So you know you have some leaks in your bucket (from the article in Part 1) – now what do you do about it? How do you start to fix?
You need to be aware of the two biggest mistakes that people make with their systems.
Mistake #1: They keep all their “to-dos” either in their head, in a notebook or in their inbox.
I’ll be honest, I did this for years… kept a lot of the stuff that needed to be done either in my head or in my inbox. And you can get away with this to a point… but I guarantee you that it will catch up with you and become a huge source of frustration as your business grows.
When something lives in a head, a notebook or an inbox it is a recipe for dropped balls, missed tasks and mistakes. It keeps you in reactive mode, always having to think “what needs to be done next? what about this piece?” Your brain is always plugged in trying to keep track of it all – like an engine that never stops running (tiring!).
And inboxes get messy… most people have A LOT of stuff in their inbox, and trying to keep track of “what needs to be done” in there can be like trying to find a needle in a haystack at times. Not to mention that the folks on your team are generally working with many clients and trying to juggle everything from everyone. Yipes!
It’s no wonder that balls get dropped and stuff gets missed – the system is broken.
How to fix? You need to get an ONLINE project management tool in place – something that both you and your team can access anywhere, anytime. And yes, the word *online* is key here – the to-do list in your Outlook is not the answer here because only you can see it.
Here’s the kicker guys – the real reason for having a project management tool in place that you probably haven’t thought of before.
So you can stop having to constantly think about “what needs to be done? what is coming up next?” – this will suck the life out of you! (Not to mention cause those middle of the night wake-up moments.)
With a project management tool in place you get to:
put all the to-dos into the system, complete with due dates and “who is doing what”
then you forget all about it until you need to take action!
Let me give you an example. We use (and love) Central Desktop* as our project management tool. Whenever we have a new project, such as the launch of our next OBM Training, here’s what we do:
Identify what we are aiming to accomplish (overall strategy, etc.) – I do this together with my OBM Tiffany.
Lay out all the steps & to-dos for the entire projecct – Tiffany takes care of this.
Plug ALL those steps into our Central Destop, complete with due dates and who is doing each step.
The system is set up to send us notification of new tasks, as well as daily reminders of what is due and what is coming up – so everyone on the team is aware of what they need to do and when.
I just sit back and wait for the system to tell me what I need to do next. <– this has made a HUGE, life changing difference for me… I used to spend alot of brain power thinking about what needed to be done, when, who was doing it, did it get done? etc. Now I know that the system will remind me when it’s coming due and I can forget about it until then.
My project management tool gets to do all the worrying for me – love that! 😉
Now the toughest part here is building the habit of using the project management tool – this will be tough for you as the biz owner and probably for your team as well. It can be hard to break that inbox habit!
This biggest consideration here is to make sure that someone owns the responsibility of keeping the project management tool up to date – ideally this would be an Online Business Manager (and not you as the biz owner!). This person needs to make sure all to-dos are being put into the PM tool, be a “loving nag” to ensure people are getitng stuff done and making sure stuff is marked complete along the way (so you have a real indication of where things are at).
If you don’t have a project management tool in place already, it’s time… don’t wait until the walls are falling down around you to get it set up. (Or if they are falling down already then it’s definitely time!) Lots of great ones out there, I use/love Central Desktop* as it does project management and is also a great virtual office setup.
Stay tuned for our Part 3 of the Leaky Bucket Syndrome series where we will talk about the second biggest mistake that folks make with their biz systems.