Bring it on

2022 is here and, one week in, I’m still hanging on to my business plan.

What helps is that I have a list of specific actions for all 12 of my main projects for the year. And the actions for the first couple of projects have deadlines and time allocated in my diary. I know some of them will slip, especially the ones for later in the year, but at least it helps to make a good start.

Have you turned your New Year’s Resolutions into an action plan? I really find that it helps.

Make sure that your goals are SMART.
• Specific
• Measurable
• Achievable
• Realistic
• Time-bound

How do you work smarter?

There are all sorts of ways to work smarter rather than harder. I usually speak and write about systemising, automating and delegating work but you can achieve a whole lot more just by organising your workload better.

I run two businesses, Hudson Business Advice is my coaching/training as well as speaking and writing but I also run Minerva Accountants which is much easier to systemise with predefined processes for preparing accounts etc. I therefore use two different systems to track my workflow and deadlines as my brain can’t hold everything that I need to know.

Accountancy Manager is great for a highly systemised business with known inputs, outputs, and a clear process. It’s good for tracking deadlines and uses  templated emails at each stage of the process. There are other good systems available but this one suits Minerva best.

For my main business I have fewer standard processes but more individual interactions so I use Active Campaign to add notes and actions relating to each interaction. This business revolves more around people than processes, although I do have standard procedures for as much as possible.

I also use a third system, Trello, to track ideas and project work as well as my household and family tasks. (I will get around to resealing the bath one day!) I can have either a whole Trello board or a list on my main board to ensure that no idea is lost.

So, three systems to manage the three different parts of my life and also a vague attempt to separate them. I prefer these to paper because I can access them from any of my devices which are all backed up to the cloud.

What systems do you use to manage your to do list and ensure that you don’t forget anything?

Are you making progress?

I was talking to a client today who felt that she hadn’t made progress because she hadn’t actually achieved any of the goals that she had set herself.

Sometimes business feels like this. It’s a bit like running on the flat ground between hurdles. There is still forward motion even though you haven’t increased your hurdle count.

We might set arbitrary deadlines of month end cash collection targets. If a large cash sum arrives the day after month end then, in harsh terms, you’ve missed the target but, in reality, it’s only a day behind and may still be a new record.

I like to break projects into lots of smaller hurdles but please don’t forget that you are making progress when running between them on the flat too.

Please do set yourself nice stretch goals but applaud yourself for the bits in between too.