Have you ever struggled to think clearly, got confused or forgotten what was important to do in your business or life?
Wouldn’t it be great to have a system to help you so you don’t waste time and energy remembering and getting into action?
Disclaimer: This is not another time-management article that tells you how to manage your time. Who can actually manage time itself?
Let me share some guidelines and resources I’ve learned and applied (somewhat successfully) in my practice. I also want to hear from you about what has worked for you – hit reply and let me know.
I use the 3H’s method of staying oriented to priorities and tasks. Below are the tools and mindsets that help me remember “it” and do “it.”
Hats represent the roles and responsibilities required to get the job done.
Let’s take for example, bookkeeping and accounting. As a small business owner, bookkeeping is critical; it must be completed on a regular basis in order to know when to pay employees, invoice customers, manage cash flow and plan for the future.
Ask yourself, “What hat do I need to wear at this moment?”
I learned from Michael Gerber in The E-Myth that 80% of small businesses fail. As the business grows in complexity the founder tries to wear all the hats. He suggests that entrepreneurs outline all the roles and responsibilities envisioned for the business at maturity and backfill the roles along the growth curve. Initially, the founder may have to wear the hats, even those that they are not very skilled at (e.g. bookkeeping). As the business grows, the roles are filled by outsourcing to contractors, hiring in talent, and delegating tasks so that the founder can focus on what’s important…to work “on the business, not in it.”
Whether you are growing a startup business or leading a mature organization, identify are the hats that only you can wear, the hats that are important for your company to grow or maintain value to customers and stakeholders. Remember those hats and wear the ones that get “it” done.
What are your personal patterns of thinking, behaviors, and routines that are most conducive for you to be at your best?
Let’s start with sleep. Our human bodies are designed to operate on a natural circadian cycle of sleep-wake cycles every 24 hours. Everyone’s cycle is somewhat unique and responds to environmental inputs differently. However, scientists tell us that our bodies need 8 hours of sleep and when sleep is disrupted, I’m not able to think as well. I’ve found that my most productive time of the day is in the morning, therefore I schedule the tasks that need the most creativity, attention and of importance in the morning.
Understanding your own body and mind’s daily rhythm and developing habits that allows to take care of yourself and show up in your business in life with energy is vital.
Be aware of the patterns where you can operate as your best self. I coach business owners to help them discover their high performance patterns. We explore multiple personal examples of when they performed at a high performance level and examine the patterns that might be replicated and turned into a habit or a decision criteria.
Knowing yourself and your patterns of high performance is helpful so that you can apply them to future decisions and develop positive habits. If you want to see case studies, I recommend Patterns of High Performance: Discovering the Ways People Work Best by Jerry Fletch
What are the improvised methods and tools to access your own memory so you can get “it” done?
No, I’m not talking about a computer hacker, but rather your own personal methods to remember and better orient yourself to your work, thoughts, and priorities. Everyone has their own hacks – from tying a string around your finger to using an app on your smartphone.
Here are a few hacks that have helped me or my clients:
No-tech approaches include bullet journals, checklists, and other handwritten reminders. They often use methods to help organize tasks or make decisions. Ben Franklin’s Pros and Cons list helps evaluate and make decisions. Another method is highlighted in David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done. He focuses on creating a decision tree of sorting out emails and requests into categories for action. If something can be addressed in less than two minutes, do it immediately.
Some applications that I’ve found helpful include:
Evernote keeps all of my ideas and notes from meetings.I can search for keywords and easily recall meetings I’ve had over the past ten years. It helps me remember important information (or at least what I thought was important at the time) and feel confident that I can be reminded at a click of the mouse.
Asana is a team project management software tool that we use. You can assign tasks, documents and other “to-do” details to a specific project or sub-tasks.
The key with hacks is to discover what works for you and try it for three weeks. See if it becomes a habit and helps you with remembering “it” and doing “it.”
Enjoy getting “it” done in the way that works best for you.