“The scarcity of time is the reason we have to concentrate on one thing at a time.” – Matt Perman
If you’re frustrated by the pace of revenue growth in your biz then here’s a tip to help you get things done faster.
There’s always plenty of stuff that needs to get done. And there’s no shortage of advice about how to do it. Productivity tips like batching tasks, quadrants or making lists. I’m massive fan of Kanban. It’s all good stuff.
However most biz owners are still screwed. The list is growing. The Kanban board is overflowing. You’re batching tasks. Taking care not to lose 40% of your productivity to multi-tasking (I hope)!
They say money loves speed. And it’s true. If you’re doing a good job prioritizing then most of the stuff on your biz to-do list translates to more money. At least somehow. Right?
Somewhere attached to any task is a way to make more revenue. Or reduce expenses. Maybe you’ve just got to get service to deliver and jobs to be done.
And the longer that takes, the longer it takes to get the reward.
Two Reasons Your Productivity & Time Management Isn’t As Effective As It Needs To Be.
- Most biz owners don’t have a method to make decisions.
With no decent way to weigh up options in the first place. So the list gets full of tasks that seem important but are not. There’s no bouncer at the door stopping the busy work getting in the club ahead of the important work. The VIPs are in with the nobodies. And in the hustle and bustle it’s hard to tell them apart.
- Most business owners don’t manage projects well…if at all.
Almost everyone I talk to is great at coming up with tasks. But few people I meet are good at recognizing when tasks should be part of projects. And even fewer biz owners are any good at managing projects.
As a result most businesses move forward at a snails pace. At least compared with what’s possible.
That ends now. We’re going to solve both those problems. Without getting bogged down in the nitty gritty of productivity, time management or project management.
Step 1: Make Better Decisions
This starts with a framework for making decisions. Yep, a standard process which forces you to think through decisions and document it.
If it’s more than a $1,000 decision (or maybe $100 if you’re starting out) then it’s worth doing.
Here’s what my clients use:
It might look complicated at first glance but it only takes a minute or two.
Here’s how to fill this in:
- My Goal: what you want to achieve in your biz. Maybe that’s “increase revenue by 20% in the next 6 months”.
- My Purpose: your business purpose or mission. It’s a good context to have in mind when making decisions. This might be “to help eCommerce biz owners avoid common legal compliance issues”.
- I’m making a decision about: the thing…”go to Russell Brunson’s live event.”
- This moves me significantly forward to goal / purpose? Y/N: not a trick question. Can you honestly say that attending Russell’s event will increase revenue significantly or help you better serve your market?
- I’ll know it’s working because: here define 3x Success Criteria (SC). How you’ll know it’s working. For example: SC 1: more leads for the sales team, SC 2: launched a new membership site, SC 3: deals from networking at the live event.
- By this date: when do you expect to see the Success Criteria? 7 days, 12 months…? Hint: if you decide to move forward then make sure to come back and review the Success Criteria have been met in that timeline.
- The SHORT TERM benefit is: what you get out of it soon. Like “optimized funnel, bigger network to reach out to for JVs”.
- The LONG TERM benefit is: what’s the long term benefit? “+5% leads, +5% front end sales = $20K p/a based on current revenue. +7.5% customers into membership @ $97 p/m = $13.5K p/a. Plus entire new product line to market.”
- Relates to this BP / AP: this relates to your businesses unique Brake Points (constraints) and Accelerator Points (opportunities). You prioritize decisions that directly eliminate constraints or leverage opportunities.
- It will cost me: not just “the money” also think about time and resources. For example “$2,000 event incl travel, 3 days away, +$780 p/a ClickFunnels upgrade, 240 hrs to implement that could otherwise be billable @ $95 p/h = $22,800.”
- The risk is: what could possibly go wrong? For example “It might take a lot longer than expected, may not work at all, may run out of time and/or money to complete.”
- Risk Vs Reward: Take at least 10 seconds to think about everything it’s going to cost vs everything you stand to gain. Here you’re investing about $25K. Plus the time and effort. But most of that’s a one time cost. If this works we stand to gain about $33.5K per year. Do those numbers stack up? It might fail and we get nothing…Y/N?
- My next step: where to from here? Book a ticket? Kick off a project? Forget about it?
Congrats, you’ve made a decision!
Now you’ve not just arrived at a decision, you’ve also documented your thinking. Go or no go, keep this in a safe place so you can review it later.
