I have a couple of ninja co-workers named Kyle Battis and Mike Purvis. They’re amazing because they know how to get things done. I respect and admire them because I’m the same way. No matter how much shit I have on my plate (and trust me, I have a TON), I always manage to get it done and even in my magazine, newspaper, and book-writing days, I never missed a deadline — not ever.
So, how is it possible? You’re trying to start a new business, you have to figure it all out — the theory, the technology, generating website taffic, the copy, and on and on. No wonder so many new folks get bogged down, disgusted and give up! It can be really overwhelming.
One thing that I have found that works for me is keeping a business diary. I’ve done it since way back when I was a bank manager, and having one really reminds you of what needs done. Plus, I know that within a certain timeframe, where to find meeting notes, little tips and tricks, and stuff that I gather along the way.
You can use one of those fancy DayRunner organizers, which I did for a number of years, or you can just get a small notebook that you buy at Target or somewhere. I have limited space, so mine’s only about 6 X 9, but chunky so that it will last awhile. I have a pretty good stack of them reaching back to 2003 when my online career began.
Anyway, the first thing I do each day is sit down and plan what I need to do and make a list. Actually, I look at my list from the day before, decide what didn’t get done (if anything) and add those things first. Then, I add the things I know need to be done on a regular basis. Then, I add things that are special projects that need working on and I prioritize everything.
I have to tell my OE team what my top 5 things to accomplish are for the day, and though my list is always longer, I KNOW for sure that there are 5 crucial things that I need to accomplish and I always do. To be honest, I usually get all 10 or 15 or however many done. But some days (like today, for instance), there are impromtu meetings that take precedence and so, I may have a thing or two waiting for me tomorrow.
That’s a general rule. I’m flexible and know how to shift priorities as things arise. So, it’s a constant process of deciding what’s most important at any given time.
The second thing I do is to keep a calendar desk pad under my keyboard. As I’m typing to you now, I can see what meetings I needed to attend today, that I needed to send some birthday and thank you cards, that I have a webinar tonight for my special peeps at Blogging4Boomers.com. All of that is right in front of my eyes, and I can see it every minute I’m at my desk. Nothing gets away.
I love Mead products and one nifty thing that Mead has is a “Notes” section at the side of the calendar So, important phone numbers go there and anything I need regularly and don’t want to have to look up. Of course, this calendar gets rather messy by end of month. No worries! I just peel off a layer and start clean again. I also save the stuff I did that month under the blotter until the next month rolls around. If I haven’t used anything on the old sheet, I throw it away.
The other thing to mention is that it’s a short desktop calendar. I’ve been working from a “cockpit” workstation that’s beginning to fall apart since 1996. I love it because all my “stuff” is right here where I need it. There’s a small cupboard, a place for CD/DVDs, slots for folders, and it’s all wrapped around me. But… there’s not enough space for a full-sized desk calendar like the cheapy ones you can get at the dollar stores in December. They’re just too big. Mead is awesome because they make this reduced size that costs me more, but totally fits my needs, so it’s worth every penny to me. If you have more room, the $1 variety is jes’ fine.
So, that’s the Marcello system for keeping your shit together. I work full-time for an online company, have my own business to work on, a husband and daughter to worry about, a home to keep together and somehow — though I’m not really sure how — everything gets done. And as you know, I’m not a kid. I don’t have boundless energy, though for my age, I think I’m pretty amazing. 🙂 But the point is that these little tweaks will work for you no matter how much you have to do or how old you are.
I think it’s because the list of tasks exist that I get them done. I don’t sit around surfing the ‘Net, trying to figure out what I’m going to do next. I don’t let myself be distracted by this new product, that new training, until I’ve done everything else and it’s easy to see what I’m NOT getting done, too. It’s right there in front of me. When I finish one task, I don’t have to think about it, I just move to the next.
You can also schedule in different days of the week on your calendar for generating website traffic, for example. Blog every day that you can, write at least 2 articles a week, 1 press release a month, and spend the rest of the time working on testing and tracking, social marketing, copywriting, and so on. Working with a schedule and knowing what you’re going to do every day of the week is also a great motivator. Just be VERY SURE to add something to your schedule every single day that you enjoy. Get the stuff you hate out of the way first, and then reward yourself with the fun.
Works for me! It can also work for you.