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November 7, 2011 | By Bruce Hourigan | No Comments
If your to-do list is as long as your arm and growing every day, the problem might be that you just don’t have a system for getting things done. Sometimes, making a list serves as a substitute for actually doing anything!
Get started on crossing things off your list – and not just adding to it – with the following tips:
- Decide what really needs to be done. This goes beyond just jotting minutiae down on paper or using a computer-based task-listing program. It’s about figuring out what tasks are important to the operation of your business. If it truly needs to get done, write it down. Otherwise, when things get busy, too many things get lost in the shuffle. If it’s not necessary, maybe it’s time to let it go.
- Build a plan. This includes the steps needed to get to the goal. It may be as a simple as a phone call or two, or as complicated as planning for an expansion. The more detailed your plan, the more likely that it will come to fruition. Include anticipated costs as part of your plan, as well as timelines. If there aren’t dates assigned to every step, things will fall through the cracks.
- Assign tasks. Make sure everyone knows what their assignments are and when they’re due. Even if they’re ongoing tasks, they’ll need due dates. Set parameters for completion, such as the budget for a project or the end result you’re seeking. Leave the “how to get there” up to the staff member, whenever possible. Be clear on who’s responsible and don’t assume that “somebody” will just do it.
- Be flexible. Unexpected issues, from a broken washing machine to the flu taking out your staff, are bound to happen. Look at the big picture. You won’t accomplish everything all the time. With a well-thought-out list, you will achieve key tasks and most everything else. When crises do occur, your staff will already be used to chipping in and being part of the solution.
- Celebrate the completion of tasks. For bigger projects, celebrate the achievement of steps along the way. It’s easy to get wrapped up in what’s left to do. Take a moment and say thank you. Be encouraging and appreciative. When things are at their most stressful, be sure to take a moment to acknowledge the efforts of your staff. And, don’t forget the day-to-day efforts that make your business run efficiently.
A business is made up of countless tasks, sometimes a seemingly insurmountable number. When you break down the work into steps – and enlist your staff as allies – your to-do list will grow more manageable, both on a day-to-day basis and in planning for the future.
Categories: Business Builders