We have to make some assumptions, now you can go back and check your assumptions. Did you make the right call? Did it work better than you though? Or worse than you thought? Did those risks eventuate? Have you eliminated that constraint? Did this move you closer to your goal?
It’s really hard to answer those questions if you don’t think that stuff through or document it in the first place.
Like a lot of business processes the real benefit isn’t the output…the decision..it’s actually going through the process itself.
Just using the process leads to better and better decisions. And the more you do it, the better you’re going to get at it. And your productivity and time management will improve just because less junk gets through and you know exactly why you’re doing what you’re doing.
That’s been my experience. And the experience of over 128 consulting clients. Try it and see.
Step 2: Triple The Speed Of Your Results With This 2 Minute Project Management Insight
We’re not going to get deep into project management. Partly because that’s a huge topic. Mostly because out of the volumes written on the topic there’s actually one bit of knowledge that delivers massively in the bang for buck department.
Just know that a lot of tasks and items people put on to-do lists are:
- actually projects (or mini-projects) in disguise. Chunking the task up like “Build Website” or “Grocery Shopping”. Or,
- part of a larger undefined project. The task is specific but it needs to be done with other tasks to deliver the result. In that case, just think of it as part of a project.
For example this set of tasks is necessary for Grocery Shopping: Make Grocery List, Drive to Store, Buy Stuff, Dive Home, Put Stuff Away.
OK, simple examples and you could get cute with this and go into ludicrous detail. Just keep an eye on your tasks to make sure they’re discreet enough to be a task not a project. And recognize when to logically group tasks together as part of a larger set of tasks.
This sounds fiendishly simple…
…but once tasks start stacking up it’s easy to lose track.
OK, got it?
Let’s move on…
The way most people approach things is to do a little here and there.
From a project point of view most biz owners naturally work on more than one project at a time. Everything is important so let’s nudge everything along at once.
That’s a huge mistake because you delay completion of all projects. And because they’re not complete you don’t get the results…the benefits.
Money loves speed…the typical approach slows everything down…and that costs you time and money.
Like the guy chasing two rabbits…you wind up with none. Only if you’re like most biz owners you’re probably chasing three, four, five rabbits…or more.
Here’s a picture from Jeff Sutherland’s book Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time that perfectly illustrates what I’m talking about:
Assume you’ve got three cool projects A, B and C. Each one will bring you $10K p/m in benefit on completion. Each one is going to take about six weeks.
Because “everything’s important” you do a little bit of work on A, then on B and then on C. It’s now six weeks in and you’re feeling pretty good about moving all of these projects along like a boss!
And so you repeat this cycle two more times: A-B-C, A-B-C. Sweet!
It’s 18 weeks later and now you’re banking an extra $30K per month in benefit.
But put don’t pop the cork on that champagne just yet…
…you’ve just lost $45,000!
By focusing on project A to completion, you would be earning $10K per month for the 3 months you work on projects B and C.
By nailing project B before starting on C you’d have had 6 weeks (1.5 months) of B’s results in the bank while working on C.
With one approach you get nothing for 18 weeks and then $30K per month. But with the other…at the end of 18 weeks you’ve already got $45K and that $30K per month moving forward.
Of course if you’ve got more things on the go it’s much worse. I’ve worked with companies that have delayed six and seven figure revenue streams by years because they failed to prioritize work properly.
There’s a good chance you’re doing the same. The stacks may be smaller…or bigger for you.
…and if you’re wondering how to pick the priority…what to work on first. Well, bust out your completed Decision Frameworks and you’ll instantly see what should be done first, second and third.
Even if you, somehow, believe you don’t have any projects on the go…then you can still use this project by project approach for your batched tasks etc. Just take a look at your list…which tasks will lead you to your goals fastest…which ones make sense to do together…knock them off then move on.
So there you have it.
You can get to more revenue (or any goal) faster, with less stress by:
- Using a decision making process to make sure only good stuff gets on your list and that you can prioritize tasks based on the numbers.
- Making sure you clearly identify what’s a standalone task, what’s a project and which tasks relate to a project.
- Use the Scrum AAA-BBB-CCC framework to work on projects one at a time so that you get the results faster as you complete projects more quickly.
Is stuff going to get in the way? Sure. But that makes it even more critical to use these two frameworks in your biz…