Raise your hand if you are an entrepreneur or small business owner. Raise your hand if you get caught up in things you shouldn’t really be spending your time on. Raise your hand if you aren’t getting the results you want for your business.
Okay, you can put your hand down now. Let me set the scene: you sit down at your computer with all the right intentions. You’ve got an extra-large cup of coffee in one hand and your to-do list in the other. Your computer powers on and nine hours later you feel like you have nothing to show for the time you put in. Sound familiar?
Does your to-do list look something like this?
I hate to burst your bubble (well, no actually I don’t, because I want you to achieve those goals of yours), but traditional to-do lists will not get you anywhere.
There… I said it. The only way, in my opinion, to get anywhere is to use what I like to call results lists. Now, I didn’t come up with that brilliant term on my own. I came across it in my research on how to be more effective as an entrepreneur and small business owner and I am passing it along to you because it is, well, brilliant.
The gist of results list are that they are focused on actual, tangible outcomes and results not vague bullet points. For example, I wouldn’t list “work on my website” on my results list I would instead list something like “finish all copywriting for website” “select all images for website” or “edit all pages on website”. I wouldn’t list “look into networking events” I would list “sign up for 5 networking events for the month of June”. A results list is one where the items listed on it not only will drive you toward your ultimate business goals, but you know for certain when you have completed something on the list.
So, how do you write a results list? Start with your goals and vision for your business. Boil them down into specifics. For example, “my goal is to make $50,000/year in profit”. Then you work backwards and break that goal down into quarters, months, weeks and days. If you are going to make $50,000/year in profit, then that translates to $12,500/quarter, and roughly $4,200/month. Without going too much into specifics here, because this really is a blog post for another day, you need to figure out your profit margins and how many products/services you need to sell per year, quarter and month in order to meet that goal. Then figure out how the heck you are going to sell all those products/services and where your customers are coming from. Let’s say you don’t have a website, then that is going to be a result you need to achieve. If you don’t have a business bank account, logo, accounting software, marketing plan, editorial calendar, etc. those are all results you need to achieve.
That last paragraph might have been overwhelming – let me simplify it for you. You need to take each of those big items we just listed and break them down into tangible, weekly and daily results.
If you need a website, then your daily result-list should look something like:
Those are all bite-sized results that will take you closer to the bigger result of having a website and ultimately closer to your goal of $50,000/year in profit. If that is too much for you to wrap your brain around right now, then just rewrite your current to-do list into a results list. Let’s take the example we started with and rewrite it together:
The important thing to remember when you are making a results list is that you don’t want to overwhelm yourself. Don’t take on more than 2-4 items from your list a day since they are so sizeable, specific and require a lot of your time and attention to complete. But do pay attention to how it makes you feel at the end of the day when those items are completed. Trust me, you are going to feel like you sat down at your computer and did something real, something that drove you forward in a big way. You are going to feel like you actually accomplished something and that feeling will only result in you getting more done. When you feel good about yourself, the work you are doing and the results you are seeing it will only multiply!
I urge you to give this a try and see for yourself how it can transform the way you approach your work flow and day-to-day. I would love to hear your feedback on how it is working for you and troubleshoot if you feel yourself getting stuck. Email me anytime!