person, you might want to download my Daily Planner - click here.

I have used my learnings from several good business books to create this planner, so let me briefly take you through it ...

- Spending 90 minutes a day working ON your business not IN it is the consistent message given by Nigel Botterill of The Entrepreneurs Circle and is the reason that I have 2 distinct sections on the planner - the tasks you need to do for your customers but also the tasks you need to do to grow your business.

Find out more about the 90 minute theory in Nigel's book, Build Your Business in 90 Minutes a Day.

- Pareto's 80/20 Principle says that we get 80% of our results from 20% of what we do.  The Daily Planner will force you to think about the few things that you are doing that create most of your successes as there is only space for your top 3 tasks. 

There are many books written on Pareto's Law but here's one by Richard Koch to get you started - The 80/20 Principle - the secret of achieving more with less.

- "Will it make the boat go faster?" was the simple question that Olympic Gold Medalist Ben Hunt-Davies and his team asked themselves every day for 2 years in the run up to their Gold medal win.  Checking that the things you're putting on your To Do list are the things that are going to 'make your boat go faster', ie. move your business forwards towards your goals, ensures that you're spending your time on the right things.

Ben is now a successful Business Coach and he talks about how to apply his Olympic Gold winning techniques to your business in his book Will It Make The Boat Go Faster?

- The last book I have drawn from is The One Thing by Gary Keller.  This suggests that you should only ever be focusing on the ONE thing that will move you forward. 

So at the bottom of my planner I have put the emergency rope - if things don't got to plan and you only get one thing done today, what should it be?

- The last thing I want to point out doesn't relate to a book but rather a 'good practice' that I have learnt - "Today isn't finished until Tomorrow is planned" - that's why I've added the last action onto the planner.

It is much better to complete your planner for tomorrow before you finish today. so that when you get to your desk in the morning you know exactly what you're doing and can get straight into it, no procrastination!

I hope you find the planner useful and it helps you to focus on the key tasks you need to get done.  Click here to download it.

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How's Your Juggling?

Are you like me, watching in amazement when someone juggles balls/swords/something else dangerous, wondering how they do it without dropping them or hurting themselves?  I was at a networking meeting a couple of weeks ago and a guy juggled his way through his 40 seconds – juggling and talking – I thought men weren’t supposed to be able to multi-task! ;-)

Most of us aren’t able to successfully multi-task or keep several things in the air at the same time, yet we try to do it daily in our businesses.  Are you guilty of ‘dropping a ball’ by failing to follow-up on a lead or forgetting to do something for a customer?  Or is more often than not, the work for your own business that gets dropped in order to keep the other balls in the air?

b2ap3_thumbnail_Mar-4th---The-One-Thing.jpgI started listening to a book last week which had been recommended to me by several people last year.
  In ‘The One Thing’, Gary Keller tells us to focus on ‘the one thing’ (at a time) that will help us achieve what we want.  Not juggle several things at the same time. 

He talks about taking the 80/20 principle to the extreme – I’m sure we all know that 20% of what we do gets us 80% of our results, so what’s the 20% of the 20%, and so on, until you reach ‘the one thing’.

We may have a To Do list of several things that need doing but he’s saying we shouldn’t just work through them in the order we wrote them down, we should prioritise them and find ‘the one thing’ that we HAVE to get done today.

Of course we all know this, but it’s too easy to get dragged into everything that’s going on and emails asking us to do other things, but we MUST keep focussed on ‘The One Thing’ if we want to achieve success.

P.S.  If you need help keeping some of the balls in the air whilst you focus on ‘The One Thing’ then take a look at how we can help -

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1 tomato, 2 tomato, 3 tomato, 4 …

These last couple of weeks have been pretty unproductive for me – a mixture of not being at my desk quite a lot and when I am, just not focussing and getting things done.  So with a full day in the office ahead of me I decided that I needed to find a way to be more focussed and get things ticked off that To Do list.

I have talked before about Covey’s Urgent/Important Matrix as a tool to make sure that the things on your to do list are the right things, but once you have that list you need to work through the items and not let time run away with you or get distracted on other things.

With the concentration span of a gnat, I was interested to hear about the Pomodoro Technique a couple of weeks ago.  In summary, you use a timer to time 25 minutes when you will work in a focussed manner on a particular task.  At the end of the 25 minutes set your timer for 5 minutes and take a break.  Then repeat!

For those you who’s Italian is as good as mine, Pomodoro means Tomato and this technique got its name because the guy who invented it used his kitchen timer which was shaped as a tomato!

Writing this email is 1 Pomodoro and I have a whole day of tomato sessions ahead of me!

If you want to find out more about this technique visit the website and if you want a high-tech tomato timer to keep you on track click here.

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