If you’re like many people, you probably have a long list of things you want to get done and day after day you get side tracked and maybe, if you’re lucky, you cross out one thing from that list, but add three more. It’s like a carousel that never stops.
There are two big problems with this:
People tell me that they don’t understand how I get so much done. Though that’s nice to hear, I too believe that I can do more. And so in my continued desire to be more and more productive, I’ve delved into organizational theory. I want to share a couple of these ideas with you because, well, I’m writing and you’re reading.
There are many different theories about organization. Of course there's the tried and true checklist method, there's the "wing it" philosophy and there’s the "sit around and wait until somebody tells you what to do" tactic.
But, frankly, all of those will lead you to the same place of feeling no sense of accomplishment.
On the other hand, there are two organizational methods that I've found to be the most valuable in getting off this carousel: GTD and Covey’s Quadrant- Getting Things Done (or GTD for the hipsters out there) is based on the book of the same name, written by David Allen. The book talks about how to break down your to do list into essentially two elements:
Then every day you select the 3-5 most important steps you can accomplish that day to help you in completing the projects.- Covey Chart is based on the four quadrant philosophy of Stephen Covey in his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Basically everything is broken down into one of four priority levels:
You spend 1-2 hours each morning on the Important and Not Urgent, then spend the rest of the day on the Important and Urgent.
So which method do I use?
More accurately, both.
THE ORGANIZATIONAL METHODOLOGY OF MOM
I’ve merged the two into my own way of organizing my day. I call this Matlow’s Organizational Methodology - or MOM
When I listen to MOM, I stay focused on doing the right tasks. When I adhere to what MOM says, I feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. When I follow MOMs advice, I don’t sacrifice strategic growth for being a fire putter outer. When I follow MOM’s orders, I feel like a better person.
As a leader, the ultimate goal of organization is to focus on the things that are most critical for the growth of your business. These are often different than the most important things you have to do in any given day. A single days top priority could very well be something like fixing your internet connection. Though a top priority and must-do for the day it is not an overall strategic goal for the company.
HOW IT CAN WORK FOR YOU
Let's do a simple exercise:
Write down one thing you want to accomplish in the next 6-12 months to grow your business. It could be anything. Let's say it's "get a title sponsor"
Now right down the steps you have to take to get there. It could be things like:
Put each of the tasks in order of how they need to be done (eg you can't contact a Target sponsor until you figure out who they are). If you have a specific deadline for completing your goal write that down too.
Now take the top item on that list and put it on your checkbox to do today.
Add 3-5 other things to your today list.
Now get those 4-6 things done today before you do anything else.
HOW I STAY PRODUCTIVE
There is of course a lot more to it and I encourage you to either read the books or listen to them on Audible at 1.5x speed while you run, like I do.
With that said, let me tell you what MOM has me doing every day.
1. The application. I use an application that supports the GTD philosophy. This is my task list - not just for the day but forever. There are a few programs worth reviewing:
That’s MOM. When I listen to MOM, I know my priorities and I feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.
Now stop reading this nonsense and go get something done.