How to set up your big 3!

Have you ever dreaded going to your office because you just don’t know where to start? I know I did!

You have so much to do every day, that picking the right projects to work on and trying to squeeze them into a slot to do them is a job in itself.  And if you are anything like I was, my big 3 never got done because of all the other tasks of operating my business.  The problem with this approach is your work never gets done and this constantly growing list of projects is part of your business growth so if you don’t try something different your growth is always something in the future. 

It took me a bit to figure out what I was missing to have the growth that I wanted.  Doing this work every morning, knowing my 3 projects and when I was going to work on them is what made the difference.  I was able to work on my business instead of doing all the small tasks that just kept me busy.  

This simple 2-step decision-making and implementation process will guide you to knowing without a doubt what your 3 important projects are, scheduling your time and how to prepare your work environment. 

Step 1 – Pick your 3 projects by following these basic steps:

  1. Write down or put on a spreadsheet all your projects, your brain is full so dump it all down in no particular order
  2. Next, identify what is urgent, color code these
  3. Then, identify which projects are important, color code these
  4. Now list all the projects that you have been thinking about to grow your business, color code these
  5. Categorize all the above by due dates – tenders, etc. all have due dates. For me, every month had a different color, so it was easy to pick out what was happening each month.
  6. Now you have a great easy-to-read picture of all your projects.  Every day pick the 3 projects from your list that need to be done.
  7. Now set your best time of day to do your work and schedule what time you will do them that day.
  8. At the end of your day, remove your completed projects from the list. This is an evolving list of adding and removing projects as you get your sh*t done.  

This won’t feel so big after your start, it will be a relief to know you have a list, you know what to do, it is up to date, and you are on track.

This exercise is one of my super simple mind relievers, nothing gets dropped, no panicking to get it done at the last minute or get it is submitted on time.

Step 2 – Set your work atmosphere

Setting the stage for productivity is extremely important.  As a business owner, you probably have an open revolving door which makes it extremely difficult to get work done let alone to be focused.  

We are going to go back in time when offices had doors and close your door. I don’t know about you but in my day when the door was closed, you didn’t disturb.  If you don’t have a door, then find a private quiet area you can work in.

The following work guidelines are extremely important for your success.

  1. The 50 – 10 rule – that means work for 50 minutes and take a break for 10 minutes and keep going.  

50 minutes – protected focused work, no distractions

10 minutes – move, get a drink of water, and look out the window. This time is not to get in conversations, to problem solve, to answer your phone.  

Every 50-minute work time – set a 50-minute timer so you don’t miss your 10-minute break

  1. Schedule your projects – pick a time to work on each project.  If project 1 is going to take one hour to complete, schedule it in, if it is going to take 2 hours schedule it in and make sure you stop and take a break every 50 minutes.  Be real for the time you need.  If you run short of time re-evaluate your day making sure you are meeting deadlines.  If you have no space to go over, prioritize it in your schedule where you need it to work.
  2. 4-hour mark – if you have been working straight out for 4 hours, stopping every 50 minutes for 10 minutes, take a bigger break at the 4-hour mark, go for lunch, take a walk – do something away from your desk so your mind and body know you are taking a break.
  3. Do not disturb, announce your new work plan, and put a do not disturb sign on your door until everyone gets the message.  Ask for messages to be taken for all your calls and turn your cell off or put it on silence. Have your go-to person take care of business while you are in this project-building time.
  4. Silence the noise!  This means turning off your phone, all notifications, emails, and everything that will pull you out of your focus.   This is something you will have to adjust to.  At first, when I did this, I had this continual urge to look at my phone but to my surprise after a few days that went away, and silencing the wolves became a time I loved.
  5. Get focused! Until you adjust and learn to love your project time, trust the process.  Get your projects done, emails will wait.

Completed projects – Don’t forget once you completed a project, take it off your list to make sure the list is updated, this way you can see and feel the list evolving.

A little side note, the 50 – 10 rule is a proven highly effective work energy rejuvenating tip.  The brain can only focus for 50 minutes at one time and then your efficiency, productivity, creativity, and motivation slowly start to get depleted.  Getting up, moving, getting a drink of water, and taking your eyes to nature are key distractions so that when you go back to work your brain, your energy and your focus are ready to go.  When you don’t practice the 50-10 rule you are not bringing the best of yourself to the project, you just think you are.  

So, try this on and I know you will feel a huge difference in your project outcomes and the satisfaction you will feel at the end of your day.

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PS: I have lots of simple business tips to share to help you simplify your business, stay tuned!