By Lane’ Richards, Something Borrowed Portland
Photo via Unsplash
How do you tackle your never-ending to-do list when you’re a one-person show without compromising evenings and weekends? Truth is, you can’t. Unless you have well-defined goals and a strategy for managing your projects, you’re going to feel overwhelmed. And we all know what happens when you reach the point of no return. You procrastinate and get distracted by those pesky alerts or never ending inbox.
Having fallen into that trap myself, I’d like to share a few productivity tips that have helped me manage multiple projects.
Identify Your ONE Thing
I recently read the book “The One Thing” by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. They broke it down in such plain terms that it’s now become my daily mantra. “What’s the ONE thing you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?” Sounds easy, right? Start first with identifying what your ‘someday’ goal is to which all other goals are based off of. From there, ask yourself, based on my someday goal, what’s the ONE thing I can do in the next five years to be on track to achieve it? Next, start breaking it down even further. Set your five year, one year, monthly, weekly, daily and right now goal, asking the same question for each. What will happen is the projects you’re working on will start to shift. You’ll likely see that what you thought was a priority, really wasn’t aligning with your long term goals. The ONE thing you do today should ultimately get you closer to your someday goal.
Set Your Macro and Micro Goals
Instead of setting a goal that’s so broad you never achieve it, break it down into macros and micros. A macro is a project that takes 1-2 months to complete. For example, hiring your first employee. Now, what are the steps you need to take to meet that end goal? Those are what we call micros. Micros are specific enough to check them off a list and take less than 60 minutes (each) to complete. They are actionable and achievable. Aim for 2-3 macros a month and 2-3 micros a day. So, a micro for hiring your first employee might be to create a job description or identify sources to post/share the job announcement.
Plan Your Week in Advance
Now that you know what your ONE thing is and the macros and micros you need to complete to get there, it’s time to take action. Every Sunday, spend no more than 45-60 minutes planning your week. What 2-3 micros do you want to cross off the list every day? Are those micros (and macro) aligned with your ONE thing? Another great way to prioritize your week is to ask yourself what task is going to generate revenue? This is especially helpful if you get sidetracked with another project (or another email). Every week you should look back on the previous week’s goals. Did you accomplish everything you set out to do? If not, that’s okay! It either wasn’t a priority or you need more time. Simply add it to the following week, or table it for a later date if it doesn’t directly support your ONE thing.
I can’t tell you how many planners I’ve purchased that have ended up sitting on my desk acting as a laptop stand. Unless you have one that’s really working for you, save yourself the money. You can easily keep track of your ONE thing, macros and micros by creating a Google sheet and time blocking your calendar. When you’re able to see the big picture and have identified what your end goal is, everything else will fall into place.
Lane’ Richards is a multidisciplinary entrepreneur and creative behind Something Borrowed Portland, an award-winning event design and specialty rental company based in Portland, OR. Her newest venture, Wedding Pro Coaching, offers mastermind business coaching and educational programs to wedding industry professionals who need help building, running, and growing their businesses in the crowded