Never-ending lists

October 29, 2008

A colleague asked recently “can you be successful without a solid schedule that time blocks for specific tasks?”

My answer:

Short answer – yes, you can be successful without time blocks. And, it will be harder and more stressful.

The most successful people I have studied and worked with all have a combination of time blocks and flexible time in their schedules. Many rely solely on to do lists. Others have a combination of task lists and scheduled items.

And the most productive have either scheduled in the tasks on the to do list, or delegated the tasks entirely.

I used to keep a notebook titled “neverending list of 5 minute projects”, and I would go to the notebook when I found myself with some unexpected down time (a meeting or call ended early, or I was waiting for someone to call or for a meeting to begin). This was used only for those open ended projects without deadlines. And it really helped keep me sane.

I think we all have those never ending lists. There is power in calling it what it is. All it took to manage mine was a small notebook and a pen. Everything that fit (no deadline) got written there, and there was quite a sense of accomplishment in crossing items off as they got done.


Now is a great time to delegate!

October 14, 2008

As tight as the economy is, and as scarce as new business can seem to be – now is a great time to delegate those tasks that take up your time and bring in no money!

Here is just one idea.

Since I practice what I preach – I recently boxed up the cards I have collected since my assistant went back to school, and sent them off to a fabulous virtual assistant. Very shortly I received back a spreadsheet with the data on 645 new contacts all entered and checked, ready for uploading to my customer relationship management software. That means 645 more business people I can easily be in regular communication with. That will bring in some bucks! And, quite frankly, my investment for 12 hours of the virtual assistant’s time was less than what I get paid for one hour with a client.

If you are regularly networking (and I bet you are), you probably have at least that many cards cluttering up your office. What good are they doing in stacks on your desk?

What are you going to do?

October 1, 2008

Seems like everywhere we look today, there is uncertainty. What is going to happen with the economy. How is this going to affect me? What will it do to my business? How are my clients coping?

It is a cliche that many business pull back in hard times – stop marketing (or cut back), become more cautious, cut expenses. Is this really the right course of action? Maybe. Maybe not. I think the answer depends more on whether the course of action is coming from a reaction or a response.

What is the difference?

A reaction is automatic, virtually stimulus/response. Rarely any thinking. While a response comes after considering the situation, weighing the options and determining the appropriate course of action. It takes courage to take a breath and pause to think sometimes. And it can be the difference between feeling overwhelmed and being in control.

What are you going to do?

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